Small strobe for A7 bodies?

crazy150

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Hey guys, I am hunting for the smallest TTL flash for the A7 cameras. It needs to be articulating to bounce off ceiling or wall behind in portrait or landscape.

I’m not too concerned with cycle time or any features. Just want a small flash that enables me to bounce and doesn’t make the camera huge and cumbersome.

Im considering the godox 350 but ideally I’d like even more small.

thanks.
 

Chris2500dk

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The Godox TT350 and Nissin i40 are about the same size. The Nissin takes 4 batteries, the Godox 2, but the Nissin is also quite a bit more expensive.
 

Richard Crowe

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There is one thing that I regret about the Sony cameras and that is a lack of a really tiny flash like the Canon 270EX-ii... I always carried the 270EX-ii on my Canon DSLR cameras for walk-around and travel photography and it worked just fine...

The parameter lacking in most small flashes available for the Sony Multi Interface Mount is HSS which, since I mostly use this outdoors for fill flash is an absolute imperative...

I use the Godox/Flashpoint 350 for my Sony cameras. It is a decent and reasonably priced TTL flash that is powered by a pair of AA batteries. I have two of these flashes since I often shoot with two cameras in tandem.

The little flash is not terribly powerful but, will do the job for close up shooting and interfaces seamlessly with all other Godox/Flashpoint equipment.

I will bounce this flash using a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Professional and will sometimes use a plastic StoFen type diffuser and shoot direct flash outdoors. Not the absolute best combination but, it works...
El Dia de los Muertos - Hollywood Forever - 2019_9258.jpg
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If I were going to buy this flash again, I would opt for the Li-on battery powered model. It is quite a bit more expensive (almost 2x more costly) but, IMO, the far shorter recycle time would make the extra expense worthwhile...
https://smile.amazon.com/Godox-Rechargeable-Battery-Outpout-ILCE6000L/dp/B07C7XBMJ2/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=godox+350+Li-on&qid=1577033668&sr=8-3

The Nissin I40 (which also has HSS capability) has a guide number of 40 while the Godox 350 has a guide number of 36. That's abut a half stop less powerful than the Nissin. The weight of both of these units is virtually identical but the Godox/Flashpoint is considerably less expensive... (Amazon prices: Nissin I40: $269; Godox/Flashpoint: 350 $85; Godox/Flashpoint Li-on: $170).

I purchase my Godox equipment from Adorama (under the Flashpoint brand name) because Adorama has a very good record of customer support. This is important because Godox requires retailers to support their flashes...
 

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bdbits

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I don't own a flash and most often see Godox recommended. Sony does make a pretty small flash - the HVL-F20M. It sounds a lot less capable than the Godox, though, and more expensive, so depends on what you need. If it was my money, I'd go Godox.
 

Richard Crowe

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The Sony HVL-F20 doesn't support HSS so I would not even consider it. I absolutely require HSS since I use the flash for outdoor fill.

A neat thing about all Godox/Flashpoint flash units is that they can be used as a regular hotshoe flash or as a slave; triggered by another Godox/Flashpoint unit or by a Godox/Fashpoint trigger. However, all Godox/Flashpoint hotshoe units can also be used as a radio controlled Master for any other Godox/Flashpoint units...
 

crazy150

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Thanks guys. That’s a little disappointing. I’m just in the process of switching over from Olympus and always carried around the little Olympus flash for just general use at a family event or the like. I have bigger godox units and like them, but one point of mirrorless for me is compact kit when not really doing a planned shoot. Of course the 1-2 stop benefit of the Sony reduces this flash need, but it’s still useful.

I saw the little Sony but it didn’t look like it rotated which would basically rule out bouncing in portrait and it seems costly and not terrible small but maybe I’ll look into it on eBay.
 

bdbits

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I am not pushing the flash at all, but the little Sony flash does have a 'bounce' setting that angles it up 75 degrees, but you are right no rotation for portrait. For that in Sony, you'd have to go up a notch to the HVL-32M which is considerably larger and pricier.
 

crazy150

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I am not pushing the flash at all, but the little Sony flash does have a 'bounce' setting that angles it up 75 degrees, but you are right no rotation for portrait. For that in Sony, you'd have to go up a notch to the HVL-32M which is considerably larger and pricier.
Thanks. If I can find one second hand, I’ll give it a try.

This a little off topic, but seems so many people discount the use of flash these days as something from the 80s (or 1880s). Family and friends are always wowed by my photos of gatherings and they assume it’s because I have some fancy modern camera. I tell them, I could have done the same with gear from 15 years ago. They are just used to cell phone photos with poor ISO and crappy led flash with no bounce or diffusion.

