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Subject: "Rear vs Front Sync" Previous topic | Next topic
ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberTue 27-Oct-09 12:00 AM
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"Rear vs Front Sync"


Powder Springs, US
          

I cannot locate the thread where this was previously discussed. Since rear curtain sync allows for long shutter speeds and proper trails, why bother with front curtain sync?

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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rickpaul Basic MemberTue 27-Oct-09 01:00 AM
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#1. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 0


Tucson, US
          

Front curtain sync is what the flash and shutter normally do. This isn't a "mode" of the camera or flash. With the exception of the Rear Curtain Sync Mode, this is what all the other modes do (fire at the beginning).

The main alternative to Rear Sync is Slow Sync. Still uses a slow shutter speed, but the flash fires at the beginning.

Would highly recommend Mike Hagen's book the Nikon Creative Lighting System:

http://www.nikonians.org/html/resources/bookshelves/index.html

--------------------------
Rick Paul
The Photo Professors

Saguaro Shadows Photography
Tucson, Arizona

My Nikonians Gallery

My Nikonians Blog

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Exposure1 Registered since 08th May 2006Tue 27-Oct-09 03:20 PM
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#2. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

And in many situations a slow shutter speed will blur or cause ghosting so rear curtain sync is impractical for all situations

DL Cleve, Oh

www.lorenzopics.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberTue 27-Oct-09 04:32 PM
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#3. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 2


Powder Springs, US
          

Ah yes, I guess in Aperture prefered mode, a slow shutter could cause problems. I was thinking that the minimum speed selectable in Custom Settings had rear curtain sync covered as wellm

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberTue 27-Oct-09 04:36 PM
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#4. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 1


Powder Springs, US
          

Yes, I need to look into that book.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberTue 27-Oct-09 07:57 PM
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#5. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I cannot locate the thread where this was previously
>discussed. Since rear curtain sync allows for long shutter
>speeds and proper trails, why bother with front curtain sync?

Scott,

One thing that none of the books mention is that in Rear Curtain Sync mode, they place the flash pulse so close to the end of the shutter cycle that various amounts of the tail of the pulse are chopped off. This makes rear sync slightly less repeatable and have slightly less maximum power.

Whether this is noticeable or not depends on the particular image. I have never seen a problem in my wedding work, and when I am shooting receptions I always use camera manual mode with rear curtain sync. Then, if I get any ghosting, the trails are on the proper side.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberWed 28-Oct-09 12:16 AM
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#6. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 5


Powder Springs, US
          

>Scott,
>I always use camera manual mode
>with rear curtain sync. Then, if I get any ghosting, the
>trails are on the proper side.
>

Thanks Russ,

I'm just having a hard time grasping why I shouldn't leave it set to rear sync all of the time. Setting the slowest shutter speed in custom settings has ghosting covered, and you can go to slow sync when you need a slow shutter speed.

I'll have to experiment to see how detrimental the tail truncation is.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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rbsandor Gold Member Nikonian since 29th Aug 2007Wed 28-Oct-09 03:37 PM
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#7. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 6


Denver, US
          

Scott: take a look at Joe McNally's book, "THE HOT SHOE DIARIES". In it, Joe mentions that he is in rear sync continually. Front sync is fine for shooting stationery objects, but then you have to remember to change to rear sync when shooting moving objects. If you don't remember to do so, and are shooting at slow speeds, you get forward trails. Staying in rear sync means one less thing to fool with. Richard

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberWed 28-Oct-09 08:01 PM
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#9. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 7


Powder Springs, US
          

Well, that's why I'm wondering why we even have front curtain sync.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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jjm203z Registered since 17th Dec 2007Thu 29-Oct-09 02:36 PM
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#14. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 9


Dupont, US
          

After reading Joes book I took two portraits with the rear sync.

One major problem and I should have adjusted iso but did not - I took a portrait of an uncle, neice and his dog. All come out great except for the slightest head movement of the dog - blurred his head.

I quess if I had shot at iso 800 or 1000 the shutter speed would have been faster and the flash would have frozen all movement.

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberThu 29-Oct-09 05:39 PM
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#17. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 14


Powder Springs, US
          

Or you could set the slowest shutter speed in the custom settings...no? That would be setting e2 on the D700 and probably the same on the others. The guide says it works in A or P modes (as expected) but does not state that it only works with front sync.

I believe slow sync overrides custom setting e2?

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberThu 29-Oct-09 06:29 PM
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#18. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 17


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Or you could set the slowest shutter speed in the custom
>settings...no? That would be setting e2 on the D700 and
>probably the same on the others. The guide says it works in A
>or P modes (as expected) but does not state that it only works
>with front sync.
>
>I believe slow sync overrides custom setting e2?

Yes, when you select Slow Sync, the e2 limit is not used.

