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Old Dec 27, 2009, 7:42 PM   #1
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Default Budget External Flash? HVL-F1000? (for Sony A200)

I'm looking for a decent (but economical) external flash for my Sony A200. I noticed the HVL-F1000 flash. Would it be a good option? I'm looking for a decent flash for bounce flashing. Use would normally just be in closed rooms, such as at birthdays and holidays, just across a room. Just want it to be powerful enough to be able to bounce off walls and naturally illuminate the subject; probably no more than 25 ft away. Does it have a swivel head? Both up and down and side-to-side? I assume it has a Sony hotshoe.
I would be quite open to other suggestions. I know I could get an adaptor for a standard hot shoe. Therefore, I would take suggestions for normal low-budget flash units that would fit my requirements.
Does such a flash exist? You tell me.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 27, 2009, 8:36 PM   #2
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No. The Sony HVL-F1000 flash is *not* compatible with Sony dSLR models. Keep in mind that Sony bought Konica Minolta's camera related assets and retained the same flash system they used in their dSLR lineup. The HVL-F1000 is designed for Sony's non-dSLR camera models and will not work on a Sony dSLR.

You'll want to go with the Sony HVL-F42AM or HVL-F58AM in a flash with enough power for bouncing. Both of those flashes also support HSS (High Speed Syc) so you can use the flash at shutter speeds faster than the camera's x-sync speed for fill in brighter outdoor lighting; and also support wireless operation (so you can use the camera's built in flash to trigger them if they're off camera).

Yes, there are adapters you can use to allow the use of non-dedicated flash models. I've got two different Sunpak flash models I use that way (including a Sunpak 333 Auto and 222 Auto). Note that you'd need to use manual exposure, setting the camera and flash to match for ISO speed and aperture with that type of solution. Here's one example from a reputable Hong Kong based vendor. Shipping to the U.S. usually takes about 10 days.

http://www.gadgetinfinity.com/produc...cat=275&page=1

Sony also makes one. But, it's a bit pricey. You'll see it on the page for flashes and accessories for Alpha dSLR models here:

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...0&N=4294966257

If you're a risk taker and you're on a tight budget, you may want to consider trying this flash (Vivitar DF 383) in a fully dedicated unit that you wouldn't need an adapter to use. I'd avoid the other Vivitar dedicated models they offer.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...1.html#reviews

Reports are a bit mixed on exposure accuracy using this flash model in bounce mode on some cameras (it's offered for multiple brands). But, it may be worth a try, since most of the user reviews I see for it so far for Sony models appear to be OK (you'll see some in the listing for it at B&H). You'll want to avoid most other third party dedicated flash models that say they work (most only work correctly on Minolta Autofocus film cameras and have horrible exposure accuracy on a KM or Sony dSLR).
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Old Dec 27, 2009, 8:45 PM   #3
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P.S.

You may also want to look at the Metz 48 AF-1 and 58 AF-1. These have USB upgradeable firmware. One problem with third party flashes is that they try to reverse engineer the protocol between the camera and flash, and often get it wrong and don't work correctly with a newer camera model. But, Metz designed these newer models so that you can upgrade them with changes needed for new cameras if compatibility problems occur. They've already released some new firmware for the Sony versions of them. These models also support HSS (High Speed Sync), which is something that you'll find is going to be missing on most third party flash models. The 48 AF-1 is about $200 now:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._AF_1_TTL.html
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 2:33 PM   #4
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I use the Metz 48 on my Sony Alpha camera and it has performed quite well.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 1:40 PM   #5
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What is the price range that you are looking at for an external flash?

The metz 48 is a great flash, and has work well for me. But it is about 200 dollars.
The sigma ef 530 DG ST is a very powerful flash and is selling for about 150.

http://www.amazon.com/Metz-Mount-Dig...2111863&sr=8-1
http://www.adorama.com/MZ48AF1S.html...o=metz+48+sony

http://www.adorama.com/SG530STSO.html
http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-EF-530-E...2111926&sr=1-1
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 2:04 PM   #6
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Sigma flashes are on my avoid list, since I've seen far too many posts from camera owners about compatibility issues with them (often requiring a trip back to sigma for "rechipping" when that kind of thing occurs, depending on the camera model and the serial number of the flash). Here's one example of that kind of thing happening with a newer camera model:

http://www.sigma-photo.co.jp/english...nfo_081029.htm

The newer 530 series may not have the same issues with current Sony cameras (as they are newer flash models, and are more likely to work correctly with newer camera bodies). But, they have already had issues with some of the other camera models released (as you can see from the previous link)

I would go with the Super series instead if you choose to go that route, as the lower priced (non Super) Sigma models linked to do not give you wireless and high speed sync (a.k.a., FP Mode), like you'd get with the Metz 48 AF-1 or Sony flashes mentioned. Since the Metz 48 AF-1 is USB upgradeable and the Sigma 530 Super is not, I'd lean towards the Metz if choosing between them, to reduce the potential for compatibility issues requiring a trip back to the manufacturer (since you can download and install new firmware yourself with that Metz model).

BTW, some of the links in that post were for non Sony versions of that flash (and they were the non Super flash models, meaning no support for high speed sync).
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 2:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Sigma flashes are on my avoid list, since I've seen far too many posts from camera owners about compatibility issues with them (often requiring a trip back to sigma for "rechipping" when that kind of thing occurs, depending on the camera model and the serial number of the flash). Here's one example of that kind of thing happening with a newer camera model:

http://www.sigma-photo.co.jp/english...nfo_081029.htm

The newer 530 series may not have the same issues with current Sony cameras (as they are newer flash models, and are more likely to work correctly with newer camera bodies). But, they have already had issues with some of the other camera models released (as you can see from the previous link)

I would go with the Super series instead if you choose to go that route, as the lower priced (non Super) Sigma models linked to do not give you wireless and high speed sync (a.k.a., FP Mode), like you'd get with the Metz 48 AF-1 or Sony flashes mentioned. Since the Metz 48 AF-1 is USB upgradeable and the Sigma 530 Super is not, I'd lean towards the Metz if choosing between them, to reduce the potential for compatibility issues requiring a trip back to the manufacturer (since you can download and install new firmware yourself with that Metz model).

BTW, some of the links in that post were for non Sony versions of that flash (and they were the non Super flash models, meaning no support for high speed sync).
That is true about the Metz jim, I did the firmware update as you suggested and it was breeze to do.
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 6:01 PM   #8
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I was thinking $150, not too much more.
Thanks for everything.
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 6:11 PM   #9
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If you push you budget to 200, you will get a flash that perform just as well as the sony flashes. My metz 48 perform just as well as the canon 430ex II and thus far, have had no issues. And given what Jim info on the sigma flash issues with older sony's, the sigma super would be a safer bet, but it is more expensive then the metz 48 af-1.

Last edited by shoturtle; Dec 29, 2009 at 6:14 PM.
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 6:17 PM   #10
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PS, I think any flash under 140ft range will be lacking when doing bounce flash if you end up being in a place with high ceilings.
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