Try high-speed flash
Jason Parnell-Brookes shows you how to freeze action with your speedlight’s Auto FP setting for high-speed sync flash
Use your speedlight’s Auto FP setting to shoot dynamic action images
You’ve probably been there yourself: you hit the pop-up flash and your shutter speed gets stuck at 1/200 sec. Or you attach a speedlight and you get the same thing. The flash ‘sync’ speed (the fastest shutter speed where the camera’s sensor will be fully exposed to light from a flash) is typically 1/200 sec or 1/250 sec, and you’ll be unable to set a faster shutter speed unless you turn to manual mode. When you do though, half the frame is dark and half is light. This is because the shutter curtains that open and close to expose the sensor to light are moving so fast that only a portion of the sensor is visible when the flash fires.
So how do we get around that? By using Automatic focal plane flash (Auto FP), Nikon’s brand of high-speed sync flash. It pulses the flash many times in a fraction of a second, instead of firing once, so you get a clearly exposed image all the way through the frame. It gives the flash unit less time to recycle and so is inherently less bright than a fully-charged flash, but it makes the perfect companion when using flash to light up sports and action portraits.