Jump to content
Welcome To Our Community!

Discuss, share & explore photography, video, vlogging and making the most of your gear.

A9III Brings New Possibilities as Global Shutter Allows Impossible Images

Go to solution Solved by tonygale,

Recommended Posts

Last weekend I finally got my hands on the Sony A9III camera, that, by rights, should not have been produced until 2034 or so.  Working with strobes shooting action in bright sunlight and using the global shutter for the first time in my lifetime as a photographer was a radical experience.

I effortlessly made some images that would have been impossible just a two months ago.  I mean, that there was no way to achieve what I was shooting, ever before.  The experience really challenged my brain and go t my creative juices flowing as I began to see the possibilities to shoot images that I could not before, but can now.

I first shot a mountain-biker in the woods with a battery powered Westcott FJ400 powered down to 1/4 power.  The light was about 20’ away from the rider and it was a bright sunny day.  This series of images were all shot at 1/4000th f/2.8 and 125 ISO.

Could contain: Helmet, Bicycle, Transportation, Vehicle, Person, Clothing, Glove, Cycling, Sport

Could contain: Bicycle, Vehicle, Wheel, Boy, Male, Person, Teen, Helmet, Vegetation, Glove

The next day, we put a trampoline outside in a big field and brought out the same lights.  This time, the shutter speed was 1/10,000th of a second shutter speed at f/2.8 and 125 ISO.  That was not a typo.  1/10,000th is correct!

Could contain: Person, Clothing, Footwear, Shoe, Face, Head, Jumping

Could contain: Person, Nature, Outdoors, Sky, Clothing, Footwear, Shoe, Face, Head

We are who trained us, to a great extent.  My training began in the 1950’s when the guys I worked with at the Milwaukee Journal were just getting their start alongside a 1936 graduate of the University of Wisconsin named Edward Farber.  Farber had invented the electronic flash and worked it into a prototype that he used for his assignments at The Journal in 1940.  By 1945, he had outfitted the entire staff of 50 photographers with his new invention and had started a new company to produce them for Pro shooters all over the world.  These were large, and heavy but allowed the staff to make picture after picture without using expensive single use flash bulbs.  So when I joined the staff of the Journal in 1985 as a part time shooter, the guys I was sharing desks with had worked with Farber and were part of the remaining group of shooters that had pioneered the use of flash in the studio and on location.

Milwaukee is home to the second highest number of bars per capita: for every bar and tavern in the Beer City, there are just 1,800 residents.  The average throughout the country is 1 in 4,800.  The bar scene was and still is a big part of Milwaukee life.  People eat lunch in bars, get married in bars, go to bars at night to socialize, etc… In the core of Milwaukee, there are typically two to three bars in every city block.

You needed a lot of light to pull of decent photographs from inside taverns at night when they are filled with people.  Ed Farmer’s flash systems made this possible for years until smaller and more lightweight options came along.  In my era, the flash of choice was the Visitor 283/285 fitted with a “vary-power” knob that allowed you to change the output of the strobe from full to 1/64th.  With just a couple of these and maybe one borrowed from a fellow shooter, you could easily make great images in these dark bars at night.

So the guys that trained me up as a shooter used to take me along on “bar jobs,” and they shared with me all kinds of tips on lighting in the process.  These same photographers would invite me into the studio where one time Ned Vespa was shooting a pair of cowboy boots on 4x5 with just one light.  He was using pieces of tin-foil he brought from home that he taped onto the parts of the boots you couldn’t see to cause a reflection onto the book just behind the first one.  I asked him why he was just using one light.  He replied, “cause it’s more interesting.”

Could contain: Long Sleeve, Photography, Face, Head, Person, Smile, Adult, Female, Woman, Portrait

Could contain: Face, Happy, Head, Person, Smile, Adult, Male, Man, Photography, Portrait

We are who trained us.  So thought I am just 59 years old, I was taught by photographers that were shooting their first assignment in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  They all wore shirts and ties every day, and while their dress habits did not penetrate my iron will, their expertise certainly did.

I love to light things with strobes and LED’s too.  The challenge is always there, but the A9III has turned my world upside down.  I’m just starting to understand how global shutter will change still photography as well as video for good.

One thought as ai close out this piece…. The brighter LED lights that are going into big NBA arenas, college campuses, and even into high school gyms are twice as bright or more as the lights they replaced.  This makes it that much harder to justify strobing arenas as the quality is so good, especially on modern Sony bodies because of their sensors.  So, the bigger the arena, the brighter the LED’s.  Getting 4-5 stops over ambient light now requires doubling or even tripling how many heads are up on the catwalk… Except now the A9III exists.

We are who trained us, and, we are greatly impacted by the technology in our hands.  I will not likely utilize High Speed Sync (HSS) in the near future because it's old news.  I have a much better tool now, that can send light further down range than I ever thought possible!

Stay tuned as I forge ahead and do some testing with this new technology and light up a college gym with super short flash duration Elinchrom strobes.  But that will be for a future post.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Trending Content

  • Featured Products

  • Topics

  • Create New...