A blog of posts about Camera Equipment, Printing Gear, Lighting Setups and the use of all the above.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

HyperSync without Pocket Wizards

When I first heard about the new Pocket Wizards, the main thing that intrigued me was the possibility of getting better sync speeds for the purpose of overpowering ambient light.

The problem? I don't own or plan to own any Pocket Wizards. I use Paul C. Buff CyberSync radio triggers, and I intend on staying with them. This is partially due to cost, and partially due to my being utterly and completely seduced by the idea of adjusting power wirelessly (once the Cyber Commander comes out) for the Paul C. Buff lights that I use.

Since HyperSync is simply a mechanism whereby the Pocket Wizard pre-fires the flash (having predicted the imminent shutter release from the hotshoe), I decided to test whether I could use a single Pocket Wizard TT1 Mini to trigger my entire CyberSync setup. If successful, this would mean that I had merely to purchase a single PW TT1. Using it between the camera and a CyberSync CST transmitter, it would trigger the flashes and, once calibrated, theoretically result in better sync speeds than the CyberSync system alone.

This would provide the benefit of both systems for me. I would be able to use my current transmitters and receivers as well as adjust power remotely while getting HyperSync benefits. While I believe this could potentially be done by having a receiver from both systems (one CSRB+ and one Pocket Wizard) on each light, this seems somewhat economically prohibitive as I would require one TT1 Mini as well as five-to-seven Pocket Wizards. Additionally, I am uncertain as to whether I would have issues with the double-wireless system, particularly with the new Alien Bees MAX units that use a CyberSync transceiver in a built-in slot.

Note: I had rather a lot of problems getting the PocketWizard Utility software to recognize the TT1 unit. While it detected without a problem system-wise, two computers could never modify settings and another only exceedingly sporadically. By sporadically, I mean three times in as many hours of restarting and reinstalling; of attempt after attempt leading to terminal frustration. Finally, I tried an Acer AspireOne netbook which worked flawlessly. Given that all four systems were running Windows XP, I have no idea why this would be.

The setup:

Canon XSi + PCB CyberSync CST, with or without PocketWizard TT1 Mini.
Canon 580EX II @ 1/4 power triggered by PCB CyberSync CSRB+.



1/250th without TT1

With the CST alone, the maximum sync speed was 1/250.

without TT1

Any further, and black bars appeared.

Now, onto HyperSync:

with TT1

The required offset in configuration required was 750. With this setting, 1/320 showed no black bars whatsoever and 1/400 was properly balanced with minimal black bars at both the top and bottom of the frame.

Naturally, a better camera would allow improved sync speeds and reconfiguration would need to be done with different light sources but this proves that, in principal, the PocketWizard TT1 Mini can be used to cause an offset with a different radio trigger system to gain the benefits of HyperSync.

I know I'll be picking one up.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting use of the TT1, but you're sure presenting yourself with a challenge here. At 1/4 power your flash speed is going to be greater than if it was to be at full power 1/1. At full power you might be able to achieve better results with greater shutter speeds and greater flash output ratio by using the TT1 where you would have no other option to adjust your power output to your benefit, but where you're using 1/4 power and have the option to switch your power up, you might as well not use the TT1 and just use the Cybersync.