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Old May 20, 2012, 9:06 PM   #11
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Priceless information.... I greatly appreciate all of your knowledge and advice.
I can now make an educated decision. I can shop for deals on a few models that I select as a good fit for my purpose. I will be shopping for a while but will let you know the final decision.
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Old May 20, 2012, 9:24 PM   #12
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You'll find pros and cons to any of them.

With your A300, it wouldn't make a lot of difference. Ditto for the entry level newer Sony Models. But, I'd be tempted to get something like a newer HVL-F58AM or HVL-F43AM if I planned on buying a higher end Sony model later on, as Sony did make some changes in how the wireless protocol works in later flash models, and the higher end dSLR models should be able to take better advantage of those features.

Here's a page about the changes Sony made:

http://friedmanarchives.blogspot.com...-protocol.html

But, unless you plan on doing a lot of off camera stuff using multiple flashes, that wouldn't make much difference anyway.

Also note that Metz is pretty good about upgrading the firmware in it's system flash models (the ones I mentioned earlier). So, if you went with a higher end Metz like the 58 AF-2, it should do about everything you'd have with the HVL-F58AM (except for the nifty head design Sony has with the HVL-F58AM and HVL-F43AM). lol
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Old May 20, 2012, 9:57 PM   #13
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For example, note this press release about new firmware to better support the A65 and A77:

http://www.metz.de/en/press-center/f...ash-units.html

Just pick a camera model from the left side of the page, and you'll see links to the latest firmware for the flash models I mentioned earlier that work that way:

http://www.metz.de/en/flash-units/fi...2-digital.html

With some of the third party flashes around, a trip back to the manufacturer may be needed if there is a problem working correctly with a newer camera model (if they can even upgrade the firmware at all). But, with most of the newer Metz models, you can upgrade them yourself by downloading firmware and installing it via a USB connection to the flash.

You have to move up to the Metz 58 AF-2 to get a flash that supports both Master and Slave operation on a camera model with those features (and that Metz model also handles the newer Sony wireless flash protocol for ratio control if you moved up to a camera supporting that feature). The Sony HVL-F43AM isn't quite as powerful, but it does that at a lower price point (and also has a very nifty head swivel feature).

So, in a higher end flash model that you'd know would work better with wireless flash features Sony includes in some of the newer camera models, I'd probably lean towards the Sony HVL-F43AM or (HVL-F58AM if I really needed the extra power). But, the Metz 58 AF-2 would save you a little compared to the HVL-F58AM and it's just as powerful.

If you don't care about the fancier wireless features and are not trying to light up a larger area, then one of the less expensive Metz models may make a great choice, too.

This chart may come in handy, too. Note the parts at the bottom on different setups you'd need for ratio control (camera models that work that way, flashes you can use as a Master, flashes that work as Slaves).

http://www.mhohner.de/sony-minolta/flashcomp_setups.php

That's not applicable to your A300 (it doesn't have the ability to support ratio control anyway, and you'd be limited to using the built in flash for wireless control of any external flashes). But, it's something to think about if you plan on upgrading to a higher end Sony dSLR model later and want to use more sophisticated off camera flash setups.

There are lots of choices and your budget and how you want to use a flash comes into it.
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Old May 21, 2012, 2:30 PM   #14
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I think I'm leaning towards the Sony HVL-F42AM. I don't see myself upgrading from my A300 so the 43AM or 58AM won't be necessary. And I like the 42AM over the 56AM or the Minolta version of the same. Still possibly looking at the Metz versions. They are very tempting.
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Old May 21, 2012, 3:00 PM   #15
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If you don't plan on upgrading the camera (and don't care about the fancier ratio flash features with groups of off camera flashes), then any of the choices I mentioned in this post would probably be a good bet:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fl...ml#post1301885

The Nissin probably has the most "bang for the buck" in the $200 price range (power, features, etc.), and it's a popular flash with Canon and Nikon users here, too (because it offers more for the same money compared to the camera manufacturers' flash models).

