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HyperSync with Nikon D7100 and SB-900

This is a look at how PocketWizard HyperSync performs on my Nikon D7100 camera and Nikon SB-900 flash. HyperSync is a way to exceed the camera's flash sync by taking advantage of the fact that flash bursts are not instantaneous and can be triggered in a way that illuminates a full frame even though the shutter is never fully open due to technical design limitations of this type of camera.

All pictures taken with a Nikon D7100 with the 35mm f/1.8 lens, f/16, ISO 100. Flash zoom was 35mm. The front of the SB-900 was exactly 5 feet from the wall. The camera was on a tripod to the left and behind the SB-900 angled to the right. The SB-900 was manually set to fire at full power, since with this type of flash that causes the flash burst duration to be the longest, crucial for HyperSync to work well.

The 3.40 PocketWizard firmware has a new feature for tweaking how the light gets applied to the frame. Reduced Clipping Mode is meant to look best at the fastest shutter speeds, and Highest Power Mode is designed for shutter speeds right above the camera's sync speed. I found their descriptions of this mode to be accurate, Highest Power Mode looks much better up to 1/500 second, then Reduced Clipping Mode either looks the same or better past that point.

My conclusion from this is that HyperSync seems useful for some types of shots up to around 1/800 second with the SB-900, past that there are just too many artifacts and loss of power. Highest Power Mode at 1/500 seems to be the sweet spot for my camera/flash combination, which is pretty awesome considering most cameras can barely sync at 1/250, so that is a full stop improvement which I could see myself using.

Test conducted June 21, 2013 using the PocketWizard 3.40 firmware on both the MiniTT1 on camera and the FlexTT5 on the flash.

June 22, 2013: Added Reduced Clipping and Highest Power tests for the Paul C. Buff X2400 light using a gridded beauty dish. Conclusion, up to 1/2500 second looks great, with usable results all the way to 1/8000. Note that I had to set the PocketWizard receiver strobe profile to X1600, since the X2400 is not directly supported, and the transmitter flash speed to 7, which may or not be the best choice for the X2400. For this test I had to adjust the exposure as the shutter speed got faster because brightness levels kept dropping, it looks like there is about a 4-stop loss of power between sync speed and 1/8000 second.

Click on the buttons below the image to see how each shutter speed setting affects the captured picture.

1/200 second (normal flash sync)

Reduced Clipping Mode:

Highest Energy Mode:

Paul Buff X2400 Reduced Clipping Mode:

Paul Buff X2400 Highest Energy Mode:

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