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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 28 May 2018 (Monday) 18:00
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6 stop ND filter - focusing issues

 
Van ­ Gogh
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Van Gogh.
     
May 28, 2018 18:00 |  #1

Dear forum members,

I often do portraits outside and sometimes use monologhts outside to light my subjects. (I use Profoto B1X)
Now I have been using HSS, which means I can use any shutter speed with the strobe.
However, as we know HSS reduces flash power and also taxes the flash more.

Ok that's fine, I can go around this by using an ND filter, work within cameras native synch speed and make my flash work like a champ.
So I go and buy 6-stop ND filter to use wide apertures in bright outdoor conditions and be in cameras native synch speed.
Everything seems fine in theory.

However, my camera was really struggling to focus, to the point of being un-usable. (I use 5D3).
Is anyone also struggling with their cameras focusing with 6-stop ND filter?

Maybe I should use a 3-stop ND filter instead? But that wouldn't put me in my desired shutter speed when sunny.
I have read that the higher shutter speed you use in HSS the weaker the flash gets, so maybe I use 3-stop ND filter for a happy middle ground? (having my camera able to focus, still being in HSS mode but say at 1/800 shutter instead of 1/6400, making my flash work less intense?).

Any ideas?
I am curious if anyone is successful focusing for portraits with 6-stop ND filters!


Camera - 2x5Dmk3, C100 mkii, 70D, 60D
Lenses - 24-70mm f2.8L II, 70-200mm f2.8L IS ii, 85mm f1.2L II, 35mm f1.4 ART, 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS
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MrScott
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May 28, 2018 18:28 |  #2

Have you tried live view?




  
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Van ­ Gogh
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May 28, 2018 18:35 |  #3

MrScott wrote in post #18634679 (external link)
Have you tried live view?

Live view will work fine for landscape but for portrait sessions using viewfinder is easier no?
Never used live view for taking pictures :lol: Would it focus better in live view?


Camera - 2x5Dmk3, C100 mkii, 70D, 60D
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ShutterKlick
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May 28, 2018 19:10 |  #4

I suggest a 3 stop ND and HSS mix, you may find the magic you are looking for there.. or not.

Worth a try.

I know if I adjust my VND too dark for indoor photos, my D5300 had to struggle for focus, and if I used anything but the center point it was almost a waste of time.

I have not tried on my D7500 yet, it does better focus at lower light, though everything has it's limits.

Andrew


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Van ­ Gogh
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May 28, 2018 19:14 |  #5

ShutterKlick wrote in post #18634715 (external link)
I suggest a 3 stop ND and HSS mix, you may find the magic you are looking for there.. or not.

Worth a try.

I know if I adjust my VND too dark for indoor photos, my D5300 had to struggle for focus, and if I used anything but the center point it was almost a waste of time.

I have not tried on my D7500 yet, it does better focus at lower light, though everything has it's limits.

Andrew

Hi Andrew,

This is kind of what I was thinking too.
I remember reading somewhere that the higher shutter speed you use in HSS the weaker flash becomes, say I loose 4 stops of flash power at 1/8000 shutter speed vs 3 stops at 1/4000 although both are in HSS.
Just want to verify if something like this is indeed true?


Camera - 2x5Dmk3, C100 mkii, 70D, 60D
Lenses - 24-70mm f2.8L II, 70-200mm f2.8L IS ii, 85mm f1.2L II, 35mm f1.4 ART, 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS
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MalVeauX
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Post edited over 3 years ago by MalVeauX. (2 edits in all)
     
May 28, 2018 19:23 |  #6

Heya,

My old 5D mark I focused through 6 stops of ND fairly fine. The problem is back lighting generally. I assume you were attempting to lock focus with a strong back light like the sun. This is where the system will break down and not know what to focus on, very quickly.

I shoot fast focal-ratio in bright light and strong back lighting often, at F1.2 and ISO 200 (Fuji, so my base ISO is 200). Because of this, I cannot just use HSS. I often have to use a mix of ND and HSS to stay F1.2 and not cap out on my shutter speed (mechanical shutter that is). I typically just use a 3 stop ND so that I can mix HSS with that, and not have a limit on my shutter.

I frankly don't care if my strobe is topped out shooting 1/1 power. That's its purpose. You don't worry about using 1/8000s shutter and it having any worse effect on the camera than 1/4000s or 1/200s do you?

Don't worry about taxing your lights. You bought good lights to be able to tax them. Right? Those lights will outlast your 5D's for a decade or more.

Strobe away.

You lose around 1 stop of output by using HSS, versus non-HSS. But it's not progressive. You're not losing 3~4 stops of power output. Maybe ~1 stop. That's it. And that doesn't matter if it's 1/8000s or 1/500s.

Very best,


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ShutterKlick
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May 28, 2018 19:35 |  #7

Not sure what focus method some of you guys are using, but I stick to old faithful.. center point AF-S; Focus and compose.

For moving objects, maybe something else but that accounts for 90% of my photography.

Andrew


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Van ­ Gogh
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Van Gogh. (2 edits in all)
     
May 28, 2018 20:37 |  #8

MalVeauX wrote in post #18634722 (external link)
Heya,

My old 5D mark I focused through 6 stops of ND fairly fine. The problem is back lighting generally. I assume you were attempting to lock focus with a strong back light like the sun. This is where the system will break down and not know what to focus on, very quickly.

I shoot fast focal-ratio in bright light and strong back lighting often, at F1.2 and ISO 200 (Fuji, so my base ISO is 200). Because of this, I cannot just use HSS. I often have to use a mix of ND and HSS to stay F1.2 and not cap out on my shutter speed (mechanical shutter that is). I typically just use a 3 stop ND so that I can mix HSS with that, and not have a limit on my shutter.

I frankly don't care if my strobe is topped out shooting 1/1 power. That's its purpose. You don't worry about using 1/8000s shutter and it having any worse effect on the camera than 1/4000s or 1/200s do you?

Don't worry about taxing your lights. You bought good lights to be able to tax them. Right? Those lights will outlast your 5D's for a decade or more.

Strobe away.

You lose around 1 stop of output by using HSS, versus non-HSS. But it's not progressive. You're not losing 3~4 stops of power output. Maybe ~1 stop. That's it. And that doesn't matter if it's 1/8000s or 1/500s.

Very best,

Heya,

As always you are a wealth of very valuable info, you always give me good advice :-)
You are 100% right, I was trying to light a subject who was back-light from the sun and most likely you are right, that's probably why my 5D4 (which is supposed to have really good low-light AF) struggled, and I guess it wouldn't have struggled with 6 stop ND filter otherwise!
Well, my camera not focusing well with with the sun back-lighting is still an issue though as lighting subjects from front when they are backlight from the sun looks really good...
Is it possible I had really tough time especially as the lens hood was not on my lens?

Either way, I have done some research and found that as you go higher into HSS (use higher and higher shutter speeds) you lose more and more flash power. So, at 1/500 shutter speed you might loose 2 stops of flash power compare to normal sync but loose 3 stops of flash power at 1/1000 shutter speed, which would imply that using even just 3 stop ND would make my flash less exhausted and squeeze a bit more power from it haha.

Cutting to the chase, I am basically trying to decide between getting a 3 stop or 6 stop ND filter for outside shoots, or no ND filter at all.
As it stands right now, it seems just doing HSS and not using ND filter is the simplest way unless I really want to overpower the sun big time, which I usually don't.
This whole using ND filter to stay at native flash speed sync didn't come to my mind because I needed more flash power, (going to Profots 500W B1X makes me feel I have a ton of power compared to my old speedlight even in HSS).
Decided considering ND filters because I just read in Profotos manual that frequent use of HSS shortens the flash tubes live -?


Camera - 2x5Dmk3, C100 mkii, 70D, 60D
Lenses - 24-70mm f2.8L II, 70-200mm f2.8L IS ii, 85mm f1.2L II, 35mm f1.4 ART, 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS
Lighting - 3 x 600EX RT's, Printer - Epson 3880

  
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MalVeauX
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Post edited over 3 years ago by MalVeauX. (4 edits in all)
     
May 29, 2018 05:12 |  #9

Heya,

If you mask the sun with your palm while focusing, you'll focus right through that ND filter and lock on. Even better without the ND filter. The flaring from the sun is what is causing you the grief. Again, just mask the sun with your palm just enough to get focus. Lens hood doesn't help at all when pointing in the same direction as the light source. Poorly coated filters can also be a problem with reflections, etc. I'm used to this as I constantly am shooting into sunsets, with a strong back light. I just mask with my palm for a second to get focus, and I'm constantly shooting at F1.2 and F1.4.

