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Old Mar 7, 2014, 7:40 AM   #1
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Default Sony A58 vs. external studio flash


I just bought a Sony Alpha 58 camera.
I already had a ten years old Konica Minolta Dynax 5D DSLR, with that famous Minolta 3600HSD flash.

Of course it doesn't comptible with the Sony as it has a new hot shoe mount that only compatible with this A58 and the NEX models.

I have got a 2x160W wireless studio flash system.
Just a simple one, without any ajdustmentes except the amount of light.

So, if I shoot a photo with my old Minolta, it flashes the external studio system as well with absolutely syncronized, good photos.

If I shoot the Sony- and I tried all the available flash modes- it isn't syncronising with the studio flashes.
What could I do?
I use both cameras with the same adjustments, everything is in manual, flash is in ADI-flash mode (not TTL or anything like that)

I tought if I would buy a wireless hot shoe adapter, maybe it will work, but I just doesn't understand why the Minolta works, and why Sony doesn't?

(not to mention that all the good available Sony A58 compatible flashes are so expensive. I tought maybe I just have to buy a hot shoe adapter, that makes it comaptible with those old Sony/Minolta flashes, but the local dealer told me, that won't be good idea, maybe it would flash my old Minolta 3600 HSD flash, but there won't be any communication between them again.)

What do You suggest to try?
I don't want to use my old Minolta 3600 flash in the first place, but I need to use my new Sony A58 with my 2x160W studio flash system at any price!

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Old Mar 7, 2014, 2:59 PM   #2
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G'day SC

The mix 'n match for Sony compatible equipment is a 'game' that you'll become used to eventually

Here's a few links to a mob I deal with - good value & excellent service - for various bits of gear





I suggest that you wander thru these listings to see if this will help you
Has Fuji & Lumix superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Google me at Travelling School of Photography Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
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Old Mar 11, 2014, 10:22 AM   #3
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Your problem is likely with the Metering Pre-Flash. Modern Digital Cameras use a pre-flash that occurs a split second before the main flash to help judge how strong the flash needs to be for your camera settings. Even if you use ADI (versus Pre-Flash TTL) Flash Mode, the camera still uses a metering Pre-Flash. IOW, it tries to use the lens info to determine the distance to your focus point, and still used a metering preflash to determine how long the flash burst needs to be, even if using manual exposure.

Sorry, that's just the way *many* digital cameras work now (including models from other vendors like Nikon and Canon; as they also use a metering preflash.

Make sure that's your only problem though. For example, make sure you have the AF Illumination turned Off (as it uses the flash for that purpose), and make sure you Red-Eye Reduction turned Off. You'll find settings for those things in your setup menus.

If those are turned off, then your problem is likely the metering pre-flash. You'll need to use optical triggers for your studio lights that are designed to ignore a metering pre-flash.

Now, some cameras fire more than one metering preflash, making some of the optical slaves unreliable.

Wein actually made one a while back that let you set it between 1 and 3 preflashes before it triggered the flash it was used with. This one:


They also made some "Digital" Peanut Slaves. But, they were only designed to ignore one metering preflash.

All of the Wein "Digital" Slaves have been discontinued now, though. That's probably because there is too much variety in how camera manufacturers are using a preflash (number of bursts, time between bursts, etc.) and they're just not very reliable anymore.

So, your best bet is probably to get a non-dedicated flash with a standard ISO foot for use in your A58 if you want to trigger your strobes from an on camera flash.

I've got an older Sunpak 222 Auto (tilt only), and Sunpak 333 Auto (tilt and swivel) that are non-dedicated flash models that could be used for that purpose. I've used them with my KM 5D and Sony A700 (using an adapter to give me an ISO standard shoe, which you would not need with your A58, since the A58 has a new shoe that will work with a non-dedicated flash with an ISO standard foot now).

There are many more similar flash models. Just make sure the flash you buy has a low trigger voltage, because some older flash models with a higher trigger voltage can damage the camera's electronics. See this sticky post discussing that:

Trigger Voltage Limits with Modern Digital Cameras

Checking the listings for used Flash models at keh.com, this Metz would be a good bet, as it comes with a standard foot (they're available with multiple foot styles, and the SCA 300 foot this one comes with is the non-dedicated ISO Standard foot). IOW, get one with a non-dedicated foot style for your purposes.


If keh says in it's excellent condition, then it's probably like new, and that's a good price on that flash model. keh is my favorite vendor for used gear, and they have very conservative grading on their used gear.

It's also got an Auto Mode (where you just set the flash to the iso speed, aperture and shutter speed you want to use, and it determines the flash strength for proper exposure by metering the reflected light during the exposure and terminating the flash output when it sees enough light for your settings). The Sunpak models I mentioned above work the same way.

That way (using one of those types of flash models), you wouldn't have any preflash to worry about (using their auto mode, or using manual power settings with them) like you'd have with a dedicated flash model. IOW, you want a non-dedicated flash model with an ISO Standard foot (and a low trigger voltage to prevent camera damage) for triggering your strobes.

BTW, you can get an adapter for your HVL-3600(HD). Here's one from Sony:


You'll find third party "Knock Offs" now for even less on Ebay (around $10).

But, that's not going to help with your flash sync issues, as your HVL 3600HS is also going to use a metering preflash. IOW, that flash model does *not* have any manual power settings, and just like the camera's flash, a metering preflash is always going to be used with a camera like your A58, causing your strobes to trigger on the metering preflash versus the main flash, unless you have settings on your optical slaves that let them ignore preflashes (IOW, they'd need to be "digital aware" -- some are, some aren't).

So, if you want to use an on camera flash to trigger your slaves, I'd just get a non-dedicated flash like one of the models I mentioned instead (and there are lots of different brand/models of "non-dedicated" flash models around)

Again, watch out for the trigger voltage, as this sticky posts goes into. I would try to stick with something that's 8 volts or lower (or even better, 5 or 6 volts to be safer) for use in a modern digital camera's hotshoe, as you can damage the camera's electronics using a flash model with higher trigger voltages (and many older flash models assumed a mechanical contact closure in a camera to trigger a flash and often had high trigger voltages, whereas that trigger is electronic with newer digital cameras, hence the warning about it).

Trigger Voltage Limits with Modern Digital Cameras

But, for other flash uses (not for triggering your strobes), you may want to get an adapter so you can use your 3600HS(D) for other types of shooting.
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