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Thread: Sony wireless flash system question

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    Sony wireless flash system question

    I'm currently shooting on Nikon with two sb 900 speedlights and su 800 controller. Great system and works really well.
    Does anyone one have any experience using multiple sony speedlight set ups with the sony a900 or 850.
    I'm doing lots of portraits these days and the zeiss 135 is appealing. But before I do anything I might regret I wonder how well the flash set up works.
    Thanks in advance

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question


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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Hi David,

    for wireless flash the 20am and 58am work flawlessly on my a900's.
    For portraits I use Pocket Wizard and studio flash.

    Here's another resource:

    http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/topic24862.html

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    The A58am is a superb flash gun on it's own but will also trigger wirelessly other remote flash guns.
    Cheers, Dave
    www.simmondsphotography.com

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidL View Post
    I'm currently shooting on Nikon with two sb 900 speedlights and su 800 controller. Great system and works really well.
    Does anyone one have any experience using multiple sony speedlight set ups with the sony a900 or 850.
    I'm doing lots of portraits these days and the zeiss 135 is appealing. But before I do anything I might regret I wonder how well the flash set up works.
    Thanks in advance
    As far as I know there is no Sony equivalent to a Nikon SU 800 Speedlight Commander or Canon STE-2. You need to use a Sony flash like the HVL-F20AM, etc., in the hot shoe as a trigger ... which I personally do not favor as I sometimes like to use one light off-camera with no other source of light.

    I've done on-location portraits with a pair of Pocket Wizard triggered HVL-58AM speedlights (I'm not a fan of line-of-sight triggers). Each flash is set on manual, and I easily set the ratios manually on the flash (1 to 2 for example) because I'm also not a fan of TTL controlled off-flash works.

    During my very first excursion with this set-up to shoot a family portrait, including two squirmy little kids requiring lots of DOF, the Sony flash unit set to full-ratio output shut down in short order due to the heat limiter. Waiting 10 minutes for it to cool down sucked while shooting two kids with ants in their pants. It shut down repeatedly during the session. I've had this happen to me at a wedding also.

    However, the Canon 580EX and Nikon SB900 will do the same thing, so if it hasn't happened to you yet with your Nikon flashes, it probably won't with the Sony flash either. FYI, I never had a SB800 shut down on me.

    I abandoned that notion altogether, and went to a battery powered studio strobe with modeling light and ratio control provided at the camera. Problem solved. Lots more lighting power and flexibility of light modifiers also.

    Since my Quadra is pricy, a fellow who has assisted me with lighting found this 400w/s solution for himself at a fraction of the price for one HVL-58 ... $277.

    http://www.linkdelight.com/vmchk/Fla...e-ask.tpl.html

    I'll report back on it once he gets it and we give it a good wringing out.



    -Marc

  6. #6
    michelwillies
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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Sony wireless flash system is better than other flash system. It is a really great system because it can get successfully result.It is create a small studio in flash system and with simple reflectors.It is control battery of powered at the camera in this flash system.

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Quote Originally Posted by michelwillies View Post
    Sony wireless flash system is better than other flash system. It is a really great system because it can get successfully result.It is create a small studio in flash system and with simple reflectors.It is control battery of powered at the camera in this flash system.
    Just curious ... how is Sony better?

    Both Nikon and Canon provide control at the camera, and offer separate controllers for off-camera strobist work that Sony has yet to offer.

    All of them depend on infrared line-of-sight triggering which is highly limited in actual use. In fact close to useless in the real world in my experience.

    The first flash system that offers built-in radio control will instantly be the top dog when it comes to strobist type work. The downsized technology already exists ... look at how small the MicroSync, Elinchrom Skyport and Hensel radio units are.

    -Marc

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    And getting the necessary radio licenses for US/EU can't be that hard for giants like canon if a little company like PW can manage..
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

  9. #9
    Endos
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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Both Nikon and Canon provide control at the camera, and offer separate controllers for off-camera strobist work that Sony has yet to offer.
    -Marc
    Sony also provide that. Both, HVL-F20AM and HVL-F58AM flashes are also IR wireless controllers. If you want to prevent the wireless flash controller signals from the flash appearing in the shot, just attach a piece of exposed and developed color negative film to the pop-up flash.

    Here are more info: New HVL-F20AM flash and a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) IR Filter Switch

    Juan

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Quote Originally Posted by Endos View Post
    Sony also provide that. Both, HVL-F20AM and HVL-F58AM flashes are also IR wireless controllers. If you want to prevent the wireless flash controller signals from the flash appearing in the shot, just attach a piece of exposed and developed color negative film to the pop-up flash.

    Here are more info: New HVL-F20AM flash and a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) IR Filter Switch

    Juan
    The A850 and A900 do not have a pop-up flash.

