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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 10 Nov 2014 (Monday) 01:19
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HSS or ND Filter for portraits with speedlights

 
Myboostedgst
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Nov 10, 2014 01:19 |  #1

Using speedlights for outdoor portraiture work, do you prefer HSS or ND filters?


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Photo123abc
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Nov 10, 2014 04:32 |  #2

HSS because any filter will degrease IQ. I dont see the point in ND's when my triggers cost less than the filter.


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sploo
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Nov 10, 2014 04:57 |  #3

One thing to consider - HSS will usually drop the available power of a flash quite significantly. If you're trying to balance the flash with bright daylight then an ND may be a necessary solution.


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MalVeauX
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Nov 10, 2014 06:31 |  #4

Heya,

Depends on your work and the preference of the look.

I use ND filter, because HSS is just very weak in bright light, unless you're right up on top of your subject, and even then, it's just not that powerful to overcome a lot of ambient light if it's bright and if shooting at really wide apertures. For me, I use ND filter because I want to drop ambient exposure by 1 or 2 stops, and expose my subject more, while using wide aperture. I also use ND filter because I don't always use flash, and sometimes, I want to use F1.4 in the bright sun, so HSS doesn't help you there, and you still need ND filter for that. So the ND filter serves both.

That said, I'd love the overall effect more with a more powerful strobe.

Here's what I've been doing with ND filters and flash:

35mm F2 with flash in bright sun, back lit, used 4 stops of ND filter. Flash in softbox at close range.

IMAGE: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3933/15475305689_a6d382e17f_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/pzuZ​ek  (external link) IMG_0982 (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

200mm F2.8, used 3 stops of ND filter to drop ambient exposure, with flash (in softbox; close range):

IMAGE: https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3948/15553263192_031af2f5e7_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/pGox​hd  (external link) IMG_9938_marked (external link) by Mwise1023 (external link), on Flickr

I still want a portable strobe, but for now, speedlites are doing it with ND filters for now.

Very best,

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gonzogolf
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Nov 10, 2014 06:51 |  #5

Both are severely limiting. HSS rapidly loses the power to compete with the sun. You lose more than a stop just going into HSS and then more as you go faster. If you use any sort of modifier that has to gigure in as well. You can gang up multiple speedlites but that also quickly reaches the point of diminishing returns. ND filters dont change the balance between your speedlite and the sun so if your speedlite isnt powerful enough to compete with the sun adding the ND filter just changes the shutter speed (or allows a wider aperture at the same shutter speed) The point is that to shoot in bright sun you need more power than speedlites can provide.




  
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Nov 10, 2014 10:58 |  #6

Photo123abc wrote in post #17262428 (external link)
HSS because any filter will degrease IQ. I dont see the point in ND's when my triggers cost less than the filter.

I would like to know where you got this information, because someone lied to ya.

My stuff is as sharp as a tack, but again I'm using L glass and hoya filters.


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abbadon31
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Nov 10, 2014 11:00 |  #7

If you want to stop action then HSS
If you want to slow action or just increase Bokeh then ND filter


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gonzogolf
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Nov 10, 2014 11:03 |  #8

abbadon31 wrote in post #17263002 (external link)
If you want to stop action then HSS
If you want to slow action or just increase Bokeh then ND filter

When you crank HSS up to the point where the shutter speed can freeze action, the flash power is so diminished that its not doing much anyway.




  
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Nov 10, 2014 11:09 |  #9

gonzogolf wrote in post #17263011 (external link)
When you crank HSS up to the point where the shutter speed can freeze action, the flash power is so diminished that its not doing much anyway.

That determined on how many speed lights your running and the distance your trying to cover.


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gonzogolf
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Nov 10, 2014 11:14 |  #10

abbadon31 wrote in post #17263023 (external link)
That determined on how many speed lights your running and the distance your trying to cover.

In theory yes, but each stop you gain requires double the speedlites so unless you are bare and right on top of the subject its impractical.




  
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Nov 10, 2014 11:35 |  #11

So gonzogolf, how many life times has it taken you to amass 25,663 posts. Just saying :-).


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gonzogolf
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Nov 10, 2014 11:38 |  #12

Oldschool1948 wrote in post #17263073 (external link)
So gonzogolf, how many life times has it taken you to amass 25,663 posts. Just saying :-).

Just one mostly wasted one.




  
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abbadon31
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Nov 10, 2014 11:54 |  #13

gonzogolf wrote in post #17263033 (external link)
In theory yes, but each stop you gain requires double the speedlites so unless you are bare and right on top of the subject its impractical.

Other things to factor in is the amount of ambient light and what modifier being used and the subject being light.

Trust me I hate HSS and use a ND filter all the time. HSS is a waste of time and money for me.


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Myboostedgst
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Nov 10, 2014 11:55 as a reply to  @ gonzogolf's post |  #14

Thanks for all of the replies everyone, and especially malveaux for the examples. Everything that everyone has been saying is what I have been contemplating. A few thoughts for myself.

1) I will need multiple ND filters if I shoot with different lenses with different filer sizes. And seeing as though the price of a single ND filter is equal to the HSS capable flash I want, it would cost the same in that regard.

2) If I shoot an indoors event, I will need a ETTL capable flash for on camera bounce. So another reason for the HSS capable flash. Altough I have not shot an event yet and don't know when I ever will.

3) I plan on shooting with the 135L, so I will need to keep my shutter speeds as high as possible, and HSS would help with that.

4) I have never used HSS, so I is tough for me to imagine how much light is actually lost. I don't want to go with this setup to only realize that it won't be bright enough for me.

5) The setup I really want is the ND setup because I like the simplicity of the combo I will be using. Plus the ND setup will be cheaper.


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OceanRipple
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Nov 10, 2014 12:26 |  #15

" .. so I is tough for me to imagine how much light is actually lost .. "

For me, with a 7D, it started at c 2.3 stops just at 1/320th - and then increased from there as my shutter speed climbed further. Which restricts flash to subject range. You won't be bouncing a whole lot with HSS in operation.

That explains the interest in Adorama's Rovelight 600 - cheaper than ganging 8 HSS Speedlites. Or maybe Phottix up-coming Indra 500 etc.




  
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HSS or ND Filter for portraits with speedlights
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