HVL-F43AM User Interface

User interface – Controls on the HVL-F43AM

We’ll now take a look at the back face of the HVL-F43AM and compare against the HVL-F58AM.

1. Buttons-Buttons:

The Sony HVL-F43AM user interface panel looks very similar to the panel found on the HVL-F58AM.  It has the same number of buttons and adopts the same menu driven interface through the four way rocker button with a central function (Fn) selection button.  The user interface panel still have the following dedicated buttons :

  1. Mode – Selection of flash modes
  2. TTL/M – Selection of TTL (Through the lens) or Manual flash metering Mode
  3.  Zoom – Selection button for motorised zoom head position
  4. Back Light – On and off button for EL back light
  5. 4-way button – Menu selection buttons
  6. Fn – Dedicated function selection button
  7. ON/OFF Lever – new improved one-thumb flick lever switch.

Fig. 9 – Key differences as noted by A – LCD User interface and  B – Flick switch

The implementation of the lever type flick-switch for the ON/OFF switch is a welcoming design – Fig. 9 above.  This allows quick flick to power up or down the flash unit instead of having to “dig” into the slider switch.  to do a sliding let/right motion.  The flick-switch uses an up/down motion to toggle the switch position.

2. LCD Panel Layout

Sony has significantly re-arranged the position of the LCD display symbols and notations from the HVL-F58AM layout.

Fig. 10 – Rearranged LCD Panel layout

As we can see from Fig. 10 above,  the ratio display has been moved to the top right hand corner as denoted by “1” (green box).  In this green box region is also where the distance indicator will appear when the flash is mounted on the camera in full TTL mode.  Changing the Flash Power level on the camera body (for cameras like the Alpha A900) will change the corresponding distance information on the flash.  The ratio flash power indicator position is now taken place by the overall flash power indicator.  Looking a the power level indication section “2”, the power level arrowhead scrolling arrow is now changed to up/down arrowheads – compared to the previous  left/right arrowheads used in the HVL-F58AM.  The up/down arrow seem to be more intuitive, corresponding to the up and down flash power level selection.

A new welcoming feature for the Alpha flash is the power level steps indicator. The HVL-F43AM includes intermediate power level steps change as indicated by “3” in Fig. 9 above .   This give the use a better control to subtle light power changes.  Users can now have a choice of setting the flash up for a +/-0.3 or +/-0.5 step EV change – Please refer to user manual for instruction on changing the increment value.  The HVL-F43AM supports 22 steps of power level changes form 1/1 (Full) to /128 (Smallest).

  1. November 10, 2011 at 3:52 am

    I do not see any sort of conclusion to the article or testing.

    • alphastrobist
      December 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Sam,
      Thank you for dropping by and hope that the information on Alphastrobist would be useful for you. Just to let you now that during the first test run of the flash, I only had a short real try with the flash – of which the results may not be a good as examples to show the capability of the flash. In a couple of days, I’ll be receiving again a set of HVL-F43AM with the Sony A77. I should be able to get more comparative testing done in a couple of weeks time. Do stay tuned for some new updates.

      Sulhan @ alphastrobist.

      • Shaun
        December 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

        I own an a55 and a77 and an HVL-f58am as well, but the flash doesn’t quite fit my a77 in terms of the image’s color production unlike the a55 does. You’ll probably find out what’s wrong sooner testing the HVL-f58am with the a77. I found out that shooting with the flash under an incandescent light affects the white balance of the a77, the image turns yellowish and adjusting the white balance’s color doesn’t help. While using it with the a55, without effort adjusting and fiddling with anything, all settings set to Auto, it amazingly produces the right colors, white parts are just white and not yellowish nor blueish.

        I hope you could provide some results that could show which flash would be compatible with the a77, or which one would you prefer for the a77? It would be great! I have a feeling that hvl-f43am is more compatible with the a77 than the hvl-f58am and besides, the hvl-f43am is the recommended flash in the a77’s box. But I should leave it to the pro. Thanks!

      • alphastrobist
        December 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

        Hi Shaun,

        I just received a set of Sony A77 yesterday. Hmm…telepathy :o). I will give the camera a run and probabaly try out your observations. I’ll probably try out with the following new generation flashes, Sony HVL-F20AM, Sony HVL-F42AM, Sony HVL-F43AM & the Sony HVL-F58AM.

        Sulhan @ Alphastrobist

    • alphastrobist
      December 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Sam,
      Thank you for the inputs. Surely there are some preliminary results that I have got form my earlier tests but I’m not satisfied with the tests that I have done and is planning for another round with the Sony HVL-F43AM. As I just received one HVL-F43AM just yesterday and would be able to do some retests, I’ll probably put up some test images comparing with the Sony HVL-F58AM. I find that the SOny HVL-F43AM is a purpose built flash to go in line with the SOny A77’s release. Now that I have both the Sony A77 and the HVL-F43AM under one roof ‘ I should be able to extend the test coverage.

      Thanks for popping by Alphastrobist.


  2. December 23, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Excellent. Looking forward to the testing results. thx!

  3. dominicanstan
    December 23, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Which one is better (for you) hvl-f20am or hvl-f42am? Waiting for your answer to buy my first external flash 🙂 thanks

    • alphastrobist
      December 23, 2011 at 6:15 am

      Hi Stanley,
      Thank you for dropping by Alphastrobist. Both the flashes are build for specific purpose.
      Here are some key points based on our personal experiences:

      Sony Hvl-f20am:
      This flash was released back then to accompany the Sony Alpha A900. The Sony Alpha A900 does not have an onboars flash and shooting wireless (just triggering)with the Sony Hvl-f58am for wireless triggering may be an overkill for some users. Therefore the Hvl-f20am may be a good solution for users who already have the Hvl-f58am with the A900 and want wireless flash controller functionality. Or in cases just a small and handy flash to carry for short distance fill tasks.

