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Sony HVL-F43AM Sony Alpha System HVL-F43AM Flash Unit for Alpha DSLR
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- Quick Shift Bounce; for lighting freedom
- Bounce flash: 90° right, 90° left, 150° up, 8° down
- High power (guide no. 43)
- Auto WB adjustment w/ Color Temperature Info
- Effective over 30 ft. (10.5m)
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|Item Dimensions||4.33 x 4.37 x 7.76 inches|
|Shipping Weight||1.35 pounds|
The Sony® HVL-F43AM flash unit delivers flexible lighting control for α DSLR photographers. The innovative “Quick Shift Bounce” system allows the flash to pivot 90 degrees left and right, and Wireless Ratio Control allows the wireless control of up to three groups of flashes with user-selected luminosity ratios.
Top Customer Reviews
It also comes with a built-in wide angle screen (sort of diffuser), apparently for super wide lenses, and a bounce sheet. I have not had the chance to use a 3rd-party diffuser on this flash yet since I can't be sure what product works with it right now. For wireless shooting, it comes with a foldable mini-stand, which also serves as the tripod mount. It also came with a good quality protective case for the flash unit with the alpha logo (though I don't use it because I stow the flash in a Crumpler bag).
Because of all the new tech that the A55 camera has, I was expecting this flash to be some clunky and dated photography tool by comparison. Instead I'm amazed at how this flash operates and how it integrates with the camera. It manages to take crisp and properly-exposed photos at the right white balance with minimal tweaking.
Setting up wireless flash was surprisingly easy. After it's set up, the camera knows when the flash is mounted and when detached, it's automatically set to wireless mode. It will operate the external flash when the built-in pop-up flash is used (which serves as the wireless trigger through infrared signals)- in a few conditions, there can be some pre-flash artifact from the camera's pop-up flash that shows in the final image, but a certain Gary Friedman says you can use an exposed film strip to block the visible light. Wireless flash use is lots of fun.
It supports high-speed sync (HSS) flash, which from what I've read allows you to use very wide apertures and fast shutter speeds to get a nice depth-of-field effect with flash! When shot this way and when bounced, it doesn't look like harsh flash lighting was used at all. The flash also has many more advanced features (ex. wireless ratio control, manual mode), but I'm not familiar enough with using them.
When it's on the hotshoe of the camera, it's very capable of firing fast- my A55 is usually set to continuous shooting at 6fps, and the flash doesn't seem to slow down the camera at all! I didn't even know it was capable of this even after playing with the unit for some time until a friend took pictures of me in burst mode and I saw the flash going off very fast like it had an electrical problem! I reviewed all the pictures taken and all of them were also properly exposed and sharp. From what I've experienced, it's not capable of this rapid shooting in wireless mode, probably because of the slower flash rate of the built-in camera flash. For those not familiar with external flashes, this one also has an infrared illuminator that allows fast autofocusing in pitch black when the flash is mounted. I even tried this with the not-for-low-light Sony 18-250mm zoom lens and got very good focus and a very good picture with the flash.
My only complaint really is that it still uses AA batteries. OK, this is completely my opinion as I'm sure professionals may want the option to get replacement batteries in the field, but Sony being the proprietary company that they are, they should have seized the chance for the good of humanity to use their InfoLithium battery packs in this thing (the F43 seemed to be made for their compact SLT line anyway!) to get it even smaller and lighter. I would have gladly bought more of those and be able to put it into my camera or the flash when they ran low. That would make for a very compact set-up! Alright I'm just being silly. I bought rechargeable NIMH AA's (Sony Cycle Energy) for these and like it very much (great, fast charger). I'm sure Eneloop batteries would work great too.
In short, if you have a Sony camera and don't need the extra flash output of the F58, and are looking for a flash, definitely get this.
+ At $348, It's not inexpensive.
+ When loaded with the required four AA batteries, this flash is heavy.
Other than that, I can't think of ANY "cons!"
+ It comes in a nice, very high quality, thick zippered carrying case.
+ It recycles almost instantly... VERY fast recycle time... fastest of any flash I've ever used.
+ It has the most "bounce" capabilities of any flash I've ever seen. The entire body of the flash rotates, not just the head, which enables one to shoot with the camera in portrait (vertical) mode AND THE FLASH HEAD STILL IN HORIZONTAL MODE! This provides much better light than typical flash units where when you shoot in portrait mode the flash head also must be in vertical mode.
+ The flash head even allows for "backward" bounce off the wall behind you, perfect functionality where you are shooting in a room with very high ceilings, but you want the soft light provided by bouncing the flash output. What an ingenious feature!
+ The little plastic pull-out white bounce card helps direct light toward the subject when in bounce mode.
+ The built-in diffuser provides very wide coverage.
+ The flash output is very consistent,
BOTTOM LINE: I'm sure after I've used it more I could add further accolades, but for now I'll just restate that this is the best flash I've ever owned or used. Yeah it costs a bunch of money, but like most divorces, it is worth every penny! I HIGHLY recommend if at all possible you spring for this flash. Like any good product, the quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten and you're going to be continually amazed at the great output you'll get from this flash. If I could give it ten stars I would, it's that good!
Syncs up perfectly with Sony a65 and a230
Long reaching light path
Built in flash card
The Auto Zoom is a great feature
Built in diffuser doesn't work very well
Sucks batteries dry in very short amount of time (only use lithiums, this flash will drain 4 AA's in 2hrs of busy shooting).