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I'm planning upgrading to a flagship and would like to know if I can use strobes as opposed to monolights with their high burst rates.

I understand that one way to improve a strobe's capabilities is to hook it up to a external battery- but I am new to these. Are there any that enable 8-12fps?

I own the YN560 III and IV

  • I almost finished an answer and realized that I'm not entirely sure what you refer to - do you mean strobes (as in: speedlight) that can handle high burst rates of cameras, or do you mean stroboscopes? If it is the first thing you want, then you just have to look up recycle times for a certain power level. – flolilo Jan 14 '18 at 12:45
  • He means his strobes. 10fps strobing setups do exist. – TomTom Jan 14 '18 at 17:45
  • Needs more details, less lingo. – Caleb Jan 14 '18 at 19:54
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Correct answer: yes. Not with your strobes, though.

The Sony A7RIII shoots 10 FPS and during the press presentation Sony had set up a flash setup with 10 FPS. So at least one system can do it. You will need high speed studio strobes for this. Speedlights generally have a bad FPS count because they are underpowered to start with, and both cost and weight come into play here. Fringe use case. Studio strobes have much more power available (drawing from in most cases the power grid).

Ah, here we go.

Check Brian Smith's blog post, Moving Portraits: Sony A7R III at 10 FPS With Mechanical Shutter & Profoto D2 Flash — that is from that event. They use Profoto D2 1000Ws. That is very significantly more power than your flashlight has available. I may be snippy and say that one full power flash (where they do not do 10 fps) is more than the speedlight battery, but that would be a dramatization (not true). Speedlights are normally in the sub 100 Ws range. More like 80 Ws max as per What is the Ws in a camera flash? thread at photo.net.

  • Exactly what inspired this question. Don't have the a7r3 in mind, but something of a similar speed I expect. – Chai Jan 14 '18 at 20:11
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    The question specifically asked could Yongnuo speedlights handle the load. The correct answer to that is "No." – Michael C Jan 14 '18 at 22:58
  • The mention of my current equipment was more of a 'by the way' piece of information since I am sure someone would have asked later. However the first question is whether I should use strobes or monolights. – Chai Jan 16 '18 at 22:12
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Short answer: No.

There might be some special use cases where the power level required by the speedlight is low enough to allow them to keep up for a few frames. But eventually you'll either run into issues with heat in the flash tube or with delivering power to the capacitors fast enough.

To do what you want, you need some highly specialized (and expensive) lighting.

When I shoot at lower power levels with similar flashes at about 6 fps (because I forgot to change the drive mode from 'continuous' to 'single shot') I can sometimes get a two frame burst with flash before the third frame is flashless. An external power pack might extend that to a few more frames, but Yongnuo flashes are notorious for overheating if used to often at too much power.

  • Thank you. I guess Monolights are more suited for my needs? – Chai Jan 14 '18 at 19:51
  • Pretty much anything that can handle the load - which pretty much means something that takes power from the power Grid ;) – TomTom Jan 14 '18 at 21:19
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Yes, if you don't shoot full-power, use an external battery pack, and don't care about burning out your flashes. :) Elv of Flash Havoc tested using the Godox PB-960 Li-on external battery pack with a single YN-560 hooked to both terminals of the pack (it's capable of powering two speedlights simultaneously) with a Y-connector, and got 0.3s full-power recycle times out of them. At lower power levels, you probably could get 8-10 fps. But. This substantially increases the chances of overheat protection kicking in. So it may only work for short bursts, spaced well apart.

But, of course, it would be a lot safer/more usable/sensible to get a higher-powered strobes than speedlights, and use them on a lower power setting to get the faster recycle. Or to use multiple flash units that can be hooked up to alternately fire to share the load.

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