Flash tubes are replaceable and not ultra costly. They have a pretty long life as it is. Think of it like your mechanical shutter. Don' try to spare it. You bought it for this purpose.

If it's working without ND filters, I would continue that way. Realistically, using a 3 stop or 6 stop kit of ND filter just to save a little on a flash tube that is replaceable ($160 or so?). You'll get thousands of pops out of that thing. Not worth the hassle of ND filters just to potentially, or not potentially, get a few more pops. You have to replace it eventually anyway.

I only use ND with HSS because I literally have to (again, F1.2 and ISO 200, I'd have to have a mechanical shutter capable of 1/16000~1/32000s in a lot of instances; my electronic shutter is capable of that, but not with strobing). Otherwise, I wouldn't. And I blast my 600Ws with HSS and my speedlites with HSS at full power as needed all the time, for years. You've got good equipment, it's good because you can use it as intended, you're not gaining anything by taking it easy on it or slightly crippling another part of your kit (like using the ND just to spare a flash tube). Not being cheeky, but, getting the shot is more important than saving a few flash pops right? You certainly won't focus better with a filter in place shooting into the sun.

Very best,


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Van ­ Gogh
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Van Gogh. (2 edits in all)
     
May 29, 2018 06:43 |  #10

MalVeauX wrote in post #18634945 (external link)
Heya,

If you mask the sun with your palm while focusing, you'll focus right through that ND filter and lock on. Even better without the ND filter. The flaring from the sun is what is causing you the grief. Again, just mask the sun with your palm just enough to get focus. Lens hood doesn't help at all when pointing in the same direction as the light source. Poorly coated filters can also be a problem with reflections, etc. I'm used to this as I constantly am shooting into sunsets, with a strong back light. I just mask with my palm for a second to get focus, and I'm constantly shooting at F1.2 and F1.4.

Flash tubes are replaceable and not ultra costly. They have a pretty long life as it is. Think of it like your mechanical shutter. Don' try to spare it. You bought it for this purpose.

If it's working without ND filters, I would continue that way. Realistically, using a 3 stop or 6 stop kit of ND filter just to save a little on a flash tube that is replaceable ($160 or so?). You'll get thousands of pops out of that thing. Not worth the hassle of ND filters just to potentially, or not potentially, get a few more pops. You have to replace it eventually anyway.

I only use ND with HSS because I literally have to (again, F1.2 and ISO 200, I'd have to have a mechanical shutter capable of 1/16000~1/32000s in a lot of instances; my electronic shutter is capable of that, but not with strobing). Otherwise, I wouldn't. And I blast my 600Ws with HSS and my speedlites with HSS at full power as needed all the time, for years. You've got good equipment, it's good because you can use it as intended, you're not gaining anything by taking it easy on it or slightly crippling another part of your kit (like using the ND just to spare a flash tube). Not being cheeky, but, getting the shot is more important than saving a few flash pops right? You certainly won't focus better with a filter in place shooting into the sun.

Very best,

Everything you say makes sense and I agree.
I will most likely use only HSS with no ND filter, I only want to understand one last thing about using different shutter speeds while being in HSS just out of curiosity.

My last questions comes from this below article where it suggests that while being in HSS try to use as low shutter speed as possible for more flash power.
Now with my B1X I don't think it will be much of an issue, but I am just curious if you know if it is true?
Depending on how much flash power I can gain by staying in lower shutter speed in HSS, this could mean maybe getting a 3 stop ND filter, still being able to clearly see and easily focus (vs using 6 stop ND), still being in HSS but not loosing too much flash power as staying in slower end of shutter speeds (say 1/1000 vs 1/8000)

Here is below the article link from profoto blog and the quote under ehading "Shutter Speed Counts"
https://profoto.com …ting-with-high-speed-sync (external link)
"This is a strange one, because you have always been taught that the shutter speed only affects the ambient exposure and that the flash exposure is only controlled by ISO, aperture, flash power settings and its distance to the subject. Well, things change a little with HSS. For the most part, the shutter speed controls the ambient, but you will notice an interesting relationship between the flash and the shutter speed when you are pushing the shutter speed envelope with HSS. Essentially, HSS is accomplished by flashing the strobe so fast that it is essentially a very bright, constant light source that turns on as the shutter opens and turns off once the shutter is completely closed. Because the shutter is moving during this “constant exposure”, the flash exposure does not create a shadow across the chip (or the film). To understand this, just think about a completely ambient exposure, it doesn’t create a shadow because the light is constantly on and the shutter curtain is moving during the exposure. HSS is doing the same thing by strobing extremely fast to mimic constant light. When you double the shutter speed from 1/500 sec. to 1/1000 sec., the opening in the shutter curtain is half the width, so the chip will only see the light for half the total time and therefore, the flash’s portion of the exposure will be half as bright. Understanding this, keep your shutter speed as low as you can and still accomplish your shutter speed goals. Don’t set your camera at 1/4000 sec. if you don’t need that shutter speed because in this brave new HSS world, shutter speed is not autonomous".


