Page 1 of 1

Question for the Sony guys - flashes

Posted: August 22nd, 2015, 6:56 pm
by Kent VanSooy
I just picked up a new a77ii body and am starting to have some fun with it. I'm looking for an external flash recommendation. The application I struggle most with is trying to get decent in-situ shots of animals at night. What I've done to date is hold a flashlight in one hand, camera in the other, allow the camera to autofocus, then quickly point the light away before pressing the shutter. It works, but is a little on the awkward side. Is there a flash unit that will make this easier?

Re: Question for the Sony guys - flashes

Posted: August 23rd, 2015, 9:14 am
by bgorum
So I'm not a Sony guy, but I've got a small flashlight, (actually a head lamp I took the strap off of). that I attach to the top of one of my flashes to help aim the flash and focus. If I'm hand holding the camera I don't bother to turn the flashlight off. The light from the electronic flash overpowers the flashlight, so you'll never see the flashlight's light in the photo. For combining flash and long exposures I do turn the flashlight off before taking the picture, but in that case the camera and flashes are either mounted to a tripod of resting on the ground, so none of it moves when I turn off the flashlight. With long exposures at night I'll also turn the flashes themselves off right after they fire, otherwise I'll get some exposure from the red ready lights on the flashes.

Re: Question for the Sony guys - flashes

Posted: August 23rd, 2015, 1:45 pm
by Kent VanSooy
Thanks! I've been using one of those uber-powerful flashlights, thinking that any kind of light would mess up the picture. I'll try a less powerful one. Cheap and easy, perfect!

Re: Question for the Sony guys - flashes

Posted: August 23rd, 2015, 4:13 pm
by chrish
I shoot an a77ii. I have a series of several different flashes
- an older equivalent of the current Sony HVL-F60M External Flash
- Sony HVL-MT24AM Macro Twin Flash Kit
- Sony HVL-F20M External Flash
and the Metz Mecablitz 15 MS-1 Macro Flash

For most of my herp photos, I use the Mecablitz due to its flexibility and field hardiness. However, if I had to choose only one flash for best all purpose, I would go with the F60M with a Stofen Omnibounce diffuser. You get the advantage of its high power for distant shots (birds, etc) and being able to shoot with it wirelessly off camera. If you didn't want to shell out that much money, the F43 or even F32 would do fine (I'm not sure if the 32 can work wirelessly?).

As for photos with a flashlight, I find that if I get the flashlight edge near the subject, the a77ii can focus successfully.

Another thing that can be used to help focus your camera in the dark is a laser pointer. If you can find one of those novelty ones that projects a shape it works better. A tic-tac-toe shape is optimal, but any thing with a straight line works. Obviously you shouldn't shine it on small critters or near their eyes.

Re: Question for the Sony guys - flashes

Posted: August 24th, 2015, 11:44 am
by Kent VanSooy
Thanks Chris, I had never thought/heard of a laser pointer before. I think I'll try an F43 with a less-powerful flashlight, maybe an LED with the same color temperature as the flash, and see how that works.

Re: Question for the Sony guys - flashes

Posted: October 12th, 2015, 6:51 pm
by chrish
I thought I would point out that I just read good reviews about (and ordered) the Nissin 40i flash for my 77ii.

The reason I bought a new flash is that my old flash had the old Minolta/Sony Alpha flash mount. The a77ii has the new Sony SLT/NEX multifunction flash shoe. So I bought the Sony adapter from the old Minolta/Sony hot shoe to the current SLT/NEX hot shoe.

Over the last year or so, I found that using my flash with that adapter was undependable. Sometimes it wouldn't fire when it should and it was equally undependable when using the flash wirelessly off camera. I assumed it was the flash since it was old and had been dropped multiple times over the years. But didn't want to replace it since the equivalent FL60 flash is very pricey.

As it turned out, I dropped the flash (again) last week and it landed on the adapter, breaking it. I removed the adapter and suddenly the wireless flash worked flawlessly like it had before I bought the adapter.

So I either had to order a new adapter ( :() or a new flash and read all the positive reviews of the Nissin 40i, so I ordered one and it shows up tomorrow. I guess a full review will be coming.