Review – HVL-F43AM

USER REVIEW – Sony HVL-F43AM
by mohd sulhan

Finally, we’ve got hold of the newly released Sony HVL-F43AM. We would like to thank the guys over at Sony Australia for giving us the opportunity to have a go at this long awaited team member of the Sony Alpha flash – Wireless Flash System to be exact.

This new flash inherited some great features of its larger sibling , the HVL-F58AM.

The contents of this review are divided into 5 sections. The HVL-F43AM will be compared to the HVL-F58AM closely as it is a physically scaled down version of the HVL-F58AM but offers some nice new features for strobe users. Follow the Links below to the specific topics:

1) Physical & Handling – How the flash felt in the hands.
2) User interface I – User Controls on the HVL-F43AM How it compared to the HVL-F58AM.
3) Lighting & White Balance – Its performance together with the Camera.
4) New Implementation – New Aproach and implementations compared to previous flashes.

Next: HVL-F43AM – Physical & Handling

  1. Cycra
    February 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Do you know if you can use HVL-F43 on the Sony off camera cord and fire remote flashes?

    • alphastrobist
      February 14, 2012 at 12:46 am

      Hi Ken,

      Yes, the HVL-F43AM is “Wireless Controller” capable. However, if you want to use the flash as controller on the off-camera cord, you need to trick the camera by taping up the little “notch hole” on the off shoe cord’s flash shoe end. This notch is the notch that tells the camera that the flash is in off shoe mode – but by taping it up with a little sticky tape, this should be able to trick the camera. Do try it out as this is true form the last time I tired it out – if I can recall correctly.

      Regards,
      Sulhan

    • alphastrobist
      April 16, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Hi Cycra,

      Based on my personal experience, yes this trick should work as the flash is physically still connected to the camera flash shoe – only that you trick the flash to allow its full functionality as if the flash is on without the off-camera cord. One side note is that for high-speed sync it should work too, but exposure wise really depending on how you place the flash with respect to the illumination to the subject.

      DO try out and share your experiences.

      Regards,
      Sulhan@Aphastrobist

      • Anther
        April 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm

        Does this trick also works with HVL-F58AM on a700? I am planning to buy a TTL Cord for this flash HVL-F58AM. Thank you.

  2. Anther
    April 13, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Does this trick also works with HVL-F58AM on a700?

    • Anther
      April 16, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Does this trick also works with HVL-F58AM on a700? I am planning to buy a TTL Cord for this flash HVL-F58AM.

  3. July 8, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Greetings Sulhan, (or whoever might read this post):

    Very recently I purchased Sony’s HVL-F43AM for use with my Sony Alpha A65. First, up front, I have never used an external flash to date. I have tried to do all my photography without flash, thinking the internal flash is basically useless for most practical purposes. (Correct me if I am wrong.) My purpose for buying this flash is because recently I have been asked to do the photography for an upcoming wedding (like next Tuesday already) here in the outskirts of Tokyo. Having very little knowledge and experience using flash equipment I have some questions. They might be basic for most people but for myself with an upcoming wedding shoot, constructive ideas and feedback will be very informative and helpful toward this objective.

    My Equipment:
    Sony Alpha A65
    Sony HVL-F43AM
    Sony 18-55mm kit lens
    Tamron 18-270mm zoom lens
    Sony 35mm, f1.8 lens

    Received advice:
    * Shutter priority to 1/125
    * ISO = 800
    * Bounce Flash to ceiling. Use pop up white card to enhance eye twinkle (or something like that)
    * +/- Flash EV value adjusted as needed via Fn => Menu (right side)
    * 18-55mm lens, (effectively 27-82.5mm at 1.5x crop factor, 35mm equipment equivalent) use over other lenses I have (above)

    Other then that, I guess I bounce around like a jack rabbit making sure to get all the important shots. I will also be conscious to carry around extra 4-packs of my Sanyo Eneloop batteries.

    So, my question here is, in general, any thing I am missing, or something else I should be considering? I only have one main camera. I am thinking to also bring a tripod to mount my compact Sony HX30V from a stationary point to capture the wedding on video.

    I will surely appreciate any idea(s) that you may have to offer. Thanks.

    Jerry Suppan
    Tokyo, Japan

    • alphastrobist
      July 10, 2012 at 2:40 am

      Hi Jerry,

      Thank you for dropping by Alphastrobist. Hopefully this reply is on time for your event. Based on your already available info as follows:

      Received advice:
      * Shutter priority to 1/125
      * ISO = 800
      * Bounce Flash to ceiling. Use pop up white card to enhance eye twinkle (or something like that)
      * +/- Flash EV value adjusted as needed via Fn => Menu (right side)
      * 18-55mm lens, (effectively 27-82.5mm at 1.5x crop factor, 35mm equipment equivalent) use over other lenses I have (above)

      One thing to note that using a high ISO at 800 would probably the maximum I would go. The actual ceiling height on location is one of the key criteria to get a good “diffused” flooding of light from the top. Colour, material and distance/height of the ceiling also plays a major part and my advice would probably go on site and walk through the event – similate your route of advance as much as possible. I’ve shot in a hall where every 10m is different lighting, so mixed lighting where fluorescent and incandescent lights comes into the equation, needs careful treatment. For cameras that can have 2~3 presets dials, then you can dial these white balance in.

      FOr a “catchlight” – tone one white spot for the eye, roundish large bounce card would be nice. If you have flash bounce upwards, then make sure you have a white card to do forward fill, otherwise the subject would have dark shadows under the chin, nose and eye socket…

      Once other good option to try our is the use of the Gary Foong type of diffusers – third party ones like Lambency. They work well in cases where ceiling is too high where you can’t get good bouncing diffuse. Therefore, if possible, do a ground visit to the place and prepare and familiarize with the whole event location – an where the “walking” would be done.

      Other than that, I guess you should be good to go with that setup.

      Regards,
      Sulhan@Alphastrobist

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