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Manual Only Flash for GH3/GX7 with HSS

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by numberpro, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. numberpro

    numberpro Mu-43 Rookie

    21
    May 3, 2014
    The title says it all. Is there a manual flash with HSS? I really don't need or want TTL or even wireless. A straight on camera manual flash with HSS would be ideal for my purposes. Thanks!
     
  2. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    I think if your question is reworded 'I want to save money by buying a flash that has no TTL but has HSS, then the answer is that I dont believe it can be done.

    If you want a flash with Manual, TTL and HSS their are a few from Metz, Oly and Pana.
     
  3. numberpro

    numberpro Mu-43 Rookie

    21
    May 3, 2014
    Thanks for your reply. I want a flash for two scenarios. First, the typical one where I fill in shadows outdoors. The other is doing low key photography, where I want to significantly underexpose the background and still light up the model. Since shallow DOF is more difficult with m43, my thought was to darken the back ground instead of blur. I have the 75 mm oly (great lens!) but sometimes there is not enough room. Do you have any suggestions on a HSS flash powerful enough to do that?
     
  4. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    All current FP/HSS modes are synchronised using the TTL communications protocol of their system, so to get FP/HSS you need native TTL. For outdoor fill the Nissin i40 is probably the cheapest new unit, but to overpower the ambient it's a lot more difficult. You might be able to hack it with optical slaves (see my reply in the i40 thread https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=63091&p=673416), but otherwise you could try and find a used FL-50/FL-50R (the FL-50 is not remote capable so is probably cheaper). I'm puzzled by your desire to use a bare (and it would be bare to have enough power in FP mode) on camera flash as the primary light source, however. Won't that result in not very elegant frontal lighting with harsh shadows? You could use a TTL cable to offset the flash a little, but if you intend to use it with a 75mm that won't offset it by much.
     
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  5. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    I'm not sure why people seem to think that shoe-mounted flashes can't blow out a subject in full sunlight in HSS mode. They certainly can - but HSS will run your batteries down faster. They're a point-light source. Unless you're shooting beyond 30 feet, if you're wide-open with a large aperture lens, it's definitely possible. If you're unsure, you could buy a "Better Beamer" kit. It's essentially a large fresnel lens mounted on something that velcros to the flash and acts as an amplifier (not a diffuser).

    But what does HSS have to do with dropping your ambient exposure? I've never had to use HSS outdoors when using that lighting method - but I do usually use Auto or manual flash for that. I -1 or so the ambient and leave the flash at either "normal" or slightly boosted (+.3) and it just works. No HSS required.
     
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  6. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hmm, I might be missing some things due to being a newbie...

    1) If the ambient exposure is say 1/400s f/1.8 at minimum ISO, how does one use flash when the sync speed is 1/250s without a) closing aperture, b) using HSS or c) using NDs? When you say you -1 the ambient without using HSS, how do you achieve this if your ISO won't go any lower, you've hit the sync limit, and you still want a wide aperture? NDs?

    2) Why do folks like Joe McNally end up using so many speedlites to get enough HSS power if a single one is capable of being the dominant contributor to exposure instead of the sun? His complaint was specifically lack of power, not recycle time or battery life. Sure we can concentrate the little flash source even more, but I thought most of the time the idea is to diffuse the main light thus reducing its light intensity?
     
  7. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Nah, you're not missing anything... that's how it works :cool:

    On the original topic, there actually are manual/non-TTL flashes that support HSS for Nikon and Canon (such as the Ving/Godox V850), but sadly nothing for m4/3 that I'm aware of at this time. This is one of the areas where m4/3 lags in third party flash support. Similarly, there are no TTL-capable radio triggers for m4/3 yet whereas on Nikon for example I have TTL, HSS, and remote control of power levels with radio triggers all available and at varying price points throughout the market. I'm hopeful that eventually some of the 3rd party manufacturers like YongNuo, Godox, etc. will start supporting m4/3 like Nissin did with the i40 flash unit.
     
  8. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Ah, right.

    Interesting that the manual flash can do HSS, but only with a special transmitter. I guess I was slightly off earlier - so to support HSS the flash (or its transmitter unit) needs to understand the shutter timing, which is usually communicated through the same signalling that allows TTL. It doesn't have to actually do full TTL, just know when to fire and when to stop.
     
  9. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Exactly; it has to speak at least part of the TTL language to support HSS, but doesn't need to be fully TTL compatible.

    There are some triggers on the market now supporting what Pocket Wizard calls HyperSync and YongNuo is calling SuperSync, where you can adjust the timing delay manually on a flash to eke out higher sync speeds. I am not sure, but I *think* the YN-622C-TX unit supports SuperSync for non-Canon cameras, so it might work on m4/3.

    It'd be interesting to play with that and see if it's workable as a solution for m4/3 users.
     
  10. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    Do you really run into situations where at say, ISO 100, you're at 1/400 at f1.8? That's very bright light for ISO 100.
    Do you specialize in photographing people in front of space-shuttle engine launches or nuclear explosions? ;-)
    If you go to the bother of running HSS, it's pretty pointless to then diffuse the flash. If you're going to go that far, it might just be more reliable, and more controllable to have a Lastolite or similar reflector pointed at your subject.

