High Speed Sync A Canon 7D for $15 bucks

Ok here goes. Ever since I switched from Olympus one of the things I missed most was the ability to high speed sync any flash at any shutter speed. The Canon 7D works way different than the Olympus, you need to use a special wireless trigger, a radio popper, a mini tt1, or a Photix Oden and all of them suffer from one thing or another. The Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 was touted as the best solution for wireless HSS so this was the unit I purchased. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. Not only does it cost $200 bucks, you must buy a flex tt5 to be able to use an off camera speed light in HSS mode. That will cost you another $200 give or take a few bucks. So you are in for $400 and you get the ability to HSS a speed light.

Well I dont care about TTL as a matter of fact TTL sucks. The camera is stupid, I want full control over the light.  I use light meters and TTL will take control based on the in camera light meter.  Getting consistent results with TTL is hit or miss and impossible with studio lights. Not to mention HSS does not exist with studio lights.

So lets talk a little bout HyperSync; fancy word from Mac Group (the owners of Pocket Wizard) for the HSS tail sync hack.  What they do is use a Mini TT1 to allow you to use shutter speeds above the camera native sync speed.  Here is the catch, you have to have a speed light or studio light that has a flash duration that falls within the timing adjustment of the Mini TT1.  So if your studio strobes duration is too fast you wont be able to get to 1/8000th with out banding.

So when you get the Mini TT1 you will upgrade the firmware and this will give you a download link to the software that lets you control the timings of when the actual RF trigger signal will take place. The idea is to let the Mini TT1 read the preflash signal from a Canon camera and use that information to lock in a timing routine and trigger the transmitter at the offset you have set in the firmware. You must have the Mini TT1 connected via a usb cable in order to make adjustments to various features of which timings and sub timings are one.

In the firmware for the Mini TT1, there is a full auto mode where the camera switches from HSS to Hypersync, or you can check a box to override HSS (Canon High speed sync) and use only Hyper Sync (Pocket wizard micro second adjustable timer).  You have the ability to control C1 or C2 (channels 1 and 2).  In theory it is a great idea; you can use C1 for speed light settings and C2 for studio strobes. In practice it just doesn’t work with all flashes.  They do not mention this until you get to advanced tech at MAC group.  The speed of sync you can achieve using the TT1′s Hypersync is limited to your studio strobes flash duration. This is just a fact of life. They will tell you all sorts of things, but when you ask them how to get your studio strobes to sync at 1/8000th, they will tell you it is not possible with all strobes.

This is not what they say in the literature, not what they say in the videos. Mark Wallace Talks about HyperSync at the PocketWizard website here this TT1 and says at :22 seconds , you can use a camera mounted TT1 to sync a studio strobe at 1/500th and higher. What 1/500th?  I want to be able to sync my shutter at any speed including 1/8000th.  I want full control over ambient.  So, you pay $200 for a micro second timer that you have to adjust, over and over, based on changes of the flash power.  That sucks!  I have figured out how to so the same thing that I did with my Olympus, for my Canon.  That is to say I can sync a Canon 7D at 1/8000th with Zero Banding. It doesn’t matter if I use a studio strobe or a speed light.  I have tested studio packs and speedlights from Canon, Nikon, Vivatar, Minolta, Speedotron, Novatron and they all work exactly the same, No Banding at any speed.

My Mini TT1 is going back. If you have the extra money to burn and want to to play with TTL flash, that is fine, buy 3 580exII for $450 a pop, and 3 Flex tt5′s for $220 each and a Mini TT1 foe $200.  You will also need adapters for various strobes like the $129 PowerST4 Receiver that enables remote power control of Elinchrom RX flashes, or the The $70 AC9 AlienBees Adapter that has to be paired with a FlexTT5 for AlienBees strobes.  Oh, and the $100 PowerMC2 for AB Einstein flashes…almost forgot that.  Then you have the $70 AC3 Zone controller, that I must admit, is cool to adjust the power of each light from the camera, but you need a TT1 and Flex TT5 to make it work.  So lets add up the cost of a 3 light setup using Canon flashes and the Control TL technology from Pocketwizard.  Parts needed 1-tt1, 3-tt5′s, 1-ac3, and 3-580exII’s a total of $2280.  That is ridiculousness!!!   I can show how to Sync your flash at any shutter speed for $15 bucks (provided you have a flash that will put a canon camera in HSS mode)

Also, some infomation from the PocketWizard site says “Canon Speedlite models 580EX and 580EX II, and especially the 430EX (not the 430EX II), emit RF interference that can substantially reduce the effective operating range of many radio slaves, including the FlexTT5…placing the FlexTT5 above the flash by 18” or more… improves reception dramatically.”  They sell shields, both soft and hard. They say it is Canon’s fault based on tube placment, shielding, ect. PocketWizard discusses the limitation of certain lenses to stop down completely without banding the image.  For details, look at the chart on page four of Preliminary Research Report on Canon 580EX II Flash Failures
By Jim Clark & Tim Ambrose, Research and Development LPA Design” LPA is who makes Pocketwizard. They point the finger at Canon but still replace peoples expensive gear.

