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Actually, the most depressing thing about the NEX range (apart from the Sony 'daddy') is that they gave up on devfelopment of any 'system' aproach in favour of simply bringing out more expensive models once they realised that they had captured a market segment and did'nt really need to try anymore......Thus we probably will never get any of the vital accessories that we all want.
Sony has made a big expansive gesture in 'allowing' the use of it's lens fitting criterior to become open source an davailable to other lens makers. While that was happening, you may remember that they attempted legal action against people who sought to make accessories in other areas of Sony interest, an dnot for the first time. Sony have always produced expensive accessories and these are vitually never available at any discount price,...so, do you really think that our Chinese friends are unable to hack the NEX accessory socket, or is it just not worth their while to do so??
There is nothing (short of potential legal action) stopping someone from designing an off camera flash extension cable for the clip-on flashes for the NEX 3, 5, C3 and 5n. That said, the fact that these flashes require power from the camera's battery is a pain in terms of flash recycle time and camera battery life. I hope that all the future NEX cameras use the Alpha flash hot shoe like the NEX-7.
I would still prefer a standard hot shoe rather than the Sony/Minolta hot shoe, but even the proprietary hot shoe is better than the crippled accessory port on the other NEX cameras. If my NEX-3 had a hot shoe and an EVF then I wouldn't have pre-ordered the NEX-7.
Yeah, I am not much of a fan of Sony's proprietary design ideas (I like the regular hotshoes I've been using on a wide variety of equipment for 25 years). What this means for them is that I will probably jump ship and go back to Canon and Nikon as soon as those companies finally come out with an affordable APS-C compact. They haven't yet, I was tired of waiting, and so I gave Sony a chance. If they want me to remain a Sony fan they need to give me the tools I want, because eventually Canon and Nikon will for sure.
Although I hate the proprietary hot shoe on the NEX-7, I will say that the design of Sony's "Quick Shift Bounce" design on the HVL-F58AM and HVL-F43AM flashes is really cool. When I first saw the HVL-F58AM I said, "Why has nobody thought of that before?" For me, it's the perfect solution for the on-location flash shooting I do.
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I'm going to give the HVL-F43AM a try when my NEX-7 gets here. There are also off-camera cords for the Alpha hot shoe: