For the first series of HyperSync tests published here, I thought I’d begin with my longest-duration strobe, an old Quantum Qflash Model T. Below are a series of test frames using a Nikon D800E full-frame body, Quantum Qflash, and PocketWizard Flex TT1/TT5 transceivers. The Qflash units are particularly suitable to HyperSync applications, since they have long flash durations, possessing t.5 values as long as 1/300th of a second at maximum power. This “long burn” allows PocketWizard’s Flex TT1/TT5 triggers to adjust their sync timing to accommodate shutter speeds as high as 1/8,000th of a second.

However, this performance does come at a cost: 1.) Uneven exposure across the frame from top-to-bottom, when the PocketWizard’s firmware is set to “HSS enabled” (though, the uneven illumination often goes unnoticed in most real-world applications). 2.) Clipping of the bottom of the frame, generally, at shutter speeds above 1/1,000th (this may vary by camera body), when set to “HyperSync only.”

Note, however, that unlike the HSS/FP sync modes available with your camera manufacturer’s Speedlight, there is no significant loss of recorded flash output using either setting when using PocketWizard triggers (in fact, a slight gain in recorded flash exposure can be observed with the latter setting). Depending on your camera and strobe, HyperSync can in fact deliver higher-than x-sync shutter speeds, allowing you to knock down ambient light levels to a considerable degree.

FORCE10-SETUP-2

The targets used in the test (shown above) are an 18% gray card on the left, and a sheet of Office Depot-brand premium laser paper (104 brightness) on the right. Note that the test exposures were selected to reveal uneven exposure or clipping, rather than an “accurate” reproduction of the target’s actual reflectance.

test 1: HSS/FP enabled

Below is the PocketWizard utility screen for their Flex TT1 transmitter, with the HyperSync/HSS tab highlighted. In this first test, we’ve left the “HyperSync Only (Disable HSS/FP)” tab unchecked, meaning that HSS is enabled.

C1 screenshot annotated

This is one of two basic settings in the PocketWizard firmware: 1.) HSS enabled, and 2.) HyperSync only. First, let’s look at the test results in HSS-enabled mode:

f/16 @ 1/125th:

QFLASH-C1-125L

f/11 @ 1/250th (x-sync):

QFLASH-C1-250L

f/8.0 @ 1/500th:

QFLASH-C1-500L

f/5.6 @ 1/1,000th:

QFLASH-C1-1000L

f/4.0 @ 1/2,000th:

QFLASH-C1-2000L

f/2.8 @ 1/4,000th:

QFLASH-C1-4000L

f/2.0 @ 1/8,000th:

QFLASH-C1-8000L

As seen in the frames above, there is very little loss of recorded flash output, and no hard shutter-curtain shadow. The only negative effect seen is an uneven flash exposure. In practice, especially when employed in daylight exteriors, such uneven flash exposure often goes unnoticed. One workaround is to aim your flash at a slight up-angle while shooting.

conclusions:

• uneven exposure from top to bottom of frame.
• minimal light loss (light gain at bottom of frame).
• no “clipping” (i.e., no hard shutter-curtain shadow).
• comparison of 1/250th (x-sync) frame vs 1/8,000th frame, below:

QFLASH-C1-COMPARE
[Both left and right images in this composite image are of the same “white” paper.]

whitespace-50

test 2: HyperSync only (HSS/FP disabled)

Here again is the PocketWizard HyperSync/HSS utility screen. In this second test, we’ve now checked the “HyperSync Only (Disable HSS/FP)” checkbox, meaning that HSS is now disabled.

C2 screenshot annotated

Again, this is the second of two basic settings in the PocketWizard firmware: 1.) HSS enabled, and 2.) HyperSync only. Now, let’s look at the test results in HyperSync-only mode:

f/16 @ 1/125th:

QFLASH-C2-125L

f/11 @ 1/250th (x-sync):

QFLASH-C2-250L

f/8.0 @ 1/500th:

QFLASH-C2-500L

f/5.6 @ 1/1,000th:

QFLASH-C2-1000L

f/4.0 @ 1/2,000th:

QFLASH-C2-2000L

f/2.8 @ 1/4,000th:

QFLASH-C2-4000L

f/2.0 @ 1/8,000th:

QFLASH-C2-8000L

conclusions:

• clipping above 1/1,000th (may be eliminated with slight cropping).
• no apparent loss of recorded flash output (a slight increase is observed).
• comparison of 1/250th (x-sync) frame vs 1/8,000th frame, below:

QFLASH-C2-COMPARE
[Both left and right images in this composite image are of the same “white” paper.]

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