1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

A7r flash newbie confusion

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by lew, Sep 24, 2016.

Tags:
  1. lew

    lew New to TalkEmount

    8
    Jul 7, 2014
    Is there a through explanation of the flash modes anywhere? The only one I really understand is NO FLASH. Works as expected. TTL isn't listed anywhere and, with my 3rd party, so called compatible flashes, AUTO isn't available and FLASH w/o "fillin" is a blowout every time. Why?
    For starters, I'd like to master fill flash. I know the basics; they got me through several years of weddings with a potato masher on my Mamiya Press, but everything eludes me now. I shot a dog show today: bright, overhead sun around noon, clear skies, etc.... the shadows are deadly.

    Help!
     
  2. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    194
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    What 3rd party brand flash are you using ? They may not be as compatible as you expect

    What lens are you using ? If adapted lens without chip communicating with the body, very few flash units except for Sony's and a couple of Minolta units allow this combination with flash.

    On Sony, your body lets you select forced flash, auto flash (only in some exposure modes like P or Auto), Rear synch, slow synch or Wireless.
    For on camera flash, you select forced flash unless you need slow synch or rear curtain synch

    The flash is the one that lets you select TTL with or without HSS or manual mode again with or without HSS.

    On many Sony cameras, for fill-in, you often need to set your flash exposure compensation to -1 to avoid blowout or overexposure.
    HSS could sometimes be used for fill-in ( that is what it was developed for in the first place but with a limited range).

    A huge amount of information is available here: A Minolta/Sony Alpha Flash Compendium - Introduction

    For your information, in case you are new to Sony cameras, a lot of the technology behind your camera is actually derived from the Minolta era since Sony bought out the Minolta camera division 10 years ago and a lot of today's stuff can still work with older Minolta units when understood properly
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. lew

    lew New to TalkEmount

    8
    Jul 7, 2014
    Love that Compendium, thanks!
     
  4. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    194
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    You did not answer my questions

    They can be useful in understanding your issue for the benefit of others.
     
  5. lew

    lew New to TalkEmount

    8
    Jul 7, 2014
    I use a variety of Sony FE lenses. The flashes are a Meike MK320 and a Sigma EF-610 DG Super with a converter mount for the new Sony interface.

    So, can you explain the differences between forced flash, rear & slow? HSS?

    Thanks!
     
  6. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    486
    Nov 21, 2014
    Neither of your two flashes has HSS. HSS allows you to shoot at shutter speeds faster than the max x-sync speed of your camera (which is presumably 1/200 - 1/250th of a second). Good for filling in those shadows on the dogs.

    TTL is auto flash exposure with EV adjustment. It is useful for on camera flash where the distance between you and your subject is constantly changing. It is important though to set the ambient light exposure so that it balances well with the flash (dont be afraid to raise your iso in the evenings.) Both your flashes (assuming the mk320s) have ttl.

    My advice is to get a new modern flash with decent power like this one.

    Flashpoint Zoom R2

    It is only US$120 has HSS/TTL, a Sony MIS hot shoe and an integrated wireless receiver so that you can also use it off camera with a relative cheap trigger.
     
  7. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    194
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    For explanation of Rear, slow synch and HSS, see the compendium (section 6)

    For more advanced details look for these subjects on google


    The Meike MK320s has a lot of limitations:
    - flash power is pretty low ( in fact lower than published: Sony HVL-F32M in Manual mode at 50mm zoom is one and a half stop more powerful but both are rated as GN 32 at 105mm )
    - no zoom to help cover wide angle or save and increase power when zooming in on a subject
    - No HSS ( but then power available for that feature would be so low that it would be limited to distances of 1-3ft away)
    - WL mode is Manual mode only and in "dumb" optical triggering

    The Sigma EF-610 may not be compatible with cameras introduced after 2011 ( Many issues with Sony A77 and after) and depending on the adapter, it may make things worse ( Sony ADP-MAA is reliable, other brands i have tried like Meike and Travor often have issues)

    If you are serious about using flash on a regular basis, i would recommend Sony HVL-F43M ( not to be confused with HVL-F43AM) that will keep up as Sony introduces firmware updates and changes bodies. Other brands are a gamble in that some features may not be well adapted because they are reverse engineered and this has its limitations mostly as the system evolves. In addition, should you go out to adapt vintage lenses, this one will still work in all modes.

