New Airgap flash provides ultra-high-speed illumination


posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 12:53 PM EDT


Flashes are fast — after all, it's right there in the name. But if you're doing some truly super-fast high-speed photography, the type with razor thin margins of error, and excruciatingly fast moving objects, then sometimes a traditional strobe just isn't enough. In which case, you need an air-gap flash, which will give you just 1/1,000,000th of a second of illumination — but these were either excruciatingly expensive, or required a substantial amount of know how to build. But that might just be at an end now, as TechPhotoBlog has designed, and will sell, their own version.

This comes from Maurice Ribble, the man behind CameraAxe, one of the more popular high-speed camera triggers around. He originally built his own air-gap flash in 2011, but over the last year has been working with a team to make them more widely available. Dubbed the Airgap flash, it'll pour 16,000 volts into an air-filled tube (compare that to the 300 volts of a normal strobe), giving an incredibly fast flash duration.

The flash itself is huge, bulky, and actually puts out a lot less power than a traditional flash. But if you're trying to photograph something like bullets, it's just about the only way to get a fast enough surge of light.

The Airgap will set you back $2,000, which seems stiff, but keep in mind that building your own involves handling a 35,000 volt capacitor that could potentially kill you if you do something wrong. So maybe forking out the money for one is the way to go.

For more technical information, check out the video below, or this user manual.

(via DIYPhotography)