RPT mode. Multiple flash.

Nikon SpeedLight Flash SB-800, SB-900, SB-910 (and some third-party outbreaks, for example Yongnuo Speedlite YN560-II), as well as the built-in flashes of advanced amateur and professional Nikon cameras (which have it) can work in the 'RPT' mode ('RePeaT Mode' - 'Repeat Mode'), which is usually called 'Multiple flash', 'Repeated flash' in Russian literature. flash ', or simply - 'Strobe'. External Flashes SB-300, SB-400, SB-600, SB-700as well as built-in flash amateur Nikon cameras deprived of this function.

RPT mode. Multiple flash.

RPT mode. Multiple flash on the example of Nikon SB-900. Photo taken from instructions for SB-900.

The essence of the method is very simple - the flash fires several times for one shot. To work in RPT mode, you need to set 3 main parameters:

  1. Power. Power is usually set from 1/128 (less often from 1/64) and up to 1/4 (less often up to 1/8). Each flash burst in the series will be performed at a given power. The greater the pulse power, the less the number of flash fires is available for one series. For example, for flash SB-900 with a power of 1/8, a maximum of 14 operations are available, and with a power of 1/128, a maximum of 90 operations are available.
  2. Number of operations flashes (Times) - sets the number of pulses that a flash will create in a series.
  3. Response frequency. The frequency is indicated in Hz (number of operations per 1 second). For example, 20 Hz means that in 1 second the flash will generate 20 pulses. The frequency is set from 1 to 100 Hz. The frequency and the maximum number of operations are interconnected, you can not set arbitrary values ​​:).

Flash operation time can be calculated as the ratio of the number of operations to the frequency. Moreover, if time exposure (excerpt on the camera) is shorter than the flash time, the camera will force the flash to turn off after the set time has elapsed exposure. RPT cannot be used on remotely installed flashes using remote control Nikon CLS (but there is a trick described at the end of the article), therefore, most often you have to use ordinary radio synchronizers.

RPT mode

Falling pencils. Example picture using RPT mode

Typically, slow shutter speeds are used for shooting with RPT mode. So, in pictures with falling pencils and sprinkled rice, a long excerptequal to 5 seconds. After the shutter is released, the flash begins to produce a series of pulses, in this case 20 pulses with a frequency of 10 Hz, the flash operating time is a total of 2 seconds. Each new flash pulse captures the new position of the pencils in the frame, laying them on top of each other layer by layer.

I always wanted to photograph a running person using the RPT technique and get something like a storyboard. To fully reveal the capabilities of this function, you need to give your brains a good smile :).

RPT mode

Rice groats in the fall. Taken in RPT flash mode

Pictures using the multiple flash mode are somewhat similar to pictures using multiple exposures.

On flash Nikon SB-700and many other third-party flash units do not have RPT mode, but it can be simulated to some extent. To do this, switch the flash to manual control mode, select the required pulse power, and then switch to remote control mode - SU-4 (or its counterpart on third-party flash units). Then, on the built-in flash, select the 'RPT' mode and adjust it to your liking. After such manipulations external flash will fire on every pulse of the built-in flash with the selected power, although if you don’t guess the ratio of frequency and power, then it will not have enough recharge speed, and each subsequent “puff” in the series will be weaker than the first :). Nikon's built-in flash in 'RPT' mode can operate at a maximum frequency of 50 Hz, and even at this frequency the RPT trick can be used. Also, this trick can be used on flashes. SB-800, SB-900, SB-910 if you need the effect of a multiple flash set remotely :). Important! This will only work if your camera has RPT mode for the built-in flash.

Something like RPT mode is used to implement 'Modeling flash' features.


RPT mode can be used for any interesting and creative ideas. If your flash does not have such a mode - do not worry too much, there are many other interesting things that can be done with flashes :)

Thank you for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 17, on the topic: RPT mode. Multiple flash.

  • Yarkiya

    Thanks Arkady, very interesting and useful. For immediately climbed into the manual for Nikon d7100 and found such a function, BUT! But alas, there is no explanation and description for this stray. So thanks again for the very helpful information.

  • Pastor

    Thanks for the great article. As always, very informative. It turns out that I can install my Yongnuo YN560-II on the camera, and on a tripod the SB-700 with the firing ignition function. Set the strobe mode to Yongnuo and actually find out how many puffs per second the sb-700 will withstand. On the weekend, I will certainly try such a technique of photographing in practice. Thanks again for continuing to amaze and learn! :)
    PS I'm glad that in my old lady d80 there is such a chip :)

  • Zdiy

    In my youth I saw a gorgeous shot with a strobe light, the falling snow was shot, the trochs resembled a collision photo

  • Alex de Kairoy

    And on the D300 in conjunction with the Sigma EF-610 DG ST, is such a procedure possible?
    I can not yet find the inclusion of this function even just on my own flash ((

  • Alex de Kairoy

    I found the function, I press the button - the built-in works, the sigma only strabosed once, then just one pulse at a time.
    how to use this function?
    pulses are obtained separately, and shooting separately ...

  • Arthur

    I tried to use this mode in a nightclub on the dance floor…. the effect was not very good ... too many foreign objects entered the frame .... maybe it would be better on staged shooting ...

  • Oleg

    Nikon D90. On camera Debao Su800. Flash, so not perceived by you YN 568EX. I was exhausted with the installation of Multi mode. I just can’t tear the flash off the camera. It is only clear that this is not FP / HSS / mode. But the algorithm, i.e. the sequence of pressed buttons leading to the goal is hidden in the English-Chinese instructions. Just to get the proper detailed path from you! Thanks in advance. Oleg.

  • Michael

    What is the difference between RPT and Multi?
    On different flashes in the specifications write: Flash mode: i-TTL / M / RPT
    bkb Flash mode: i-TTL / M / Multi

  • anonym

    How to enable the function on Nikon7000 what to photograph with flash YH-568 EX 111 in strobe mode

    • Michael

      Turn on the strobe mode on the flash, the camera has nothing to do with

  • anonym

    I tried, it works in test mode, but through fotik
    zero, maybe the mode is wrong, enlighten if it does not

    • Igor

      So it depends on the shutter speed and flash frequency. At a shutter speed of 1/200, it will have time to work at most once at any strobe frequency. Set at least a second shutter speed. Otherwise, the meaning in this mode is zero.

  • Nicholas

    I tried it for everyone, in the test mode the flash itself builds, but with the camera down to zero, maybe the mode is not the same, or some settings are not included

  • Nicholas

    The flash instructions say that the shutter speed should be 1/128 - 1/4

  • Nicholas

    The flash manual says that the shutter speed should be 1/128 - 1/4, what should I do?

    • Michael

      Don't give a damn about the instructions. The shutter speed can be any, up to X-sync. Second is normal

  • Natalia

    I was killed to look for the strobe mode on the sb700, but there is none at all)) thanks for the clarification!

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English-version of this article https://radojuva.com/en/2014/04/rpt-mode/

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