Demystifying High-Speed Sync

Demystifying High-Speed Sync

High-speed sync has been around for quite some time now, and has mostly been limited to speedlights. With Profoto’s recent adoption of the technology into its B1 and B2 Series lighting systems, they are signaling a change that has the potential to bring some much needed relief to the strobist community. This signal hopefully means the beginning of the end of flash sync limitations with DSLR cameras.

Patrick Hall wrote a great article outlining desires for the future of DSLR camera features, and in it one of those wishes was for sync speed limitations to be lifted. While high-speed sync (HSS) has its drawbacks, the flexibility more than makes up for the downfalls. Perhaps in the future, the drawbacks of HSS will be done away with completely and certainly the future of electronic shutters can do away with the whole problem altogether. We have to work with what we have now, so let's chat a bit about how high-speed sync works.

Basic HSS Operation

For some, how high-speed sync works is still a bit of a mystery. In the simplest terms I can, I’ll explain how the technology works.

First, you are in HSS when your shutter speed exceeds the maximum flash sync speed of your camera. For most cameras you can only get a flash to sync properly up to 1/250 second. There are some camera bodies that only have a maximum flash sync of 1/160 and some go to 1/320. If you exceed these shutter speeds with a flash that doesn’t have HSS, you will start to see black bars on your frame. These black bars are actually shadows from the shutter curtains hitting the sensor. So your flash goes off and hits the shutter curtain which casts a shadow on your sensor, and in turn your final image. 

Shot on a Nikon D750. The 750's normal flash sync speed goes up to 1/200 of a second, so at 1/250 and 1/320 you see shadows cast on the sensor from a flash that isn't set to work in HSS.

A flash in HSS acts much like a constant light (similar to controlling ambient light: the faster your shutter speed the darker the ambient light gets) and as such you will start to lose flash power at higher shutter speeds. It basically turns your flash into a high-speed strobe light. It pulses light extremely fast and consistent while your shutter curtains are passing in front of your sensor. This pulsing is not noticeable to the human eye.

As your shutter speed gets faster and faster, the front curtain is dropping with the rear curtain quickly following behind it, creating a small open slit that is exposing the camera to light. Think of a scanner or copier machine: you see a “bar of light,” if you will, “scanning” over your piece of paper. The same is true for your camera’s sensor. See the GIFs below to see how your shutter acts in HSS. If you want all the crazy tech jargon involved with the process, you can read more in detail about high-speed sync and flash on PocketWizards website. They are a great resource for information and one of the industry leaders in flash triggers and high-speed sync.

Your shutter speeds visualized. You can see that as shutter speeds increase, it creates a small slit that your flash has to push through. So in HSS operation at 1/1000 sec the flash must pulse quickly and rapidly all the way down your sensor in order to come out with the appearance of a properly synced flash. This results in gradual flash power loss as the system has to work very hard and much of the flash power is lost in the process. GIF Courtesy of Zach Sutton.

The major drawback to HSS has always been gradual flash power loss when working in higher shutter speeds. As your shutter speed increases, you begin to lose flash power. Why this is, is simply due to the flash changing its flash duration. In short, the flash has to extend its flash duration to allow for the time to pulse light over the entire sensor area (acting like a constant light). Whereas in normal flash operation, both shutter curtains are completely open for a millisecond exposing the entire sensor at once. At normal sync speeds below 1/250, your flash only has to fire once to cover the entire sensor.

The Difference Between High-Speed Sync and HyperSync

This question comes up a lot and it can be confusing. This is a very technical subject matter, so I’ll explain it as simply as possible to the best of my knowledge, but if you want the charts, tables, and all the tech lingo, the PocketWizards article I mentioned above also explains the differences in depth.

High-Speed Sync

As mentioned above, the flash pulses light at a very fast rate to cover the sensor area at high shutter speeds, the resulting image is free of any black bars or gradients caused by shadows from the shutter curtains. There is a lot of other tech mumbo jumbo on how it works, but this is pretty much the basics of it.


