No, I was not talking about Nikon flash guns. I was talking about Profoto and Elinchrom packs. I was surprised as you are when I tried to teach participants that you can't sync flash above x-sync time and told them to set 1/500 so they could see the shutter blade(s). Only one guy had no shutter blades in the frame so I thought at first he dialed in wrong settings. Turns out the D70 officially syncs up to 1/500 with it's combined electronic/mechanical shutter. Check out the the shutter section. So we went higher and as far as I recall it went up to 1/1250 s before parts of the image were not exposed correctly.
Wow, that is actually something they've kept rather quiet about. I hadn't realised that feature of the D70. I don't know that it would have tempted me to cross-grade to Nikon, but I'd certainly have given it much more thought.
I'm shooting the Canon 1Ds Mk3 at 1/250 x-sync outdoor all the time. No problem. Ambient light fills in and there's no darkening observable. In the studio I shoot it at 1/200. There you can have a bit of a darker edge. It seems you're talking about a 5D or lower end model but even the 5D syncs very well at 1/160 with no dark edge whatsoever or 1/200 outdoor. D3X is the same thing as the 1Ds... you can sync at 1/250 but on a plain white background the lower edge can be slightly darker (triggering with Pocketwizards). Not sure if a sync-cable setup would be better.
Yes, we have been using 5D and 5D mark 2's. In a studio on a white background the dark edges can start creeping in even at 1/160th- possibly an artefact of the way we are triggering (radio). Maybe sync would be better but ugh, not going back to triggering with wires if I can help it
Maybe the 1Ds are more reliable, but since the 5D's quoted sync speed was so far out from we found using them with our lighting, it didn't really occur to me that the 1Ds might actually do what the 5D was claimed to do according to spec. The Hasselblad just does do what it is supposed to in this case. Of course, the primary reason for the move was aesthetic, rather than technical, but it is nice when the technical stuff that is supposed to work actually does :-) which had not really been our experience with the Canons.
The three pictures you showed here all could have easily been shot with a Canon/Nikon/Sony/Pentax/Olympus/whatever.
I'm sure they could have been shot with other cameras, but I would debate you how *easily* they could have been shot... Our experience certainly was not as positive of trying to mix studio lighting and natural lighting on location as yours seems to have been. Maybe it is just bad luck on our part or poor equipment choice of D30/D60/10D/40D/5D/5D Mk2- it is true we never shot with 1-series Canons except on odd tutorial days where the issue never cropped up. I considered purchasing one instead of the Hasselblad, but I'm still glad I didn't.
It's good to see you're happy with your camera, but 1/800 x-sync did nothing for your three pics here. So it's a bit confusing that it's the only feature you named. I'm all game for arguments like 16bit color depth, CCD-vs-CMOS, no AA-filter, better color fidelity, etc. And in fact I really like the color of the turquoise pool and the yellow cord.
But anyway, the most important thing is that you like your equipment and feel comfortable with it taking the shots you want.
Well, indeed. I rather took the image quality arguments rather for granted, sorry... :-) And sync at 1/250th or 1/500th DID do something for the images I uploaded- these shots could not, in fact, have been taken with OUR Canon equipment and OUR Hensel Porty lighting, nor would we have been able to try faster and slower shutter speeds to see how the images looked and decide which ones we liked the best. (Case in point- the hair flick one just had much more life and feeling of motion at 1/250th than at 1/800th. The point wasn't to freeze the water, it was to create a feeling of fun and fluidity). For the crushed blacks- yeh, it is just a weakness of mine. Too much a fan of film noir, I think
Cheers, Hywel Phillips