HYPERSYNC or HI-SYNC

If you have elinchrom strobes like a Quadra or Ranger RX you now have two options to enter the world of high-shutter-speed flash-synchronization: Pocketwizard or the new Elinchrom Skyport HS Plus.

OLD BUDDY OR NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

I thought it would be a good idea to recheck my old test-results with my pocketwizard-elinchrom-combo, before deciding to buy the new Skyport. I am interested if all these pr-statements from elinchrom are true and Hi-sync really beats Hypersync.

So first let´s see what the old buddies are capable of…

NIKON D810 & ELINCHROM RANGER RX SPEED AS

NIKON D810 & ELINCHROM QUADRA

 

correction: TT1 instead of TT5 and PowerST4 … because the on/off-setting for “hypersync only” comes from the tt1

DIFFERENT POINT OF VIEW

All the images above are unaltered jpgs directly ooc. Only the text and histogramm was added.

To get comparable results, i always tried to expose to the point where the highlights were just before starting to blow out. In this case the correct exposure for the face would have caused an overexposed bottom of the image. Since blown out highlights are more difficult to recover than too dark mids and shadows, this would be a good approach in real life as well.

 

There are always two images with the same shutter-speed and strobe-power-setting. The only things that differ are the “hypersync only-function” (on/off) and the resulting luminance, which is represented by f-stop and iso.

“Hypersync only = off ” gives less gradient but also less strobe-power.

“Hypersync only = on” gives more gradient but also more strobe-power.

So if you are in a situation where less strobe-power is needed you could always check “hypersync only = off” first and get away with a lighter gradient.

 

You often find hypersync-tests on white walls where the first examples just above standard-sync are completely white. At some point you are starting to see a light gradient, which gets darker and darker the higher the shutter speed goes.

 

Although these tests are technical correct, this is somehow misleading. I first thought that this indicates that the first “white frames” are exposures with no gradient at all. But this is not true … they are overexposed. If you would dial in the “correct” exposure you´ll see a light gradient.

 

My conclusion after a lot of testing (always aimed at  “Reduced Clipping”) is this: You always get a gradient. It is typical for your special camera-strobe-combination. Some team up better than other. The gradient is less or more pronounced. The higher the shutter-speed, the more you will see the gradient.

 

If you are not in a “clinical white wall test-setting” but in ambient light outside, the gradient will often not be visible very much, because the ambient light is counteracting the gradient. If you start to underexpose the ambient light, you will see the gradient more.  Also because of this the gradient is less pronounced in landscape than in portrait orientation, because normally in a natural lighting condition the most brighntness is at the upper part of the image.

 

Most of the gradients are easy to correct in post. If you want to help out a little bit before post, use a gradient-nd-filter.

 

EQUIPMENT

  • Nikon D810 (PC = SD, global contrast -2, sharpness 6 // vignette control = normal //  flash-sync=1/250 FP) + 50mm/1.8
  • Elinchrom Quadra + S-Head
  • Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS + S-Head
  • Pocketwizard TT1, TT5, Power ST4
  • strobe-head directly above camera with standard reflektor
  • camera 2m distance to wall

SETTINGS POCKETWIZARD

  • TT1: CONF 1 = Hypersync only disabled (factory settings)  //  CONF 2 = Hypersync only enabled (everything else factory settings)
  • TT5 (connected via the p2-port to the quadra):  P2 Flash Duration: 7 (everything else factory settings)
  • Power ST4 (for Ranger RX):  Hypersync = optimized for Reduced Clipping  / Misc = choose your head+model

YES …

  • you can get (very) good results up to 1/8000
  • it is better to have a strobe with a preferably long flash-duration
  • higher shutter speed = less strobe power

NO …

  • you don´t have to use full strobe power to get good results / as long as you are in port A you are good to go
  • you don´t get a complete clean frame without no gradient at all when you use shutter speeds just above standard flash-sync

WHAT´S NEXT ?

High-Shutter-Speed-Flash-Sync (or whatever brand-name you would call it … Hypersync … Hi-Sync) is all about timing.

It seems that the timing with the pocketwizards is pretty good. I don´t know if it could be better with the new Skyport. It seems to be a good product and if you are only using elinchrom-strobes it should be a good choice.

Right now I am not sure if I should invest round about 300€ (220+80 … because i also had to buy the transceiver rx for the ranger), just for checking …