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nixland
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May 29, 2018 08:24 |  #11

Van Gogh wrote in post #18634663 (external link)
I have read that the higher shutter speed you use in HSS the weaker the flash gets

You could learn about what is hss and what happened to the shutter and the light of the strobe/flash during that hss exposure time.

There is lots of tutorial on the web, these are just 2 of them :

https://youtu.be/ppwPB​fYMKpo (external link)


https://youtu.be/qUy2y​qEgNPw (external link)




  
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MalVeauX
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May 29, 2018 10:22 |  #12

Interesting,

It's probably different for the different HSS methods, such as actual HSS via pulse, versus HSS via long burn, and then other methods I'm not as familiar with. They all lose power doing this of course, but not all of them progressively lose power as the synched shutter speed duration is shortened (ie going from 1/1000s to 1/8000s for example). I'm not as familiar with your specific strobe. I'm sure there are folk around who can attest to what they are with actual numbers. I will say, if someone has the newer light meters, they can actually meter the output in HSS and could give you real information and not just anecdotal stuff. Without numbers, it's anecodotal. That said, some long burn HSS methods, the output is only dropped by 1 stop or so, and it doesn't matter if you sync at 1/500s or 1/8000s. You can generally get an idea of how much power is lost if you just sync at a white wall at maximum power and then run through the shutter speeds and see if they're 1 stop difference, or more, since the exposure should be the same unless the light simply cannot output enough to maintain it at 1/8000s.

Very best,


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May 29, 2018 19:24 |  #13

I think anything modern HSS, is pulsed.

I tried that "hack" of higher intensity = longer flash duration and adjust my shutter speed above sync. Yeah, it doesnt work. :-)

I am running HSS with my Godox TT600 and both Sony and Nikon controllers. It is *very* nice. And Im 99.99% sure both are pulsed.

Andrew


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nixland
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May 29, 2018 19:38 |  #14

MalVeauX wrote in post #18635075 (external link)
That said, some long burn HSS methods, the output is only dropped by 1 stop or so, and it doesn't matter if you sync at 1/500s or 1/8000s.

That's not possible at all.
Because the light power is constant (let say you set the power of the long burn/hypersync or whatever the name) and act like continues light (just like ambient light) and the exposure time is very shorter at higher shutter speed.
You can not defy physics.

Where did you get that info?




  
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MalVeauX
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Post edited over 3 years ago by MalVeauX.
     
May 29, 2018 20:02 |  #15

nixland wrote in post #18635419 (external link)
MalVeauX wrote in post #18635075 (external link)
That said, some long burn HSS methods, the output is only dropped by 1 stop or so, and it doesn't matter if you sync at 1/500s or 1/8000s.

That's not possible at all.
Because the light power is constant (let say you set the power of the long burn/hypersync or whatever the name) and act like continues light (just like ambient light) and the exposure time is very shorter at higher shutter speed.
You can not defy physics.

Where did you get that info?

Maybe we're misunderstanding each other. If you're long burn HSS at 1/1 power (losing a stop or so, to the fact that you're using long burn HSS instead of normal sync), and you set your shutter to 1/500s and 1/8000s, do you think you lose any power output from the light? You don't. The light didn't change power. The camera's exposure will be different. But the light's output is not. No defying of physics. The point is, just because the HSS method is synced doesn't mean the light itself loses out on more power just because you're syncing at a shorter duration. There seems to be a confusion between light output power, and what is exposed on the camera sensor; so hopefully this clarifies that for you. This confusion is because of the original topic referred to the strobe losing power output, with a shorter duration synch speed progressively. This is why I pointed out that some HSS methods are different in this respect.

Very best,


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6 stop ND filter - focusing issues
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