Max 1/250 sec Flash Sync on New DSLRs (Why does Nikon do this?)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bill_brock|1, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. I like to read up on the Nikon D3 specs and I was wondering why they dont have fast shutter speeds and fast flash sync speeds like the old trusty D1/H/X???? The D3 offers shutter speed of 1/8,000 of a sec and 1/250 flash sync speed. The D1 series shutter flys up to 1/16,000 of a sec and flash sync speed of 1/500! So lets hear your thoughts on this.
    Thanks guys,
    BillDozer
     
  2. The D3 and D700 are full frame cameras and have bigger shutters as a result. The fastest shutter speed and fastest synch is determined by how fast the blinds can move. The smaller shutter can move the blinds faster on the dx cameras, the larger full frame cameras can't. In medium format the focal plane shutters are even slower for the same reason. They could probably make the shutters faster by building them from a lighter material and running them faster, but this would trade-off reliability and resilience.
     
  3. The mirror in the D3 is likely more than twice the mass of the mirror in the D1*. Moving it takes more power and/or more time.
     
  4. Ok then why dont the D300 do these speeds like the D1 series?
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D1 Series, D70/D70S, D50 and D40 use an electronic shutter instead of the traditional focal-plane shutter for the faster shutter speeds; that is why their flash sync speed is not limited by the focal-plane shutter opening. The electronic shutter is actually an inferior technology and that is why it is now abandoned.
    See Joseph Wisniewski's excellent explanation last year: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00SuYs
     
  6. Agree and would add the D3 supports high speed (FP?) flash allowing 1/8000 shutter speed, if need be. Although flash output is reduced.
    Also, didn't the D70 support 1/500 flash sync? It has something to do with shutter design (other than size/weight.) But I forget the specifics.
    Edited to add: Thanks Shun. We were posting at the same time.
     
  7. An other reason not to ditch you old D70. However, I have never used 1/500 flash speed but it is nice to know that I can. The 70 is my backup to the 300
     
  8. Good Evening! I could use a bit of clarification... I have a D300 with an SB-800 I have been shooting my kid's volleyball and swim meets using the FP high speed sync mode up to speeds of 1/500 and faster. It shortens the distance, but seems to give me great exposures.
    Is there something I'm missing?????? It would seem you're saying my camera has a cheap shutter and the D70 is better?????
     
  9. Tom Pernal
    "It would seem you're saying my camera has a cheap shutter and the D70 is better?"​
    No. Read the discussion Shun linked to: Why doesn't Nikon use electronic/hybrid shutters on *all* of their DSLRs?
    There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of shutter. Many Nikon dSLRs offer a reasonable compromise between full flash sync up to 1/250th and "FP" type sync for special situations with the appropriate flash. And there are distinct disadvantages to the fully electronic shutter, mostly notably severe blooming in high contrast situations.
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    FP sync is a different story. FP sync is essentially a series of strobes to work around the limitation of a focal-plane shutter. You lose flash power as your shutter speed gets fast towards 1/8000 sec.
    The higher-end Nikon DSLRs such as the D3 family, D700 and D300 family actually have a 1/320 sec sync speed with iTTL-compatible flashes.
     
  11. I think the real reason that high sync speeds is not a priority is because the number of people that care are too few. And the ones that realllly need to care can afford high power strobes (i.e. not SBs) to get around the problem. For the rest of us the D40/50/70 are a great way to avoid needing the extra power.
     
  12. And the ones that realllly need to care can afford high power strobes (i.e. not SBs) to get around the problem.​
    Rob, not sure what you mean by this as power has nothing to do with sync speed. Perhaps I am mis-understanding?
     
  13. I think Rob is using the term "power" loosely to mean a high end flash with the short duration times necessary for freezing action. Some Nikon SB-flash units are capable of very short durations but only at extremely limited output or "power". A high end strobe is capable of both short duration and high output. This is often overlooked by folks shopping for monolights - some of the lower priced units aren't capable of very short duration flash, even at lower power.
     
