Obviously I have been very remiss in updating my post about this wonderful modifier. For many years it has been my go to modifier for on location sessions especially when high wind is involved. I was recently scheduled to do a cover band publicity session when the winds were 28 MPH sustained with 40 MPH gusts. Although the grove of trees where I shot the session was somewhat protected, using soft modifiers would have been out of the question. Anyway I used the Omni bare and with the included single layer diffusion fabric. I have modified the Omni to accept a Bowens mount since I no longer use Einsteins.
If you’ve never considered the PCB Omni I highly recommend it for its quality of light and versatility.
“Not to worry Tim, Mark’s camera is 8k not including the lens. Just don’t drop it!”
The scene as it appears not lit.
Omni without any diffusion panel. HSS using a Pentax 645Z
Omni with the single layer diffusion panel.
Natural ambient light.
Omni as the key light.
September 18 2015
I am constantly on the search for new light modifiers, those that fill a specific need. Since I tend to shoot quite a few of my assignments on location I have long searched for an alternative to the beauty dish. Why a beauty dish? In light to moderate wind an umbrella acts much like an America’s Cup sail catching wind like there’s no tomorrow. Their shape is just conducive to collecting wind and as a result often topples a strobe and light stand. Sure sand bags or a voice activated light stand (human) can go a long way to preventing the ensuing damage, but there are times when I want or have to work alone. Even softboxes or octabanks can catch enough wind to pose a problem.
Priolite MBX1000 Hotsync at full power with PCB’s Omni 18″ Reflector attached. Pentax 645Z 1/2500th f4.5 ISO 100
Omni with triple layer diffuser sock installed. NOTE: the included diffusion sock is large enough to fit a 22″ beauty dish.
No need to do this workaround anymore. Flashpoint has released their new Flashpoint R2 Pro 2.4GHz Transmitter for Pentax. You can read my findings here.
Update September 26 2018
I am preparing for a publicity shoot where I want to use my 645Z, so I had to remind myself how to shoot HSS with the method I explain below. A spider had built a cool web in my backyard so I had this crazy notion to use my eVOLV200 with the Pentax. BTW Flashpoint will be releasing the Flashpoint R2 Pro 2.4GHz Transmitter for Pentax (XPro-P) which will allow HSS without all the shenanigans I went through to make it happen. I sent this shot to a friend of mine who hate spiders. Now she’s not talking to me….LOL!!!!
In my post about the Parabolix 35D I have some of my recent client work which was just released. All of those images were shot using HSS with my 645Z.
UPDATE August 31 2017
A visitor recently asked if the older AD360 line of strobes achieve HSS with a Pentax 645Z based on the method I describe below in my original article. The answer is YES it does. Rather than just ‘say yes’ under an ‘assumption’ that it would I decided to actually test it. I’m preparing for a dance session in two days and my partner who is making the move to all xPLOR/eVOLV units herself asked if she could borrow my old AD360s for the shoot. As a gift I had purchased an xPLOR TTL 600 for her so she wants to combine that with my old AD360s using my XTR-16 receivers. So a quick test before charging all of the units for her proves that the AD360 line works!
Pentax 645Z 1/1000th, f5.0, ISO 100. When using an older AD360 you need to manually set the strobe to HSS on the light itself. And if you’re going to ask me why I didn’t shoot this against a pure white seamless, I just did this as a courtesy to a reader. There’s no banding and if you want to see FOR YOURSELF, test it yourself.
UPDATE August 20 2017
I ran a test yesterday of various modifiers along with the new AD-B2 mount and discovered that when you are using the USB receivers in the eVOLV200s the only level of modeling light that can be activated on the AD-B2 is the lowest level from the FT-16 controller.
UPDATE: July 29 2017
I have just completed testing HSS with the eVOLV200 strobes with my Pentax 645Z. I have included my test shots with “Bob” and all Flashpoint USB triggers and Cactus v6II settings are the same as the Xplor/Godox 600 lights. But I have outlined how I set the eVOLV200 lights below.
All test shots with the eVOLV200 were shot at 1/2 power using the bare bulb head through a Fresnel modifer. It is necessary to disable all built in wireless receivers in the eVOLV200. The USB plug in receivers are necessary to make this work. You must also engage HSS using the button rather than depending on shutter speed on the remote to automatically engage HSS.
I’m using the ‘old’ 433mhz USB receivers along with the FT-16 transmitter. (see full setup in my Original test below)
Reference shot using only ambient light. The modifier I like to use is a Fresnel lens. It effectively replicates the look of sunlight.
1/500th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.
1/1000th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.
1/1600th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.
1/2500th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.
1/3200th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.
1/4000th f4.5 ISO 100 Pentax 645Z eVOLV200 at 1/2 power, bare bulb attachment.
