FP Flash Emulation for manual cameras?
Modern cameras and flash units support a feature called "High Speed Sync."
As far as I can tell, this is a matter of an electronic flash unit pulsing for longer than the time of the sync shutter speed, so that light is available to the whole frame even if only a tiny open slit is running across the film/sensor.
FP flash bulbs did this a generation or two ago.
Here is my question:
Does anyone here know of a flash which provides, or can be hacked to provide, flashed pulses for an amount of time which equals or exceeds the sync speed of a classic film camera like F2, M3 or whatever?
Electronic FP flash emulation for manual focal plane shutter equipped cameras, in other words.
A Certified Dinosaur
Nikons F, F2, D700, Leica M3, & Kiev 4a
I was thinking about it in this thread (post #2).
I would be grateful if anybody can give some contribution.
I have no high-speed-synch flash but I suspect the following:
An M, F or FP synchronization will fire - if I get it right - the flash bulb slightly before the opening of the shutter, to allow the bulb to reach its full luminosity.
An X synchronization will fire the flash when the first curtain ends its trip.
A "rear curtain" X synchronization will fire the flash a little before the second curtain begins its trip.
A HSS synchronization will fire the flash before the first curtain begins its trip.
I suspect that using an HSS flash with an X synchronization (be it on the first or the second curtain) will lead to a partial exposure of the film if a shutter speed faster than max X synchronization is employed. When the flash is fired, the second curtain is already on its way.
An FP synchronization might work with an HSS flash because they both work by firing the flash before the first curtain opens.
It might be necessary to cut communication (excluding hot contact) between camera and flash in case a dedicated flash sets the camera at max X synchro speed automatically as soon as it reaches full charge.
If anybody has a HSS flash and would like to experiment with an old camera with an M or FP synchronization, that would be VERY useful for the community.
Thanks for joining in.
Yes, that is a fascinating point about X activating as soon as the first curtain is completely open. The light needs to begin pulsing before the instant that the opening curtain begins its travel across the film plane.
So, there is a synchronizing issue here, as you say. Perhaps lighting the tube "prematurely" at one of the "warm up" sync settings like FP might work.
I learned from fellow member Ian today that long ago the OM-4 SLR had a flash that could pulse for 40 milliseconds, accomplishing this. But I have not heard of it otherwise.
Maybe we will learn something about how to do it here.
A Certified Dinosaur
Nikons F, F2, D700, Leica M3, & Kiev 4a
Yes, Olympus made a pulsing flash that would be useful at all shutter speeds. I was locked out of taking advantage of it with my OM-4 as it was matched to the later OM-4T.
You might go some steps better and get pulsed xenon lights from an old process camera. I bet those would make an impressive lighting kit.
It's not just Olympus, it's pretty common these days:
http://www.rpphoto.com/howto/view.asp?articleID=1026 (browse down for "a better solution" paragraph).
The problem is that producers tend to have their flash to be "smart" and communicate with the camera so that, for instance, the high-sync feature is not available, on certain flashes, if the camera does not tell the flash that it supports it (I can understand the logic, but I would like to be able to override any logic). They also do that for marketing reasons probably, to tie the sale of their flash to the sale of their cameras.
Nikon calls this Auto FP high-sync which tells a lot.
I suppose that by interrupting communication between flash and camera (the dedicated pins) the feature could be available, with some flash, also with cameras that were designed before its advent.
The fastest test would be to mount such a flash on an old camera that only has the hot sync (without additional electric contacts) and see what happens. Or use a flash cable. [EDIT: In any case the camera must have the FP, M or MP synchronization].
I'm not going to buy a flash just to see if it works in fast-sync with my cameras, but I would certainly buy one if I knew that I can use fast-sync with my cameras. Check your flashes, if they are recent they may support fast-sync.
Last edited by Diapositivo; 05-17-2011 at 04:06 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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I have asked the question to the Italian distributor of Nikon products, Nital. I hope they actually read the question instead of giving me some pre-written stupid answer.
I'll let you know the answer.
This is the text of the question, for you daily exercise in Italian translation:
ho e uso svariati apparecchi degli anni '80, alcuni dei quali, oltre alla sincronizzazione X, hanno la sincronizzazione per i flash a lampadina di una volta (indicata come M, MP, FP ecc).
Con i flash a lampadina a combustione lenta era possibile usare qualsiasi tempo di otturazione, anche superiore al sincro X massimo ovviamente. Posso ad esempio usare la mia Minolta Srt-101 con un flash a lampadine usando la sincronizzazione FP e usando il tempo di otturazione di 1/1000.
I flash a lampadine sono di rara reperibilitÓ, le lampadine scottano... un flash elettronico Ŕ pi¨ rapido.
Vorrei sapere se i vostri flash elettronici che hanno la funzione "FP fast sync" possono essere usati con fotocamere come la mia Minolta Srt-101, usando la sincronizzazione FP.
Capisco perfettamente che il funzionamento sarÓ completamente manuale, e che il numero guida del flash sarÓ ridotto rispetto al funzionamento normale.
Mi interessa solo sapere se il flash Ŕ in grado di comportarsi come un flash a lampade a combustione lenta senza bisogno di comunicazioni di alcun tipo con la macchina fotografica (salvo il contatto di sincronizzazione).
Temo infatti che, se acquistassi un flash per usarlo con la mia Srt-101 in modalitÓ FP, il flash si rifiuterebbe di impostarsi in quel modo in quanto non ha, dalla fotocamera, la conferma che quel modo viene supportato.
Grazie della cortese risposta
Metz offered several "strobing" flash units once upon a time. You could change the frequency of the tube but the initial triggering was from the shutter(X)
I've been thinking about this too.
I have come to the conclusion that it can only be done backwards.
That is, by having the flash actuate the shutter.
By this I mean that you need a camera that can be fired remotely by the flash.
This could overcome the latency issue without modifying the camera. As far as the electronics of pulsing a flash - I have no clue.
"If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in frightful danger of seeing it for the first time." G.K.Chesterton
I felt this is only useful for the dinky little flashes on the cameras. Get a big powerful off-camera flash, it will allow you to stop down and make the background dark that way, without having to resort to this gimmick
An alternative may be a strobe light used by a DJ or dance club.
Turn the flash on and shoot, no sync necessary.