HVL-F42AM User Interface I

User interface – Controls on the HVL-F42AM vs HVL-F56AM & HVL-F36AM

Deciding the right sets of button to include in a small back-face of a flash unit is not easy. Here, we’ll look at the back face of the HVL-F42AM and compare against the HVL-F56AM to see how well organized the placements of buttons and also the choice of direct function buttons that are available.

Buttons-Buttons:

Fig. 6  Buttons Placements on the HVL-F42AM


Here we can see that the back face of the face house the buttons and display. This flash does not have an LCD display but uses a simple colored LED solution.

These are the buttons/switch found on the flash:
1 – Mode Switch:

2 – Zooming Select:

Just like the HVL-F56AM & HVL-F36AM, the HVL-F42AM does have a dedicated Flash-Zoom button that will change the lens positions in the flash module to match the focal length of the lens used. Covering 6 positions – 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 105mm.

The HVL-F56AM have its range covered up till 85mm only. This therefore is a great advantage for those using lens like the 24-105mm, 16-105mm lens to get a better light concentration. Lens like the 18-200mm and 18-250mm would also reap the benefit of this flash range.

3 – Flash Power Level Select:

A big step improvement of the HVL-F42AM over the HVL-F36AM is this Flash Power selection capability. This allows better manual lighting controls both for manual on camera and off-camera wireless flash.

There are 6 steps power control – 1/1(Full), 1/2, 1/4/ 1/8/ 1/16/ 1/32. This manual flash power selection is really great for wireless for Studio Portraitures, Macros, Landscapes and much more – wherever you want full light power control!!!

4 – High Speed Sync:

Good Choice to have the High Speed Sync (HSS) button as a dedicated button as this allows fast switch over of HSS mode. In fact, this makes switching faster then the menu-driven HVL-F56AM – where one needs to get into the menu and switch it On-Off.

5 – Test Fire

Fig. 6  A closer look at the buttons and switch

The inclusion of the test fire button is a really a a plus. This means that we can :

a) use the flash as a manual fill flash – enabling light painting technique. This is very useful for myself when I shoot products stills, macro and also foreground lighting fill-in dawn and dusk type of shoots.

b) check incident shadow when testing out position of lighting. Even there is no “pulsed-modeling lamp” like the HVL-F56AM, this test fire button is quite sufficient – although it may consume battery power.

6 – Power Switch:

Unlike the Power Switch in the previous flashes, they have decided to put a slider switch here. I guess it depends on individuals on what they prefer, but one point to highlight here is that, they have done a great job putting this button on the right side.

I personally prefer to hold my camera by the lens as I switch or change the settings on the flash. At least they took the extra care to make the On-Off switch similar in direction as the camera itself.

Next: HVL-F42AM User Interface II

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