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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 19 Oct 2015 (Monday) 11:11
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Thoughts on new Elinchrom Skyport Plus High Speed Sync Trigger?

 
craigtull
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Jan 13, 2016 04:06 |  #76

Yeh Ben with that picture that's the best I can get. I could raise ISO and move flashes back accordingly but it's just that claim of overpowering from 20 feet away that completely sold me on them. I honestly don't know how Michael Clark does it on their site. Maybe he uses the Ranger instead for the power but to me they are too big and heavy to be portable ߘ

Yeh it's great for people that used to use ND filters and I think that's why I expected too much. I've never used that trick because with speedlights I just wouldn't shoot in bright sunlight. I would wait until early evening when the sun is going down.

So I think my only option now is to shoot normally at sync speed and maybe get the action heads or just stick with speedlights. Do you have any advice?




  
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OceanRipple*
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Post edited over 2 years ago by OceanRipple*.
     
Jan 13, 2016 10:05 as a reply to  @ craigtull's post |  #77

To Benr & Craigtull, I'm just a lurker in this thread & not an Eli user . . . but . . .

The flash illuminated subject is right at the top edge (landscape) - which is where the Gradient under Supersync / HS is most noticeable. I'm not saying that holding your camera up-side-down is convenient . . .

Also the 6D is especially challenging for Supersync - it's not especially the max sync issue, it's more to do with very slightly slower shutter blades. (On the PW wiki re Hypersync, I think I saw a difference between the 5DIII & the 6D in the former's favour.) An APS-C body also might fare better.

.. just my 2p, intended to help.




  
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craigtull
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Jan 13, 2016 12:50 |  #78

Hey OceanRipple,

I wish it was just my 6D but unfortunately i tested a 60D which is APS-C and then we tested a Nikon D800 and still the same problems arose unfortunately. I desperately wanted this system to work for me but it only is about a stop better than HSS. Too much light lost for me :(




  
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benr
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Post edited over 2 years ago by benr.
     
Jan 14, 2016 10:47 |  #79

Hey Craig, OceanRipple,

I received my HS head, and did a quick test to compare it to the S/Pro head for Hi-Sync use.

You lose a lot of power with Hi-Sync that's for sure. But now I've done this test, it's easy to see how and why: the actual shutter speed is the limiting factor just like with continuous lighting. The HS head effectively behaves like a continuous light – switched on for the full duration of the exposure – and the shutter speed is what determines actual exposure.

The S/Pro head does a commendable job, and probably works fairly well for real-world uses, but for Hi-Sync use, the evenness of the HS head is remarkable.

The attached images show the shutter speed, the shooting aperture, and the ODS setting used on the EL-Skyport Plus HS transmitter (by trial and error). It was easy to dial it in since the Skyport HS is so simple to use, but I imagine these numbers will hold for all future use.

You'll see that once you get into the proper Hi-Sync exposures (1/320 and above), the aperture goes down in almost perfect step with the shutter speed – just like exposing for continuous light. The ODS makes a big difference, improving efficiency up to a stop or so – and the pattern is also quite consistent.

The setup was a single head (S/Pro or HS) into a silver Elinchrom umbrella at 10ft from the wall. The S/Pro head was at full power (6.0) on the A-channel of a Quadra Ranger RX, and metered at f/13 (f/11.3) at ISO 64. (The bare reflector was about a stop brighter than the fairly efficient umbrella, but I tend to use an umbrella, so I tested this way.) The HS head was a tiny bit lower output, so I went down to 5.9 power and it metered at f/11 (to keep the numbers easier). Camera is a D810 with 50mm 1.4 lens.

I only changed the shutter speed, aperture and ODS for each exposure. The flash stayed at the same power. I aimed to keep the grey chips on the ColorChecker at the same exposure. You'll see the the S/Pro head gets into about a 2-stop gradient by the end, where the HS head is barely any different throughout. The HS head ends up at about 5-stop below metered exposure, and the S/Pro head about 4 1/3 under (on the grey-chips in the center, the bottom is obviously over and the top under).

Interestingly, the slower flash-duration HS head needed a 1/125 to get even illumination with "normal" sync, before the HS kicked in. 1/250th and 1/200 needed a slightly wider aperture, and show a tiny bit of a gradient. None of this would matter in real world use.