A few people contacted me to let me know they have been able to use HSS with a Pentax 645Z using other brands of lights with the Cactus v6II which I very much appreciated. But even though they have had HSS/645Z success with Profoto’s B1’s, Speedotrons, Photogenic Studio Max, etc. I wanted to make this work with the Flashpoint/Godox line of lights. Why? Well because for my work they fit my workflow with incredible innovation and the largest eco system of strobes. Using an xPLOR600 as either a monolight or pack/head system is just one reason. Combining two of them to make a single 1200 ws head when I need that power, creating their upcoming eVOLV200 twin head all combine to make it the line I love to use. I’ve had my fill of purchasing other strobes just for my 645Z, namely Priolites to achieve HSS. Now I no longer have to use separate brands of lights to do my commercial work no matter what brand of camera I’m using for the job at hand. And that’s great since I use three different brands of cameras!
Thank you to Cactus for developing a tool that is both remarkable and functional. It’s been a godsend for my work.
Original Test Review
Flashpoint R1 Flashpoint Commander Transmitter
To put it simply HALLELUJAH!!!! Oh my gosh for the past four years I have wanted with all of my want to have an option for HSS and my Pentax 645Z other than my MBX1000 Hotsync Priolites. Priolites do NOT use HSS, but rather hypersync and as the shutter speed increases the slight shading of banding increases as well. I’m not talking about black bars, but what looks like a graduated neutral density filter was applied to the image. Sure I could remove it in those instances where it’s obvious, but in my mind for $2600.00 per light it should NOT be something I have to do. Anyway there are several other issues that bothered me, but as ‘the only game in town’ for shutter speeds over 1/125th of a second when using strobes, I like other shooters was stuck. Ricoh never manufactured modern leaf shutter lenses for the 645 and based on their current financial situation and market share I seriously doubt they will. Plus leaf shutter lenses are expensive and limited to whatever focal length is produced. It’s one of the limits that smug shooters of Phase One or Hassy bring up when talking about the 645Z. I just laugh and now I snicker…
So here’s how I figured it out. I now use a Flashpoint R1 Flashpoint Commander Transmitter with older 433mgh USB receivers in my Xplor/Godox 600 strobes. The FT16 is placed on top of a Cactus v6II transceiver. And as you can see by the shots I’ve displayed below it’s a godsend. Will I miss 1000ws from my Priolite? Oh hell no, not when I can simply combine two Xplor600s and hook them to my 1200ws head. HSS using my beloved Xplor600 with my Pentax 645Z means Christmas came in July 2017 for me this year! Hallelujah!!!
How the scene looked in mid day Bay Area sunlight. That’s my buddy “Bob” who fills in for my tests.
One of my trusty USB receivers plugged into my Xplor 600
All radio signals turned off and HSS enabled. You MUST physically enable HSS on the strobe to make this work. The quarter power is just what I selected for the test. And yes you can use any power level you want.
On the Cactus v6II set the Camera System to Pentax.
On the Cactus v6II set the Flash System to Manual Flash.
The Flashpoint R1 Flashpoint Commander Transmitter goes on top of the Cactus.
1/500th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.
1/1000th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.
1/1600th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.
1/2500th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.
1/3200th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.
1/4000th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power. That’s the 645Z’s max shutter speed.
A pulled back shot of the scene at 1/4000th f4.5, ISO100 Xplor600 at 1/4 power.
Will I like it if Cactus develops a firmware update for their triggers so that I don’t have to use the USB receivers? Sure! It would also mean I could use my eVOLV200s with my 645Z too. But for now I’m damn happy to have figured out how to use my 600s in HSS with my 645Z. No shaded banding whatsoever using my Xplor/Godox strobes.
For years I have used Paul Buff’s Einsteins almost exclusively for my strobe work. I still use them exclusively for all of my studio work as they are remarkable units. Combined with his CyberCommander and plug in triggers for the Steins they offer me the ability to control all but frequency settings right from my camera.
I recently purchased several new lights primarily for on location work. In the past I used the Steins combined with Vagabond Minis, but shooting action in high ambient light was beyond the capabilities of my beloved Steins. Godox AD360s allow HSS as does my Priolite MBX1000 Hotsync. Both of those units utilize Bowen S mounts for modifiiers.
So when I wanted to use any of those modifiers with my Bowens mount lights I had to modify those units to use with my bare bulb or Priolite units. But I didn’t want to alter the modifiers permanently so I could still use them with the Steins.
I am posting this link to another review I conducted converting a PCB Omni reflector to work with Bowens S mount lights. In that review I show several shots using HSS with my Pentax 645Z that relate to this post. You can view those images here. My apologies for not linking this sooner.
UPDATE: August 9 2015
Today I decided to test the Priolite with my Canon 1DX. Up until today I have only tested the Prio with my Pentax 645Z since it’s the primary reason I purchased the light. But a friend who’s a pro adventure photographer is considering the Prio for some extra oomph in terms of power. He’s currently a Profoto B1 user. I have also modified my PCB Retro Laser Reflector to a Bowen’s S mount to use it with the Priolite. In my experience Paul’s reflector is the best variable focusing long throw reflector on the market. So having the ability to use it with both Einsteins and the Priolites is perfect. The shots to the wall is at 70 feet. I specifically chose the crummiest time of day in terms of harsh ambient light to illustrate the power a 1000ws with HSS is capable of from the Priolite.
All of the following shots were taken at f2.8 ISO 100. Priolite at maximum power, 1000ws with OEM reflector attached.