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Thread: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

  1. #1

    Smile X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    Recently, a bunch of new DSLRs come out with Live View functionality - including EOS 1D3, 40D, Nikon D3, D300, Sony A700 etc. These cameras use sensors that have an electronic shutter mechanism in the circuit for "live view", so that individual frames can be obtained with the physical shutter open all the time.

    The question is, will such a design make higher sync speeds possible?

    It was the case with 1D, D70, D50, D40 (all of which use combined electronic/mechanical shutter), whose sync speed was rated 1/500s and in practice it goes way beyond that stated limit.

    Hardware aside, there is another question of whether to make use of the electronic shutter in still image capture - which is a decision by the camera designer. Traditionally, the X-sync speed is determined by the physical shutter and beyond X-sync speed, the 2nd curtain starts to move before the 1st curtain fully opens - if this design is still used in DSLRs, the electronic shutter cannot be used for still image capture. However, if the design is such that for exposures faster than X-sync, the physical shutter operates at X-sync, then the electronic shutter can be used.

    So the question becomes: is it beneficial to keep the old shutter operation design when electronic shutter is available?

    (The benefit of higher X-sync is simply higher possible flash-ambient ratio, which can be handy in many applications. )

  2. #2
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    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    u must be a D70/D70s user..lol..simply love the electronic shutter..
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  3. #3

    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    Not really... I'm using a 400D and a Sony R1 (which does the trick and has a sweet lens).

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    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    Quote Originally Posted by grantyale View Post
    So the question becomes: is it beneficial to keep the old shutter operation design when electronic shutter is available?
    The answer would depend on what compromises have to be made. E.g., electronic shutters are relatively easy with interline CCDs, but you sacrifice image quality in the end.

    If there are no drawbacks, then I don't see why one should keep the noisy, vibration-inducing, and lifetime-limited mechanical shutter. (Some kind of crude shutter might be advantageous for dust sealing during lens change, but that's it.) But that's probably a big "if" so far.

    Also, SLRs are not tied to focal plane shutters. Some did and do use shutter mechanisms that place no hard restriction on the flash sync time.

  5. #5

    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    The answer would depend on what compromises have to be made. E.g., electronic shutters are relatively easy with interline CCDs, but you sacrifice image quality in the end.

    If there are no drawbacks, then I don't see why one should keep the noisy, vibration-inducing, and lifetime-limited mechanical shutter. (Some kind of crude shutter might be advantageous for dust sealing during lens change, but that's it.) But that's probably a big "if" so far.

    Also, SLRs are not tied to focal plane shutters. Some did and do use shutter mechanisms that place no hard restriction on the flash sync time.
    Good point. But a leaf shutter would require changes to the lenses right?

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    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    Quote Originally Posted by grantyale View Post
    Good point. But a leaf shutter would require changes to the lenses right?
    Probably. I don't think it would be the way to go, I just wanted to mention it. Sometimes we limit our thinking by making certain assumptions, like "SLR = focal plane shutter", or "SLR = not point&shoot", or "SLR = interchangeable lenses", or ... At other times, we limit out thinking because we're stubborn traditionalists and insist that the way things were done with film should be the same on the digital age. I don't see why one should accept the drawbacks of electronic sensors while refusing to capitalise on their advantages.

  7. #7

    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    I'm under the impression that even if X-sync becomes a non-issue, we still have flash duration as a limiting factor.

    An X-sync of 1/1,000s will be nice, beyond that some shoemount flashes can't discharge fast enough @ full power.

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    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    Quote Originally Posted by kongping View Post
    I'm under the impression that even if X-sync becomes a non-issue, we still have flash duration as a limiting factor.

    An X-sync of 1/1,000s will be nice, beyond that some shoemount flashes can't discharge fast enough @ full power.
    Well, just because you CAN synchronize at 1/1000s, that dooesn't mean you HAVE to...

    Aside from using flash, another problem is that focal plane shutters result in geometric distortion of moving objects. This would be fixed, too...

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    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    Quote Originally Posted by grantyale View Post
    Recently, a bunch of new DSLRs come out with Live View functionality - including EOS 1D3, 40D, Nikon D3, D300, Sony A700 etc.
    Sony A700 doesn't have live view.. But it does have an increase in x-sync speed to 1/250 (Steadyshot off) from the old limitation of 1/160...

  10. #10

    Default Re: X-Sync speed limit to become history?

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    Well, just because you CAN synchronize at 1/1000s, that dooesn't mean you HAVE to...

    Aside from using flash, another problem is that focal plane shutters result in geometric distortion of moving objects. This would be fixed, too...
    Actually I would want to.

    Being able to use wide apertures opens up more creative possibilities, and makes life easier for the flash.

    If the x-sync is 1/1,000s, I foresee using it a fair bit.

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