High Speed Sync using CyberSyncs

So I get an e-mail from my buddy and fellow D90 shooter Levi, and his e-mail contains a link to a photo that he took of a couple of flashes, triggered by CyberSyncs, f11 @ 1/4000th of a second! I was blown away! I had to go and test it out for myself and low and behold… it worked! I shot the photo above with my D90, SB800 on camera @ 1/128th power with the CyberSync CST transmitter plugged in via included mini plug to PC Sync cable, SB80DX flashes @ full power triggered with CyberSync CSRB receivers, f11 @ 1/4000th of a second, ISO200!!! WOW! Wanna learn how? Read on.

What? No hack?
No. There’s no hack that you have to perform. You need a couple of things to even think about doing this. First, you need a Nikon SB800 or SB900 and a camera that’s capable of the Auto FP High Speed Sync mode. In this day and age, that means a D80, D90, D200, D300(s), D700, or a D3. (Some older Nikon bodies are capable, but I’m not going to list them all.) Of course you’ll need the CyberSyncs (CST transmitter and CSRB receiver). Lastly, you’ll need the included mini plug to PC Sync cable that comes with the CyberSyncs. This is how you’ll connect your SB800/900 to the CyberSync CST. See the photo below:

And this is what your flash will look like with the CST connected to it before you place it in your camera’s hot shoe:

Once your flash is mounted in your camera’s hot shoe, you’ll need to make sure that the Auto FP mode is turned on. (For D90 users, go to Menu > Custom Settings Menu > Bracketing/flash > Auto FP (e5) and turn it On. Once you’ve turned Auto FP on, then you can power on your flash. I then set my SB800 to Manual mode @ 1/128th power and positioned the flash head at 90 degrees (straight up). FYI, you could set the power higher and point it towards your subject for a little on-axis fill if desired. Then, as long as your other flashes and CyberSync CSRB receivers are powered on, you’ll be good to go and flashing away at ridiculously high shutter speeds that you never thought you could have with your CyberSyncs!

Got Power?
Look at the above test shot of Benjamin that I lit with 1 – SB80DX through a Lastolite Ezybox at f4, 1/4000th, ISO200. I had the 24″ x 24″ softbox in nice and close and you can see how quickly the light will fall off with a shutter speed of 1/4000th of second! Keep in mind that the SB80DX was at full power. To pull this kind of thing off with speedlights, you’re going to need more than one in most cases. If you can shoot really wide open, you might be able to get away with it… however you will need to have your light(s) in nice and close. This is where a Lastolite Triflash would come in REAL handy. To really do this right, you could use a high powered studio strobe like an AB1600 or the like.

Further Testing Needed
I only played around with this in the house tonight because it was already dark when I got the chance to have some fun with it. I want to test this outside in full daylight with a few more speedlights to see what I can come up with. I also ran into one small issue while testing this: if I put the camera down and it went into “sleep mode”, my SB800 would sort of “lock up” and my camera would default back to the max flash sync speed of 1/200th of a second. Not really sure why this was happening. I couldn’t use the power button to shut of the flash, but a quick opening of the battery door and closing it again did the trick.

So there you have it folks… High Speed Sync without using Nikon’s Creative Lighting System. RadioPoppers have been doing this for quite awhile now, but they are most well-known for extending the range of your flashes when using CLS. With the CyberSyncs, you have to do everything manually still, which is what I prefer. I’ll have more to follow later on this week, which will include testing this outside… in full daylight. Stay tuned!


12 thoughts on “High Speed Sync using CyberSyncs

  1. Great write up, cheers for the mention buddy. Looking forward to seeing more images and less tech stuff, even though this is cool.

  2. Stephen-

    What you are getting is not HSS, but rather a single pulse that is timed to last throughout the time the slip travels across your frame on a <250th speed. That is why you are only getting f4 at that ISO in that close.

    It does work (no frame blackout) but you lose so much of the power of the flash (wasted on the blocked out part of the shutter) that it is pretty much a wash vs the CLS way. In fact, dollars to donuts I would bet you get less light via the "sledgehammer HSS" technique used here.

    That said, it does apparently work, if not very efficiently. Kind like frying one of those geese with one of your radars does technically make it a microwave oven …



  3. David,

    Thanks for the clarification. This week I’m going to compare CLS vs. “Sledgehammer” and see how it turns out. I don’t think there’s any way of getting around efficiency issues when it comes to either method as Auto FP wastes a lot of power too. Results to follow.

    Thanks again,


  4. Hello Stephen, first of all, thank you for sharing this.
    I own a Canon 450D, two flashguns vivitar 483, with the cybersyncs receivers and transmitters.
    I understand you used your SB800 mounted to your camera’s hotshoe and the transmitter connected to the SB800. so in this way you can enable highspeedsync on your camera. I would like to know if there’s a way to get the highspeedsync without the sb900 attached to your hotshoe, i mean, using the transmitter attached to your camera’s hotshoe) I my canon i can’t set any setting on the external flash since it says “the flash attached is not ttl”..
    well, thank you in advance.

    Best regards,

    • Hi Nicolas,

      Unfortunately, there is not a way to make this work without using either Canon or Nikon’s TTL technology. Essentially, all the CyberSync transmitter is doing is transmitting a portion of the signal to the receiver and it has more to do with timing than anything else.

      Sorry that I don’t have better news.


      Sent from my iPad

      • Well Stephen, thanks for your quick reply. I’ve been researching for a while the ways to shoot flashguns faster than 1/200, and you are the only one that found an easy solution to this issue. I’ll get a speedlite to attach to my camera, anyway, one more flash is never too many.. thank you for sharing your knowledge. Congratulations for your blog, it is great.


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