For my purposes – wanting soft flash at or slightly above daylight exposures with wider apertures – I think this combination of this HS transmitter and HS head is going to be great. I'll be getting the same results I could before, but without the 3-5 stops of ND on the lens.


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craigtull
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Post edited over 2 years ago by craigtull.
     
Jan 14, 2016 12:12 |  #80

Ben thanks ever so much for doing this test! I really appreciate it and it's clear to see you are getting better results with your D810 than with my 6D. I am actually going to switch to a D810 just because of this test!

I messaged Michael Clark (does the HS promo stuff for Elinchrom) and he said as shutter speed increases the slice of light becomes less and less and less so your results and my results make sense. So basically past sync speed with this system shutter speed comes into play with controlling the subjects lighting too. So it is basically as you said similar to continuous lighting now past sync speed.

One thing Michael did say is to buy the high performance reflectors to throw light further which would be good for my action sports work. Does anybody have any experience with either the high performance reflector or the maxi spot reflector? I think the maxi spot would throw light even further than the hp reflector. Anybody with experience please chime in if you can? Or would the Quadra 18cm reflector be similar to these 2? Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Craig




  
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Sheldon ­ N
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Jan 14, 2016 13:58 |  #81

Craig, a couple comments to help steer you in the right direction.

The HSS is useful for two things....

1) Allowing you to shoot at wide open apertures without an ND filter
2) To eliminate *ambient* blurring in action shots.

In your posted skatepark shot the subject is totally backlit. You essentially can't see any part of the subject illuminated by the sun, so if you just shot the image with straight fast duration flash it would have been fine. It's only when the sunlight is showing on the moving parts of the subject that the blurring from a 1/200 shutter speed starts to become visible.

HSS does *not* give you the ability to overpower the sun, it's actually less powerful as you've discovered.

Don't look to a new camera to solve this underlying issue, all of them will be roughly the same and the only meaningful difference would be moving to a camera with a faster sync speed (of any brand).

You definitely want a better reflector. I've had both the HP Sports reflector (10") and the Maxilite (16") reflectors. The Maxilite is slightly more effecient/focused and will give something like 1/2 to 1 stop more power. It also works nicely as a beauty light for punchy portraits. It's a lot bigger though, if that matters to you. The 10" HP Sports Reflector is easier to pack around and store. Either of them would be a huge step up from what you're using now and would be way better than the 18cm Quadra reflector. You will need an adapter to use either reflector with a Quadra head.

If you need more power even after the reflector, don't overlook the full size Ranger RX Speed or RX Speed AS. You get way better build quality, no need for an adapter to mount reflectors, and a good chunk more power. You can also swap out the battery for an aftermarket lithium model and lighten the pack by ~5lbs. I've got both the Quadra and the full size ranger and if I had to sell one it would definitely be the Quadra.


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craigtull
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Jan 14, 2016 15:32 as a reply to  @ Sheldon N's post |  #82

Sheldon thank you so much for your input. I really appreciate the help you are offering to me.

I kind of understand your comment about the skatepark shot. Do you mean that essentially i did overpower the sun because there isn't any rim light coming from the sun? And that if i used the action heads at normal sync speed i could have got a similar result with no blur because the sun isn't rim lighting the rider? If i am wrong i apologise. I'm still learning and would love to learn more from more knowledgeable people.

So to truly overpower the sun without a massive problem you would recommend the ranger packs instead of the ELB 400's? I like the idea of mounting the reflectors straight to the head too rather than having a fiddly adapter. Would the ranger in HS mode be ample to overpower the sun from maybe 10 feet away do you think? With a good reflector of course too?

Thanks for you help Sheldon.




  
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Sheldon ­ N
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Jan 15, 2016 08:02 as a reply to  @ craigtull's post |  #83

Yes, in your shot you overpowered the sun. The ambient light in the scene (foreground) is basically gone and it's only the flash that's illuminating it. I personally judge "overpowering the sun" as the ratio between the flash and the ambient light on your subject. So yes, you can still see the sky and sun in your picture, but the shadows and everything else are very dark except for where the flash illuminates them.

The area where you might see ambient motion blur if you had shot with conventional flash and a lower sync speed would be just at the very edges of your subject. With a fast duration flash, the subject is frozen by the flash and you can barely see the blur at the edge of the outline. This is how most action sports flash photography was done before the advent of HSS.

