Sony Flash, which one do I buy?

This is a discussion on Sony Flash, which one do I buy? within the Digital Cameras, Lenses & Accessories forums, part of the PHOTO FORUM category; I currently do not have an external flash for my Sony a55. I have come down to two different flashes, the HVL-f43AM, and the HVL-f42AM. ...


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Thread: Sony Flash, which one do I buy?

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    Question Sony Flash, which one do I buy?

    I currently do not have an external flash for my Sony a55. I have come down to two different flashes, the HVL-f43AM, and the HVL-f42AM. The f42AM i can get for about $100.00 but the f43AM brings me all the way up to $250.00 even though i would be buying USED. I will be using it for portraits, sports, action sports and i may possibly be helping a wedding photographer. Is it worth the extra $150.00?

    Thanks,
    Tom.


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    From what I can tell, the 43 is the replacement model for the 42 (which is now discontinued.) The numbers 42 & 43 represent the guide number of the flash in meters when the reflector is set to the 105mm focal length (e.g. the coverage/spread of the beam is focused enough to cover the angle of view of a 105mm lens).

    The guide number represents the farthest distance that the flash can carry while still providing enough light for an adequate exposure. But this assumes an industry baseline about the exposure which is that you'll use ISO 100 (which might be realistic) and you'll use f/1.0 (which is not realistic).

    Naturally you won't have an f/1.0 lens... but they use that as the baseline because it makes the math very easy to convert to the focal ratio you actually plan to use. Just divide the guide number by your actual f-stop to arrive at the effective distance. If you're using f/5.6 then the you'd divide 43 meters (141 feet) by 5.6 to get about 7.7 meters (about 25 feet). If you double the ISO to 200, then you get to behave as though you cut a stop of focal ratio... so now you'd use f/4 and your new distance would be 10.75 meters (about 35 feet) which should be 1.4 times farther (that's the inverse square law... as you double the power the distance increases by the square root of 2 (1.4)).

    Whenever possible, it's nice to be able to diffuse a flash by bouncing it. This assumes you have a ceiling which is neutral white and preferably not too high. When you bounce, the flash has to travel farther and you'll lose a lot of light (the ceiling isn't a mirror... so it's not going to reflect everything.) That really cuts down on the useful range ... and that's the reason why photographers want flashes that on the surface seem like they'd be over-kill.

    As far as I could tell, the most significant difference between the 42 and the new 43 is that the 43 seems to have a wireless radio control built in and I can't find any mention of that on the 42. If that's right, then the 43 can be remotely triggered (doesn't have to be located on the camera) whereas the 42 would either have to be on the camera or may need an accessory to allow remote triggering. The 43 lists for $350 new. The make a 58 - noticeably more powerful than the 43 - but the 58 is a $500 flash (58 meters is about 190 feet).

    For portraits you might prefer the 43 because you can move it off camera and diffuse it through a light modifier for much better looking shots (even a shoot-through umbrella can be had for about $10 - a moodier such as a shoot-through umbrella will usually eat about 1 stop of light). For action sports you'll probably leave it on camera because the subjects will be farther away. With an f/5.6 zoom you're 5 stops down from the f/1.0 baseline. If you shot at ISO 3200 you could compensate (the flash would carry for 141' at f/5.6 if the ISO is 3200). You can see how an f/4 zoom or ... better yet an f/2.8 zoom would _really_ come in handy. You can also quickly see how the HVL-F58AM would really come in handy too.
    TDshoots likes this.
    Tim Campbell

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    Thanks, I haven't really put much research into the technical aspect of using a flash and how a flash works so this was helpful. I've decided on HVL-f42AM mainly because its more than a hundred dollars less, but it gives me most of the features that I really need. If necessary i can always move up to the f43AM in the next year or two but i will be able to learn on this one.

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    I think you're making the right call to save $150 given that the two units are nearly identical. After you do some shooting with it you'll be able to better evaluate with the 42-43 meter guide number is powerful enough or if you need the power of the 58 meter unit you won't have over-invested in the 43 meter unit.
    Tim Campbell

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    As you want Sony a55 flash my advice for you is best for you, just visit Photo Studio Supplies an online photography equipment store and choose what type of flash you want to use.

    Regards,


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