My Nex flash rant

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by Amamba, May 5, 2013.

  1. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Coming from Canon DSLR, I am having all kinds of problems with Nex flash.

    It seems that the onboard flash metering is very inaccurate / random and doesn't properly adjust the output for the distance to subject. Even when I dial the FEC all the way down it's still too bright sometimes.

    The flash also seems to be pretty weak. Either that or it simply fails to increase the output for the subjects farther away just as it struggles with close subjects.

    Finally, there's the issue of an external flash.

    The one that would work on F3 has a proprietary mount (so if I ever upgrade to a higher end body with a proper mount it would be useless). I read many reviews on Amazon about this flash failing and Sony basically refusing to do anything about it. Finally, it appears (I may be wrong here) that this flash still can't be bounced if camera is held vertically.

    I would get an adapter from Minolta mount to the universal hot shoe, but I need to know what flash to get. I currently have Canon 430EX and while it's a great flash it's too big for a Nex. I understand that a 3rd party flash won't get me proper metering but it seems Sony's idea of flash metering is all screwed up anyway.

    So, I am looking for a flash that's small enough - half the size of 430EX at least; powerful enough; can be bounced with camera held in either orientation; not awfully expensive; and can be reused on later bodies.

    Should I be looking for a used Sony flash with proprietary mount, or is there a flash unit you can recommend ?

    Also, any tips on making the onboard flash less unpredictable ?
     
  2. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    I use manual flash with remote trigger. Works fine but isn't very fast. I have adapter that screws to C3 flash port and has got standard flash shoe.

    I am waiting Allacax to get their flash transmitter/receiver ready. It will solve my flash problems as I don't need TTL but focusing C3 is pain in the dark if you don't
    have flash attached and these cheap adapters don't signal the body that there is a flash.

    I hope that some Chinese manufacturer realises that there are millions of Nex 3&5 users there and makes a decent TTL flash for us. 2 AAA, bouncing both ways and big enough head. Power of about 20/ISO 100 is enough.
     
  3. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
  4. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    The Sony HVL-F43AM is a great flash for demanding NEX users. However, as I don't know of any fully functional adapter for the smart accessory terminal, you'd probably need a NEX-6 or 7 to take advantage pf it.

    But as that's somerhing that's easily readable before buying, making a rant now is a bit odd. Sony differentiates its products, which especially makes sense here as they want to make the NEX-3 and 5 as small as possible.
     
  5. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI

    I think this is the one that the reviews on Amazon say is prone to breaking / dying, which is why I am hesitant to buy it. And it's not designed to bounce in portrait orientation from what I see.



    I don't quite agree with the above statement. As it stands, I ended up with F3 by pure chance (needed a small travel camera to complement my Canon DSLR setup, didn't want to spend a lot on it, got it used with a kit lens for cheap, and was so blown away by the low light capabilities and overall IQ that I decided to switch systems).

    However, even if I investigated this from start, it wouldn't change much. For anyone who's doing a lot of low light portraiture, and is considering the cost, the Nex is still the winner, with or without a good flash. I don't think anyone would buy into a system based solely on how the flashes work. I mean, what are the alternatives ? Fuji is $300 more than Nex 6 and is rumored to have issues with close focusing. OM-D is $200 more, has a crop factor of 2, and is (probably) not as good in low light. Compare to F3, and you can get all the IQ of 6 and a bunch of lenses for the cost of OM-D body.

    And even if I bought a Nex 6, what flash would I put on it ? The HVL-F43AM is even larger and slightly heavier than Canon 430EX, and this one would be just huge on any Nex body. Which would make holding the camera with flash attached awkward, poorly balanced, and prone to hand shake. So would doing a research ahead of time make any difference ?

    The Olympus has a compact flash design that seems to be capable of bounced shooting in both orientations, and can be used as a remote trigger. Sony needs something similar, pronto.
     
  6. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Yes, it would have made a difference. You don't have to buy the OM-D to get a hot-shoe, I think the E-P[whatevernumberitisnow] has a hot shoe too. The HVL-F43AM might be big, but it's a good flash.

