"High Speed Sync with the CITI600" by Stephen Perry

"I've been very lucky recently to have had the opportunity to test some lights for PIXAPRO. I was dying to test the CITI600 and in a timely fashion this light arrived the day before going on a trip to France with Zara Watson.  I have been testing the wonderful world of high speed sync lately with the Pixapro HyBRID360 (now discontinued) and knew that the CITI600 would be a step up.  The HyBRID360 is brilliant, lightweight and perfect for travelling and will shoot high speed sync. It does everything on a budget. But the CITI600 will give you a lot more power and a modelling light if required. The CITI600 is compatible with the Pixapro ST-III flash triggers which gives you access to TTL metering.

Just for the uninitiated, high speed sync means that you can shoot with flash at whatever shutter speed you like without being limited to the flash sync speed of the camera. Lets say the flash sync speed of your camera is 200/th of a second and if you shoot at a shutter speed faster than this you will see the dreaded black band appearing across your frame. So on a bright day, if you are limited to 200/th of a second your aperture may well have to be very small, say f16 or f22. This makes your depth of field very deep (everything sharp from point of focus to way back into the distance). BUT with high speed sync – you can cut down the sunlight with shutter speed and shoot at 8000/th of a second with an aperture of say f2.8. This makes your depth of field very shallow.

So – here are 2 shots – with exactly the same lighting/lens etc – with 2 very different results.

This first shot was without high speed sync and shot with a Canon 5Ds with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens. Shutter speed was 1/160 th sec at f16 (ISO 100). Zara was backlit by a very low, very bright sun and therefore to light her face takes a powerful flash. If the flash isn’t powerful enough, you would have to open the aperture to compensate and the sun would be too bright and result in her blonde hair being over exposed and in extreme cases make her look bald. Not a good look if a model has lots of lovely hair.


The next shot is a test shot to get the correct exposure on the water and backlit hair……so you can see what the image looks light with no flash at all….



This second shot was with all the same kit but shutter speed was 1/4000 th sec at f2.8  (ISO 100). The depth of field is shallow.


Now in my opinion I like the water sharp in the first shot. I like the highlights on the water and this is a shot of Zara – not necessarily a fashion shot of the swimwear. If this were a catalogue shot where the swimwear is the most important part of this shot, a blurred background would prevent any distraction from it. Also if a background is much busier (trees/buildings etc) this technique becomes even more useful.

More posts from our French Trip coming soon.."

Credit: Stephen Perry - Website: http://stephenperry.com

For further information regarding the CITI600s, please click Here

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