HyperSync does not pulse light at all. Your flash acts normally which results in better overall flash power. The technology depends on very precise timing of when the flash goes off, and when the acutal light hits the sensor. They do this by actually triggering the flash to fire just a few milliseconds before the shutter curtains begin to move, so that the light from the flash arrives just as the shutter curtains are doing their dance. The drawback to this technology is that it often requires your flash to be at full power for best results, and the timings are going to vary greatly between different camera bodies and the flashes you are using, as every camera model has different shutter limitations and timings, and the same is true for your flashes. It is actually better for HyperSync to have a flash with a slower flash duration.

I have successfully synced an Elinchrom Ranger RX 1100w power pack and an "S" head with no modifier up to 1/8000 sec on a Nikon D800. However, there will be gradients (shadows from the shutter curtains) that happen across the frame; fairly easy to correct, along with black bars as well depending on the various flash and camera settings. For me, HyperSync is a good technology if you don’t have to have your light very close to the model, and don't mind being at full power. It is also good for action photographers shooting snowboarders or whatever. HyperSync just doesn’t feel as flexible to me and my needs, and the technology feels far from refined for easy use. Below is a real-world example of the gradient that can happen.

HyperSync certainly has a lot of potential and the technological feats made by PocketWizard are extremely impressive. The biggest issue is having to use your lights at full power aimed directly at the subject. There is just not a a lot of wiggle room with the system, and as I mentioned, I don't like fences. For action sports shooters this can be an exciting technology. Even for those who are doing more environmental work it can be useful as well, you will just have to correct the gradient in all the images you want to use in post, which lets be honest can be a pain and a bit of a waste of time if you can use HSS and get it right.

At first glance it may not seem like anything is wrong, but if you look close at the bottom of the frame versus the top of the frame you will see that the top is about a half stop or so darker than the bottom. Again not a big deal, and easy to correct, but if I have to show a client 150 images, and I have to correct this in all of them, it's just mildly annoying. I also realize that I can correct one and sync the rest, but if I change the light power or move the light, or the ambient changes, then I'll need to make further adjustments. The gradient also wouldn't be as bad if I had run the light at full power every time, but that would not allow me to keep the light close and stay at the aperture I wanted. This was shot with an Elinchrom Ranger RX-AS 1100 on a Nikon D3S, 1/1250 sec ISO 320 at 200mm. © Dylan Patrick Photography

Here is the image corrected for the gradient. Neither image has been retouched, with only minor raw processing. © Dylan Patrick Photography

Positives of Using HSS

There are many positives to working in HSS, the first of which is being able to control the ambient light and shoot at a shallow depth of field. This is a big factor in my cinematic headshots, and it is a very liberating experience to shoot in: not having to worry about flash sync limitations, or the time of day. I feel like most photographers don’t want to have limitations when they are spending a lot of money on cameras and lights, and if we put a man on the moon it seems silly in 2015 that sync speeds are still a problem.

Working within my D800's maximum flash sync speed of 1/250 meant I had to go to f/8 to get a nice balance of flash and ambient. You can see that the resulting background is a bit distracting and doesn't give enough blur to create a pleasing separation of the client from the background. Settings for this shot: 1/250 sec ISO 200 at 200mm. © Dylan Patrick Photography

Here I set my D800 to 1/250 Auto FP in my flash setting menu on the camera, which allowed me to exceed the 1/250 to get the background under control at a wider aperture of f/3.2. This result is more in line with my cinematic style, giving me a shallow depth of field and a nice creamy background with excellent separation. Settings for this shot: 1/1600 sec ISO 200 @200mm, both shots were taken around 2-2:30 p.m. © Dylan Patrick Photography

This shot was taken indoors facing windows in a studio in NYC. The background is a bunch of air conditioners, and a pretty ugly rooftop. I shot this at 1/1250 f/3.2 at 180mm to get the ambient darkness for the edgier feel. The ease and flexibility HSS provides is essential to my workflow. © Dylan Patrick Photography

Another positive is the ability to stop action with your shutter speed instead of your flash. Common wisdom when not working in HSS says that if you want to freeze action and stay within your camera’s sync speed of 1/250, you need to have a strobe with an extremely fast flash duration. So your shutter curtains drop open, the flash pops and travels to your subject at an extremely fast rate, freezing it in the frame. This is great and has certainly been working just fine for a very long time, but if you had the choice to not have the limitation of your shutter, would you like it? My guess is yes. It is simply a matter of flexibility, and it seems silly to me to have thousands of dollars of gear only to be trapped in a box.  Shooting like this also means that you might have to routinely shoot at smaller apertures like f/8 or f/11 which means if you want the shallow depth of field, you either won’t get it, or you’ll have to use neutral density filters. This brings me to a question I get a lot.