    Today, your camera is a computer, your lens is now a computer peripheral ( firmware updates on lenses are now common) AND your flash is also a computer peripheral in that it needs info from the previous 2 to give proper results.
     
  8. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    486
    Nov 21, 2014
    Are you serious? And how is that supposed to happen? Take your flash into Sony and they charge you to firmware update? Every Godox flash has a micro usb port so you simply download the latest version of their firmware. Look lets not get started with the fact that the flash doesnt even have a built in receiver, external port for a battery pack and costs 3x as much. The worst thing about the Godox TT685s is the only part of it that Sony makes namely the foot. Sony flashes are out of date, underspecced and massively overpriced.
     
  9. michelb

    michelb TalkEmount Regular

    194
    Oct 27, 2013
    Greater Montreal area in Quebec, Canada
    Michel Brien
    Are you serious?


    Absolutely, i consider this flash as a best buy for the following reasons:

    - Historically any major manufacturer tries to keep some compatibility as they make their camera systems evolve and this ensures a higher level of compatibility from one generation to the other. When looking at the history of flash on Sony ( which is an evolution of the Minolta system of the late '90' and early 2000 ), one will notice that as the flash system was refined first going to digital from film era that brought its new challenges ( no more could you measure TTL light directly off the film like in the film days), Minolta made sure its flash units could go on for a few generations of bodies. As an example, the Minolta 3600HS(D) and 5600HS(D) which are the same as the Sony HVL-F36AM and HVL-F56AM units, were introduced around 2001 and Minolta did not have a digital SLR yet. They did have some digital cameras like the Dimage A5 and A7 and Dimage A200 that used flash and they needed a different protocol to achieve proper exposure with flash. Thus was created the pre-flash that helps the sensor determine how much more light the flash has to provide for proper TTL exposure. Sony having used these same units after buying the camera division from konica Minolta, continued with the same technology and the fact that these units can still work properly with any A7 series of cameras either in TTL, HSS and Wireless without any firmware update or modification of any sort except adding an ADP-MAA adapter for on body use. The HVL-F43M should be able to provide this kind of compatibility over the years since Sony just changed the shoe on their bodies 4 years ago, i don't see how they could make it incompatible with future generations of bodies. It will not gain any new features that may come out but their present operation will most definitely be preserved. The computer language i was mentioning between the camera/lens/flash has evolved but because the camera recognises the flash, it can still make it work. If the camera does not recognize the flash ( Meike, Phottix, Godox, Sigma or others because they were reverse engineered) and are missing some code that make them an imperfect copy of the Sony units, then these stop working properly and if the manufacturer has no provision for the language improvements, they will bring out a new flash not a firmware update.


    - It offers a great combination of power/ features that can grow with your neeeds. The OP was asking about fill-in flash and for this purpose , the HVL-F43M has the flash exposure correction at your fingertips (no menu to go to) by directly letting you adjust flash exposure at the touch of the rear dial, which is a plus to make quick corrections. When i see people insisting on a flash remote system, and also insist on a radio controlled system, i wonder f they know how simple the Minolta/ Sony WL system is. If you don't need to go over 16.5 ft from control to any remote unit ( 5m as published and it even workks outside in full sun, i know i have done it) which is probably the case of 90% of the users out there, all you need to ensure is that the first flash you buy has the WL Control capability in the case of use on E-Mount cameras ( all A-Mount cameras except A850/900/99 have a built-in flash that can act as a basic remote controller). The only thing you need to add to build your system are remote units that are compatible (3600HS(D) are TTL and HSS in WL and are often seen at 80-100$ on eBay, 56000HS(D)'s because they have better manual control and swivel head are about 200$). These are 15 years old and can still be of some use. They can also be used on camera as stand-alone units with Sony ADP-MAA adapter and offer the same features as they had when new.