Natural light is great if it’s quality and the new cameras really make the most of it, but being able to reduce the shadows created by interior lighting on your subjects makes a huge difference. You don’t need a lot of light either, these small flashes are perfect if you don’t need fast cycle times or to light an entire room.

/rant
 

bdbits

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Flash was used so poorly in the past. A lot of people who used it did so poorly and often straight on - no bouncing, maybe not even diffused at all. Cell phones only made this worse. We all know the results.

I am a natural light kind of shooter, and don't take a lot of people much less indoor photos. Just the very occasional family gathering. Nevertheless, I'd like to get some flashes in the coming year for an attempt at some macro work, maybe I will try some with people, too. Unless I end up with a ring flash or something, that could be awkward, lol.
 

Richard Crowe

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Many people who shoot pictures rely only on natural light because 1. they do not know how to use flash to achieve naural looking images and 2. they don't own the minimal equipment (hotshoe flash that can rotate and bounce and a diffuser of some type).
As alluded to above, natural light is often crappy for a photograph, not only in intensity but, in color and direction.
I probably use my flash outdoors as much as I do indoors.
The Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Professional combined with a flash that can rotate and bounce is great for outdoor shooting. Angle the FlipIt portion of the diffuser about 45 degrees towards the subject will direct a significant portion of the flash forward but, still result in softer lighting than direct flash.
This technique can even be used outdoors at night when there is nothing off which to bounce the flash..
El Dia de los Muertos Escondido 2019_5893.jpg
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20191101_El Dia de los Muertos Escondido 2019_5907.jpg
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20191101_El Dia de los Muertos Escondido 2019_5883.jpg
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Using the flash in this manner, while using a relatively high ISO, will avoid the deer in the headlights" look with a totally black background.

However, the significant thing about the Canon 270EX-ii flash that I liked was that it rode relatively low on the camera hotshoe. IMO, this could be safer if you carry the camera/flash on a Black Rapid type strap. The lower profile flash would be less likely to hit something and break at the hotshoe. This could definitely be a factor since the Multi Interface Shoe of the Sony cameras seems less rugged than the standard metal hotshoe mount of the Canon.

I bounced the 270EX using a Joe Deb Photojournalist Reflector/Diffuser with good results...
 

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Richard Crowe

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Another use for flash is when photographing animals. The flash will normally allow a catchlight in the animal's eye/eyes that makes the look more "alive". The flash doesn't need to be very powerful to accomplish this!
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SpecFoto

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Hey guys, I am hunting for the smallest TTL flash for the A7 cameras. It needs to be articulating to bounce off ceiling or wall behind in portrait or landscape.

I’m not too concerned with cycle time or any features. Just want a small flash that enables me to bounce and doesn’t make the camera huge and cumbersome.

Im considering the godox 350 but ideally I’d like even more small.

thanks.
I have numerous Godox flash and have used them since 2014, really love the system. When I added Sony to my other camera gear I just needed a small flash too, but a really small one like the one Olympus includes with it's EM1's didn't exist. So I added the Godox V350-S (Flashpoint thru Adorama) and it has performed just fine for what I use it for. It rotates/bounces, uses a lithium battery that lasts all day and recharges the flash very quickly, and though half the power of standard full size speedlights it has just enough power to add flash to shadowed faces on sunny days. Plus I can use my Godox wireless trigger on camera to add it to my other Godox lights if needed. Highly recommended!

But don't expect miracles with such a small flash. When I was shooting for clothing/swimsuit manufactures in my studio I would typically use 3 and most times 4 lights. No longer have the studio but when doing outside portraits the minimum flash I use now is the AD200, which is 5 times as powerful as the V350, and an added V850 for a hair light.
 
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bdbits

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We will have to agree to disagree that natural light is "crappy". Maybe for people/pet shots a flash is needed most of the time; I would not know since I seldom shoot either one. I am not the world's greatest photographer, but many of my photos even indoors turn out just fine for me and I do not even own a flash.
 

crazy150

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We will have to agree to disagree that natural light is "crappy". Maybe for people/pet shots a flash is needed most of the time; I would not know since I seldom shoot either one. I am not the world's greatest photographer, but many of my photos even indoors turn out just fine for me and I do not even own a flash.
Didn’t mean to imply that natural light is crappy, just that often the natural lighting is bad. You can up your iso all you want, but it won’t evenly light your subject.