However, if you select Rear Sync while in camera A or P modes, it automatically selects Slow Rear sync. There is no way to select Rear Sync in camera A or P modes without getting Slow Sync as well.

If you want to eliminate ghost trails, you just use camera Manual mode and increase the shutter speed to whatever you need.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberFri 30-Oct-09 11:39 AM
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#19. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 18


Powder Springs, US
          

Good, that was my understanding. Manual mode is where it's at.

Remember the blue shutter speed numbers? Set to 1/60 and your desired aperture in manual mode an let the auto thyristor do its job!

You know, I've never tried iTTL in manual mode. If that doesn't work, I could try A mode on the flash.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 30-Oct-09 01:37 PM
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#20. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 19


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>You know, I've never tried iTTL in manual mode. If that
>doesn't work, I could try A mode on the flash.

I think you should always use camera Manual when shooting iTTL flash indoors in low ambient.

The flash exposure system takes over and handles the exposure.

Adjust the shutter/aperture to stop ghosting and set the background brightness you want and leave it. I use ISO 400, 1/80th, and f/4 as a starting point. 1/80th reduces ghosting during dancing. f/4 gives a reasonable compromise of flash range vs. depth of field. For small groups, I use f/5.6, but if you use apertures smaller than f/5.6, and you are bouncing or have a diffuser installed, you start running into the max flash range.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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plc001 Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Sep 2008Wed 28-Oct-09 11:57 PM
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#13. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 5


TampaBay, US
          

My last two weddings, I have been at rear curtain sync 100%. Did help when I “drag the shutter”, but I'm just starting so I do not know any better.


http://www.plcarrillophotography.com/Weddings/Nicole-and-Jason/9932106_FCW2K#687565049_uRZ6H

http://www.plcarrillophotography.com/Weddings/Kayla-and-Jimmy/10036113_gWbwq#687485937_aXodj


>>I cannot locate the thread where this was previously
>>discussed. Since rear curtain sync allows for long
>shutter
>>speeds and proper trails, why bother with front curtain
>sync?
>
>Scott,
>
>One thing that none of the books mention is that in Rear
>Curtain Sync mode, they place the flash pulse so close to the
>end of the shutter cycle that various amounts of the tail of
>the pulse are chopped off. This makes rear sync slightly less
>repeatable and have slightly less maximum power.
>
>Whether this is noticeable or not depends on the particular
>image. I have never seen a problem in my wedding work, and
>when I am shooting receptions I always use camera manual mode
>with rear curtain sync. Then, if I get any ghosting, the
>trails are on the proper side.
>
>Russ
>Nikonian Team Member
>http://russmacdonaldphotos.com">Russell
>MacDonald Photography
>>"http://NikonCLSPracticalGuide.blogspot.com"]Nikon
>CLS Practical Guide

Nikonian from Tampa Bay, FL.
www.plcarrillophotography.com

  

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rdj999 Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd Jan 2009Wed 28-Oct-09 07:50 PM
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#8. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 0


Leesburg, US
          

One reason to favor front sync over rear sync, in spite of the "trails" issue, is that flash behavior (specifically, preflash) in rear sync can confuse people. This may only be a problem when people are "posing" for a photograph, but it does occur.

When the light levels are low enough that your camera uses a slow shutter speed, and your flash system uses preflashes, e.g. CLS, ihe camera pre-flashes to take a reading before opening the shutter, then it exposes for slow-sync purposes, then it pops the flash to illuminate the subject just prior to closing the shutter.

People generally know they need to "hold" a pose until the flash goes off. It's surprising how fast people drop the pose after the preflash and before the primary flash.

In this situation, then, the subject is more or less stationary, and use of front curtain sync can mean getting the shot whereas rear curtain sync captures unnecessary motion blur.

-^-rdj-^-
Dan Johnson
Leesburg, VA

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberWed 28-Oct-09 08:05 PM
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#10. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 8


Powder Springs, US
          

Ah yes Dan,

Should have thought of the preflash issue, though blur would occur either way...no? That's assuming that it's caused by slow shutter speeds for ambient balance.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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rdj999 Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd Jan 2009Thu 29-Oct-09 03:33 PM
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#15. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 10
Thu 29-Oct-09 03:48 PM by rdj999

Leesburg, US
          

You're quite right, Scott, you can get motion blur either way, but one point of using the flash in this situation is to "get away with" longer shutter speeds. When I use rear sync, more often than not, the subject drops the pose (i.e. moves) immediately following the pre-flash, so they are in motion by the time the exposure flash fires -- and the flash isn't powerful enough (intentionally) to stop the motion.

I discovered it was necessary to re-shoot these requested pictures often enough, after explaining that the subject should wait for the second flash before moving, that I usually mention it before shooting if I need to use rear sync for some reason. With front sync, there's no confusion.

