Freezing Water, Flash vs Continuous Light: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

Freezing Water, Flash vs Continuous Light: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey


In this video I compare flash with continuous light to see which is best at freezing splashes. AdoramaTV presents ‘Take and Make Great Photography’ with Gavin Hoey. Hello, I’m Gavin Hoey and you’re watching AdoramaTV, brought to you by Adorama, the camera store that has everything for us photographers. In this video I’m going to look at freezing fast-moving subjects now this is
something I’ve done many times before here on AdoramaTV in all sorts of
different ways but the theme that’s always run through them is the light. I use
flash so the question I get asked and the one I’m going to answer in this video is well, can I do the same thing but with continuous light? So what I’ve got here are four different lights, I’ve got two different types of flashes, two different types of
continuous light, I’m going to use all four lights to create this image that I’m going to call splash light and we’ll see whether or not it’s possible to do it with
different light sources. Now, I don’t know how this is going to work out so let’s get
this out of the way, set the pool up and get splashing. So, let’s start with the
setup. Now I’m not going to go in-depth here, check out the Adorama Learning Center for a lot more information on how I do splashes but the basic setup is this. I’ve
got a light at the back that’s obviously going to change as I go through the video. All of the lights are going to fire through my tracing paper screen. I’ve got a paddling pool in the hopes that it will capture some of the water, not get too
messy. The actual light bulb itself is on a black glossy floor tile, and because I’m only using a single light I want to fill in the shadow side of my light bulb, hence
the small mirror, hopefully that will bounce a bit of light and we’ll find out in a second. Obviously I could use a second light, but the whole purpose of this
video is to use just a single light. So that’s the basic setup. One more
thing that’s absolutely essential, you’re going to need a towel. This is likely to get messy. It’s always a good idea to know where your towel is. So what about the camera set up? Well, to keep things the same I’m going to try and keep all of my shots at f-16,
a good depth of field, I’m really close and splashes go way further than you
realize. F16 is my aperture of choice. Other
than that, everything else is up for grabs so my ISO, I’ll try and keep that
reasonably low, my shutter speed will be proportionate to the light that I’m
using. Let’s just take some shots and see what happens. So I’m going to start with my go to light
the Flashpoint Streaklight 360. It’s a powerful flash, it’s got a short flash duration at its lowest power settings and that’s what I’ve got this set to 1/128th of its full
power. Now, I’m just going to take a shot and just see if it…that actually looks fine, actually brilliant. That’s perfect. So its lowest power setting is terrific. Let’s pour some water on and see how that goes. Now, the lowest power setting gives a
flash duration of about 1/10,000th of a second, should be pretty much
perfect for stopping water. Here we go let’s make this kind of wet. That’s ok we
got a couple of shots like that, we’ll see how that goes. Yeah, I mean that’s fantastic. That looks
really, really nice. The thing is, at that really low flash power I should be able to set
the camera up into continuous shooting, sequential shooting here on the Olympus, and I should just be up able to pour it and keep going. Let’s have a quick test. Yeah, ok here we
go. And it will just keep going and going and going. That’s fantastic. And it will keep up with me so things are getting messy, as expected, and that is brilliant. The flash is easily keeping up with the camera, although it’s not the way I like to
shoot, it does give me some great choices. So now I’ve swapped over to the Flashpoint Zoom Lithium Ion Speedlite. It’s a less powerful flash but it’s still set to 1/ 128th power. Not
surprising, it’s nowhere near as bright as with the Streaklight so I
need to increase the power of the flash. That means keeping the flash on for
longer, which means a longer flash duration, less freezing power. I reckon
that’s about three ish stops. Let’s go up to 1/16thpower. I’ve tried that. Yeah, 1/16th power looks about right but is that enough to freeze the action? Well, let’s find out. Let’s pour this on. Here we go. Yeah, it looks pretty good. Except when you get right to the edges you can see
there’s a little bit of smudging, a little bit of blurring of those
fast-moving drops so in this case it’s close. I reckon if I drop it down to 1/32nd power and compensate by increasing the ISO to 400. Let’s try that. And again. And once more. Well that is definitely better. It’s perhaps, not as good as the Streaklight, not surprisingly but I reckon that is
probably acceptable. So, the test. Will it do the continuous shooting? OK, well let’s just see. That looks promising. I think it might, you know, ok here we go. I think it did pretty well actually
keeping up with the high-speed continuous shooting. So with continuous
light there are as many choices there, as there are in flash. I’m going to start with
