When we originally reviewed the Sony HVL-F60R M2 flashes, we rated them very, very poorly. Recently, we had a chance to play with them again. It seems like the versions we used had some pre-production issues. While the flashes have surely improved, they’re still not incredible. However, we’ve changed the rating of the review from 2 to 3 stars. And we’ve added further updates.
The new review includes updates to the conclusions via a section called The Big Picture. It also now includes a statement that some of the images were shot on an all-expenses paid press-trip. Further, we speak about it being used on newer cameras. Here are the updated sections from our review for you pasted below:
The Sony HVL-F60R M2 is a humdrum update to their flash lineup. It’s competent, but there are much more effective lights out there for cheaper. And for a few hundred bucks more, you can get an Elinchrom One. For what it is, it’s a good flash. But it’s one that the market didn’t need. Sony is an incredibly innovative company when it comes to lenses and cameras. You wouldn’t think so when you look at the flashes, though.
As you’ll be able to, I don’t think you should buy the Sony HVL-F60R M2 even though it’s not a bad flash. There are just far better options on the market out there for cheaper. And for the money, you can still get really great flashes. The crazier thing is that if you go up in price just a bit, you get Profoto flashes. And if you go down in price, you get better flashes from Godox or other brands.
The Sony HVL-F60R M2 receives three out of five stars. Don’t buy one.
The section above was revamped a little bit to include other sections from our original review. We used the Sony HVL-F60R M2 at the recent Kando Trip in 2023. It seems to me that we had flashes with a few pre-production issues. However, we hadn’t had time to use them again since.
This flash isn’t bad. It remains to be the most powerful flash on the market with a cobra-style head. But the biggest problem has to do with the pricing for the features. On top of that, it’s still using AA batteries and lacks a USB-C port.
And despite the fact that these flashes are better than they were when I originally reviewed them, there’s an even bigger truth. Flashpoint makes flashes just as good for cheaper; we’ve reviewed them. At Kando Trip, everyone I talked to about this flash seemed brainwashed into only using Sony gear and nothing else. But there’s a whole world of great stuff out there.
Here’s the biggest truth, to this day, no one can tell if a photo was shot with Profoto, Sony, or Godox flashes straight from the camera. So at the end of the day, it’s all about price for the features. That’s a war that the first-party camera manufacturers are losing on many fronts.
- Cobra head continues to unlock so much potential
- Stills turns on and off with the camera
- Faster flash sync with the a1 is pretty awesome, but not necessary at this point
- Feels well built
- Comes with Gels and diffuser.
- Insanely easy to pair with the Sony wireless radio transmitter.
- Fantastic and incredibly fast recycle speed, but I never machine gun shoot with a flash anyway.
- Can be used as a receiver with lower end flashes
- Rear sync and slow sync is a lot better than the previous version
- Solid white balance performance, except when gelled
- Improved durability.
- Never once overheated, but that’s not really an issue with flashes these days anyway.
- Why is it still using Double A batteries? It’s 2021
- Sony touts auto white balance accuracy that only first-party equipment can achieve. But I haven’t had that problem with other brands in years.
- While the faster flash sync abilities with the Sony a1 are awesome, high speed sync is incredibly accessible these days without issue.
- Slow flash duration
- A touchscreen would’ve been a nice addition.
- The need to constantly pair with other flashes is kind of annoying.
- Pretty weak for the price point.
- Sony’s own TTL is really weird compared to Profoto’s
- It’s $599.99. Why? Just get a Flashpoint Zoom Li-on X R2 TTL that will give you more power output for less money.
- If you have an older Sony camera body, there’s no point in getting this.
- It’s 2021 and Sony released a flash without a USB-C interface. Even a far cheaper Flashpoint flash has USB-C.
In a previous iteration of this review, I stated that “there is no point in using this off-camera except if you’re indoors, at night, or have a lot of light control. For the money, you may as well get an Elinchrom One or a Flashpoint flash instead.”
It appears that the first version of this flash that I tested might have had some pre-production bugs.
The two photos above were shot with an infrared Sony a7 using the Sony HVL-F60R M2 on-camera. It did a great job when using this way and pointing it right at the subject.
We used the flashes in bright sunlight with the new Sony a7c II using Kando as well. Those images are below.
Truthfully, there wasn’t a situation where I felt this flash did a bad job. But in every single situation, I surely felt like my Profoto lights and other comparably priced flashes could’ve done a better job. More importantly, they’re also all still way outdoing LEDs that claim they can overpower the sun.
Indoors, the Sony HVL-F60R M2 clearly has an advantage with subdued lighting to make it shine. Outdoors, you’ll drain the power and it will struggle — but it will also succeed, just barely.
In situations where there’s a fair amount of shade, the Sony HVL-F60R M2 can perform quite well because of the control you’ve got. I’d be lying though if I didn’t say to myself and the reps “Man, I wish I brought my Profoto lights.”
Four of these flashes are around the same cost of a Profoto B10; and you can have your flash in one hand with the camera in the other.