Friday, December 2, 2011

Don't trip over the cable dude!

I got a question last night about the high sync stuff i do a lot with the Nikon D700 and the SB-900:

"Why do you use a cable instead of the new generation PocketWizards with TTL & high sync capability"

After reading this question, i think it is time to share my view on this :-)

But first things first, Why do i need High Speed Sync?

Simple answer: because of fast glass, the sun and my willingness to shoot with strobe-light!

Technical answer: because i like to shoot my fast glas wide open or nearly so, let's say f:1.8 tot f2.2 and the Nikon D700 has ISO200 as recommended base, combine this with daylight and it's really easy to exceed the 1/250th sync limit... sadly this is way too fast for standard flash operation

What are the solutions?

Use a -2 or -3 stop ND filter witch will cut down the light and lower the shutter speed*

Close down aperture (but i don't want to do this)

Turn off the sun (can't do)

Lower the ISO to 50 or 25 (No can do)

Use high speed syncing (Yes, we can! and we will!)

(*) Using the ND filter feels like draining more battery power and the flashead has to work harder so this is only a second best option for me combined with a speedlight, if you are working with larger flasheads this is the way to go!

What are the High speed syncing options for a Nikon guy?

- On camera flash (no thank you)

- Off camera through the use of CLS, Nikon's creative lighting system (no can do, too much money for dedicated flash and there are some issues like "line of sight" between commander and units and some problems using this in broad daylight as it is based on infra red signals)

- Special (read expensive) dedicated Pocketwizards units that will allow a lot of fun and creativity (not the usual Pocketwizards, they will only sync to your max sync speed!)

- Off Camera full TTL Cable you can buy at (only 1 flash can be connected)

I choose the Cable, but why?

it's 7,50 meters long which will allow for enough possibilities to place my flash head

in 90% of the shoots i will only use "1 extra light" setups (keep it simple, remember)

it's cheap and works like a charm

Light and portable, Just a guy with a camera and a flashead on a light stand

no need for extra batteries, triggers, receivers

I keep full manual control with the extra of going over my max sync speed

And if tomorrow i go out shooting with the PhaseOne or the Hasselblad i won't get far with the special pocket wizards, or even less far with dedicated Nikon flashes and CLS...

I hope this clears out my choice and if you too have questions, don't hesitate to contact me!


  1. I've also had a problem with full aperture shooting and this seems to solve it. I've tought so many times of buying this cable, and now under xmas I think it is the time to purchase it. (: Hope that next year will be full of awesome fullapertureshots! ..still jeallous of your work. ;---)

  2. The cable is so much more affordable than the "other" solutions so for me this is a very good starting point, you can always go for the PocketWizards later on ;-)