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First Impressions: Sony HVL-F60M Flash

by Chris Gampat on 09/12/2012

The Sony HVL-F60M flash is an interesting one in the pure way it was designed. Sony creates and has always created their flashes in a different way from Canon and Nikon. The head swivels in a much more unique way and this new flash announced just today includes a new interface and a new LED light that is super useful in case a deer happens to walk onto the set of your photoshoot.

Tech Specs

– Guide No. 60 (ISO 100)

– LED light max 1200 lux

– Quick shift bounce ability

– Multi-flash ratio control

– Dust and moisture protection

Ergonomics

The new F60M sports buttons on the back that are not only very comfortable to operate, but are also not tough to work with. There is a mode button (for the various modes like manual, TTL, and others like stroboscopic and HSS). Besides that, there is a function button, menu button, dedicated light button, on/off switch and a large control dial that will remind Canon users of the old 580 EX II speedlite.

The flash also includes slots for battery packs. Oddly enough, I didn’t see a PC port anywhere for connection of PocketWizard Plus III units.

The new flash also uses the new Multi-interface shoe for the A99. Don’t own an A99? It can be used with any other non-Minolta Hot Shoe camera.

The head tilts forward, backward and from left to right much unlike the units from Canon and Nikon which basically turn around in a fashion synonymous to an Owl turning its head around. Because of this, it was a bit tough to do HSS and bounce the unit at the ceiling.

It would’ve been nice if I had a softbox to shoot through or something.

Editor’s Note and Clarification: Yes, I know that HSS can only be done with the unit pointing forward. What I forgot to mention was that I also had the included diffuser on here, and it cuts down the light output by around two stops. But I couldn’t slow the shutter speed down enough to balance out the lighting and therefore get rid of the shadow or else I wouldn’t be using the HSS mode for its designed purpose.

Here is a photo of the new stroboscopic setting interface.

This screen shows off the new look of the power level. Pretty cool and extremely modern if you ask me.

Sony did something pretty awesome here: they decided to put the LED light on the flash head instead of on the front of the flash. Because of this, the flash can also still act like a slave unit.

For strobists like me, that’s super sweet.

First Impressions

In my brief time with the F60M, I was very impressed though accept its limitations. It might be a bit tough to use at events or weddings, but I’m only saying that because I haven’t sat there and wrapped my head around Sony’s philosophy and the way they designed this flash to be used.

I seriously need to get it in, put it in a softbox, and shoot a model with it too though. Heck, I’d love to get four of them in and cause some real trouble.

Said trouble will happen eventually

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