Physical & Handling
– How the flash felt in the hands
The HVL-F58AM is the latest flash in the Alpha-Mount DSLR system. Here in this review, I compared the HVL-F58AM against the HVL-F56AM & the HVL-F42AM. Physically, the HVL-F58AM flash is obviously the largest among the existing Alpha flashes.
Fig. 1 – The HVL-F58AM, 56AM,42AM flashes side by side (front View)
The main flash head on the HVL-F58AM is massive compared to the earlier models. This may have been necessary to accommodate the new flash head rotation design. The feedback sensing and focus Assist lamp window on the HVL-F58Am is significantly larger about twice the face area of the sensing window on HVL-F56AM. Close observation shows that the light sensing device which was located on a smaller separate window in the HVL-F56AM has now been relocated at a centralized location (See below). This could be possibly for a symmetrical sensing accuracy.
Fig. 2 – Sensing Window (Comparing with HVL-F56AM)
From the initial tests shots taken with this flash, the consistency in shot to shot exposures with flash fills looks great. So I guess this change in the light sensing device do help in a way or another.
Back Panel View:
Fig. 3 – The HVL-F58AM, 56AM,42AM flashes side by side (Rear View)
The overall height of the HVL-F58AM pointing straight up is about 20mm higher in overall length compared to the already huge HVL-F56AM. The longer flash head could have been due to the longer racking mechanism that’s required to support the 24mm-105mm focal length flash coverage. The HVL-F56AM only covers a range of 24mm-85mm focal length coverage.
Right Side View:
Fig. 5- Comparing Battery doors
Fig. 6 – The HVL-F58AM, 56AM,42AM flashes side by side (Left Side View)
The two sockets for the flash off camera cable and the external battery pack are hidden on the lower edge of the flash body by a small rubber door (right be low the connector sticker label as shown in the photo).
Fig. 7 – The HVL-F58AM socket door
As we can see from the diagram above, sockets (1) & (2) are neatly arranged and placed at the bottom side. This was necessary due to the side turning flash head that may come in the way of the flash cables if they were to be placed at the location similar to the HVL-F56AM. The foldable flash off camera stand, in this case allows user to plug in battery pack or flash cable without the need to remove the stand. A simple fold (3) down of the stand allows sufficient access to the sockets.
Fig 8 – Extremes of the swing head positions to front and back.
The turning head gives an added flexibility for the strobist as the flash head could be positioned really close to the floor for a floor. The off camera stand is designed with a broad base to accommodate the extreme positions of the flash head while still maintain firm balance.
Long awaited Bounce card:
Fig. 9 – The Godsend in-build flash bounce card
Finally, Sony got it right this time round in incorporating a in-build flash bounce card that retracts and keeps neatly behind the wide angle diffuser. This one little improvement really goes a long way. Users could have the flexibility to do forward bounced fill flash with this adjustable bounce card. Pull it out for more fill or push it in for less fill. The little bounce card also adds catch lights to the eyes of portraiture subjects and macros.