    Canon is known for their Speedlight flash system, which really may be great. Sony, well, is known for really bad flash support, although their own flashes are quite okay (yet expensive and big). As you put it in your post, every system has its downsides, and you have to find the best compromises. If your best compromise is a system without good flash support, you'll have to live with that compromise anyways.
     
  7. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    But I may still rant :)

    I am sure that the flash you mentioned is a good one, but it's bigger than 430EX, and that one would be freakishly big on Nex body... so perhaps I need to bite the bullet and get the external flash with that funky ass hot shoe (btw, so does it mean that owners of Nex 6 have no option but to get a flash designed for a dinosaur sized DSLR ?)

    How bad is the HVL-F20S ? There's quite a few pissed off owners on Amazon, is it that bad ?
     
  8. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    well I'm happy with the flash of the nex 7 but needed something more powerful but did not want a very bulky, so I could the HVL-F20AM and works very well, fast as I supposed, Gives no shadow at all even at 18mm,50mm, with the hood fitted. For portraits and interior works perfect. DSC02545.
     
  9. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Would this flash (HVL-F20AM) work on F3 with a hotshoe adapter ?
     
  10. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    not is a hot shoe man, works only in the nex7
     
  11. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
    No. Works on all these NEX's via the proprietary connector. NEX-3/5/5R/C3/5N/5R/F3.

    Sony FLASH HVL-F20S Compatibility
     
  12. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    No, it does not. This flash is available with either the iISO hotshoe, the standard hot shoe OR the smart accessory terminal. One model does NOT fit on all NEX bodies.
     
  13. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    And there is no converter from smart accessory terminal to the iISO.
     
  14. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Dave
  15. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Lots of good info here, thanks !

    Looks like the built in flash on F3 is exactly half the power of the one on T3i.

    I just sold my Canon body and am contemplating my next Nex purchase, trying to choose between EVF, flash, or SEL55210.

    Typically I advice people to go with flash first, but the Nex is good enough in low light, especially coupled with SEL50F18, that I have hard time making a choice.
     
  16. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    the flash, HVL-F20AM works only for shoes , if you want to used in the nex 3, i guess you need to adapter. So is better used the F20S, could be perfect, the mean thing, is because want to use for TTL, so provide control over auto-zoom, high-speed sync (HSS), power level switching, wireless flash, bouncee flash, modelling flash and multi-burst functions, and the compact size....
     
  17. Amamba

    Amamba TalkEmount All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2013
    SE MI
    Well, I ended up buying "Used like new" HVL-F20S on Amazon. It was just over $100 so not a big deal.

    It can't be bounced vertically, which is imho a miss on Sony's part. It would be very easy to design that. It is about 3.3x stronger than the built-in flash on F3, according to the rating (20m at ISO100 as opposed to 6m on F3), which makes it about 1/2 as strong as the Canon 430EX that I just sold (43m). Given that it's only about third of it's size and feels like 1/10 of it's weight, I am not complaining.
     
  18. Red Bull 2013

    Red Bull 2013 TalkEmount Regular

    81
    Mar 21, 2013
    Greetings to everyone. Not a question I want to open a new topic. Can I get a Minolta 5200 flash at a good price. It works automatically (ADI / TTL) to Nex 7? or if the flash does not work at a good price I could get to work with Nex7?
    Thanks
     
  19. Red Bull 2013

    Red Bull 2013 TalkEmount Regular

    81
    Mar 21, 2013
  20. Electric Shepherd

    Electric Shepherd TalkEmount Regular

    103
    May 12, 2012
    Leicestershire, U.K.
    Ben
    My biggest let down is the flash sync speed on my Nex-3 being only 1/160 of a second rather than 1/250s or 1/320s. Trying to use fill flash on a bright day means I have to shut down the aperture more than I'd like which in turn limits the impact of the flash. Do the newer Nex bodies have a quicker flash sync speed?

    I'd also agree about the flash metering being poor compared to other systems. When bouncing my HVL-F20S I have apply at least -1.0EV of flash compensation, I never have to do this with my Nikon kit.