Originally Posted by k__43
while the leave shutter makes this easier, what speaks against shooting at 1/250th (some focal plane shutters pull that off) and a strong ND? (You'd have full frame with shallower DOF at same aperture etc.)
Thanks k__43 and everyone else for your feedback! As for the advantages of faster shutter speeds when using strobes - using an ND or stopping down the aperture means that you must then increase the output of your strobe to properly light your subject. Let's say you wanted to shoot something at f/4 and 1/250 and you used a 3 stop ND, well that would mean your lens is effectively letting in light like it were stopped down to f/11. That would also mean your strobe would need to be capable of putting out at least enough light to illuminate a scene at f/11. Diffusers and light modifiers weaken output from a strobe, so actually if you wanted to use a softbox to diffuse your light a bit you'd need a strobe that can put out a little more light than you'd actually need at f/11, just call it f/16 for argument's sake. Small speedlights and even bigger strobes like my 400WS Digibees just can't put out enough light. And you'd be using higher power levels on your strobes, which also means fewer pops from your battery pack and longer recycle times between shots.
The simplest way to properly balance a bright scene would be to increase shutter speed beyond 1/250 instead of messing with aperture and ND - it means you do not then need insanely high levels of power output from your strobe to properly light your scene. Case in point, if you wanted to get a shot at f/4 without using the 3-stop ND filter in the scenario above, if you could go from 1/250 to 1/2000 sec instead of using the ND, you'd get the same exposure without having to use an extremely dark ND/aperture combo. Then you can accomplish the same exposure without having to use bigger, more expensive, and heavier strobes.
If weight and convenience were not factors, then yeah you could use an ND filter and bigger lights with more powerful battery packs to accomplish the same sort of look. But if you're having to carry all your gear up staircases and through jungles and over sandy beaches (my least favorite thing to do by the way), then using a smaller kit and a camera that can work with it is almost a requirement.