Sony HVL-F20AM Flash
Sony HVL-F20AM Flash (4.3 oz./121g measured with 2-AAA alkaline, about $150).
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It uses the bizarre "slot" mount, also called "AutoLock." Newer Sony DSLRs with regular hot shoes like the Sony A99 come with an adapter to use this flash.
Sony specifies GN 20 meters (65 feet) at ASA 100.
4.260 oz. (120.7g), actual measured with 2-AAA alkaline.
Black sack included .
Made in China.
Box, Sony HVL-F20AM.
Shot with the Sony A99, exposure and color is usually excellent.
It's clever: the whole flash flips up and down so it doesn't stick up when carried or stored. When you do this, it's also the power switch!
That's right: the only power switch it to flip it up for ON, and down for OFF.
Even if flipped up and ON, it turns off with the camera power switch.
It's easy to flick the flash up and down for shooting. Watch it, though; when put in a bag, it's natural to want to straighten-out the shoe, which would turn on the flash.
The A99 has a regular hot shoe, and comes with an adapter for this flash. It works great, but oddly, I've never seen the ready light in the finder.
My biggest complaint is that two AAA cells are too little power, be they alkaline or Ni-MH. They will get warm with use! Recycle time can take quite a while at longer distances. Ditto with Eneloop; with only two AAA cells for power, this flash can't belt out as much power as can flashes with AA cells. The two cells die quickly, be they alkaline or Ni-MH.
There are two lights on the back: one meaning it's turned on (green), and the light you really want to be on, the orange CHG light, which means it's ready. Just like governments and economies, when the cells run out juice, the CHG light turns red.
It goes to sleep when your camera does. When it wakes, it's usually still charged from before ,so there is less waiting to recycle for the first shop after it wakes.
It bounces vertically (only). To flip up the reflector, slide the switch on the side and the tiny reflector rotates internally.
There's also a wide diffuser, activated by rotating the lever on the other side. It's reminiscent of the Nikon SB-20 and Philips and Braun flashes of the 1980s.
Recommendations topSony Alpha and Minolta MAXXUM cameras, this is a swell little flash. I'd try it with Ni-MH Eneloop for better performance than Alkalines.
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