Why Don’t You Just Use an ND Filter So You Can Have More Flash Power?

The simple answer is you certainly can. That’s how most people have been doing it for a long time. It’s fine, but also limiting, which I’ll address below.

I like working in HSS, but I do, at times, struggle with power issues with speedlights (hence why Profoto’s adoption excites me). I like to keep a simple footprint with my headshots or environmental portraits so I only ever use two speedlights: one as a key and one as a back kicker. You can obviously use multiple speedlights for more power, I just choose not to.

ND filters are fine, but you will still be limited in a couple areas. The first for me is the ability to see my subject clearly. I shoot a lot of headshots outside at very shallow depths of field (f/2.8–f/3.2), and my style depends on keeping my models in the shade and lighting them while balancing that with the ambient light. The fact that the model is going to be in the shade is going to make them at least 1 stop darker than the background. Combine that with a bright background and ND filters, and suddenly it becomes much harder for me to read my model’s expression. A headshot is all about the expression, and if I’m hindering my ability to see that, it bothers me. Now I’ve shot with 2 stop, and 3-stop ND filters, and I don’t feel too visually impaired, but it still limits me to a certain time frame in the day. If I’m running a business it certainly doesn’t make sense to have that kind of restriction (in case you haven't noticed I don't like fences). I have also done a shoot with a 6-stop ND filter, and it was extremely hard for me to read my model’s expression, along with that I also had focusing issues as my model was practically dark, and my background was very bright. While I got a great shot, I had to work a lot harder to get it, and I certainly didn’t have as many keepers as sometimes focus was shifting around. With HSS I can generally shoot at any time of day. You can also get vignette issues depending on the filter you are using, and other color shifts can happen. None of these are super common issues, but I’d like to remove any potential problems from a shoot if I can. Besides, if you didn’t have to put anything in front of your lens to get the effect you want, why would you?

This shot was taken with a 6-stop ND filter. I had all sorts of focusing issues and small color shifts, which caused me to switch back to HSS shortly after. While I still got the shot, it resulted in more images that missed the mark than I would have liked. Shot at 1/250 ISO 200 at 195mm. © Dylan Patrick Photography

I believe Profoto’s adoption will eventually kill the use of the ND filter for controlling depth of field. As more companies develop more powerful strobes with HSS, it will seem silly to even think about using an ND filter. Zach Sutton, Fstoppers resident editor and whip cracker, who is was always a huge fan of using ND filters, recently shot with the Profoto B2 in HSS and he was quoted as saying “it was a very freeing experience.”

Cons of HSS

Obviously you can guess that the biggest and possibly only drawback to using HSS is the power drop-off at higher shutter speeds. I have been shooting almost exclusively in HSS for about three solid years now and it is really the only drawback I can see, and to be honest in a lot of cases it’s not an issue, at least for me. If you are doing senior portraits, headshots, environmental shots, weddings, or things like that outside, you may have to run your speedlights at full power a lot more often, or combine speedlights in a single modifier, but generally it isn’t that big of deal.  For some shooting situations you may also still have limits to the time of day. I like to keep my key light very close to my model which works great in headshots for a soft light, and I usually don’t have many power problems due to that fact. It can be more of an issue when placing a light farther away for more environmental shots, but again, using multiple speedlights can fix this, along with simply compositing the light out in post.

A few other issues I’ve had are occasional misfires (maybe a timing issue) where the flash doesn’t register, and occasional variations of the actual flash exposure resulting in a darker exposed subject. These issues are typically not common enough for me to worry about.

Profoto’s Adoption and What It Can Mean For the Future

This is a behind-the-scenes shot of the lead image courtesy of Zach Sutton. As you can see, time of day isn't an issue for HSS. Zach used a single Profoto B2 at or near full power for the lead image of this article.

