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Thread: Hvl-f20am

  1. #1
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    Cool Hvl-f20am

    The smallest SONY DSLR hotshoe flash is the HVL-F20AM.

    It offers itself in a convenient pocket-size and provides a reasonable "quick flash", but also a trigger flash for the larger HVLs ('58 & '42) for "wireless operation. While the APS-C sensor cameras benefit from the "built-in" flash, the Full Frames (α850 & α900) do not, so this is effectively it.

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    The F20AM flash offers some flexibility with a "DIRECT/BOUNCE" switch on the left-side and a "TELE" rotating lens on the flash head. The "On/OFF" switch is directly connected to the hot shoe mount and it comes on when you raise the flash to operating position.

    Personally, after operating the α850 w/o any flash for a few weeks, this is a convenient, emergency-type unit, if you do not have the "big boy" with you. Don't expect miracles, but simply a small light source for indoor operation and fill-flash support. Outdoors, all bets are off.

    You are warned NOT to pack it mounted on the camera, due to torque considerations on the hot shoe. If you carry it, I would recommend putting it in your pocket or attached to your camera neck strap. Since I will be using the hot shoe more, with this small flash, I have "borrowed" my α700's "hot shoe cap keeper", since the α850 did not come with one in the neck strap kit. It is almost more important with this camera than the α700, because the α700 has the built-in flash already and removal of the 'hot shoe cap' normally only happens when you are attaching the larger flash, so I guess I am more than a little confused as to why they eliminated it ... because you probably will be constantly removing the 'hot shoe cap' on the α850/α900.

    It also uses "AAA" batteries ... so, yeah ... another size of rechargeables to have handy.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 09-23-2009 at 01:16 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

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  2. #2
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    Any examples of it in action (wireless too?).
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    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  3. #3
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    I've had one of these a couple of months. It is a handy little flash. I would also point out that it only works as a wireless trigger for the α850/α900.
    Sony α900
    Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8, Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8, Sony 70-200 F/2.8 G, Sony 100mm F/2.8 Macro

  4. #4
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    $130 seems a bit pricey for (an essentially a) popup flash. I guess it does have it's uses.... I wish they would stick on pop up flashes on higher end cameras like the Nikon D700.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr4gon View Post
    $130 seems a bit pricey for (an essentially a) popup flash. I guess it does have it's uses.... I wish they would stick on pop up flashes on higher end cameras like the Nikon D700.
    And the funny thing is, if any high end DSLR doesn't need it, it would be the D700.
    This will be one of my reasons not to buy a a850/900.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dr4gon View Post
    $130 seems a bit pricey for (an essentially a) popup flash.
    not sure how well the sony one works but i have a nikon sb400 which is around the $100 mark and it is superb, its nothing like the PUF. i couldnt live without it. its tiny and indoor bounce capability in a standard room, (in landscape orientation only), is just as good my sb900.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elisha82 View Post
    And the funny thing is, if any high end DSLR doesn't need it, it would be the D700.
    the main reason i use it is for triggering strobes in CLS. in saying that though, the PUF has got me out of trouble a couple of times for fill outdoors so its handy.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooz View Post
    the main reason i use it is for triggering strobes in CLS. in saying that though, the PUF has got me out of trouble a couple of times for fill outdoors so its handy.
    And that's exactly it. The lower end bodies have the triggers in the PUF. If they decided to omit it on the a850/900, they should at least incorporated a in-body trigger at least via the focus assist beam.
    The PUF has saved me a few times too....nothing that I care to post but some important shots for others!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooz View Post
    not sure how well the sony one works but i have a nikon sb400 which is around the $100 mark and it is superb, its nothing like the PUF. i couldnt live without it. its tiny and indoor bounce capability in a standard room, (in landscape orientation only), is just as good my sb900.



    the main reason i use it is for triggering strobes in CLS. in saying that though, the PUF has got me out of trouble a couple of times for fill outdoors so its handy.
    hmm I should probably rephrase that. I guess it is useful that it can bounce, but I heard that it's not nearly bright enough, unless you use 200ISO at the least (depending on the room). It looks like the SB-400 and this have the same guide number, although I'm not entirely sure how to calculate it. 20m @ 100ISO for the HVL-F20AM and 30m @ 200ISO.
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    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  9. #9
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    Lightbulb Stand Tall!

    Quote Originally Posted by Elisha82 View Post
    And the funny thing is, if any high end DSLR doesn't need it, it would be the D700.
    This will be one of my reasons not to buy a a850/900.
    A pop-up flash is rather minor in the consideration of a Full Frame sensor, in my opinion. I contend that missing out on the "extra" width from my wide lenses is the primary reason that will not fly.

    I have three flashes which handle the lighting duty for most of my electronic flash work. The HVL-F20AM Compact Flash is a convenience and certainly not a necessity. The Field of View on the A850, on the other hand ... amazing.

    Also, the HVL-F20AM sits higher than the built-in flash, when in the upright, operating position ... often clearing the lens shield where the built-in cannot.

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    Last edited by DonSchap; 09-23-2009 at 04:22 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  10. #10
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    while i agree that a PUF is a minor consideration for FX, the fact that you need something else to trigger remote strobes with the a850 is imho, a mistake. on a full sized pro body, (which sony doesn't have yet), i can understand but the a850 should have had a PUF.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
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