At a recent event at my studio a friend and I chanced upon a question, a theory, a challenge. It is reported, advised in the PocketWizard magazine that the max sync speed using their transceivers is 1/5ooth of a second, while the Fuji blurb is 1/1000th of a second. (Based on the X100 and X100s only). Is that it? Which is right? Can it go higher? Well I had to find out so one Summers night in a seaside town known as Blackpool I set out to do just that. Here is a quick blog post showing what I found.
Let me give you a run down of the gear used:
PocketWizard Plus 3 (X4) with PocketWizard Caddy
Nikon SB900 Speedlights (X3)
Westcott 26″ Rapidbox
Westcott Tripple Threat (speedlight holder)
BlackRapid SnapR 35
Vanguard Vojo 22BK Bag (For PocketWizards and speedlights)
Video captured on a Fuji XE-1
So under 1/500th of a second (and certainly below the standard 1/250th) the system showed no problems, and I wasn’t expecting any. The above image was taken at around 1/60th of a second. Notice that the image has a slight shadow. This is due to the fact that the Fuji X100 series does not have rear curtain sync, and if it does I cannot find it. Hopefully this may have an update soon for the X100s (alas I am not holding my breath for the X100).
The above three images are screen grabs. They show a series of 1/1000th, 1/2000th, and 1/4000th. As you can see all three shutter syncs have light in them, however, the 1/4000th did need a helping hand with a +1 stop. This is still a little low but it does show that the sync can be pushed beyond the guides.
I do also have to admit that these had all 3 speedlights (on the Westcott Tripple Threat bracket) as one light source. I could have brought the lights closer a little more (they where 8 feet away), which would have given more light. Another thing to take into consideration is flash power. each flash was set to 1/2 and full power which slowed the recycle time right down.
So the verdict? Well using upto 1/2000th is certainly usable with high return of results. At 1/4000th though it is possible, but time and setup will have to be in mind. Below are a couple of more images from the shoot along with a short video showing behind the scenes.
I still think there is testing to be done and so, when time allows I will do a more scientific set of tests (but this was much more fun!).
A big thanks to Brian, Phil, and Ben for their help making the video and assisting…