Pete Webb’s HyperSync Test

Pete Webb creates some gorgeous photographs. He has just discovered the world of HyperSync®, and it’s opened up a new avenue of the types of images he can execute. Webb informs he now has the ability to create photos he “could only have dreamed of” previously. His informative story follows.

Pocket Wizard HyperSync

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/2000th. ©Pete Webb

Last week I received the email reminder to download the new firmware update for my PocketWizard radio triggers. I was pretty excited about this, as plug and play HyperSync was something I desperately wanted to use and desperately wanted to work.

First thing to do was plug my triggers into the PocketWizard Utility and update. With the new firmware updated, a quick look at the HyperSync tab told me there was nothing to select, so I carried on and went straight out in the field to use them. (I think the main tab to be aware of is if you are using speedlites and want to use HyperSync, then you need to turn off “High Speed Sync” HSS, so check the HyperSync-only box. If you leave it unchecked then you can set where HyperSync takes over from HSS).

I was told using HyperSync with my Elinchrom Ranger RX with ‘S’ heads and my FlexTT5 Transceivers that everything should be fairly plug-and-play, as it indeed proved to be. I called up Morvelo, one of my cycling clients who sent me one of his team riders dressed in all the latest gear and on a nice expensive bike, and headed to one my favorite little locations at the top of one of Sussex’s best bike climbs.

For me to test HyperSync, I needed a bright sunny day so I could shoot wide-open apertures and fast shutter speeds. In terms of the lighting, I kept it simple. I was more interested in testing the HyperSync so I used a basic set up I use quite frequently with my sports photography. I placed one light just to the right of me with a Rotalux 70 softbox, and to the left and opposing, the Rotalux 70 softbox the other Ranger RX with just a spill kill.

I was using my Canon EOS 5D Mark III. I like to use this camera, as I can use the Eyefi card to transmit a lo-res to my iPad next to me and it also still works really well with my PocketWizard triggers. At an ISO of 100, I chose a 16-35mm wide angle lens at f/2.8 so I could select a shutter speed of 1/2000 of a second. Now before HyperSync, it would’ve been impossible to sync the flash at 1/2000 of a second. The first frame proved to me the system really works and then, frame after frame, it just confirmed that this new HyperSync was really something special.

©Pete Webb

©Pete Webb

I directed my cyclist to stare down the lens while pulling heavily on the front brake to get the back wheel in the air, and I shot only about 20 frames of this before I decided it was time to change and try a different technique and something safer. I went to my camera bag to rummage for something else that would allow me to shoot wide open and give me something interesting. What I came across was my EF90 tilt and shift f/2.8. This lens really doesn’t work unless it’s wide-open at f/2 .8 or f/4 for you to get the best effect. Again, previously in bright sunlight I wouldn’t have been able to sync my flash. I think you will agree the results speak for themselves being able to sync at 1/2000 of a second using the tilt-shift effect and a shallow depth of field delivers a truly stunning image.

©Pete Webb

©Pete Webb

Okay, now the gloves were off. What else can I play with? EF300 f/2.8? What a great sports lens. With the 300 f/2.8 I was shooting my cyclist in the range of about 30m, so I replaced the MiniTT1 on top of a camera with a FlexTT5 to enable me to have greater range. Again, the lens is wide open at f/2.8 and a shutter speed 1/2000 of a second and I’m syncing my flash!

The same setup of the Rotalux 70 and Ranger RX to my right, with the other Ranger RX with just a spill kill to the left, is now giving me images I could only have dreamed of. In a very short space of time I tried out three lenses that give very different effects and syncing with flash—something in 27 years of photography I’ve never been able to do successfully. For me, this was a ground breaking day, and I can only continue to get excited about the ideas I can now introduce to my work using flash in bright sunlight. I think for my next shoot, I will use my water housing that takes my 5D with the MiniTT1, and position my Rangers around a swimmer and see what results that delivers in bright sunlight. It’s definitely time to get creative.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/1600th. ©Pete Webb

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/1600th. ©Pete Webb

You can see more of Pete Webb’s photography at his site. Catch his breaking news on Twitter and Facebook.


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Pete Webb, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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One Response to “Pete Webb’s HyperSync Test”

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