    Keep in mind though that those Better Beamer extenders can be bought in a hybrid fresnel lens that actually increases the beam-width substantially. It's incredibly uncomfortable to be photographed with one (your subject sees a giant column of light headed at them - they will see stars/spots) but it works.

    Joe McNally is a Nikon CLS master (aka Nikon Ambassador) and is provided with entire iTTL CLS kits for any assignment he gets. He isn't always using HSS when he loads up with iTTL flash units. He does LOVE point source lighting and creates inspiring photos with it. But I have lots of his older work that really predates HSS and CLS/iTTL, and it's all equally impressive.
    He chooses to use Nikon CLS flashes instead of monolights for everything he can. HSS doesn't really factor into how or why he uses the stuff, he just flips on the setting (and in some cases the Nikon's will automatically go into HSS mode above sync speed) because he wants it. Also, the flash power you give up is a bit overrated. If you're shooting at 1/2000 with FP HSS, yes, you actually do lose quite a bit of power. It's still useful, but you'll notice. Going from 1/250 to 1/400 though, you won't really notice THAT much of a difference in power available.

    At any rate, if you want to darken your background independently of the flash, that's just ambient metering exposure compensation. Some cameras combine flash and ambient compensation though - Olympus has a specific menu item in one of the spanner menus to de-couple the two... Panasonic should work the same. For years, Nikon didn't, yet Canon did. So on Nikon, you had to +1 your flash if you intended to -1 your ambient, and so on. They changed that recently (I think with the D300).
     
  11. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Or... late afternoon sunlight. :biggrin:

    That's really not that bright. Sunny 16 tells you that at 1/400s and ISO 100 you'd need approximately f/8 to get a proper exposure in sunlight. f/1.8 is > 4 stops brighter than that. If you stuck to flash sync speed at 1/250s or slower then it's even more of a disparity, close to 5 stops. And, on many m4/3 cameras ISO 200 is the base ISO, so you're adding *another* stop on top of that. With those numbers you're either shooting through an ND filter, stopping down the lens, or in HSS territory to make that work. Any are valid approaches.

    I think it might be easier to demonstrate what I mean with an example or two (sorry, not shot on m4/3 in this case).

    This was 2 weeks ago at 6pm (not high noon by any means), with an SB800 through a double baffled 24"x24" softbox, with the dome diffuser on the flash. Even with the loss of power accompanying HSS it was a perfectly usable option here.

    1/1000s, f/2.0 @ ISO 100

    14461202950_178e2b90d0_c.
    Untitled by jloden, on Flickr


    1/2000s, f/2.0 @ ISO 100 [through a 30"x30" double baffle softbox w/dome diffuser on the flash. A little before 5pm sunlight.]

    14752130314_9f7bae1bb7_c.
    ND4_6715-Edit by jloden, on Flickr
     
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  12. numberpro

    numberpro Mu-43 Rookie

    21
    May 3, 2014
    At any rate, if you want to darken your background independently of the flash, that's just ambient metering exposure compensation. Some cameras combine flash and ambient compensation though - Olympus has a specific menu item in one of the spanner menus to de-couple the two... Panasonic should work the same. For years, Nikon didn't, yet Canon did. So on Nikon, you had to +1 your flash if you intended to -1 your ambient, and so on. They changed that recently (I think with the D300).[/QUOTE]

    Ok, so here is what happened. I was taking shots of the model outdoor, and at a hair salon for a vintage fashion look. It was outdoors so I needed to hit 1/8000 to get proper exposure, using the GX7. The reason is that I need to blur out the background with the 75 mm at f1.8, so I was hitting max SS. Looking back, another approach would be to close down the aperture and darken the background, but I would still need to hit high SS so that the background is dark. It was really bright outside! Too late to check now, but I'm thinking f16 and then at least SS 1/2000. That's when a HSS flash would have been awesome! Just to bright up the model and keep the background dark. Another consideration is that I was using the sunlight as highlights for her hair and profile, so I would need to darken the background but not enough to lose that golden glow, but still properly expose the model. It was pretty tricky and being limited to sync 1/250 on the GX7 would not be helpful.

    So that's why I'm looking for a HSS flash with sufficient power.

    BTW, any recommendations on a batter pack (worn on the waist)? Any affordable models? And does it really speed up recharge cycle time?
     
  13. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I've looked for both features as well, that's a tough one for m4/3.

    The best (only?) option I'm aware of that meets both criteria for external battery pack and HSS for m4/3 is the Metz unit. There are powerful Olympus and Panasonic flashes (e.g. the FL-50R) that support HSS but they don't have a battery pack option. The FL-50R technically has a battery pack option but the pack is 1) extremely expensive and 2) discontinued, and thus only available on the used market, if you can even find one.

    Eventually I plan to pick up a Metz 58 AF-2 flash unit to get more power than my FL-600R flashes. Conveniently, there's an "Mx" cable available for the Godox PB-960 battery pack (which I already own), so I can reuse the same pack for multiple flashes. It's also *much* cheaper than Metz's own high voltage pack option.

    And yes, typically an external battery pack makes a notable difference in recycle time. For example, I did a quick informal test the other day and recycle time on an SB800 went from the normal 3.5-4s down to < 1s with the PB960 battery pack attached.