ELINCHROM QUADRA HIGH SPEED SYNC
Now… right out of the gate, if you are not a photographer or someone who has a passionate drive to learn about the Elinchrom Quada High Speed Sync and all of its abilities.. along with the technical aspects of advanced flash photography.. then this post will put you to sleep very quickly. If this is the case, or you are a client or someone “shopping” my site for my work.. then you can skip below and watch my video (to get a good idea on my working dynamic) and of course enjoy all the beautiful images that I create with my abilities. 🙂
For the record.. this was a “Production Shoot” of a Sweet 16 that took place here in Miami, FL at the beautiful Vizcaya Gardens, and it just happened to make an excellent example of the points I wanted to make when thinking about using High Speed Sync with flash.
Assuming your a fellow photographer, or even someone who is excited to learn new things.. this blog post is for you, as I am going to share my simple thoughts on this system.
First, and foremost.. I fully understand that when I say “High Speed Sync” many of you techies will jump on me, and say.. “wait a second.. that stands for HSS, and thats NOT what Elinchrom uses in their systems.” Yeah.. I totally get that..(it’s called Hi-Sync) and I will speak about that in a second.. I just am referring to what –most– people understand when they hear “High Speed Sync” and that is the simple (or not so simple) ability to use shutter speeds on their camera beyond that of the built in limit (generally 1/250 or so). So, when I say High Speed Sync, I am not referring to the technology methods per se.. I am referring to this ability in general terms. The Elinchrom Quadra High Speed Sync (Hi Sync), is a pretty new system relative to the old ways of other manufactures doing all of this.. and if we said.. 1000 people in the world represented ALL the people that either are, or are interested in being photographers.. then, I would venture to say about 100 (10%) of them may already understand the technical differences.. while the other 90% don’t.. and only understand traditional HSS (High Speed Sync) systems… and this is why I say it the way that I do. i.e. ONLY the people that are already actively researching Elinchrom systems will understand the differences.. and thats the point.
High Speed Sync (HSS) is a technology that has been around for a long time already, and is in most every flash system you can think of. All it does (at a glance) is pulsate the flash strobe many times so that some of it can be caught by the small slit in the shutter as it passes over the cameras image sensor. The problem with this.. is.. LOL.. its not very effective (for me) in outdoor, bright sun situations.. as it limits the power of the light to about nothing… and lets face it.. thats really the whole point (for me) to use any type of High Speed Sync system!
On the other hand.. the Elinchrom Quadra High Speed Sync system (Hi Sync) is MUCH different, and rather then typing it all out.. just visit this link to read about how it all works, and how it is different. This is the best illustration I have ever seen to describe the technical differences, and abilities.
Rather then regurgitating what Elinchrom has very nicely already covered.. I am going to speak in simple terms, and tell you all that I love this system. It’s not perfect, but it’s defiantly the best when the best is defined by getting the most light on the cameras sensor at very high speeds. I don’t think any other system even remotely compares. To be specific, if you watch the video.. you will see me at one point shoot at 1/8000 @ f/2 through a beauty dish, and at several feet away to maintain the composition in bright, mid day sun.. and this was done with exactly 300ws of power from the Quadra pack.
Okay.. THATS unreal.
Above image is 1/8000 f/2 (85mm) ISO 100 @ 300ws with a HS head powered from a Quadra pack, in the middle of the day. Thats an insane amount of lighting control on location!
Now as you watch the video “Elinchrom Quadra High Speed Sync | Behind the Scenes”.. you will see that I only had (1) ONE Quadra pack and HS head with me on this shoot. My other pack, was in for service due to a blown capacitor.. (this happened at a wedding with the normal action head).. I think this was due to a faulty cord.. and after 6 years of service.. I’m okay with that 😉 SO, in place of that.. I had no choice but to use my bigger Ranger (1100ws) pack.. and I wanted to see if I could get it to punch enough power to still act as a nice separation light even though it’s not designed for this system LOL. The video tells all.. so be sure to check that out!
For this image (above) the exposure is 1/2000 @ f/2 ISO 100 @85mm @ about 200ws.. meanwhile, it took the Ranger Speed AS pack and “A” head about 800ws to provide enough of a rim light (camera right).. crazy! But, this is to be expected as the Ranger pack is not designed for shutter use over 1/250 (my camera limit).
Careful attention to the pose was done, and I have the subject posing her dress away from the main light (to prevent it from blowing out too much, and to retain texture, dimension, and mood) and her face is back to the light. The 1/2000 shutter gave me the nice hint of a blue sky in the back, and darkened down the background enough to give the “pop” I was hoping for.. all the while staying at the beautiful sweet spot of my 85mm @ f/2 😉 For this image (above) it’s much of the same story.. however to increase the Ranger’s effectivness I decreased the shutter down to 1/640. For this image (above) I wanted a very wide shot.. so I used my 16-35mm 2.8L.. and the exposure was 1/500 @ f/2.8 @ ISO 100 @ 16mm @ about 200ws. Love this one (above) 1/1600 @ f/2.8 @ ISO 100 @ 20mm. I basically have her back to the sun, and am then using the poor Ranger pack at about full power to “amplify” what the sun was trying to do.. but, was not strong enough. For this shot.. I wanted to showcase “long legs” something I think every women can appreciate and looks for. To do this, I am using again the wide lens.. and being very specific on the posing (see video). here, I needed to drop the shutter back to 1/250 (non HS) because the Ranger pack was just wayyy too far away.. so, this was just a “normal” speed shot lol. Here we go.. (above) now we are pushing 1/4000 @ f/2.8 @ ISO 100 @ 20mm. Ranger is just out of frame camera right at full 1100ws. Not the best use of the Ranger.. but, man.. what a workhorse..
Finally this softer shot, 1/1600 @ f/2.8 @ ISO 100 @ 18mm.
If you have questions, or comments.. I would love to hear from you below!