A7 and HSS Flash

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by AndyWear, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. AndyWear

    AndyWear TalkEmount Rookie

    24
    Jan 1, 2014
    I was wondering if the A7 is able to do high sync speed flash photography. I'd to do a lot of those stop motion and flash and maybe wireless flash pictures.
    What would be a great high end flash for this camera? I don't care what brand it is as long as it works. Thankyou.

    Andy
     
  2. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    If I'm not wrong the max flash sync speed is only 1/250. On A7R it's even lower, I think 1/200. One great high speed flash sync camera is the RX10, which can sync at 1/1600.

    I'm meaning to buy a flash, probably HVL-F43M, though the HVL-F20M is also tempting as I'm not a big flash user. Unfortunately I have more than exceeded my budget for the next 2 years so I have to sell something to buy and it stings :p
     
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  3. AndyWear

    AndyWear TalkEmount Rookie

    24
    Jan 1, 2014
    So there's no way I can do HSS flash with the a7? :(
     
  4. clockwork247

    clockwork247 TalkEmount Rookie

    13
    Dec 31, 2012
  5. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    198
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    Yes HSS is available with most Sony flashes (HVL-F60M, HVL-F43M with the same hot shoe as your A7 but other models HVL-F58AM ,F56AM, F43AM, F42AM, F36AM and Minolta 3600HSD and 5600HSD with a Sony adapter ADP-MAA). This does NOT apply to the HVL-F20 models. Some other brands ( Metz or Sigma)may also have this feature but still unknown compatibility with A7/A7R due to the Multi interface shoe ( maybe someone tried with A99 which should be similar)

    However you need to know the following:
    - Distance range is much shorter with HSS at speeds higher than max X synch from your camera since it is using the multi flash capability ( stroboscopic effect ) to allow coverage of the full frame while the shutter is opened. This was originally designed to allow wide apertures to be used in daylight for fill-flash to overcome shadows and balance daylight/flash intensity. To see distance available by shutter speed, download a Sony Instruction manual from the Sony esupport site for HVL-F60M or F43M and check the distance charts at the end of the book, you will be in for a surprise (1,1m @ 1/8000sec) . But why am i saying this, NOBODY reads their manuals. !!!!
    - Does not work in Bounce mode
    - Can work with some flash models in wireless (TTL or manual)

    However, i don't really see it in use to stop action subjects due to the stroboscopic nature of these flashes. In theory, a regular flash burst from a modern electronic flash can be as short as 1/25000 sec yes 1/25000sec ( of course full power may be 1/1000 sec depending on flash subject distance and ISO selected ) and if you are using flash, there is a good chance ambient light will be negligible in the final result.

    If i were you, i would get the HVL-F43M ( not to be confused with the previous version HVL-F43AM which has different mounting foot but could also be used with the Sony ADP-MAA adapter) and experiment from there. It could be used to control all of the above mentioned other flashes in wireless mode and should provide you with great versatility and very short flash duration at medium to short distances.

    The higher end model is the HVL-F60M and this one can have issues with overheat when used for very frequent flash use ( 10 pictures/minute ) and is kind of big and heavy for a camera like the A7
     
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  6. AndyWear

    AndyWear TalkEmount Rookie

    24
    Jan 1, 2014
    Thanks for the response michelB. I'm going to look into all the above mentioned. I'm still learning how to use my A7, but I've never used flash before. What I'm really wanting to do is stop motion from water drops and splashes. I'm going to try out the HVL-F43M to see if that works. I won't plan on buying this for a while but would still like to learn how to use it in the meantime.

    Also, are the sony brand flashes the best flashes money can buy for HSS shooting ? Or are we restricted ?
     
  7. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    198
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    Download the instructions from the sony support site and it will show you what it does and how. This is free download
    http://esupport.sony.com/

    If your subjects are close and small like water droplets, a flash like HVL-F43M is probably going to be used at 1/5000 to 1/10000 sec without HSS ( your recycling time between flashes will be an indication ) The shorter the recycling means the flash was very fast ( 1/20000sec and the longer recycling times means closer to 1/1000sec )

    Because of the new Multi interface shoe Sony has introduced about a year ago along with Alpha A99 which actually came with an adapter (ADP-MAA to use older Minolta/Sony flashes)

    I don't know of a compatible flash in another brand yet ( Metz would normally be the first to follow http://www.metz.de/en/lighting.html but i am not sure it is the proper fitment they show in their outdated catalog there, but look at their Hints and guides and technical glossary to help you understand.
    And Sigma usually does reverse engineering to avoid paying royalties to camera makers so their lenses/flashes often have compatibility issues and take longer to get introduced)
    If you go that route, i would not rely on web suppliers to ensure the foot of the flash is compatible with your A7 directly.

    Full featured flashes from any brand will not be inexpensive, this is why i recommend the 43M route because you know everything will work out of the box


    Funny how things change
    Back in the days, my philosophy was to buy a medium range camera ( first item to get out of fashion) with the best lens and flash i could afford ( still in use in most cases but cameras long gone).
    Photography is about writing with light and i see all the newbies trying to write without light ( asking for high ISO performance to avoid using flash )
    Flash well used can be a very good ally to help even out illumination or reduce harsh ambient light and even out lighting ratios
     
  8. AndyWear

    AndyWear TalkEmount Rookie

    24
    Jan 1, 2014
    MichelB,
    Are you talking about the A7 manual? I've downloaded that when I bought the camera and have read most of it already. I didn't see anything about using HSS flash on it. I'm just a little confused why the flash sycn matters when we're able to shoot 1000shutter on flash? very confusing to me. I'm gonna start reading about flash photograhy.

    I just read this also.
    http://community.sony.com/t5/Alpha-SLT-DSLR-Cameras/HVL-F60M-Flash-Overheating-Unusable/td-p/139177

    But I'll probably get the one you recommend in a month or 2.
     