something small and cheap. I’ve got just a 10 watt LED torch flashlight around the
back there. It gives a beautiful beam of light. 10 watts of LED light is really, really bright. The trouble is you can’t see it because I’ve got even brighter video lights lighting the room so let’s switch those off. Now, it is a bit gloomy in here so you’ll have real trouble seeing me, I appreciate that, but let’s just take a shot at the same
settings as I had for the Speedlite, and it’s pretty much under exposed not
surprisingly. I’m going to increase my shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second. I reckon that’s an absolute minimum I need with continuous light to
get something even reasonably sharp and then I’m going to increase my ISO until
I get correct exposure, so I’m still, oh my goodness, I’m still way under. I’m a stop under at 256,000ISO. This isn’t going to work. That 10 watt LED light is not
bright enough. Now, obviously I need something a lot brighter for my
continuous light and I kind of thought that might happen so I have prepared a,
well it’s one of my video lights actually. It’s got four fluorescent bulbs
in it. Each one is a 105 watt fluorescent. That’s equivalent roughly of about 1,900 watts,
1800 watts of continuous tungsten light so it’s pretty darn bright, as lights go. It takes a minute to warm up so let’s just turn that on. Now, once again to be
fair on the test I need to turn out my video lights because if we’re shooting with ambient, that is going to
make a difference and these video lights are seriously bright. There you go, but nonetheless you can see the difference in brightness between the LED that I had earlier and
this light because you can still see me, which is a good thing. Now the first
advantage of using continuous light is you get a preview. What you see on the screen
is what you’re going to get. Fantastic and I can see I need to move the light back
and that’s really helpful because with flash, you know, you can figure it out but
you never really know until you’ve taken the first shot. OK, that’s better. So what
about the exposure? Now I had the ISO dialed up to maximum for that LED light, I can reduce that ISO a lot as
I’m getting at least plus three stops. In fact I can come down to 1600 ISO. There we go. Let’s just take a shot like that and see if that works. OK, here we go. And the answer is no. It’s rubbish, absolutely terrible. It looks fine but the minute you go and have a closer look you
can see the amount of smudging on those water drops as they’re flying through
the air. 1/1000th of a second is not even close. Now, I can increase my shutter speed to 1/2000th of a second but of course my shot becomes underexposed so I would either have to increase my ISO or I’m going to have to break my own rule and adjust my depth of field. I don’t want to do either,
that’s the trouble. I mean, yeah, I could add in an extra light, one more light, the same of
that, would give me one more stop of illumination. I’m going to choose the ISO and I’ll go for the ISO and have a grainy shot with depth of field rather than a less grainy
shot with less depth of field. Let’s try that. Test shot. Yeah, that works fine. Here we
go. OK, and that is better. That is better, but
it’s nowhere near as sharp as the flash. The Pen-F goes up to 1/8,000th of a second but to get that I need to lose two stops of depth of field. That’s going to bring me
back to F8, 1/8000th of a second, 3,200 ISO and of course I can put this in
continuous shooting as well because I’m using constant light, I don’t have to
worry about flash recycling. OK, here we go. Clean the lens, because the lens will get
filthy dirty, and very, very damp and does show. Well, you know what, if I look beyond the shallow depth of field and the more noisy image, that did really well. In fact, that actually did far
better than I thought it was going to. That’s not bad. So with everything packed away I’ve looked at the images and I’ve got some conclusions. Let’s start with the really obvious
stuff. The torch 10 watt LED flashlight is a brilliant flashlight but there’s nowhere near enough light to illuminate fast-moving subjects. That was a fail. The other end
of the scale, the Streaklight 360 just blew everything else out of the water. By
far the best light here, short, fast duration, crisp, wonderful shots. Things that did surprise me, the other two lights. The Speedlite did really well. OK, I had
to increase my ISO a bit but it was able to keep up with the continuous shooting
from the camera and I still have that crispness that flash gives me. The floor light, the continuous lights, the four fluorescent bulbs in here, they did
better than I thought. Now, I knew I’d have to compromise and sure enough more ISO, shallower depth of field, nowhere near as crisp as flash, but at a push yes you can
light this stuff with continuous light. Is it as good as flash? No its not, not even
close, but if that’s your only light source you can make that work. Now, if
want to see more videos from myself and the other amazing presenters right here on
AdoramaTV, you know what you got to do? You’ve got to click on the subscribe button. See, I found a use for the torch! I’m
Gavin Hoey thanks for watching. Subscribe!

100 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *