What Is Flash Shutter Speed?

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Dinesh (Mumbai, India) asked : I read your post about flash sync speed and got confused about flash sync speed and flash shutter speed. I went through Nikon D90 manual but couldn’t be satisfied with the explanation they gave. Can you please tell me the difference between flash sync speed and flash shutter speed?

If you already read my post about flash sync speed as you have mentioned in your question, I will skip that part and jump right into your question about what is flash shutter speed and when should we use it?

Flash shutter speed represents the minimum (slowest) shutter speed your camera will use when the flash is set to normal sync mode. Sometimes it’s also referred as a “studio sync” speed. Many photographers especially studio photographers have used sync speed of 1/60th of sec which has become somewhat standard. However, some photographers like to shoot in a different shutter speed. If you would like to eliminate as much ambient light as possible, you should go with the higher value such as 1/200th of sec or 1/250th of sec shutter speed. But if you want to capture ambient light (using rear curtain slow sync), you can start with 1/60th of sec and decrease the speed as you need.

There is no standard or correct sync speed, but if you are shooting under normal light inside studio or outdoor, default flash shutter speed, which is 1/60th of sec can be best choice and then you can manipulate your speed depending upon whether you want to capture the ambient light or avoid it. And if you want to change the default value in your camera settings, it is fairly an easy setup. If you are using Nikon D90, you have to go to CSM (Custom Setting Menu) and go to the Bracketing/flash and choose option e1. But if you are using D200, D300, D700 and other higher D-series like D2 or D3, you have to navigate through CSM and go to option e2.