I don’t own any Profoto gear at the moment, but I’m hopefully going to soon. As Profoto is perhaps one of the most reputable companies in the industry, I take their adoption of HSS to mean that soon whether you buy Profoto gear or not it could signal an end to the cons listed above. 500w B1s are about 10 times the power of your average speedlight, so that’s plenty of power for almost anything I can think of using it for. The announcement from Profoto is going to hopefully push more manufacturers to get on board with the technology, which should provide more affordable solutions for those who don’t want to drop the coin on Profoto gear. There are currently some higher-powered strobes out there that are capable of HSS, and they are probably cheaper too, I just don't have any experiance with them. Having a big name like Profoto is simply a signal that the more reputable brands are taking this feature more seriously.

The only real drawback I can see with the Profoto B1 and B2 currently is you are limited on power levels when in HSS mode. This means the B1 defaults to a power range of +8–10 on Nikon, and +7–10 on Canon. The B2 similarly controls the usable power range in HSS. All this is in reference to the FAQ on their website, the quote below explains it.

To ensure a perfect exposure and a stable flash pulse, the B1 uses only the upper part of its power range when in HSS Mode. That is 7.0-10.0 for Canon and 8.0-10.0 for Nikon. For the B2 the energy range is 7-10 for both Canon and Nikon. Know that one f-stop of flash light is lost for every doubling of the shutter speed. In other words, when shooting with the extremely short shutter speeds that Profoto HSS offers, the B1 and B2 will in most cases be used at its max or near max power.

They are basically saying that if you are in HSS mode, you most likely you will be on the higher end of the power range anyway. But it would still be nice to have the capability to use the whole power range, especially considering I keep my key light very close, which means +8 power on the B1 is probably going to blow out the face, but I’m waiting to do some testing when I get my hands on a unit. This is something Profoto will hopefully address in either future firmware upgrades or in a new product. As it seems silly to restrict the usable power range if you have indeed got HSS fully working (restricting the usable power range almost sounds like their tech is a cross between HSS and HyperSync). To me this indicates Profoto may have only solved one big part of the problem, and will hopefully continue to tweak the technology to solve the usable power range issue. If we can do it with a speedlight, I’m sure they can figure it out with a higher-powered strobe. The future is exciting!

[Lead image, BTS shot, and shutter GIF's credit: Zach Sutton Photography - Used with permission. All rights reserved.]

Dylan Patrick's picture

Dylan is a headshot and portrait photographer based in Los Angeles. He began his photography career in 2010 in NYC, and rose to be one of the top headshot photographers in New York City. With Fstoppers, he launched "The Cinematic Headshot" tutorial in 2014. Along with headshots, Dylan is also an accomplished hotel and architectural photographer.

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Dylan, fantastica article and explanation of how it all works. I just recently purchased a B1 and used it on about 8 different shoots in the past few weeks. I also have several Einstein 640's I've been using for a few years now, so its defiantly been interesting to transition between the two. First off, I definitely don't think you would have any 'blast their face off' issues at close proximity with the HSS, especially if you are using softer modifiers. I used a combination of the Magnum reflector, 36" octa, 43" parabolic, and a 5' octa indoors and out, from sunrise to dark, and all types of weather, Obviously you may have to back the lights off a little further than with a speed light, but honestly they aren't as powerful as the Einsteins. There is definitely some noticeable power loss as you crank your shutter speed up as well. I had no problems syncing at 1/8000 (Canon 5D2) but you had to be at full power with the B1 right next to your subject. The sweet spot seemed to be right at 1/1600-1/2000th where I didnt feel like I was loosing much power compared to how much shutter speed/smaller apertures I was gaining. Im going to do a solid test that works through all of the aperture/shutter speed/power settings here soon. I think for basically the same money the extra power of the B1 over the B2 is totally worth it, the only draw back being a little top heavier vs the head+pack system.