In the video, below, I will show you how to HyperSync, HighSpeed Sync, Or SyncHack your Canon 7D, at any shutter speed, for $14 bucks.  Well, it’s $15 bucks if you order your little slave from me.  Mine come with a little suction cup than will stick to the front of any speed light. Flash Zebra is $16.00 plus shipping and no suction cup.  They don have the exact slave I have; their’s is a little different.  They have a great company and I have bought a lot of things from them, however, my slaves come direct from Sonia, in India, so I have a limited supply of these.  I bought a case of them for testing and this one was the one that worked the best.

First I want to say sorry for the crappy video, it’s long and embarrassing.  The content will teach you, but the actual production sucks!  I was at home, bored, in the middle of the night, when I made this.  Feel free to tell me how bad it sucks, I already know ;)

Watch the video in HD

    • ImInsertUserName
    • Nov 6th. 2012 11:37am

    I would like to purchase one or 2 of these, if you still have or want to sell them. Please contact me. I would prob be willing to pay a little more. Let me know. Thanks

  1. I am sold out, I am going to place a new order because of all the interest here. They come from a Company in India and they are very difficult to work with. I will let you know when more arrive. Tom

    • Norm
    • Nov 6th. 2012 9:12pm

    Count me in for one or two units when you get restocked!

    • Chandler Connor
    • Nov 17th. 2012 1:05pm

    Genius…I was just about to spend a ton of money on the flex and mini to achieve HSS mode. You came up with a cheaper solution, so I am now ordering the cactus v5′s and need 2 slaves from you.

    Please let me know when you have more available.


    • jeff brockmeyer
    • Nov 22nd. 2012 12:51am

    is the only slave that will work with a 7d, and a canon 220ex the Flash Zebra slave? I have tried with just a normal optical slave and could not get it to sync. If fired the flash but before the shutter opened. Any suggestions?

  2. I have never used the Flash Zebra Slave. I assume it works. You need a Canon specific optical slave.

    • jeff brockmeyer
    • Nov 26th. 2012 3:19pm

    Thank you. I bought a canon ex specific slave, and im using a 220ex flash on a 7d with pocket wizards. I can get the slave to fire the external flash, but it fires the flash before the shutter even opens. Any suggestions on how I could get this to work. Is there a setting in my camera I am missing or something. I am trying with a t2i and getting the same results with that camera too. I have tried firing a profoto, quantum, sb800. all are firing before the shutter opens.

    any help would be greatly appreciated guys.


  3. Not for nuthin’ but I did see the verson w/ a mini-jack instead of the pc base; so you’d just plug in to the PW; no mucky-muck w/ a pc cord, or even need for suction cup. Those will work, right? Sonia brand for Canon EX?

  4. So I can’t get the Wein to xfr the signal to the PW. It works as a light slave, but the pc connection from it to the PW isn’t working. Is that what you meant when you said other slaves won’t work?

    • Pedro
    • Dec 1st. 2012 9:08am

    Great work…do you already have them for sale again? Let me know when you do.

    • jeff brockmeyer
    • Dec 3rd. 2012 4:33pm

    has anyone actually got this to work?

  5. @jeff brockmeyer

    Not only does it work on my 7d it works on my new 5d mkiii.

    What are you struggling with, maybe I can help you.

    • Sean Tocker
    • Dec 5th. 2012 8:04am

    @Thomas Shue
    Will this work with a 5D2?

  6. Yes!

    • jeff brockmeyer
    • Dec 9th. 2012 7:23pm

    So I have the 430 ex and 7d. i put the flash into high speed sync and the flash seems to fire before the shutter even opens. at any shutter speed even slow ones. I then put the flash into the other speed mode and it will sync with my off camera flash no problem. the thing is that it wont go above 1/200 a sec. because it isnt in high speed mode anymore. Does anyone know if there is a setting in the camera that allows the flash to fire after the shutter opens in HS mode? I know its not the slaves or flashes so it must be something in my camera or the on camera 430 ex. I have tried with a 7d, 5d t2i and get the same results. Does anyone know if there is something special i have to do to the flash to get this to work?


    • Steve Drury
    • Dec 23rd. 2012 6:56pm

    can i order the flash slave from you?

