Pavel Kolpakov of UW Technics offers an explanation of how High-Speed Sync (HSS) works and details the TTL housing boards that have been developed by UW Technics. He mentions that HSS may be useful for shooting near the surface, under bright sunlight, creative photography with different depth of field, and fast-moving objects. It may also be helpful with cameras that offer relatively slow sync speeds.
UW Technics TTL Converters with HSS can be user installed. More details are available on the UW Technics website.
From UW Technics
New TTL Converters with HSS Suport
Pavel Kolpakov, developer of electronic systems for underwater photo gear and founder of UW Technics group of companies, shared some information about a new family of TTL Converters for High-Speed Synchronization support, developed and released by UW Technics in 2020.
Classic underwater strobe produces a mono flash. To exposure the shot correctly, the flash must fire at the moment when the camera shutter window is fully open. Photographers use the term “normal flash” for this case. The fastest available shutter speed is named sync speed, and it depends on the actual speed of the mechanical shutter’s parts. Most modern photo cameras have a sync speed of about 1/160…1/250 s.
Communicating with the camera, a regular TTL Converter limits shutter speed to 1/160 – 1/250 automatically to provide normal illumination by underwater strobes to avoid a dark band at the edge of the image. Photo camera requests to limit the sync speed this way via Hot Shoe TTL protocol.
This limitation was quite essential for underwater photographers and was mostly normal until recently. But this year there have been positive changes in this topic. Retra company released HSS underwater strobes with optical synchronization, UW Technics company released a full line of HSS TTL Converters and other necessary products for ultra-fast shutter speeds usage. So, shutter speeds up to 1/8000 s became available for underwater photographers.
High-Speed Synchronization (HSS) is the flash operation at ultra-fast shutter speeds (available range 1/250 – 1/8000 s). The camera shutter window never opens full at high shutter speeds but looks like a narrow moving part opened between two curtains. In this case, the flash lighting must occur with a long series of short flashes at a frequency of about 30 kHz while a partially open shutter window moves along the frame. The total flash duration is much longer than normal mono flash. The intensity of HSS flash lighting can be adjusted by changing the frequency of these pulses. The system can be switched to HSS mode via the camera menu.
This year, the HSS lighting support UW Technics company has developed and released a whole series of HSS TTL Converters for work with Sony, Nikon, Canon, and Olympus cameras at ultra-fast shutter speeds. Moreover, UW Technics HSS TTL Converter different models are already available for almost all underwater housings on the market: Nauticam, Hugyfot, Sea&Sea, Nexus, Isotta, Sealux, Aquatica, Seacam, Subal, Ikelite, Seafrogs, and Nimar.
Underwater photographers have flexible HSS tools for working with exposure (for shooting near the surface, under bright sunlight, creative photography with different depth of field, fast-moving objects, and many other applications).
As an example, very popular among the underwater photographers now are TTL Converters for Nauticam housings. By the way, those TTL boards also fit Hugyfot housings. These are the following products:
- #11074-HSS (for Olympus)
- #11031-HSS (for Nikon)
- #11052-HSS (for Canon)
- #11075-HSS (for Sony A7-A9 family)
- #11073-HSS (for Sony A6000-A6500 family)
Also popular is the newest product family developed for Seafrogs (Meikon) housings. In addition to TTL and HSS, these products also include a leak detector with a goldplated sensor, siren, and LED alarm. This is an advanced combined TTL board. Optional production also includes different Optical and Electric Bulkheads, purposed for work with TTL Converter. Currently, UW Technics produces the following HSS TTL boards for Seafrogs housings:
- #16034-HSS (for Sony A7 family)
- #16033-HSS (for Sony A6xxx family)
- #16037-HSS (for Canon)
- #16038-HSS (for Nikon)
User installation is very easy, it takes 1 minute:
TTL boards for Nexus housings support original Nexus Optical and Electric Bulkheads. These are the following products of this family:
- #11063-HSS (for Nikon)
- #11064-HSS (for Canon)
It should be noted that this year there has been a lot of interest in the HSS feature throughout the underwater photography community. Reviews of the experience of the practical application of HSS in underwater photography began to appear in the press.
Many photographers rate HSS as a useful creative tool for underwater photography. UW Technics company is currently engaged in several developments of underwater electronics based on High-Speed Synchronization. As noted above, in 2020, the company released 38 new products for HSS support.