>Ok, I admit that I don't have a lot of experience with >shooting strobes. All my previous experience has been shooting >Nikon speedlights, and never for sports. All my previous >rodeo experience is shooting outside. > >However, the barrel...the point of focus in the images...is >tack sharp. If there was camera movement, wouldn't it be >logical that this couldn't be the case?
>1. Tripods are not an option shooting in a rodeo arena.
Understood. I can't use them in my environments either other than the studio.
>2. The most motion blur I had was during the day, esp when the >sun came out on Sunday. However, to shoot w/o flash required >1/640 min shutter to stop action...something that standard >pocket wizard setup won't do.
Ok, so this is a CRITICAL piece of info. The question here is whether you needed that 1/640 to freeze the rider or freeze YOU. Assuming your comment about the barrel being the point of focus and being tack sharp is correct, then you needed 1/640 to freeze the rider and not you. What is critical here is that you need EXACTLY that same speed under strobes...with your camera.
>3. If there's no camera shake as evidenced by everything else >in the image being sharp, would VR really help?
No, VR would not help.
>4. The strobes aren't mine...but those are the ones I have to >use, unless you wish to contribute to my "buy Tim other >gear" fund. Same with the Flex units. I've been out of >work for 2 years, and sold a lot of stuff to be able to get a >new camera that can do lower light work better than the D200 >can.
>If there is so little to do with the 1/50 of a second >differnce, can you explain how my boss' camera, @ 1/250 of a >second is sharp while my Nikon @ 1/200 is not, when all other >settings are the same? Remember, in both images, the barrel >around which the rider traveled is sharp.
The Paul Buff webpage for the AB1600 (http://www.paulcbuff.com/b1600.php) lists the flash duration at 1/600 of a second for the T1 at full power. Given that you said your camera needed 1/1640 of a second in daylight to freeze action in daylight, the bee is leaving things just a bit short. The fact that the 1Dx can get another 1/50th of a second in this case MAY well be enough to show up the difference. This is an EXTREMELY rare occurance. And one that is EASILY mitigated. Turning the power down even 1/3 of a stop on the Bees will put the flash duration up above 1/800. Easily enough to freeze the action even with you syncing at 1/200.
Again, this is the case where the flash speed of the strobe is NOT sufficient to freeze motion, and is relying on the shutter at least partially, to help freeze motion.
>If I don't have to return it, I'd rather not. I like the >camera for everything else i've done. It's just that, as it >sits right now, I cannot use it for one of the primary reasons >I purchased it, since none of the images I took during the >daylight, using 3 AB1600's, were usable.
This statement is VERY confusing to me. Are you using the Bees as fill during daylight, or are you using them inside where there IS no daylight. These two uses are very different.
>(the ones I took Friday night, using only 2 AB's with small >reflectors, actually came out OK...this is why I think it's an >ambient light issue...that said, I'm limited on the number of >lights we can put in that arena, or that my boss can spare >since she has multiple shows going on each weekend.
More lights shot at lower power greatly help your cause. Fewer lights at max power works against you. What I am not understanding here is why you are using flash at all during the day. If you are using the flash just to get a little fill light, you can essentially ignore the sync rating and shoot at 1/640. The ambient light is overpowering the strobes, the shutter is freezing the action, and you should be good. It is when the strobe begins to overpower ambient that you need to worry about sync speeds.