The problem with ambient blur becomes more pronounced when the sun is shining on the parts of the subject that you can see. Imagine a cross lit shot where the sun lights up the left half and the strobe lights up the right half of your moving subject. Without HSS the sunlit side would blur at 1/250 while the strobe lit side would be frozen still and sharp.

Your ELB400 will overpower the sun, even more so with a good reflector. I'd grab an adapter and either a HP Sports or Maxilite reflector and keep shooting. If you find that you still need more power, keep your eyes open for a used Ranger RX Speed AS kit with the S head. You might be able to snag one for under $1k, then you can drop a Lithium battery in it (search for my thread on the how-to). For me the threshold with for the big Ranger is when I need to push a lot of light through a big softbox against bright ambient conditions. With a bare reflector you don't need nearly that much power.


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AnnieMacD
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Jan 15, 2016 08:19 |  #84

Sheldon N wrote in post #17859049 (external link)
Yes, in your shot you overpowered the sun. The ambient light in the scene (foreground) is basically gone and it's only the flash that's illuminating it. I personally judge "overpowering the sun" as the ratio between the flash and the ambient light on your subject. So yes, you can still see the sky and sun in your picture, but the shadows and everything else are very dark except for where the flash illuminates them.

The area where you might see ambient motion blur if you had shot with conventional flash and a lower sync speed would be just at the very edges of your subject. With a fast duration flash, the subject is frozen by the flash and you can barely see the blur at the edge of the outline. This is how most action sports flash photography was done before the advent of HSS.

The problem with ambient blur becomes more pronounced when the sun is shining on the parts of the subject that you can see. Imagine a cross lit shot where the sun lights up the left half and the strobe lights up the right half of your moving subject. Without HSS the sunlit side would blur at 1/250 while the strobe lit side would be frozen still and sharp.

Your ELB400 will overpower the sun, even more so with a good reflector. I'd grab an adapter and either a HP Sports or Maxilite reflector and keep shooting. If you find that you still need more power, keep your eyes open for a used Ranger RX Speed AS kit with the S head. You might be able to snag one for under $1k, then you can drop a Lithium battery in it (search for my thread on the how-to). For me the threshold with for the big Ranger is when I need to push a lot of light through a big softbox against bright ambient conditions. With a bare reflector you don't need nearly that much power.

Although I Don't have Elinchrom equipment, I found this explanation invaluable in learning about HSS, ambient and motion blur. Thanks for writing it up!


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isvein
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Jan 15, 2016 09:58 |  #85

Im still waiting for the Skyport HS to be available here in Norway so I can test it with the "fireball"


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craigtull
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Jan 15, 2016 14:36 |  #86

I agree with AnnieMacD. Sheldon you've been most helpful and you've really helped me understand a few things i didn't know before. I am going back to the store to test out a few different reflectors and hopefully i can get one that will throw the light further. That would help me out so much for what i'm trying to do.

Thanks ever so much for you help!




  
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Sheldon ­ N
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Jan 16, 2016 15:16 |  #87

Thanks, glad to help!


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Angmo
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Angmo.
     
Jan 31, 2016 14:54 as a reply to  @ Sheldon N's post |  #88

FYI

Adorama has Ranger RX AS SPEED with a free S head on sale for $999. Not bad. 1,100w/s, battery and head for HSS.

I've ordered one. The S head is back ordered.

If it's too heavy for field use, I suggest weight lifting and getting in shape. Heck. 15 pounds ain't heavy anyway.


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Angmo
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Feb 02, 2016 20:31 |  #89

Some Hummers. Nikon D300, 80-200 2.8, Somewhere around 1/5000 Sec F5 Using ELC 1000 HD Pro & Skyport HS Plus. Was light outside but ambient was pretty much gone at 1/5000 f5. The ELC fired at about 1/5000 though. Composed around the shutter framing limits, composited 2 birds onto one pic in post. Lots of ODS. The pic would not have worked if there was ambient showing. Still waiting for the Ranger RX and S Head...


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Nikons, Rolleiflexes, Elinchroms, Billinghams

  
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isvein
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Feb 03, 2016 03:41 |  #90

my local store has 2 in stock now, so I guess, even if I dont have the money for it, it is time to walk up and tell them to shut up and take my money!!


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Thoughts on new Elinchrom Skyport Plus High Speed Sync Trigger?
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