Unfortunately, flash sync is a hardware function, not controlled by firmware. But since it is dependent on the shutter, if the D200 uses an electronic shutter (essentially using the sensor to control the shutter) you can probably cheat and get higher sync speeds with a flash like the SB-800.
My understanding is that although the D200 uses a CCD it relies on the mechanical shutter to make an exposure.
Although the flash sync is fixed at 1/250th instead of 1/500th you are not off as bad as you think. If you like the faster sync speed for more depth of field control you actually are no better off with the D70/S as the D200 allows you to go down to 100ISO which will intern allow you to have the same aperture as you would get with the D70/S at 200ISO and 1/500th. If it is for stopping high speed motion you can take advantage of auto FP sync which allows you to use a SB-800/600 at shutter speeds up to 1/8000th of a second although the power of the flash is not as strong at the higher shutter speeds.
Personally, one stop loss in the physical flash sync speed is not that big of a deal, especially when they give us both a lower base ISO and the option of auto FP sync.
Also, the 2X high speed crop mode found in the D2X is not possible with a CCD. The D2X uses a CMOS sensor that is able to have pixels assigned for use (or the other view, some pixels could be “turned off”) resulting in the potential for the 6mp 2X high speed crop mode.
>If it is for stopping high speed motion you can take >advantage of auto FP sync which allows you to use a >SB-800/600 at shutter speeds up to 1/8000th of a second >although the power of the flash is not as strong at the >higher shutter speeds. >
Actually with flash the motion stopping ability with (non FP) flash is done by the flash itself, not the shutter. The flash will put out the same pulse of light whether the shutter is at 1/250th or 1 sec. The flash exposure depends only on the aperture and the ISO. At full power (the slowest) the length of the pulse of light from most electronic flashes is ~1/1000th. Usually much less than full power is needed so the flash pulse could be as fast as ~1/30,000th.
Because the FP mode is actually a series of pulses spread over the shutter transit time of 1/250 you will stop your moving subject several times as the shutter slit transits the frame. The image at the bottem of the image will be stopped at a diferent time than the image at the top or middle of the frame.
>Personally, one stop loss in the physical flash sync speed >is not that big of a deal, especially when they give us both >a lower base ISO and the option of auto FP sync.
With non FP flash the advantage of higher sync speeds is in using the flash to fill shadows in high ambient light situations. In this situation having a 1 stop lower base ISO does make up for a 1 stop loss in sync speed as you have stated. The primary use of FP flash is for those fill situations where 1/250 or 1/500 is too slow to meet your picture taking needs.
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Gary, You are right about the how the flash works to stop motion. I never said to use an Sb-800 for a nighttime football game (or similar situation) with a shutter speed or 1/1000th of a second. Of course you would get ghosting effects and really no stopping advantage over 1/250th with the flash set normally for such a situation.
FP sync is vary useful for various action shots were flash is not needed as the main light source or when you want a fast shutter speed to freeze all the motion in the frame, not just the motion that was hit by the single flash burst.
Such situations could be when shooting cross-country runners. Need flash to counter a shadow but you still want everything sharp. FP sync is perfect for such a situation, especially in broad daylight were any ghosting effect created by the multiple bursts of the flash would be hard to notice.
Nonetheless I think we are both agreeing on the same point that the lack of a physical sync speed of 1/500th vs. 1/250th really is not an issue at all if you know how to take full advantage of your flash and the features of the camera.
Okay, I read the SB-800 manual on page 60 where it talks about FP sync, but I can't for the life of me figure out how to set it up. The book says it must be set on camera, but gives no instructions that I can find.
I checked out your user profile and I see you have a D70 & N90. The D70 is not compatible with FP sync of any sort. This has bean a feature only available on the pro & one down from the top bodies. Such as F5 & F100.
The N90 is capable of FP sync although sadly the SB-800 is not compatible with the N90 in this one respect. If you have a SB80DX or older flagship flash you will be able to use FP sync on the N90.
To accesses FP sync mode it is just a matter of pushing the mode button until you get to it. May vary slightly on some of the older flashes. If the camera the flash is connected to is not compatible with this feature (as in your case) FP sync will be omitted from the mode selection while on that camera.
>Because the FP mode is actually a series of pulses spread >over the shutter transit time of 1/250 you will stop your >moving subject several times as the shutter slit transits >the frame. The image at the bottem of the image will be >stopped at a diferent time than the image at the top or >middle of the frame.
The pulses are supposed to overlap enough so they emulate the continuous lighting of FP flash bulbs.
Exposing different parts of the image at different times is always the case with a focal plane shutter at high speed. Something that seemed to be popular in the early part of the 20th century was to shoot race cars with a vertically-moving (bottom to top) focal plane shutter. That made the cars lean forward. I think today's FP shutters, which move very quickly, are too fast to generate much of that effect.