I should point out that these discoveries occurred with a "new-to-me" 50mm f/1.4 lens, and I was trying to see how "slow I could go" to the extent that I bumped the ISO, exposed at -2EV, and pushed in post. This may have accentuated the effect, i.e., I was probably asking for trouble!

I did get some cool portraits, though...

-^-rdj-^-
Dan Johnson
Leesburg, VA






Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Thu 29-Oct-09 03:44 PM
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#16. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 15


Chicago, US
          

One can always use the FV Lock and so one can lock the flash exposure and if you explain you will be taking 2 shots, but actually only one you should obtain better cooperation from your subject.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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gkaiseril Gold Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2005Wed 28-Oct-09 08:38 PM
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#11. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 8


Chicago, US
          

Well I remember when there was no front or rear synch, just flash synch to get the flash bulb to go off between the shutter open and shutter close.

Now with the faster strobe tubes discharge times, one has many creative options available.

George
My Nikonian Galleries

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberWed 28-Oct-09 10:37 PM
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#12. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 11


Powder Springs, US
          

Me too.... ....LOL

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Thu 05-Nov-09 03:49 AM
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#21. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 12


Edmond, US
          

Hi Scott,

I am late to the discussion, but will comment for what it is worth. If (i) the subject is in "posed" mode; and (ii) you want to include the ambient light, then I see no reason to use front sync flash. However, if the subject is moving (for example, the subject is a speaker at an event and is not concerned with your photography) and if the ambient light on the subject is substantial (anything more than minimal), then rear sync will probably (depending on shutter speed) cause the subject to be blurred. So in that situation, is capturing the subject in sharp focus is your main objective, you would want to use front sync and not rear sync.

Any comments or corrections will be welcome. In any event I hope that this may be helpful.

JDT

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberThu 05-Nov-09 11:26 AM
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#22. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 21


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Hi Scott,
>
>I am late to the discussion, but will comment for what it is
>worth. If (i) the subject is in "posed" mode; and
>(ii) you want to include the ambient light, then I see no
>reason to use front sync flash. However, if the subject is
>moving (for example, the subject is a speaker at an event and
>is not concerned with your photography) and if the ambient
>light on the subject is substantial (anything more than
>minimal), then rear sync will probably (depending on shutter
>speed) cause the subject to be blurred. So in that situation,
>is capturing the subject in sharp focus is your main
>objective, you would want to use front sync and not rear
>sync.
>
>Any comments or corrections will be welcome. In any event I
>hope that this may be helpful.
>
>JDT

Well, rear sync won't cause the subject to be blurred. Only a slow shutter will cause blurring when using flash, and only if the subject is moving, and only if there is enough ambient light for that to create the ghost trail. If there is a ghost trail from the ambient, it will be superimposed on the flash frozen image. The flash-frozen image will never have any motion blur. The thing that front or rear sync does is placed the ghost trail either before or after the flash-frozen subject.

Typically, you should use rear sync if you are allowing ambient light to contribute to the exposure. The reason is that if there is a ghost trails, it will appear on the 'correct' side of the flash-frozen subject. With rear sync, the ghost trail will lead up to the flash-frozen subject.

If you use front sync when the subject is making ghost trails, the the subject will be flash-frozen with the ghost trail moving away, which looks unnatural.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Thu 05-Nov-09 08:57 PM
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#23. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 22
Thu 05-Nov-09 09:33 PM by jim thomas

Edmond, US
          

I think we are saying the same thing in different words. Rear sync will cause the subject to be blurred in the circumstances you describe, i.e. if one is required to use a "slow" shutter speed in order to capture the ambient light ("slow" being any shutter speed that will cause the subject to blur). So if you want a blur around your subject and just want it behind rather than in front of your subject, fire away with rear sync. However, there will be no ghost trails with front sync. Even if your subject is moving (the speaker in my example) the front sync flash will freeze the subject. In some cases I do not want any blur; I want to freeze the subject as if the subject were not moving, e.g. the speaker I mentioned in my example. It all depends on the effect you want to achieve. If blur is what you want, stick with rear sync. Of course if very little ambient light is on your subject and you just want to capture the background with ambient light, your subject will not be blurred anyway. I am not trying to compel you to use front sync; that is up to you. I am saying that there are cases where front sync works better. Another example is where one does not wish to capture the background in ambient light (room is dark, too big, or has ugly stuff in it, etc.). In that case one could use rear sync and dial down the ambient exposure, but why bother? Turn on front sync and fire away; the ambient light will be gone.

Edit added: Scott, a simple way to say this is that in low light situations rear sync does cause the shutter speed to be lower (in order to take into account the ambient light). That statement, of course, assumes that one is shooting in Aperture Priority mode rather than Shutter Priority mode. So, yes it is the slower shutter speed that causes the blur; however, it is rear sync that causes the slower shutter speed.