There are situations where if you desire a quality image, flash is necessary.
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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Here is my 'dilemma' if you will. I had a Nikon D7000+SB400 flash unit. Shooting the D7k was easy as it also had a built-in flash on the camera. It always gave me great pictures as the camera would use the built-in as fill flash if needed, even outside in the sun.
That camera and flash got sent off to my sister in Australia earlier this year.
Which flash unit for a Sony A7ii or A7iii will give me the same results?
I received some gift cards to B and H Photo for Christmas. I'm on the fence about what will work and also wanting a lens too.
HELP!
 

crazy150

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Here is my 'dilemma' if you will. I had a Nikon D7000+SB400 flash unit. Shooting the D7k was easy as it also had a built-in flash on the camera. It always gave me great pictures as the camera would use the built-in as fill flash if needed, even outside in the sun.
That camera and flash got sent off to my sister in Australia earlier this year.
Which flash unit for a Sony A7ii or A7iii will give me the same results?
I received some gift cards to B and H Photo for Christmas. I'm on the fence about what will work and also wanting a lens too.
HELP!
If you don’t need to bounce or high speed sync then just get the little Sony flash HVLF20M. The pop up flash is just a ttl flash. If you run the A7 in auto it should do the same as the Nikon I would think.

It’s not cheap though. A cheaper, more powerful/flexible solution is a godox (flashpoint) Sony ttl flash but those are bigger.
 

Richard Crowe

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Even the small Godox/Flashpoint TT350S hotshoe flash will be more powerful and a lot more versatile than any built-in camera flash... Of course, it is a tad bigger... but, not so much that it is a burden to carry or use...
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1341879-REG/godox_tt350s_ttl_mirroless_camera_flash.html
At about $85 U.S. Dollars, it is not very expensive either.

Lenses for full frame cameras are something else. They can be big, heavy and expensive like the 24-70mm f/2.8 G-Master.

The Tamrom 28-75mm f/2.8 lens is wonderful. Although at about $880, it certainly cannot be considered cheap...

The 50mm Sony FE f/1.8 is a bargain with pretty decent imagery and a price of about $200...

The 28-70mm kit lens is not a great lens but, you can get one fairly cheaply on eBay...
 

SpecFoto

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Here is my 'dilemma' if you will. I had a Nikon D7000+SB400 flash unit. Shooting the D7k was easy as it also had a built-in flash on the camera. It always gave me great pictures as the camera would use the built-in as fill flash if needed, even outside in the sun.
If you don’t need to bounce or high speed sync then just get the little Sony flash HVLF20M. The pop up flash is just a ttl flash. If you run the A7 in auto it should do the same as the Nikon I would think.
It’s not cheap though. A cheaper, more powerful/flexible solution is a godox (flashpoint) Sony ttl flash but those are bigger.
I have never used the Sony HVLF20M, but being a native Sony flash, it should give you reliable results in TTL. While I love my Godox flashes, realize Godox had to reverse engineer the Sony protocols to make the TTL and high speed sync (HSS) work with Sony bodies. Even the Godox manual will say that they only tested their flash with some camera bodies, not every one. I don't use TTL, but instead manual mode and sometimes HSS, and therefore I know what the final results will most likely be from experience. However if you are "Always on Auto" as your handle name implies, there may be instances where the Godox TTL is not as reliable as the Sony flash's TTL and the results may disappoint you. That was my case with the V860-N for Nikon where the TTL was not that great the few times I tried TTL with it. (This was 2 years ago and there may be FW upgrades that improved this, but not easy to upgrade with the Mac, a whole other Godox issue, so I just shoot in manual now.)

Don't think you need to worry about HSS not being in the HVLF20M, as while your D7000 was capable of it, it required a Nikon flash unit that was also cabable of it, which your SB 400 (and pop-up flash) were not. HSS started with SB600 and higher numbered flash units. HSS is great for freezing action with flash as the flash can operate up to 1/8000 ss if required, although at reduced power. Without HSS you will be limited to your cameras flash sync speed, which is most likely 1/200 ss.

Far as a lens, well, you mentioned a while back being a bit sorry at not buying my FE 85 f1.8 and that is a great lens for portraits. B&H has it $50 off until tomorrow at $548:)
 
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Richard Crowe

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I got what I think was a very good deal and purchased my minty used Sony 85mm f/1.8 lens from Adorama for $450 U.S. Dollars. It is a great lens for size, weight, and image quality.

A less expensive alternate to the Sony 85mm f/1.8 "might be" the Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 AF lens

However, I have heard some very good things about the Auto Focus Rokinin/Samyang 85mm f/1.4 lens...

Bit more expensive than the 85mm f/1.8 Canon or 85mm f/1.8 Viltrox but less expensive than the Sony-Zeiss 85mm f/1.8 and a LOT LESS EXPENSIVE than the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G-Master

There are M/F 85mm lenses such as the Viltrox f/1.8 which runs $200 but, I would certainly prefer an auto focus lens in this focal length and aperture. It would, IMO, be a lot easier to shoot portraits (which is my primary use for this lens) with an auto focus equipped lens using Continuous AF and Aye-AF than working with a manual focus lens with the narrow DOF of an 85mm f/1.8...

I would definitely stick to my Sony 85mm f/1.8 lens as the best value out there...

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