Thank you Seth! Yeah I've been speaking with people a lot and it seems the B1 would be totally manageable up close, might just have to add some more diffusion...I'm excited to try them out at some point soon. I would defiantly go with the B1 over the B2 for the same reasons you mentioned...B1 will ultimately be more versatile

I really wish the B1 was 1000 watts, and the B2 pack was 500. I think that combo would be incredible onset!

Agreed! I think the power loss in HSS makes it a not very efficient system, it's just better than the alternatives. Hopefully electronic shutter will come sooner rather than later...I think getting 1000w into a B1 type system is difficult just because of how consistently it has to pulse light and for how long. It's probably easier to accomplish with lower wattage systems...but yeah if they can figure it out I would definitely buy that puppy!

Agreed, and is why I purchased it.. the best option out there. The electronic shutter thing definitely seems pretty cool. Hopefully some DSLR's with that tech come soon.

Seth I am about to buy Einstein™ E640 Flash Unit because of budget issue. I want to know if you can do HSS or similar with Einsteins.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Hey sorry for the latest reply in the world, but I am not sure about the Einsteins and HSS. At this point you may have already bought them and figured it out. Don't feel bad about not being able to afford Profoto at all. That stuff rapes your wallet. Glad I own it, but the Einsteins do a phenomenal job.

I have tried doing this with pocket wizards and an alien B800 using a nikon D800E and have had 0 luck.

Hey Mario, Im not sure about the Alien Bee, But This only works on Flashes that support High Speed Sync like Nikon SB900-SB910 & SB700. You can use certain HSS radio triggers (not sure which ones), Or just use the D800e pop up flash as a commander and put the flashes on slave mode. Works like a boss for me...

Hey Trevino, when you say "Or just use the D800e pop up flash as a commander and put the flashes on slave mode. Works like a boss for me..." are you referring to HSS compatible speedlites / strobes only, or any type strobe will work?

Alex M. Im referring to Nikon's SB900, SB910, SB700 which will work on HSS. You must also setup your flash command Sync mode on your Body D610, D750, D800, D810 for HSS. Its found in the Flash Sync menu. Make sure the pop up flash is in command mode. If you use other strobes, you need to make sure they are compatible with HSS. There are a few on the market, I believe. Those strobes though will probably come with their own Unique Radio Trigger or will list compatible triggers. They will probably be pricey. Nikon's CLS (creative lighting system) is simple to use, and cost effective. I Love how you can adjust power to each individual flash via your Camera menu system, Only problem is, if you loose line of sight with the Flashes. With Dylan's setup though, you should always have line of sight, so no problem. The Flex TT5 will also work great!

Ahh okay, thanks Trevino! more $ to spend, :/ lol - c'est la vie..

Hey Mario! Yeah the alien bees do not work in high speed sync, however they do work in hyper sync according to pocketwizard. I would suggest emailing them to get a good idea of exactly what you would need. I believe they have a receiver specific to alien bees, and I think you should also be able to use a flex TT5 to get it working as well...again I would email pocketwizard or call them, and HyperSync does have its own set of drawbacks but it will get you into the higher shutter speeds

Ive tried everything even talking to a manager and no luck.

What pocketwizards are you using?

mini, tt5 and plus3

The plus 3 is not capable of HyperSync (EDIT: thanks to Nathan below...I'm corrected... the Plus triggers ARE capable of HyperSync you just have to use them in receiver mode only with a MiniTT1 or a FlexTT5) ...the tt5 and the mini will want to plug the tt5 into your computer and fire up the pocket wizard utility, you will want to put it into HyperSync only should be in one of the panels, check the help articles in the Pw utility for more info. Basically you want to disable HSS which will enable HyperSync. In that same panel you should be able to choose a head, I believe the alien Bee is there by default. Also in that window is a setting for either "highest energy" or "Reduced Clipping"...I have found highest energy to be better overall...Also make sure the D800 is set to 1/250th auto FP not 1/320...and make sure the firmware is up to date on the PW's...this should also want to

Thanks Dylan ill give it a try. Love your work.

No problem! And thank you!