JDT

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 12:05 AM
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#24. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 23


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>However, there will be no
>ghost trails with front sync. Even if your subject is moving
>(the speaker in my example) the front sync flash will freeze
>the subject.

What you have said is true for people who use one of the automatic modes. However, most people (probably 99%) use camera Manual mode when shooting flash indoors, so selecting front or rear sync has no effect on the shutter speed, and you will get ghost trails any time you select a shutter speed low enough that the ambient will contribute when there is subject motion.

You will get ghost trails on the 'wrong' side of the motion if you use front sync and you will get trails on the 'correct' side of the motion if you use rear sync.

However, you can increase the shutter speed to where the ambient will not contribute, and you will get no ghost trails in either front or rear sync.

The original question was, why not just leave it in Rear Sync all the time (assuming you shoot in camera Manual mode). The answer to that question is not so straightforward, as indicated by the various replies above.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Fri 06-Nov-09 12:41 AM
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#26. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 24


Edmond, US
          

Hi Russ,

The original question did not assume that one would shoot in manual mode or that one was shooting indoors. Therefore, no reason to make either of those assumptions. I guess I am in a small minority because I do not always (or even most of the time) shoot in manual mode when shooting flash indoors. There are many situations in which the ambient light is changing indoors as well as outdoors; therefore I do not always want to have to make manual adjustments to my exposure> I usually prefer to shoot in aperature priority unless I see a reason to lock in the ambient exposure (and there are certainly times when one needs, or wants, to do that). So it depends on what the shooter wants to do. If one wants to have to make manual adjustments to achieve that result, then have at it. One point I make is that, if one wishes to eliminate all ghosting without having to tinker with manual exposure adjustments, (and not take into account the ambient background exposure) then the simple way to do this is to shoot in front sync. So for some of us shooting in rear sync all the time is not the way we prefer to shoot. Personally, I shoot in rear sync about 90% of the time. With my example of shooting the speaker (especially if the ambient light is on the speaker and more especially if it is changing) I certainly will not choose to shoot in manual mode, which will require me to change the manual exposure settings; instead I set it in front sync, aperture priority and fire away. For me, and I think for others, that is much simpler, therefore works much better. Have we now exhausted this discussion pretty thoroughly?

JDT

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 01:29 AM
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#33. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 26


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

No, I don't think we have discussed this thoroughly enough yet. There are a lot more things to consider.

However, the discussion is drifting way off the original topic, so I don't think we should allow that to continue.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 12:37 AM
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#25. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 23


Powder Springs, US
          


>Edit added: Scott, a simple way to say this is that in low
>light situations rear sync does cause the shutter speed to be
>lower (in order to take into account the ambient light). That
>statement, of course, assumes that one is shooting in Aperture
>Priority mode rather than Shutter Priority mode. So, yes it is
>the slower shutter speed that causes the blur; however, it is
>rear sync that causes the slower shutter speed.

Wait a minute. Selecting the sync will not cause or prevent blur per se. In rear sync, the minimum shutter speed selected in custom settings will prevent blur, as it will in front sync. Of course that is true in P or A modes where the camera sets the shutter speed.

Rear sync does not cause the shutter speed to be lower. Shooting in M or S modes,the photographer can cause slower shutters. That would be true in front sync as well.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Fri 06-Nov-09 12:46 AM
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#27. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 25


Edmond, US
          

If shooting in relatively low light, and shooting in aperture priority, the choice of rear sync WILL cause the selection of a slower shutter speed. That is why one shoots in rear sync, in order to leave the shutter open longer, therefore capturing the ambient light (in most cases to light and reveal the background). If one wants to limit the shutter speed the camera may select, then one must just as well shoot in manual or shutter priority.

JDT

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 12:56 AM
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#28. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 27


Powder Springs, US
          

I don't think that is true, unless you are in slow rear sync mode.

From page 308 in the D700 manual:

e2: Flash Shutter Speed
This option determines the slowest shutter speed available when
using front- or rear-curtain sync or red-eye reduction in
programmed auto or aperture-priority auto exposure modes

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Fri 06-Nov-09 01:14 AM
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#31. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 28


Edmond, US
          

Hello Again Scott,

Hey, this is great fun, is it not? This is what I love about this organization. I have learned a lot and have a lot more to learn, but it is always fun to have these discussions. Yes, in low light situations, and shooting in aperture priority, selection of rear sync will cause the camera to select a slower shutter speed. Test it: put a flash on your camera and turn it on, select a subject in relatively low light, select aperture priority, select front sync, focus on your subject and note the shutter speed. Then do the same but select rear sync. The shutter speed for rear sync will be slower. That is the point: rear sync will allow the shutter to remain open in order to capture the ambient light on your background. Yes, of course, one can always manually set the exposure, in which case the only issue is, as you describe it, whether the ghost trails are in the right place (i.e. behind the subject). Personally I prefer to shoot in aperture priority. If I am shooting fast I really do not want to mess with manually setting my exposure for every shot. In some cases I may want the background to be exposed by ambient light, therefore here somes rear sync. In some cases I do not want the background exposed by ambient light (or I want to make sure that my subject is frozen, without ghost trails either behind or in front of the subject), so here somes from sync. that is just how I shoot. I am not saying it is right or wrong, but it works for me.

JDT

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 01:02 AM
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#29. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 27


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>If shooting in relatively low light, and shooting in aperture
>priority, the choice of rear sync WILL cause the selection of
>a slower shutter speed. That is why one shoots in rear sync,
>in order to leave the shutter open longer, therefore capturing
>the ambient light (in most cases to light and reveal the
>background). If one wants to limit the shutter speed the
>camera may select, then one must just as well shoot in manual
>or shutter priority.

I think it would be fair to say that 99% of all photographers with even a small amount of experience use camera Manual mode when shooting flash indoors. Then, selecting Rear Sync has no effect on the shutter. If you want ghost trails you simply slow the shutter to half a second or so.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 01:11 AM
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#30. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 29


Powder Springs, US
          

The way I aways did it with my OMs.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Fri 06-Nov-09 01:21 AM
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#32. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 29


Edmond, US
          

So you are saying that if one knows what one is doing, one shoots in manual mode if shooting flash indoors? I do not agree with that proposition. There are a lot of situations in which aperture priority works much better for me in that situation.

JDT

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 01:37 AM
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#34. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 32


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>So you are saying that if one knows what one is doing, one
>shoots in manual mode if shooting flash indoors? I do not
>agree with that proposition. There are a lot of situations in
>which aperture priority works much better for me in that
>situation.

Jim,

Just do me a favor. Set your camera in Manual mode, ISO 400, flash on TTL (not TTL-BL), 1/80th shutter, and f/4 and go shoot some indoor pics under normal indoor artificial lighting. You may want a little negative flash compensation, maybe -0.3 FEC so the subject won't be quite so bright.

You will find that the the shutter will adjust the background brightness without affecting subject brightness as long as the subject is at least as far from the background as from the camera. This works as long as you don't slow the shutter to the point where the ambient starts contributing (usually around 1/30th).

I think you will like the results.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Fri 06-Nov-09 01:52 AM
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#35. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 34


Edmond, US
          

I understand that this is what you like to do. In the situations I have described I do not want to shoot at 1/80th shutter. I also do not want to shoot at ISO 400 in the situations I have described. I want to freeze the subject and 1/80th won't do the job. I want, usually, to shoot at ISO 100 (if the setup will allow me to do so). I fully understand your methodology and there is nothing wrong with it as long as it does what you want it to do. However you need to understand that your way is not the only way. I might suggest that you try shooting in aperture priority and effecting your decision of whether or not to include the ambient light/background by changing one setting, the front/rear sync setting. I do know how to shoot in manual mode and do so when it is appropriate for the situation.

You do understand that in the situations I have described one is not trying to capture the background/ambient exposure, but is trying to (i) freeze the subject, even at the expense of losing the background; or (ii) intentionally losing the background? In those situations I do not think there is any reason to set the ambient exposure manually. that is the last thing with which I am concerned.

JDT

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 02:07 AM
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#36. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 35
Fri 06-Nov-09 02:09 AM by Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I understand that this is what you like to do. In the
>situations I have described I do not want to shoot at 1/80th
>shutter. I also do not want to shoot at ISO 400 in the
>situations I have described. I want to freeze the subject and
>1/80th won't do the job. I want, usually, to shoot at ISO 100
>(if the setup will allow me to do so). I fully understand your
>methodology and there is nothing wrong with it as long as it
>does what you want it to do. However you need to understand
>that your way is not the only way. I might suggest that you
>try shooting in aperture priority and effecting your decision
>of whether or not to include the ambient light/background by
>changing one setting, the front/rear sync setting. I do know
>how to shoot in manual mode and do so when it is appropriate
>for the situation.
>
>You do understand that in the situations I have described one
>is not trying to capture the background/ambient exposure, but
>is trying to (i) freeze the subject, even at the expense of
>losing the background; or (ii) intentionally losing the
>background? In those situations I do not think there is any
>reason to set the ambient exposure manually. that is the last
>thing with which I am concerned.

Jim,

I do this for a living. Plus I teach photography.

What I am telling you is not the way just I do it. It is the way every pro does it. There are a few situations when indoor aperture priority is the best choice, but those are very rare.

