New Lifestyle Work – Jul 2018
I’ve owned a Pentax 645z for a while and couldn’t rate it highly enough, but with one small problem. The flash sync speed sucks. It’s got these beautifully sharp files with gorgeous tones but you just can’t sync with flash past 1/125th and that rules most things that aren’t stood still, or portraits with a shallow depth of field in sunlight for example because you sacrifice aperture control to expose correctly , so I’ve mostly used it for indoor portraiture and still life, and used a 5d3 with a Profoto Air remote for anything with a bit more movement or anything outside. Yes I could stack up ND in front of my Pentax lenses, but I went through that with my Canon pre the air remote, it was fiddly, time consuming and also didn’t solve the max x-sync issue.
I spent a while contemplating a jump to Phase One so I could sync with flash at any speed I wanted, but even these systems aren’t perfect. The focussing speed and overall usability of the Pentax is still far ahead of the Phase One systems and at a fraction of the price, so really I’m just swapping one set of complications for another (but taking out a business loan in the process).
Then I found a video on Youtube of a photographer who also uses the Pentax 645z, drily testing this doohickey Cactus v6ii with a Canon Profoto Air remote and getting it to sync with Profoto B1s at any shutter speed he liked, so I went out and bought the Cactus and after a firmware update – it worked, and with a Cactus between the Canon Air remote and the hotshot of my Pentax, it can now shoot HSS like any Canon camera. I thought that was a pretty momentous thing, because it truly turns the 645z into a capable camera system for sports – provided you’re working with Profoto lights that are HSS enabled of course, and currently that limits you, I think, to 1000w on the D2.
Anyway seeing this new capability I had, to shoot on location with a gorgeous camera at f2.8 with flash at 1/2000th, I did what anyone would do and did a more active fitness shoot. Hope you like it.
Sam McGowan – IG @samsays_uk
Richie Jeeves – @richiemickeljeeves