Dylan, just wanted to clarify that the Plus triggers ARE capable of Hypersync when they are used as the receivers only. You obviously need to have a MiniTt1 or FlexTt5 on your camera and you lose some of the ability to fine tune for highest power or even coverage, but they definitely do work.
Experience: I've been using a Mini Tt1 on my camera and Plus 2s since Hypersync was a thing with various Nikon SBs, Elinchrom Ranger Quadra (S head works much better than A) and an Einstein. All work well once you've figured out the Hypersync delay - I've got one channel set to something that works well for all 3 of those flashes at once, as long as they're on full power.
P.s. I'm mostly shooting action with this setup.

Thank you Nathan! You are completely right. For some reason I was thinking he was using a plus 3 on the camera and flash in which case they wouldn't be capable. Poorly worded on my part thank you for the correction...I'm editing my comment as well! You should post an example pic! I love seeing HyperSync out to good use in the action sports world...partly because I've always wanted to shoot some of it...I bet it's a blast to shoot

I'm curious about the ISO's you're using. If it was just merely to show examples for this article, then no worries and forget I said anything. When you're shooting at ISO 200-320, there's a stop or more of ISO that you could easily use to get your shutter speed down. The D3S will go down to 100 with ease, and the D800 even goes down to ISO 50 (Lo.1). In the blonde with green top outdoor portrait, you used, f/3.2, 1/1600, ISO 200. That same shot could have been done at f/4, 1/250, ISO 50 -- without needing HSS -- and I doubt the background blur is that noticeably different between f/3.2 and f/4. Most of the other shots are pretty close to being able to go really low on ISO and get the shutter to be reasonable as well. If you really have to push it, 1/320-1/400 is possible without HSS if you know what part of your frame will go dark and just leave it a hair looser crop (or leave only ambient light in that section, which won't have any banding due to flash).

Hey Matt! Great question. I figured that would come up at some point. As always there are many ways to get to this result. As to shooting at f/4, the background blur is noticeably different from 3.2 to 4 in my opinion, not drastically of course but my personal taste likes a lot of separation as I think it enhances the subject and the compression of the two. As to the ISO... when working with speed lights their optimum performance begins at the lowest NATIVE ISO and ISO 50 is not native to either the D3S or the D800 the lowest on the D800 is 100 and it's 200 on the D3S (I've since sold the D3S) as I'm routinely shooting at 200mm as well I need to be at least 1/200th on the shutter to minimize motion blur of course too. Granted I could use a tripod, but I hate those for Headshots, and frankly with the Vr I could hand shoot lower, but it just takes the Murphy's law factor out of also frees me up to shoot at 2.8 or even wider if I wish, which in that case the lower ISO still just means I would either need to stop down or use ND filters. To my knowledge anything beyond 1/160 1/200 1/250 or 1/320 requires HSS unless you want to account for the black bars, but if the capability is there again it seems silly to not use it. Certainly there are many options and ways to get similar results but they are all still fairly limiting with not much flexibility...because while one shot at f/4 might work at normal speeds with one lighting situation at one time of day it may not work for other locations or times of day, and puts fences on creative freedom. Sorry for the long winded explanation lol. I just like flexibility creatively with HSS I can basically do whatever I want whenever I want.

The Indra500 doesn't have the same limitation powerwise as far as I know when using HSS. At least, it lets you choose 1/128 power in HSS. The advantage with Indra500 is the Odin controller which also lets you reuse your speedlights. I recently acquired the Indra500 and have not put it through a stress test yet, so do not take this as an endorsement for the Indra500 :)

Oh, and by the way Dylan, excellent article. Your cinematic headshot-style is very inspiring.

Thank you J! Yeah I've heard mixed emotions about the Indra500. I'll have to do some more research on it I think

I picked up an Indra 500 after renting the B2s for a week. The B2s are cool but ultimately limiting due to the power output (and it gets cut in half if you use two heads). The value just isn't there. I tried some HSS outside midday and while it would work for a headshot it didn't have the power for a full length and blew through a battery extremely quickly. I did an engagement shoot with the Indra over the weekend and was quite impressed. Only used 1/4 of the battery with HSS for the same number of shots and had no issues having enough power to light the couple. The fact that I can power speed lights from the AC or DC pack for the Indra's is a nice bonus as well. Then there is the price which makes them just a crazy bargain.

Good to know! Thanks for sharing!

Ok so I have to correct myself on the 1/128 power when using HSS. Now that I've tested it I get banding when going as low as 1/128. It isn't until I go ~1/32 and up that the banding disappear.

Same thing occurs with a regular Nikon speedlight as well.

Great article Dylan!

I'm amazed that after all these years a truly cohesive solution hasn't been adopted considering how much tech has advanced. Lack of clean HSS implementation seems to be a wrench in the works for many and I think photographers need or want that a lot more than extra megapixels at this point.

Also, you using a D800 now?

Thank you Jason! Yeah it seems silly that all this time and tech and we still don't have a clean solution, the B1 & B2 are certainly a big step forward so hopefully it will light a fire under the other companies butts :-) I sold my D700 and right now I'm using either my D750 or my D800 for headshots

How do you like the D800 so far? I found a used one last week that was just too cheap to pass up. Shoots not unlike my D700 and there's some things I actually like better but I've got to work on my technique as some shots are coming out soft. Seems to be user error though :)

I love it! I've been using it for a couple years now mostly for my hotel and architectural stuff, and just recently with the D750 for headshots...I only sold the D700 a month or so ago. The file quality is fantastic and I love the's one of those purchases that made me want to go reshoot every landscape I'd ever done :)

"made me want to go reshoot every landscape I'd ever done" - that's exactly how I feel now

Great Article. Someone asked me about the different between HSS and HyperSync and even I understand but I couldn't explain. Now I can share them this article for that question :D

Thanks Duke! yeah it's a complicated subject with lots of tech jargon, I wanted to put it all in one place with some language that explains the basics of it without as much of the tech lingo. Glad you enjoyed the read!

Great write up dude. I've got a couple opportunities for some environmental head shots here in Seattle and this is exactly what I needed to read. Lots of reading to do still. Thanks man.

Thanks Kyle! I'm looking forward to seeing some of those shots! I know you will kill it!

Thank you for this Fantastic article Dylan. I have a query. I am gonna buy a Flash with HSS feature and a set of Wireless Triggers. Now suppose if my wireless triggers do not have the HSS featured in it will I still be able to shoot Off camera flash at High Shutter speeds above the sync speed or do I need to purchase a set of triggers with the HSS only to exploit the HSS feature of that Flash?

Hey Jeetendra! Thank you! As to your question, yes your triggers will need to be capable of HSS to work properly. And you will of course need to make sure whatever triggers you get are compatible with the lights. Just google search HSS triggers and it should give you plenty of options

Thanks for the info Dylan

One thing you all should consider is giving the Rovelight a try. I've been using two strobes for the past three months and have had amazing results. More powerful than Profoto at 600 WS. The only drawback is the triggering system. You cannot achieve HSS with the supplied trigger. I use a couple yongnuo triggers to get HSS. I paid $345 for each head, not $2000. You can visit my site to see examples.



Yeah I've been hearing about the Rovelight too thanks for sharing!

I own a Profoto d1. Is it possible to do HSS using a pocketwizard flexTT5 and minitt1?

It may be possible to do HyperSync with the d1 but not High Speed Sync. I would check with pocketwizard directly

Hyper sync will still get you past 1/250th but it may not work perfectly to your max shutter speed

Great article.
I won't buy any new camera with an X-Sync slower than 1/1000s.
It really limits my choice, but I've been shooting with the X100s for 2 years, and it's just painful to come back to my D700 for outside strobist work, even with its supposedly "pro" flash sync.

You can use the Einsteins with ND. If it's too dark turn on the modeling light briefly.

Saving time in reading all the questions here, I would like to know if the combination of Nikon D800e with a Einstein 640 and either pocket wizard tt5 or pw 2 will work in HSS mode ?

How can i achieve HSS using an AlienBee?

"...and if we put a man on the moon it seems silly in 2015 that sync speeds are still a problem."
Shutter mechanism is not a problem, but a capitalistic way of thinking and purposely not making better shutters is. How come a 10 year old Nikon D40 has flash sync up to 1/500, which even was a entry level camera, and today's most modern DSLRs can't go above 1/320? It's not that it can't be made, it's that they don't want it.

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