High Speed Is A State Secret…

High Speed Is A State Secret…

It all got so much easier  – thanks to new advances in technology.

The venue was Elizabeth Quay, the event a display called Toyota At the Quay. It was one of four motoring events available on the same day – a case of Perth’s feast or famine mentality when it comes to car shows. I chose it as the one closest to home, with the easiest transportation, and no entry fee. Birds aren’t the only creatures that go cheap, cheap around here…

Anyway, it was the ideal opportunity to see if the High Speed Sync feature of the Fujifilm X-T2 actually works. To do so, I paired it with the Fujifilm EF-X500 flash and carefully studied all the instructions…all the copious official instructions…of which there were none at all. The closest I got to anything was a couple of fan-boy forum posts, and even they went off into nasty arguments after a few paragraphs.

So it was just me and the gear and the Toyotas. I used to use the X-100 series camera with Fujifilm flashes and could run all up and down the shutter speed range with the fill flash. The leaf shutter of the X-100 was a marvel. But until I got the X-T2, I was restricted to 1/180 sync on the X-E2 and X-t10, and in Perth’s very bright sunlight, you have only a very small number of choices of aperture and flash power. With these two cameras and the EF -42 it was sometimes a case of overexposing things by a stop or more and trying to pull them back in Lightroom. Not optimal for highlights, as you can well imagine…

Armed with the finest-quality ignorance yesterday, I set a moderate ISO, cranked round to anything from f:16 to f:8, and let the shutter have its head according to the matrix metering. The flash was just left in TTL as I could find no special setting on its menu that mentioned HSS. The lens was the 18mm f:2. I framed, waited until I got the green signal, and fired.

Out of 63 shots I do not have one bad exposure. The dark spaces under the wheel arches and front of the car were nicely filled in, and the highlights did not blow out. The bug-bear of white or cream cars is a tough one when shooting in Perth, but not any more. Even the maddening highlight that metallic-painted cars throw back under a fill light seems to have been tamed.

Best of all, interior shots no longer required me to do mental arithmetic, change flash settings to manual, reshoot, or change ISO. The interior of the car balanced naturally with the outside. I’m not too proud to find that, for a subject I love, in a place that I live, I can truly just point and shoot.

Final note: If you followed the Panasonic battery saga in a previous column, you know that their AA Evolta cells are good value. I opened the EF -X500 battery door on the way home to discover that I had absentmindedly put those same old cells back in the thing  – so you can add another 63 flashes to the tally. That’s 633 for $7.50 or 1.18¢ per shot.

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