We’ve announced the new flash transceiver set from Lencarta, the Mach 1N, which works at literally all shutter speeds on Nikon DSLR cameras, right up to 1/8000th of a second!
That’s a pretty bold claim, and some people have doubts about whether it really works – so we’ve now shot a video of it in action. The video shows exactly what it does, so should answer the questions…
And here are the photos we took during the video shoot – judge for yourself! These shots are straight out of camera, I’m sure that we’ll crop them for the video, but right now they are ‘as shot’.
Meet Martins Arbidans. Martins is as dancer/gymnast/all round super fit young man who can not only do pretty amazing things with his body, he can also do exactly the same thing every time, making him very easy to photograph.
We found ourselves a playground in a local park, and ‘borrowed’ some of their play equipment. The big benefit was that Martins could land safely on the soft surface.
Here he is at the top of a slide.You can see that the weather isn’t too bright, although the sun did come out during the shoot. This is a ‘control’ shot to show what you’d get in the ambient light. The Nikon D3 has a clever mode called P, which some people believe stands for professional, and it set the camera to 1/200th sec at f7.1 and ISO200 for this shot. The exposure for the shot below was 1/8000th sec ISO400 f6.3 . At the same shutter speed but without the flash the exposure would have been about f/2.4, so the flash contributed about 3 stops more light than the daylight.
The Mach1N triggers allow literally any shutter speed to be used with Nikon DSLR cameras. This means that we can freeze fast movement by using a shutter speed as high as 1/8000th second, and it also means that we can reduce the contribution made by the ambient light by a full 5 stops too, compared with the normal synch speed of either 1/200th or 1/250th second.
Martins launched himself off the top of the slide at amazing speed and Michael, our photographer, photographed him as he hurtled past the camera. Of course, some cynical people will think that he was actually photographed at the top of his leap, with virtually no movement, but the video, which has this part in slow motion, shows that the opposite is true…
See how the 1/8000th sec shutter speed has completely frozen the action, and has also darkened the sky. This set of images was shot using a portable flash system, the Lencarta Safari Li-on, fitted with a 70cm beauty dish. That’s what we had with us, but we could have used another brand, and if we had had power, we could have used mains powered flashes.
This is really what these triggers are all about – the ability to freeze fast subject movement and, if required, to overpower ambient light in any weather conditions, using powerful lighting that doesn’t have ultra-fast flash duration, not that ultra-fast flash duration actually does anything useful in daylight anyway…
But some people are cynical and assume that the Mach 1N is no better than the ‘tail end synch’ triggers that are already available for Canon cameras. So we thought it would be a good idea to prove that they work with hotshoe flashes too.
We moved out of the playground into the park, we asked Martins to stand on top of a low wall and knock hell out of some grapefruit, using a cricket bat. Now, Martins is a pretty remarkable guy but he is Russian, Cricket isn’t exactly a popular sport in Russia and he had never seen a cricket bat before so it took a few practice shots Michael had brought along 10 grapefruits, thinking that this would be plenty…
Martins stood on a low wall, Alan bowled the grapefruits beautifully and Martins smashed them with the cricket bat. I had already scored them to make sure that they burst on impact, but given Martins’ strength, I needn’t have bothered…
Because of the much lower power of the speedlights, we needed 3 of them and raided Michael’s bag. We used a SB-900, a SN-800 and a Metz 54 MZ-3. The flashguns were placed about 7′ from Martins and the aperture was f/4.5, ISO 320, 1/8000th sec.
This is my favourite shot, I think it proves the point pretty well.
And here is a crop, showing more detail
Could these hotshoe flash shots have been produced without the Mach 1N triggers? Yes, but only in the dark. The hotshoe flashes could have been set to very low power, to produce extremely short flash durations, and this would have worked if the camera ISO had been set to a very high level, but the shots would have had to be taken in the dark to prevent blur from the daylight captured during the normal shutter speed of 1/250th second. Come to that, hotshoe flashes could have been used at 1/8000th in FP mode, but the power would have been far too low.
If you would like to see the full resolution files, complete with exif data, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see Michael’s own blog, please click here
- Will the Mach 1N work with any Nikon camera?
Yes, it will work with any Nikon DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera. We don’t yet know whether it will also work with Nikon film cameras but we will test as many as we can, and will publish the results when we have them.
- Will it work with other makes of digital camera?
It will also work with the Fuji S5 Pro, which is based on a Nikon D200 body, but it will not work with any other makes of camera, as far as we know.
- How many channels does it have?
There are 16 ‘normal’ channels and one extra one, and there are 2 groups of channels, A & B. Both transceivers need to be set to the same channel and any 1 of the 16 normal channels can be used. You will only need to change channel if another photographer with the same equipment is operating on the same channel in the same physical area.
- Can it be used with other makes of radio trigger?
Not really. There is an extra transmitter channel that some other flash triggers can receive, but even if this works you will be limited to 1/200th second.
- Which batteries does it take?
Each transceiver needs 2 x AAA cells, which are available everywhere
- Can they use rechargeable cells?
- Will it work with my Nikon flash gun when used on my Nikon camera?
Yes. Your flashgun simply plugs into the hotshoe on the trigger.
- Will it work with my non-Nikon flash gun when used on my Nikon camera?
Yes. Your flash gun simply plugs into the hotshoe on the trigger.
- Will it work with my flash gun (whether Nikon or not) off camera?
Yes, you will need one for each flash gun plus one fitted to your camera, or you can use a Nikon-fit off camera flash cord to trigger the flash, or you can use a slave cell.
- Will it work with my studio flash head?
- I have studio flashes that have built in radio triggers. Will I need to buy one of your new transceivers?
It’s just possible that the radio receiver built into your flash head operates on the same radio channel, but it isn’t likely and you will probably need to plug one of our transceivers into one of your flash heads.
- Will I need a matching radio transceiver for each studio flash head?
No, you will normally need just one, any other studio flash heads can fire as slaves.
- How long is the operating range?
- Does it have any other clever features?
Yes, it can be used to fire your Nikon camera shutter remotely, which can be very useful for sports, wildlife photography etc.
- Can I buy it yet?
Yes, you can buy it for your Nikon Camera by clicking here.
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