long exposure deviceThis article is was contributed by our valued customer, Jeffrey Totaro. You can check out his website at www.jeffreytotaro.com. If you are a customer and have a technique to share with the community please contact Capture Integration.


Digital photography provides many excellent solutions to photographic challenges. But coming from 4×5 film I missed one previously film-only technique: multiple strobe pops while shooting interiors. I have developed a unique switch-box that brings the multiple pop method to Phase One digital backs. The device is built by Kapture Group, and available for purchase from Capture Integration. The device can also be used for other long-exposure and multiple exposure techniques.

I began my career in architectural and interior photography shooting 4×5 film. Film had many challenges technically including balancing color temperature, controlling contrast, and getting everything right ‘in-camera’. All of these challenges are now more easily addressed with digital photography.

One technique in using film that is still useful is being able to build-up exposure on the chip by doing multiple strobe pops. Studio shooters may be puzzled at the need for this. In the studio you could darken the studio, open the shutter on bulb and pop your strobes as many times as need to get the exposure and depth of field required. Jeffery Totaro - Multipop Example - SmallShooting interiors requires that the strobe exposure be blended with ambient daylight light coming into the space. In this case we may need a shutter duration of only 1 second to hold detail in the windows or control the intensity of direct sun. This is further complicated by the fact that our strobes may not produce enough power to light a large space with a single pop. With the multi-exposure device I can now divide my total 1 second exposure into four exposures of ¼ second, firing the strobes with each exposure. Now I get the ambient exposure I need plus 4x the strobe power in a single raw file.

Some may ask why this is required when Schneider’s Digitar lenses are optimized at between f8 and f11. Surely I can get the exposure I need with one pop at f11. Yes that’s true. However when shooting with the 24XL or the 35XL, both of which benefit from Center Filters (2 stops), it’s like shooting at f22. One pop becomes four.

The device is easy to use. Simply plug it into the multi-port on the Phase One digital back and attach your strobe’s remote to the lens. Press the wake-up button on the box, then press the ‘start’ rocker switch and now you can fire your lens as many times as needed, then press the ‘stop’ rocker switch and the capture will be finished. You are basically fooling the Phase One back into thinking it’s doing just one long exposure. Four ¼ second pops may take you a total of 10 seconds exposure time on the back depending on how quickly your packs recharge. The back sees it as one long exposure. Since the Phase One backs are so good at controlling noise there is no negative effect with the increased exposure time.

Using this technique has the added benefit of increased bracketing accuracy. Shooting a single pop exposure leaves little room for accurate bracketing without scaling down the power on your packs. You’ll want to leave your f-stop setting alone so that you can combine exposure in post production, so you can only vary your shutter which leaves the strobe exposure constant. With multi-pops you can start with 4 and bracket up and down easily with more or fewer pops.