The flash will always freeze the subject in dim ambient light. It doesn't matter what the shutter speed is (as long as you don't slow it down to under 1/30th, and it doesn't matter what the aperture is as long as you don't stop down too far and reduce your flash working distance.

The TTL exposure system will always set the right power to expose the subject correctly, regardless of the shutter and aperture settings. There is nothing 'manual' about shooting flash with the camera in manual (except for the background). The flash system handles the exposure of the subject.

I wish you would just indulge me and make the exact settings I suggested and go try it.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Fri 06-Nov-09 02:10 AM
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#37. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 36
Fri 06-Nov-09 02:39 AM by jim thomas

Edmond, US
          

Gee, I understand that you are an expert and all. However, have you ever tried it my way? I think you are wrong about "every pro" doing it that way. Joe McNally says that he is is in aperture priority mode pretty much all the time.

JDT

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 12:12 PM
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#38. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 37


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>However,
>have you ever tried it my way? I think you are wrong about
>"every pro" doing it that way. Joe McNally says that
>he is is in aperture priority mode pretty much all the time.

Joe uses Manual mode just like I do in dim ambient light. However, a lot of his work is in brighter ambient, and that's when A mode is best.

Yes, I use all the modes on the camera depending on the situation.

I don't use A mode inside in dim ambient, because the shutter will always go to 1/60th (Flash Shutter Speed) which is often too slow to stop ghosting if there is any motion, and there is no way to get the shutter to go higher in A mode. There is a menu setting in the camera where you can make the Flash Shutter Speed slower, but you can't make it any higher than 1/60th. I don't know why.

In any case, using camera Manual mode allows you to select 1/80th which is the lowest shutter speed for inside in dim ambient that will eliminate most ghosting from dancing or a speaker moving his arms or people walking, etc. A mode works fine if there is no motion, but there really is no reason to use it, just keep the camera in Manual mode and select 1/60th or even 1/30th.

1/80th (or sometimes 1/100th) will usually stop all ambient ghosting and leave the sharp flash-frozen image, with still some of the background showing. You have to be in camera Manual mode (or S mode) to be able to select the higher shutter speeds when using flash. S mode is not recommended, however, because then the camera will set your aperture where it wants it, and normally, you want your aperture at f/4 to give you enough depth of field for good people shots. You don't want the camera deciding to use f/2.8, or focus will become difficult.

Again, it doesn't matter where you set your shutter or aperture when you shoot camera Manual TTL flash in dim ambient light. The flash will set the exposure of the subject automatically.

Now, (just like Joe) I do use Aperture priority if the light is medium brightness, like during the day with lots of light coming in the windows. But at the same time, I always switch to TTL-BL mode on the flash. The reason for these settings is that in medium or brighter light, the flash will often have trouble overpowering the ambient, and if you use TTL mode it adds to the ambient, and that will end up with all sorts of overexposure problems. This is when I want the camera adjusting the shutter for me to prevent overexposure. I still keep the aperture at around f/4 (f/5.6 for more depth of field for small groups).

I also often select Auto FP Sync selected when using A mode, so if the shutter needs to go above flash sync speed (1/250th) it can. Otherwise, if regular sync is selected, the shutter will stop at 1/250th (or 1/320th) and you can get overexposure.

Then, in bright ambient, like full daylight or shade with a sky in the background, I have two normal modes:
1) For groups or larger inanimate objects I use S or P modes with TTL-BL with regular flash sync. You can use A mode, as well, but then you have to manually close down the aperture if your camera tries to exceed Flash Sync Shutter, so it is easier to simply switch to S mode.
2) For portraits I usually want to focus-blur the background, so I use A mode with Auto FP Sync and TTL-BL and f/2.8 to f/4.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003Fri 06-Nov-09 01:07 PM
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#39. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 38


Edmond, US
          

Let's get back to the question asked by Scott: "Since rear curtain sync allows for long shutter speeds and proper trails, why bother with front curtain sync?" My answer is that I use front sync in the two limited situations I have described. In my opinion that is the best way to work in order to produce the result I desire.

In those situations I do not want to eliminate "most" of the ghosting. I do not want any ghosting. So your canned exposure setup does not produce the result I want. In fact using a canned exposure?ISO combination will almost always miss the exposure mark. If I use manual mode (and I do on occasion) I meter the background and set the exposure accordingly.

Although technically correct in saying that one is limited to 1/60th in aperture priority, if one uses front sync the "effective" shutter speed is whatever it takes to light the subject (so maybe 1/1000th or 1/8000th). That works and is simpler for me than the way you choose to work. In fact, in the situation where I want to eliminate the background your method does not work at all. One will get at least some lighting on the background, therefore not producing the result I want. Yes, I can tinker with manual settings and eliminate the ambient light. However, I can do the same thing by flipping one dial to front sync. For me that is easier and quicker. As stated already, I use rear sync almost all the time. My comments only address the situations in which I use front sync. If your method works well for you, that is great. Your method also works for me in some situations.

