1. Flash recycling time is a function of the type of photography you shoot. Professionals require speedy flashes, especially when shooting fashion, weddings, photojournalism and other assignments. Although the casual photographer doesn’t want to miss any of the activities and camaraderie at family events, such as birthday parties, he or she is not quite as dependent on flash recycling time as a pro.
2. Flash recycling time is also a specification of the flash unit you use. For example, full-discharge recycling for the Nikon SB-700 is approximately 2.5 seconds. The SB-900 has been tested at two seconds, although its published range is 2.5 to 4.5. By comparison, Canon claims a .01- to 6-second range for its premier 580EX II flash. The type of batteries you use and how much they’ve drained also affect these times.
3. A tip from an experienced wedding photographer is to use Sanyo Eneloop AA batteries, which he has discovered only need recharging every few weeks. Compared to other batteries, the Sanyo’s have a rather greater capacity and retain their charge for quite some time.
4. If you want a faster recycling time, then you want a faster sync speed. First, it allows you to use larger apertures, which reduces the amount of power needed. When less power is expended, the flash must only replace this smaller amount. This, in turn, causes your flash to recycle faster.
5. The larger apertures are in the f/2.8 to f/4 range, as this will still give you plenty of depth of field, especially shooting indoors.
6. You can also boost the ISO sensitivity to as much as 1,600–4,000.
7. Select a slower shutter speed. If you’re able to use one of the high ISO sensitivities, then 1/125th is a good match; however, if you can’t increase ISO to much more than 800, then you’ll have to go slower, to 1/15th to 1/30th.
8. When shooting in an interior environment, try to bounce the flash’s light off any white or light-colored walls and ceilings, so more of the light illuminates the subject or object and less dissipates throughout the space.
9. Another method that causes the flash to expend less light is to have your ambient exposure less than one-stop of the ambient light level. This means under exposure of the subject would be no more than one stop if you were not using the flash.
The less than one stop of ambient exposure is quite a bit less, with 1/2- or 1/3-stop actually best. In terms of exposure settings, an example is choosing a camera setting of ISO 1,600 at f/4 and 1/30th shutter speed when the ambient light reads ISO 1,600 at f/4 and 1/30th. The flash would then do the work to correct for the proper exposure.
10. A professional secret is to use one’s experience shooting various kinds of assignments to know when to pause, so the flash can recycle without missing any important images.
Your feedback is important to thousands of PhotographyTalk.com fans and us. If this article is helpful, then please click the Like and Re-Tweet buttons at the top left of this article.