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Lighting Fundamentals: High Speed Sync Versus Flash Duration


If you’re just getting started in learning how to light your shot with flashes, you may be confused about the terms “high speed sync” and “flash duration.” Here’s a helpful 6-minute primer in which photographer Daniel Norton explains what these two concepts are, how they differ, and which situations they come in handy for.

In his first example, Norton uses high speed sync to shoot at 1/4000th of a second, well over the maximum sync speed of his flash (1/250s in normal mode), in order to capture an outdoor portrait at f/1.2 for a very shallow depth of field.


Norton then uses a short flash duration (1/15000s) in order to freeze flying water in midair with tack-sharp clarity.


(via Adorama TV via ISO 1200)