Example setup using HS mode
In this test, I used a Nikon D700 DSLR camera with a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikkor lens, Hobo Merlin 300 studio flash and a light tent.
We start with a control shot with no flash, to gauge the ambient light levels (and sound scientific). It’s pretty dark.
Now we trigger the Merlin, using a ComTrig H550 on the camera and another H550 plugged into the Merlin’s 6.35mm port.
Let’s ramp up the shutter speed. Unfortunately we already get a bit of dark feathering at the D700’s normal sync speed.
We switch on HS mode, “learn” the parameter of the D700 at 1/250, and adjust the HS dial to level 3 to even out the exposure.
Now we switch off HS mode and increase the shutter speed much higher, to 1/1000. As you can see, only a tiny portion of the frame is illuminated so the image is unusable.
We switch HS mode back on, clear the previous parameters (by holding the test button down for a few seconds) and have the H550 learn the D700’s new parameters at this shutter speed. Let’s start with HS level 2.
Hmmm, still some black banding. Let’s turn the HS dial a bit further and try another setting.
More or less even, but we experiment a little more.
We find the best setting is level 5. But the exposure is too low, so we increase the flash power by one stop.
It was still a bit too dark, so we increase the flash power another stop. And now we have a nicely exposed(ish) image using flash at 1/1000 second.
If you’re looking for a foolproof, affordable way to use flash at high shutter speeds then this is it. While this is the flagship feature, it also works as a very capable conventional flash trigger, wired or wireless shutter release. Rather than buying lots of H550 transceivers, just get one or two to use as transmitters and then supplement them with G430-RX receivers, which are cheaper and have built-in tripod sockets. If you need more bells and whistles then go for PocketWizards or get some speedlights with FP Sync.
Update: I’ve done a similar high speed test with the Pixel King, a trigger with high speed sync that was overlooked in this article. You can find the results here.