Friday, July 30, 2010

Nikon CLS Advanced Wireless Lighting Tip: Wireless High Speed Sync (Basic)

(f/2.8, 1/1000, ISO 100, Nikon D80, Tamron 28-75 f/2.8)

One of the strengths of Nikon's system is its advanced wireless lighting (AWL) which allows a commander-capable flash to remotely control and adjust compatible slave flashes.  Other systems have remote flash capability as well to varying degrees.  However, not all flash systems can do wireless high speed sync (HSS) but Nikon's AWL can.

A lot of people (myself included) use the popup flash as a commander, with an external flash such as an SB-600, SB-800, or SB-900 as a slave.  By default, the commander mode menu is set to allow the popup flash to contribute to the exposure (specifically, the default for the popup flash is TTL with 0 FEC).  The problem is that the popup flash does not have high speed sync.  What happens then is that when the popup flash is set to contribute to the exposure, the shutter speed is limited to the sync speed (e.g. 1/250).

In order to use wireless HSS, use the commander menu to deactivate the popup flash (set it to "--"), meaning it will only be used as a commander and will not contribute to the exposure.  If you want to use the commander to contribute to the exposure (e.g., as fill), then use an HSS-capable commander flash (SB-800 or SB-900).