Exceed Your Limits!

That sounds like something on an inspirational poster in your company’s HR office, doesn’t it? But I mean it. You can exceed your limits. Your shutter’s limits, that is.

One of my cameras has a flash sync speed of 1/200 sec. That means, see the post from two days ago, that I cannot go faster than that without this happening:

See that black bar? That’s what happens. Flash does not reach that part of the photo; the shutter curtain is too slow and gets in the way.

But sometimes, especially in bright sunlight, I want to shoot at 1/250 second, or even at 1/300 second.

And you know what? Sometimes I do.

In that picture, taken at 1/250th second on a camera that only goes up to 1/200, is the black area at the bottom really annoying? No. It is not obvious (there is also ambient light) and in any case, I want to vignette a little anyway.

Remember, it is only the bottom (or if I turn the camera to portrait orientation, the right) that will lack flash. So I can use a faster-than-allowed shutter speed while using a flash, IF any of the following four apply:

  • the subject of my photo is just in the centre; or
  • there is a lot of ambient light; or
  • I can crop off the black area; or
  • I want a strong vignette anyway.

There. Another trick on your flash bag of tricks!


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