Someone recommended Mike Hagen's book on CLS. I note that in most of the examples in that book he is using aperture priority mode and in some cases he uses front sync flash. So I again disagree with your generalization that all pros (and anyone who knows what one is doing) uses manual mode, rear sync in all indoor flash situations. That is obviously not the case.

To Scott I say: try front sync in the situations I have described. It works like a charm.

JDT

  

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rdj999 Silver Member Nikonian since 23rd Jan 2009Fri 06-Nov-09 02:03 PM
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#40. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 39


Leesburg, US
          

Not wanting to interrupt the flow, and not speaking for the OP, but this discussion borne out of disagreement has been quite useful for me and, pardon, illuminating.
-^-rdj-^-
Dan Johnson
Leesburg, VA

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 05:33 PM
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#41. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 39
Fri 06-Nov-09 09:33 PM by Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Although technically correct in saying that one is limited to
>1/60th in aperture priority, if one uses front sync the
>"effective" shutter speed is whatever it takes to
>light the subject (so maybe 1/1000th or 1/8000th).

Indoors in LOW AMBIENT CONDITIONS, shooting TTL Flash, front sync at ISO 200 to 400, the shutter will ALWAYS BE 1/60TH (or the Flash Shutter Speed you have selected with CSM e2) when using Aperture priority. ALWAYS!

And that will often allow ghosting in front sync.

The shutter won't come off 1/60th until the ambient comes up to medium or brighter.

Yes, the flash duration will be 1/1000 to 1/8000th, and will freeze the subject, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the ambient portion of the exposure, and it is the ambient portion of the exposure that causes ghosting.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 06:29 PM
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#42. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 41


Powder Springs, US
          

I slapped a flash on, placed the sync in rear sync mode. In Aperture Priority, the shutter speed did indeed fall below 1/60 (which e2 was set to). That was indoors at f/1.4 and ISO 200.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 08:50 PM
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#43. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 42
Fri 06-Nov-09 08:54 PM by Arkayem

Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I slapped a flash on, placed the sync in rear sync mode. In
>Aperture Priority, the shutter speed did indeed fall below
>1/60 (which e2 was set to). That was indoors at f/1.4 and ISO
>200.

Yes, because the camera is adjusting to slow sync. Whenever you select rear sync when in A or P modes, slow sync is also selected, and it sets the camera to record the ambient.

If you use front sync and it will stay on 1/60th.

(I didn't mention front sync in post #41, because I was replying to the other poster, and he was talking about front sync - I have updated my post #41 to add 'front sync' just to be clear.)

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSat 07-Nov-09 02:51 AM
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#45. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 43


Powder Springs, US
          

That is contrary to the manual though, at least the D700 manual, as I quoted above.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberSat 07-Nov-09 11:53 AM
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#46. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 45


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>That is contrary to the manual though, at least the D700
>manual, as I quoted above.

Scott,

You're absolutely right! I saw your post previously, but it didn't register with me at the time.

I went back and read page 308 in the D700 manual carefully, and it is definitely in error concerning the application of the e2 setting when in camera A or P modes with Rear Sync selected. It is also very convoluted and hard to read.

I know from my own experience, that when you select Rear Sync in camera A or P modes, it will also select Slow Sync (you can even see that 'Slow' appears in the top LCD along with 'Rear'), and that will allow the shutter to go to as slow as 30 seconds to expose the ambient. I use this mode occassionally for spinning the camera to make circular light trails during dancing at a reception.

Russ
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Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSun 08-Nov-09 01:46 PM
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#48. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 46


Powder Springs, US
          

The D200 and D300 manuals read the same. I think what's confusing too is that the LCD says rear sync as you change it with the button pressed. AFTER you release the button AND the camera is set to P or A, THEN the LCD says slow-rear.

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberFri 06-Nov-09 08:57 PM
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#44. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 42


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I slapped a flash on, placed the sync in rear sync mode. In
>Aperture Priority, the shutter speed did indeed fall below
>1/60 (which e2 was set to). That was indoors at f/1.4 and ISO
>200.

I also didn't mention that if you choose a new setting for e2 that will establish a new low shutter speed, and the camera will always go to that new speed. I guess I should have spelled out all the conditions. I was referring to the default of 1/60th.

Russ
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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberSun 08-Nov-09 11:35 AM
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#47. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 44


Powder Springs, US
          

Russ,

I knew you meant that. It comes from years of having 1/60 as the sync speed on our old film cameras!