    • Mircea Tomescu
    • Feb 3rd. 2013 11:36am

    Hi Thomas,
    I’d like to purchase 2 of your optical slaves and have them shipped to Bucharest, Romania in Europe. Can you please tell me what would be the approximate cost and how could I pay for it. I’m not very familiar with the payment method that you proposed. However, if you agree, I can pay via PayPal and also bear any fees they may charge on you.

  7. Shipping is expensive and if you insist on Paypal as a payment option, it must be made via the gift option. If this is ok, let me know and I will email you all of the details. T

    • Shutterbug Doug
    • Feb 7th. 2013 8:55pm

    I’m interested in buying a couple of these gems. Please email me details if you have any available. Thanks!

    • JL
    • Feb 15th. 2013 12:38am

    Hi Thomas,
    I have a few questions for you:
    Is it necessary to put the camera in HSS mode with a Canon flash?
    Is HSS mode just to control the shutter speed to get it faster than the camera’s x-sync limit?
    Does HSS mode do something to the timing of the flash firing to get this hack to work?
    Will this hack work with a manual flash on the camera’s hotshoe that allows me to fire off the flash at any shutter speed in the camera’s manual mode?


    • Arturo CM
    • Apr 11th. 2013 5:11am

    Hi Thomas… can you ship one of those magic slaves to México?

  8. Mexico, I suppose, drop me an email with all your info and I will see what I can do. T

    • Arturo CM
    • Apr 12th. 2013 12:20pm

    Hi Thom…. will be easier to go with DHL (there is one here that it’s used by US Embassy to deliver Visa card)… and I can make you the payment on an American Express card…. what do you think?…
    Here is DHL address:
    Carretera Panamericana Km 5. 5 Mza. 10
    Colonia: Parque Industrial FIPASI
    C.P.: 36100
    Entre Calles: Carretera Silao – Irapuato Km 5

  9. Arturo if you send me an email I will give you the address to my PO box so you can mail payment. Now that I have your address I can give you the cost for shipping. I am not in the business of selling gear here on my blog. I do try to help people with this slave.

    Shipping internationally is a huge pain. It’s not like I can walk in to a DHL facility and mail a package. Also I have to register with DHL to mail something. Again a pain. I tell you what, I will mail it to you via the US postal Service. I have mailed things to Africa, the North Pole and Europe via the USPO.

    Send em an email and I will do as I said, give you my po box to mail payment. I will take Money order or Cashiers check, I hope that is ok with you. Thanks, T

    • Arturo CM
    • Apr 13th. 2013 10:01am

    @Thomas Shue
    My email is cabmirar@gmail.com…. what’s your phone number?, I can call you…. by the way, thanks a lot for answering so quickly…. also thanks for the patient as well.

    • Arturo CM
    • Apr 23rd. 2013 11:31am

    Hi Tom.. did you receive my email?

  10. no

    • Arturo CM
    • Apr 24th. 2013 12:41pm

    I see… maybe moderatos block it.. it’s “cabmirart” on gmail.. com.

    • Jamie Chick
    • May 14th. 2013 10:15pm

    I would like to know if you can contact me by email about this??
    Jamie Chick

  11. I would be interested in buying one of these, will they be available soon?

    • Rick Galloway
    • Sep 11th. 2013 2:19pm

    I have a Canon 60D and PW3. Initially the hack worked, but I recently updated the PW3 firmware to ver 1.2 and now I cannot sync above 1/250. I have the Sonia optical slaves – bought through Flash Zebra. Below 1/250 the hack setup works fine. Above 1/250 I get nothing….no banding, no picture nothing other than a dimly lit picture when there should have been flash. Could the firmware update messed up the sync system. Help I really want to get back to using this high speed sync with going broke being PW TT1 and TTT5 stuff.

    • Rick Galloway
    • Sep 22nd. 2013 6:54pm

    Hi Tom

    I’ve done a bunch more testing. (from my earlier email, my old Canon 430EX is a mess and on its way out) Here’s my setup – Canon 60D, Canon 430EXII, Sonia Slave bought through Flash Zebra and 2 x PW3. The off camera flash is a Canon 420EX. At 1/250 all is OK, At 1/400 there is no banding, but I start to see gradation from top to bottom. With increasing shutter speeds, the gradations get worse, but no hard banding. Same situation with off camera Vivitar 283 and Viv 273. Also tried my old Novatron studio strobes at 150 WS. Sync fine at 1/200, but 1/250 banding started (not gradation), 1/400 bad banding, 1/800 3/4 picture cut off from banding. Summary – Canon speedlights give me increasing gradation (not banding) with increasing shutter speeds. Novatron studio lights give me increasing banding (not gradation) with increasing shutter speeds. I so badly want to make your hack work. Suggestions, or is my Canon 60D at fault, or do I need your Sonia optical slaves (with the suction cup)? If so, please advise how to order 2 from you

  1. No trackbacks yet.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Thomas Shue Photography Blog