    What I am talking about are devices such as the Canon STE-2 and Nikon SU-800 Commander units which provide sophisticated wireless IR control of multiple TTL flashes or groups of flashes at the camera, as well as different types of close up flash control in the case of the Nikon SU-800 ... without the need for any flash on the hot shoe ... which is preferable in most off-camera situations I ever do. I prefer to control where the fill is coming from, not just accept it at camera.

    IMO, I'd be leery of placing any ND filter over any hot shoe speed-light ... wouldn't that be asking for it to shut down or to fry it in rapid sustained shooting conditions like at a wedding or event?

    In addition, both the STE-2 and SU-800 have infrared AF assist lights that keep the AF assist beam where it should be ... at the camera over the lens. Sony's off-camera cord doesn't even have this, where Canon's off-camera cords do. AF assist at the camera is valuable for shooting available low light photography without using flash, where contrast issues can cause a lens to hunt.

    I ALWAYS used a STE-2 in the hot shoe even when not using off-camera flash when shooting with the 85/1.2L which significantly improved the AF ability of that lens in low contrast conditions ... and dearly wish there was a Sony version of this to assist with the 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 in low light.

    The Sony HVL-F58AM flash in itself is great ... but the flash system is way behind Canon and Nikon ... making it difficult to employ more sophisticated strobists techniques.

    The HVL-F20AM may be a partial answer, and worth getting ... but it doesn't have an AF assist light that I can see.

    In truth, all of these infrared controllers are basically very limited solutions as they depend on line of sight, and the distance performance is humorous at best.

    I do also wish Pocket Wizard would include Sony in the covered flashes controlled by their new TTL radio system, but I'm not holding my breath.

    -Marc

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    No where near as sophisticated as a full TLL solution, a possible interim solution for triggering and simple power control would be the Radio Popper JrX Studio transmitter & receiver and a Nikon Cube. The Trx & Rcv are brand agnostic, so simple Sony/Minolta hotshoe adapter should work fine. The only caveat for the OP is that the Nikon Cube will NOT work with the SB-900 - you need 800s or older.

    Also, need to calibrate the power scale on the control dials to your flash - every model of flash will differ slightly as to where say 1:4 power is. On Nikon units it's easy (template on Flickr) with nice reasonable gaps between dial settings; but with Canon flashes (with the Canon Cube) it's a bit more problematic as the circuitry needed to interface with Canon flash 'quench' system (vs simple wiring hookup in Nikon) can be VERY sensitive to any adjustment of power from RP transmitter (as in 5 deg move in dial shifts power 1 stop).

    I use the setup on a Canon body to trigger my Profoto gear and with the Nikon Cube to control the power remotely on some Nikon SB-80s. Works like a charm. Step-less power control from hotshoe of up to three flashes/groups. Nice benefit is that it also gives you ratios between 1:1 and 1:2 and BELOW normal minimums. Need to actually measure it but I'm talking the faintest "did it actually trigger?" 'pop' of light at min.

    MIGHT make due until a more full TTL-esque remote solution is found.
    Last edited by robmac; 30th June 2010 at 04:39.

  12. #12
    Endos
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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    First, sorry for my English.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The A850 and A900 do not have a pop-up flash.
    I know. I was referring to the HVL-F20AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    What I am talking about are devices such as the Canon STE-2 and Nikon SU-800 Commander units which provide sophisticated wireless IR control of multiple TTL flashes or groups of flashes at the camera, as well as different types of close up flash control in the case of the Nikon SU-800 ... without the need for any flash on the hot shoe ... which is preferable in most off-camera situations I ever do. I prefer to control where the fill is coming from, not just accept it at camera.
    I think the confusion comes because the Sony IR wireless controllers are also flashes. But you can control up to three groups of flashes with ratios. Ratios only works when the 58AM is used as controller however.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    IMO, I'd be leery of placing any ND filter over any hot shoe speed-light ... wouldn't that be asking for it to shut down or to fry it in rapid sustained shooting conditions like at a wedding or event?
    It's not a ND filter but an IR filter to block the control signals from the master, which don't affect exposure significantly because the power used is minimum. It will never fry it because of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    In addition, both the STE-2 and SU-800 have infrared AF assist lights that keep the AF assist beam where it should be ... at the camera over the lens. Sony's off-camera cord doesn't even have this, where Canon's off-camera cords do. AF assist at the camera is valuable for shooting available low light photography without using flash, where contrast issues can cause a lens to hunt.
    The Sony 58AM also has an IR AF assist light.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I ALWAYS used a STE-2 in the hot shoe even when not using off-camera flash when shooting with the 85/1.2L which significantly improved the AF ability of that lens in low contrast conditions ... and dearly wish there was a Sony version of this to assist with the 85/1.4 and 135/1.8 in low light.
    You can do that easily. Simply put the 58AM in the camera hotshoe, turn it on and press Mode until the no flash icon is displayed.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The Sony HVL-F58AM flash in itself is great ... but the flash system is way behind Canon and Nikon ... making it difficult to employ more sophisticated strobists techniques.
    Definitely not. Canon and Nikon wireless system is a copy of the Minolta wireless system, and all that you can do with Canon and Nikon you can do with Minolta/Sony. You can even get a Minolta Maxxum 7 film camera, raise the popup flash, and shot wirelessly the Sony 58AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The HVL-F20AM may be a partial answer, and worth getting ... but it doesn't have an AF assist light that I can see.