  9. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    198
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    I was meaning the flash instruction manual: under accessories.

    I always try to download instructions for the stuff i am considering to buy so i know what it does and how. More difficult is what it does not do but when familiar with a product like flash, i can figure it out by myself.

    One good site to visit for more on flash:

    http://strobist.blogspot.ca/

    The expert in Minolta/Sony flash photography
    is Gary Friedman
    blog here: http://friedmanarchives.blogspot.ca/

    Check his archives, he has really tried almost everything but he also wrote eBooks about it
    http://friedmanarchivespress.com/ashop/index.php

    The minute he announces his book on A7/A7R, i will be downloading it just for all the tips about every operation of the camera and he usually leaves a lot of space on flash use in his camera books
     
  10. Dan Euritt

    Dan Euritt TalkEmount Regular

    191
    Jan 11, 2014
    hey andy, I stumbled on this thread googling for info on some of the same questions that you were asking.

    I did a lot of hss flash shooting at 1/2,500 shutter speed, for motorsports, it works well as fill if you are close enough to the action.

    however, i changed platforms to sony, specifically the a7r, and there isn't a lot of good info available about how to use some sort of p-ttl functionality with fast shutter speed.

    i think that the place to start is to see what equipment hooks up natively with the a7r, and i just found this pic that someone posted on dpreview... this is my first post, hopefully i can post pics.

    wrt to freezing water droplets, to get the best results there is dedicated hardware(not sony) for just that function, maybe $600?

    Sony A7R Accessories Flash E~forums_52389626_2e7d396711ba4d95be7535107bcae520.
     
  11. loonsailor

    loonsailor TalkEmount Regular

    45
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berkeley, CA, USA
    What do you want to do with flash, and why are you thinking about HSS? As michelb suggests the strobist web site is very, very good as a place to learn about using flash, if you're new to it, including hss. If you want to do high speed photography like the stuff here http://www.opticalspy.com/high-speed-photography-gallery.html, that's a different story, and requires different knowledge and, probably, at least a little bit of specialized gear, though it doesn't need to be expensive. If in doubt, start with the stobist "lighting 101" tutorial, which is both excellent and free.
     
  12. AndyWear

    AndyWear TalkEmount Rookie

    24
    Jan 1, 2014
    Thank you for the response guys. I've been without the flash for awhile but I've been reading a lot about it. After a few months I still kind of have a hard time figuring out what to buy now that I've got the money. But I'm leaning towards getting the HVL 43m as my first flash. I might get a pixel king or a Photix Odin as my radio trigger for it. I'm not too sure which is better to have, the hvl 20 flash or the radio triggers.

    I'm going to start using it for Real Estate Photography, then add wireless bounce lights to create rim lighting and darkening backgrounds. I eventually would like to stop motion too! But of course my main goal right now is to create nice rim lighting using flash, while at the same time blackening my background.
     
  13. p00kienrayray

    p00kienrayray TalkEmount Regular

    33
    Jun 17, 2014
    Any good 3rd party flashes? I tend buy 3rd party speedlites for Canikon bc many of them are just as good as oem, but WAY cheaper.
     
  14. jedilost1

    jedilost1 TalkEmount Regular

    93
    Oct 1, 2014
    New Jersey
    i'm also interested in the wireless flash solution with HSS, does everyone use the Pixel King or Phottix Odin with their HVL flashes?
     
  15. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    198
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    Phottix Odin ( the one with the old shoe for Minolta HS D or Sony HVL with AM as the end letters but not the 20AM) , the ones with the new shoe are not yet available as far as i know, will work in HSS and their own WL mode ( Phottix uses a reverse engineered system making the flash think it is on camera therefore the camera stays in Forced flash or rear synch at your choice).

    However, unless the newer version with the new shoe changed something, they will not work with non-chipped adapted lenses like you show in your signature since the Phottix requires lens info to make their system work !

    I have A7r and as long as i have a chipped lens (Tamron adaptall 2 to A-Mount on LA-EA4), it works. If i put on an un-chipped lens, the flashes fire at their last setting and can't change power automatically anymore.
     
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  16. jedilost1

    jedilost1 TalkEmount Regular

    93
    Oct 1, 2014
    New Jersey
    Can you set flash to manual and still have HSS this way?
     
  17. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    489
    Nov 21, 2014
    I have used flash to take photos of splashes and water droplets. Here is an example.

    a (1 of 1).

    For this I used a shutter speed of 1.3 seconds (I wanted the shutter to be open when the flash went off and water splashed). I used 3 x Yongnuo 560iii at 1/128th power to light it. 1/128th because this has the shortest flash duration of roughly 1/16,000th. 3 x flashes to provide enough light at 1/128th power. Yongnuo 560iiis are US$70 each and are obviously a whole lot cheaper than Sony.

    Typical freezing motion is done with high speed flashes rather than a high shutter speed. In fact before you pay the premium for an HSS flash, workout what you want to do with HSS. As a general rule HSS cannot actually achieve what people think they want it for.
     
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  18. unlo

    unlo Sony ******

    Jan 19, 2014
    Ohio
    Matt
    Phottix Mitros is the first flash i've purchased. Still very new to flash photography. Their manual was sort of helpful. But i think i need to know more about the correct camera settings to use with the flash. First lens I was trying to use was my Minolta 50f1.4 and was having a helluva time figuring everything out. Using TTL and my 28-80 + LAEA4 was much easier. The
     
  19. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    489
    Nov 21, 2014
    If you are relatively new to flash - this video is extremely good. Neil Van Nierkerk is very good on flash.

     
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  20. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    198
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    No, the remotes just can't get adjusted anymore due to the lack of communication with the lens.