    - Let's imagine in 2 years Sony brings out the A7 model 4 with this new flash related feature that has to do with the new Silent Shutter technology ( Can not use this feature with flash at the moment ). To make it work, Sony will probably have to make a new flash model ( let's call it HVL-F44M SS) to go along this new body and feature. Now your HVL-F43M will not have this new capability but it will still work with this new body in the traditional modes for which it was designed because the camera will recognise the older flash and react accordingly. Your Godox may stop working either partly or totally if not well recognised by the new camera ( ask those Sigma flash users and even some lens users). And there is absolutely no guarantee that Godox will find a way to get a firmware update that will work nor how long it will take them to make it work. Same applies to some WL remote manufacturer who updated its remotes firmware to update for a particular camera body and broke the language for the older models so users are now stuck with only partial compatibility again


    And how is that supposed to happen?


    -Answer included above




    Take your flash into Sony and they charge you to firmware update?


    - The only flash that had a firmware update to my knowledge were the HVL-F60M because of the overheat warning happening because Sony tried to make recycling faster than it should be and this was the cause of overheat. This happens to people trying to shoot high powered flashes in short period of time. But the flash will last long which is not going to be the case of units without this circuitry. All other Minolta/Sony flash units still work the way they were designed for with A7 or E-Mount cameras.


    Every Godox flash has a micro usb port so you simply download the latest version of their firmware.


    - See above for firmware that may not be feasible or may take time to happen.



    Look lets not get started with the fact that the flash doesnt even have a built in receiver, external port for a battery pack and costs 3x as much.


    - WL built-in with other compatible flash units in the Minolta/Sony optical protocol that works very well but is unknown by most and require only seconds to set-up.

    - External port for auxiliary power: availble on F60M but this is a flash killer accessory if used intensively. This does not look like a pre-requisite by the OP.




    The worst thing about the Godox TT685s is the only part of it that Sony makes namely the foot. Sony flashes are out of date, underspecced and massively overpriced.


    - I also hate the new shoe ( i know people did not like the previous AutoLock shoe but it was great)


    - As for out of date, what makes you mention that ?


    - As fas as underspecced, they do what i want or need in simple and efficient ways (if you read the manuals and try stuff before an actual shoot). What else should they do ? Make coffe ?


    As for over priced i don't agree, see below


    - My 1993 Minolta 5400HS flash was 50% (400$) of the price of the Minolta 700si body ( 800$) . This was the first flash/ camera combo on the market with both WL and HSS (years ahead of Canikon). It still works but no more WL or TTL with digital cameras because the language between flash and bodies have changed.


    - My 2008 first HVL-F56AM (550$) was 40% of the price of my A700 (1200$) . It still works and does all the things i mentioned above. I since added Minolta 5600HS(D) units that i got used for 200-250$ and have given those a beating at times but they still work as they were designed even though they were introduced in 2001.


    - My first 2011 HVL-F43AM (380$) was 38% of the SLT A77V body ( about 1000$ but with 16-50 2.8 lens was 1600$) and both still work and the 43AM can still do all its tricks on my A7 bodies or as advanced controller for 3 groups and WL remotes


    - My HVL-F43M (370$ in 2014, OK i bought it on special i spotted at a store) was 19% of the price of my A7II. What percentage of the price of A7rII ?


    - Overpriced ? My camera to flash price ratios are coming down drastically every generation and still work together after many years. Some call this value.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  10. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    486
    Nov 21, 2014
     
  11. lew

    lew New to TalkEmount

    8
    Jul 7, 2014
    As I delve further into this, I have found that the EF-610 supports pretty much everything. The modeling light does not come on, however. I've also "discovered" the few flashes that use li-ion batteries. This is particularly awesome for me in that my shooting style requires small apertures and fast recycle times. Looks like the Quantum dry cells are a thing of the past.

    The Sigma EF-610 may not be compatible with cameras introduced after 2011 ( Many issues with Sony A77 and after) and depending on the adapter, it may make things worse ( Sony ADP-MAA is reliable, other brands i have tried like Meike and Travor often have issues)