      Sony Hvl-f42am:
      This flash was released to replaced the older 36am flash.
      Functionality is kinda the same as the 36am.
      This flash is one of those flashes that supports wireless too if triggered by the alpha DSLR cameras with onboard flash. So if you are exploring creativity in lighting with wireless flash, then this flash is an obvious choice over the Sony Hvl-f20am. These new flashes provides improved colour accuracy over the older flashes which came from the Konica Minolta days – e.g Sony Hvl-f56am and the Sony Hvl-f36am.

      Sony Hvl-f43am:
      This flash, based on our personal trials with it, would be the best flash for those starting out using external flash photography. Based on the illumination profile on flat planar area, this flash suits APS-c sized sensor field of view. When used with a full frame body like the A900, the fall off on its edges were obvious as compared to the fall off on the edges from the Sony HVl-f58am. This actually come up as an advantage to some aspects as what we will be discussing more on our comparative test results that we will add onto the HVl-f43am write up.
      Sony seem to have improved the user interface and reduce the size of the flash(can’t help but resulting in smaller guide number ) and make this flash “fits nicely” with the newly released A77. It inherited the great innovative quick bounce head – while retaining some great wireless controller capabilities of its elder brother – Hvl-f58am.

      I hope these inputs would be useful for your decision making process. Understand your shooting style, usage, and get something that you can best afford.

      Thank you and happy shooting.
      Sulhan @ Alhastrobist

  4. Don Peterson
    December 26, 2011 at 4:55 am

    I just found your website as I was attempting to compare the F43 and F58. What a great comparison that you have given!

    I have a new a77 and it sounds like the F43 is the way to go in adding a flash. BUT, I have a Minolta 5600 that I want to control as well as a monopod (Flashpoint II 320).–in case I want to use 3 lights. If I want to have the external connection, don’t I need to have the outlet on the 58?

    • alphastrobist
      December 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Don,
      Welcome to Alphastobist website. Just to answer your questions on using the HVL-F43AM off the camera and wired (hopefully I got your question right), you will need the FA-CS1AM + the FA-CC1AM (see the chart below).
      Flash accessories

      As for controlling the 5600HS you should be able to control using the HVL-F43AM (Setting it up in CTRL 2 Mode – Note: I have not tested the 43AM as a controller for the older flashes, but base on my feel with the 58AM, it should be similar).


      • Don
        December 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

        Actually, I was thinking that I would purchase the HVL-43 and use it on the camera hot shoe (or very close w/ off camera cable) and then fire the Minolta 5600 at a higher ratio (wireless from HVL-43?) and also connect to an studio monopod light (by wire) if needed. So, my question is, do I need to step-up and purchase the larger HVL-58 as the main controller, so that I have a connection to attach to the monopod strobe by cable?

        Otherwise, it seems more wise to purchase the smaller unit (43) because I’d rather have more light coming from the side (Minolta 5600) than using all of the HVL-58 power from the camera (or 1 foot away). This would help avoid the starkness of so much light “head-on.”

        Sorry for my inability to be precise in describing my question. But, I again thank you for such a helpful website. It gives me hope that I don’t need to change to Canon or Nikon to use flash and strobes–when all of the other online descriptions are so discouraging for Sony/Minolta users.

  5. raph d
    December 26, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Hi, i am a bit new to photography. i am using alpha 33. just want to know if f43am will fit my needs. i am not a professional, just want to have extra lighting (dont want to use high iso’s that much). i feel that the built in flash is not enough (shooting at 3-4 meters away because i dont want to be too close to the subject). i usually shoot in events/parties with slightly dim lighting.


  6. Jon Scott
    February 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Jon Scott :
    I am awaiting the arrival of my NEX 7. Do you feel that the F43Am would be a good choice for the NEX 7?

    • alphastrobist
      February 14, 2012 at 12:36 am

      Hi Jon,

      Thank you for dropping by Alphastrobist. Based on my personal experiences and tests using the Sony Hvl-F43AM, it surely looks like a great contender and probably the best option out there to be a companion with the Soon the be released NEX-7. All comes with the balance of Pricing, Size, Power and cost. This flash seems very versatile for its size and great for mobility too.

      Best is to actually try it out at your local dealer to see if it suits you. There have been many occasions that I see people getting the flashes and ended up not wanting to carry it along with them – maybe due to its size.

      Have a nice day!!!


  7. February 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Can I fire this flash of camera wit a NEX7 without any other equipment
    or do I need a “trigger” for the hotshot. If I need additional equipment, what do I need.


  8. Rafael
    July 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Oscar :
    Can I fire this flash of camera wit a NEX7 without any other equipment
    or do I need a “trigger” for the hotshot. If I need additional equipment, what do I need.

    Any news ??

    Until now… I think that is impossible.. At the moment you will need to have the F20Am as trigger.. Can somebody confirm it ?


    • alphastrobist
      July 20, 2012 at 9:05 am

      You would need the HVL-F20am, HVL-F43AM or the HVL-F58AM to be the trigger/commander on the NEX-7. The pop-flash on the NEX-7 will not trigger flashes in wireless mode. Without the three commander listed, the camera won’t even enter the wireless flash mode.


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