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Old Feb 21, 2016, 4:21 PM   #1
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Default Flash Sync

I thought I had a handle on the topic of flash sync but I was wrong. I was bad wrong. I use a Sony A-550 with the Sony HVL-F58AM flash.

If I am trying to shoot sports or action shots at night how do I set the camera/flash to make sure the flash both fires and fires at the correct time? I understood the Sony manual to tell me the flash will sync at shutter speed up to 1/160th.

It was hit or miss at best with the flash not firing at all most of the time. I am open to any and all advice.

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Old Feb 21, 2016, 4:55 PM   #2
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Since you already covered RTFM...

The obvious: Is there any chance you're shooting too fast for the recycle time of the flash? Most external flashes take a second or two to recharge, depending on battery type, battery power level, and flash power level.

Long shot: If the flash is showing charged yet is not firing, I'd clean the hot shoe connections on both the flash and camera and visibly inspect to ensure that the contacts are connecting properly.

A guess: Are you hitting a heat threshold in the flash? Yesterday, for the first time, my SB-900 shut down due to overheating. It took 15 minutes before it would fire again. Once this happened a few times in a row, I started intentionally delaying an extra 10 seconds between shots to let the flash cool down, and the problem went away. Perhaps yours doesn't have quite enough time to cool down between some of your shots.

Troubleshoot: If after all this, the flash is still not firing... Try the flash on a different camera / try a different flash on your camera (to rule out a faulty camera and/or flash)...

G'luck! =)
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Old Feb 21, 2016, 6:23 PM   #3
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Thanks for the input Conor but I think this has more to do with my not doing something correctly than anything else. I am reading the manuals but am missing something somewhere.
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Old Feb 21, 2016, 6:38 PM   #4
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What settings are you using for the camera and the flash? IIRC on Minolta, which uses the same flash system, if you are shooting in shutter priority, and the flash/camera system can't find an aperture value that will give you a properly exposed shot, it just won't. Aperture priority generally gives better results.
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Old Feb 21, 2016, 7:45 PM   #5
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I had started in Aperture mode but the shutter speeds were down around 1/60 or so regardless of where I set the ISO. I have been playing around with both camera and flash in Manual mode setting the shutter speed at 1/800 give or take and it seems to be firing under the High Speed Sync while mainlining the f2.8 Aperture.

I know it is operator error and am scouring the flash manual for the correct settings. I am still trying to figure out to get to half of the available setting options for the flash.

Thanks for the suggestions

Steve

Last edited by Old Boat Guy; Feb 21, 2016 at 7:50 PM.
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Old Feb 21, 2016, 8:42 PM   #6
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Were you getting any motion blur or extraneous background in the shots taken in aperture priority, or was there some other problem? If all, or most of the light is being provided by the flash, your shutter speed won't matter, as the exposure time is that of the flash burst, rather than how long the shutter is open. (you wouldn't believe how long it took me to come to understand that)
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Old Feb 21, 2016, 11:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Boat Guy View Post
Thanks for the input Conor but I think this has more to do with my not doing something correctly than anything else. I am reading the manuals but am missing something somewhere.
Ah, sorry! I tend to assume problems are with the kit, not the operator! ;-)
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Old Feb 22, 2016, 10:22 AM   #8
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Never underestimate the power of operator error. Back in my geek days we had an error condition referred to as PEBKAC or "problem exists between keyboard and chair". I can be prone to the condition just like anyone else.

Thanks VTphotog. It rained last night so I could not get outside to play around but think I have a better grasp of what is going on. The track lighting is horrible so most of the light comes from my flash. The weather is supposed to be nice this evening so can use the dogs to practice with the flash settings and work on my panning.

Thanks for all of the advice
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Old Feb 24, 2016, 1:58 PM   #9
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by any chance are you swiveling the flash head? the sony wont do above 1/60 unless the flash head is pointing in the straight forward position
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Old Feb 24, 2016, 4:19 PM   #10
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by any chance are you swiveling the flash head? the sony wont do above 1/60 unless the flash head is pointing in the straight forward position

I am not rotating the flash head and did not know of this limitation. I will look into this and thanks for the heads up.
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