  14. The new Paul Buff Einstein monolights have plenty of power with 640ws and very fast fast duration too. They've incorporated different circuits to release the power to the tube.
    Kent in SD
     
  15. FYI: my circa 1991 Canon EOS 1n has a 1/8000th shutter and 1/250th flash sync, while my 1992 Canon EOS A2 has a 1/800th shutter and 1/200th flash sync.
    My circa 2008 Olympus E3, whenever in use with the Olympus FL50 hot shoe flash (wireless), syncs as high as the shutter can fire in FP AUTO mode. My Olympus E-510 also syncs as high as the Olympus FL50 flash in FP AUTO mode.
    The reason for high flash sync is simple: high flash sync allows not only for indoor shooting, but also acts as an excellent daylight shooting aid outdoors, turning the backgrounds of sunlit flowers coal black.
     
  16. Thank you Ed Greene thats what I was trying to get out. And also I used to shoot alot of bmx freestyle riding at night at the local skate park and you need more then 1/250 shutter/flash sync to freeze fast action tricks like Bar spins,tailwhips and so on. Here is a photo I took a long time ago of my friend Max Prugger doing a fast trick. It was shot with a D70.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mynikon/1353918080/
     
  17. And also I used to shoot alot of bmx freestyle riding at night at the local skate park and you need more then 1/250 shutter/flash sync to freeze fast action tricks like Bar spins,tailwhips and so on​
    Bill I find that confusing - the duration of the flash burst is what will freeze the action not the shutter speed.
     
  18. Rob, not sure what you mean by this as power has nothing to do with sync speed. Perhaps I am mis-understanding?​
    Fast full sync speeds are also useful for reducing the ambient light exposure relative to the flash exposure. Think of photographing a group of people in a sunny area outdoors where you want to fill in some harsh shadows with flash. You can either boost the flash output to be a good fraction of the ambient light exposure (hence the need for more flash power), or use a faster shutter speed to reduce the ambient exposure. Higher sync speeds give more flexibility, but I haven't seen a full frame focal plane shutter sync faster than about 1/300, which doesn't get you much more than 1/250 does.
     
  19. I guess there are two main reasons you'd want a high sync speed... to freeze action when using flash, and to try to balance your flash output with the ambient light when the ambient is strong. I never cared much about the first, but I could imagine that your flash might be working more as fill than a main light, and then you might need a high shutter speed since the subject is not only lit by flash.
    But if the ambient is bright, and you want to balance your flash, you either need a faster shutter (assuming the flash duration is short enough), or more power from your flash. I think most people don't really use much more than on camera fill flash, and never use flash when it's sunny outside anyway, only when it's dark. So first there is not really a need, whether people understand it or not. Of course there are people who do understand why and would like to have it, but sync speed is not really a big selling point for cameras. Generally people care about ISO performance, AF, build quality, but not sync speed. If the general public was interested in high speed sync I wonder if you would see it in more cameras. Obviously I have no clue what camera companies think, but I do think there is not really a big demand for it.
    I have seen people say before that the reason is blooming, but I don't really believe this because it was rarely a problem for me with my D50. I would sometimes see this say shooting long night exposures with a bright street lamp close by and in the frame, but this is user error not a problem with the camera.
     
  20. Sorry everyone P. Jeffrey Ungar and I must have been typing at the same time.
     
  21. It would be very handy if it were faster than 1/250, just for being able to handhold longer lenses and move around, without being constrained to the tripod. Ah well, one thing in favour of continuous lighting.
     
  22. You need an inline transfer CCD sensor or a leaf shutter for fast flash sync. CCDs are more expensive to manufacture and have more noise than CMOS and leaf shutters are more expensive and needs to be in the lens.

    Hasselblad can sync up to 1/800s and Phase One up to 1/1600s with the right lenses. Obviously those cameras are also more expensive than anything Nikon makes.
    Sportsshooters who use real strobes would very much like fast flash sync so I wouldn't rule it out. But first everybody needs to get their dose of megapixels and high iso.
     
  23. Interesting discussion. I have an SLR with focal plane shutter from 1963 that can sync any old or new, cheap or expensive electronic flash all the way up to 1/500. No special FP mode needed.
     
  24. "Bill I find that confusing - the duration of the flash burst is what will freeze the action not the shutter speed."
    You are correct, Dominic, as long as the flash power is at least a couple of stops above ambient light levels. No need for high sync speed if your flash has a short flash duration. High speed sync comes with reduced flash power, so it's fine for close subjects, but not so useful for general shooting and sports.
     

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