But, the Sony HVL-F42AM is also a great flash, and you wouldn't have to worry as much about compatiblity issues if you did decide to buy a newer Sony camera model later. The Metz 50 AF-1 would be a great choice, too (more powerful than the HVL-F42Am with user upgradeable firmware).

All 3 of them are around $200 (used prices on the Sony HVL-F42AM, new prices on the Metz 50 AF-1 and Nissan Di622 Mark II).

The Minolta 5600HS (D) would be another great choice in the same price range (it's also selling for around $200 from reputable vendors of used gear like keh.com, and it's identical to the Sony HVL-F56AM), giving you a more powerful flash compared to the other models being discussed at that price point.
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Old May 21, 2012, 3:55 PM   #16
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For example:

Minolta 5600HS (D) listings (same flash as the Sony HVL-F56AM) with case and stand (the stand is to set the flash in for off camera use).:
http://www.keh.com/camera/Minolta-Ma...990839320?r=FE

Without the stand for less:
http://www.keh.com/camera/Minolta-Ma...990451850?r=FE

Sony HVL-F42AM (these listings include the stand):
http://www.keh.com/camera/Sony-Digit...991031330?r=FE

BTW, I would not hesitate to buy anything from keh.com. They're a great vendor of used gear and they have very conservative ratings and a great warranty (6 months on most used gear now, with a 30 day return policy). I've bought camera bodies, lenses and flashes from them before and I've always been pleasantly surprised at their condition for what I paid for them (I've bought gear graded as "bargain" that was in virtually new condition except for a minor blemish).

IOW, their Bargain graded gear is probably as good or better than some vendor's Excellent graded gear from what I've seen so far. ;-)
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Old May 21, 2012, 4:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
For example:

Minolta 5600HS (D) listings (same flash as the Sony HVL-F56AM) with case and stand (the stand is to set the flash in for off camera use).:
http://www.keh.com/camera/Minolta-Ma...990839320?r=FE

Without the stand for less:
http://www.keh.com/camera/Minolta-Ma...990451850?r=FE

Sony HVL-F42AM (these listings include the stand):
http://www.keh.com/camera/Sony-Digit...991031330?r=FE

BTW, I would not hesitate to buy anything from keh.com. They're a great vendor of used gear and they have very conservative ratings and a great warranty (6 months on most used gear now, with a 30 day return policy). I've bought camera bodies, lenses and flashes from them before and I've always been pleasantly surprised at their condition for what I paid for them (I've bought gear graded as "bargain" that was in virtually new condition except for a minor blemish).

IOW, their Bargain graded gear is probably as good or better than some vendor's Excellent graded gear from what I've seen so far. ;-)
I'm seriously looking at keh.com. I also looked into selling my HLV-F20 to keh.com to offset some of the cost of my new flash.
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Old May 21, 2012, 4:17 PM   #18
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Well... they don't offer those great prices by paying a lot to buy used gear, since they've got to check it out for problems, grade it, repackage it, inventory it, and still be able to sell it at a profit while still offering a great return policy and warranty. ;-)

Chances are, you'll get a better deal on a trade in versus selling it to them directly.
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Old May 22, 2012, 3:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Well... they don't offer those great prices by paying a lot to buy used gear, since they've got to check it out for problems, grade it, repackage it, inventory it, and still be able to sell it at a profit while still offering a great return policy and warranty. ;-)

Chances are, you'll get a better deal on a trade in versus selling it to them directly.
Any recommendations on where to Trade in? I got a quote from keh and it wasn't too bad.
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Old May 24, 2012, 12:33 PM   #20
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That's where I meant (to keh.com).

I've never done it. So far, I've only bought gear from them, not sold or traded in gear to them. I've never sold or traded in gear to any dealer (the only place I've sold any camera gear before has been on Ebay).

But, I've heard you'd get a better deal on a trade in versus selling the gear directly.
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