    In truth, all of these infrared controllers are basically very limited solutions as they depend on line of sight, and the distance performance is humorous at best.
    Yes. Indoors they never failed me, but outdoors are very poor. Distance is also poor.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I do also wish Pocket Wizard would include Sony in the covered flashes controlled by their new TTL radio system, but I'm not holding my breath.

    -Marc
    Unfortunately I read that they has not interest in the Sony flash system.

    Juan

  13. #13
    princehellan
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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    The built in flash will always fire when using wireless. In normal (non ratio) mode it puts out only enough light to control the remote flash. In photos I have only seen a very small highlight from it when photographing shiny objects such as glass. The built in doesn't cast a shadow in normal wireless mode. In ratio mode it is obvious that it is adding light.

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Don't forget that you can shoot in HSS and kill the input entirely of the controlling flash.

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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    David you might want to have a look at this little jewel. I'm setting up a Paul Buff Cybersync system with this to mount my trigger. There is also a cheaper system that works pretty well. The Yungnou CTR 301P flash system is pretty cheap and with modification to the receivers works pretty well. DOH! It's called the FA-HS1AM Hot shoe adapter. This should work with Pocket Wizards also.


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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Quote Originally Posted by Endos View Post
    First, sorry for my English.



    I know. I was referring to the HVL-F20AM.



    I think the confusion comes because the Sony IR wireless controllers are also flashes. But you can control up to three groups of flashes with ratios. Ratios only works when the 58AM is used as controller however.



    It's not a ND filter but an IR filter to block the control signals from the master, which don't affect exposure significantly because the power used is minimum. It will never fry it because of this.



    The Sony 58AM also has an IR AF assist light.



    You can do that easily. Simply put the 58AM in the camera hotshoe, turn it on and press Mode until the no flash icon is displayed.



    Definitely not. Canon and Nikon wireless system is a copy of the Minolta wireless system, and all that you can do with Canon and Nikon you can do with Minolta/Sony. You can even get a Minolta Maxxum 7 film camera, raise the popup flash, and shot wirelessly the Sony 58AM.



    Yes. Indoors they never failed me, but outdoors are very poor. Distance is also poor.



    Unfortunately I read that they has not interest in the Sony flash system.

    Juan
    Those are pretty good answers Juan.

    I knew the 58 flash could be turned off, but didn't think to use it for focus assist while shooting available light. It isn't quite the same as the small STE-2 transmitter with its oversized AF assist, but it's better than nothing.

    I do wish the Sony off-camera cord had an AF assist light in the hot-shoe portion for using flash on a flip bracket like Canon does.

    Having used all three wireless systems extensively at weddings ... I still hold that the Sony system is behind that of Canon and Nikon .... both of which are extremely easy to use, with an interface that requires less button pushing and scrolling through menus to implement. Minolta may have invented it, but the other companies refined it further for ease of use ... especially under pressure.

    Basically, I've abandoned use of any optical based wireless solution in favor of radio ... not only is the distance poor even indoors, line of sight makes it impossible to very difficult to place auxiliary lighting in discrete places.

    I've finally found a solution for where to mount a radio sender while using the A900. It arrives today from B&H and I'll report on it after giving it a try.

    Here's a shot done with the A900 using radio controlled off-camera lighting along with a 58AM in the hot shoe for fill. Very, very dark wedding reception dance area ... but I was able to use lower ISOs, stop down more than usual, and higher shutter speeds to get shots that differ from my usual fast aperture shots while dragging the shutter.

  17. #17
    jackmartinn55
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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Sony is a standard for camera. Sony wireless flash system is better than other flash system. Sony is really best system because it can get successfully result.With Sony flash system the output result is so great.Sony flash system create a small studio in flash system. Sony also create simple reflectors with flash system.

  18. #18
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    Re: Sony wireless flash system question

    Hmmm ... you have a Sony shaver, a Sony microwave oven, a Sony refrigerator, a Sony dust cleaner, ... each day you speak your prayer to Holy Sony ... I am right?

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