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

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

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.

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