Perhaps I should search the Nikon site to see if there is errata to the D700 manual. Now it's off to read my D100, D200 and D300 manuals.

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Powder Springs, GA, USA
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Chan Tran Registered since 04th Dec 2003Mon 09-Nov-09 02:30 AM
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#49. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 41


Aurora, US
          

>Indoors in LOW AMBIENT CONDITIONS, shooting TTL Flash, front
>sync at ISO 200 to 400, the shutter will ALWAYS BE 1/60TH (or
>the Flash Shutter Speed you have selected with CSM e2) when
>using Aperture priority. ALWAYS!
>
>And that will often allow ghosting in front sync.
>
>The shutter won't come off 1/60th until the ambient comes up
>to medium or brighter.
>
>Russ
>Nikonian Team Member
>http://russmacdonaldphotos.com">Russell
>MacDonald Photography
>>"http://NikonCLSPracticalGuide.blogspot.com"]Nikon
>CLS Practical Guide

Russ, you meant to say that with the same ISO, same shutter speed, same aperture, same ambient light condition you won't get the ghost with rear sync?

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 09-Nov-09 12:05 PM
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#50. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 49


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Russ, you meant to say that with the same ISO, same shutter
>speed, same aperture, same ambient light condition you won't
>get the ghost with rear sync?

No, just the opposite. Let me start over. I should have listed all of the conditons:
* Low ambient light (typical indoor artificial light)
* ISO 400
* Regular TTL (not TTL-BL)
* Flash Shutter Speed at default 1/60th (Menu item e2 on my D3)
* Aperture priority
* f/4.0
* Regular (front) flash sync
* Camera EV and Flash FEC = 0
* Subject is moving quickly (like dancing)

Under these conditions the camera will always select 1/60th second shutter which is so slow that ghosting can occur (with the trails on the wrong side). This is why it is best to use camera Manual mode, so you can select 1/80th or 1/100th shutter. Then, ghosting is eliminated.

Now, without changing anything, if you switch to Rear Sync the camera will automatically also select SLOW sync, which will cause huge amounts of ghosting, because the shutter will now go to as slow as 30 seconds as it tries to expose the dim ambient to full brightness.

Now, starting again with the initial conditions. If you want to make some subtle ghost trails (during dancing), switch to camera Manual mode, select Rear Sync, and slow the shutter to 1/4th sec or so. This will make pleasing ghosting with the trails on the 'correct side' of the motion, that conveys the motion to the viewer without causing overexposure or objectionable amounts of background camera motion blur.

These are the reasons that pros use camera Manual mode rather than Aperture priority when shooting under dim ambient conditions.

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Chan Tran Registered since 04th Dec 2003Mon 09-Nov-09 10:55 PM
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#51. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 50


Aurora, US
          

Thanks Russ,
Basically the rear sync has only one use, to get the ghost trail in the right direction. Other than that rear sync is worse than front sync at high sync speed and high flash power. There isn't enough time for the flash to fire completely.
The fact that the camera also switch to slow sync if you select rear sync isn't an advantage of rear sync per se. They just designed the camera that way. You can have slow sync with front curtain sync too if you so select. However, setting the shutter speed and aperture in manual is best.

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberMon 09-Nov-09 11:02 PM
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#52. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 51


Powder Springs, US
          

Good points. The slow sync, contrary to the manual is enough to demonstrate why you would not shoot in rear sync all the time.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 09-Nov-09 11:27 PM
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#54. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 51


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Thanks Russ,
>Basically the rear sync has only one use, to get the ghost
>trail in the right direction. Other than that rear sync is
>worse than front sync at high sync speed and high flash power.
>There isn't enough time for the flash to fire completely.
>The fact that the camera also switch to slow sync if you
>select rear sync isn't an advantage of rear sync per se. They
>just designed the camera that way. You can have slow sync with
>front curtain sync too if you so select. However, setting the
>shutter speed and aperture in manual is best.

Exactly right!

I just posted a new blog on this here:
http://nikonclspracticalguide.blogspot.com/2009/11/17-why-use-camera-manual-when-using.html

If the pictures are too small to see well, I posted the same info on my website here:
http://www.russmacdonaldphotos.com/Smugmug-Site-Galleries/Equipment-Tests/Flash-Camera-Manual/10266687_hTnrf#708552232_28AYp

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 09-Nov-09 11:19 PM
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#53. "RE: Rear vs Front Sync"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I cannot locate the thread where this was previously
>discussed. Since rear curtain sync allows for long shutter
>speeds and proper trails, why bother with front curtain sync?

I did a quick informal study on this here:
http://www.russmacdonaldphotos.com/Smugmug-Site-Galleries/Equipment-Tests/Flash-Camera-Manual/10266687_hTnrf

Russ
Nikonian Team Member
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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