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Old Sep 16, 2007, 12:46 AM   #1
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I'm looking into getting a flash for my alpha (with a nice diffuser). Since I'm likely to use it very infrequently, Im looking for something pretty budget orientated (cheep). After some purusing around, it appears that unlike old minolta AF lenses which seem to be very compatible, flashes are a different beast.

I've even been warned that 'trying out' a flash can damage your camera if it tries to draw too much voltage. So is there a list of compatible flashes?


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Old Sep 16, 2007, 5:00 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

Flash systems were redesigned for digital. Due to the reflectivity of the camera's sensor, flash exposure is no longer measured during the flash exposure in the way OTF (off the film) flash metering worked.

Instead, a metering preflash is used to help judge the length of the main flash burst needed.

As a result, most flash models designed for Maxxum/Alpha/Dynax film models are not going to work properly on a KM or Sony DSLR model (most will fire at full power if you try to use them on a DSLR).

Here are some compatible dedicated flashes (so that the camera is aware of your camera settings). I'd read the user reviews for any model you consider (for example, you'll see mixed results reported for the Sigmas due to what appears to be some compatiblity issues, depending on when the flash was made).


If you don't mind using manual exposure and setting the camera and flash to match for aperture and ISO speed, you could also use a non-dedicated flash via an adapter to give the Alpha an ISO standard hotshoe. I use an older Sunpak 333 Auto and Sunpak 222 Auto with my KM 5D from time to time (and the 5D has the same hotshoe as the Alpha). Here's the adapter that I use (and a Minolta FS-1100 would also work):


You do need to be careful about trigger voltage if you go that route. See this post for details (and that adapter I mentioned above does not have any voltage protection).


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Old Sep 16, 2007, 7:15 AM   #3
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I'll second Jim's recomendation for an adapter and thyristor based older style flash unit if you are trying to hold down the cost. I have a Sunpak 383 (still being made, or at least being sold new) which has enough power to be able to bounce/diffuse. I dislike flash so it doesn't get much use and since I don't use it much I have to figure it out every time. With the histogram it only takes 2-4 test shots to get it dialed in even when I am trying to balance flash against the sunlit outside through a window.

If you aim is to bounce/diffuse when using the flash, get a flash with as much power as you can afford. Bouncing/diffusing does help get rid of the harsh shadows cause by a flash, but doing that throws away a bunch of light. Not a real problem if you have enough power to start with.
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