Sony HVL-F43AM Flash Review - Photo Jottings

Sony HVL-F43AM Flash Review

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Contents of box, including stand, case, manual and flash unit.
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LCD lit up, showing some available settings
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Display items possible on LCD

 

Specifications and general information.

 

Model
Sony HVL-F43AM  announced in February, 2011.
Owner’s manual
Sony eSupport HVL-F43AM page    Go here and click ‘manuals, specs & warranty’ tab.
Price
Original Sony MSRP; $349.99
Tested on
Sony A580, Sony A900.
In the box
Flash, stand, vinyl pouch and instructions.
Build quality
Very good all around.
Weather sealing?
Sony claims it’s dust and moisture resistant.
Hotshoe style
Sony proprietary type
Guide number
43 meters, 141′ (ISO 100, @105mm zoom position), and 30 meters, 98′ (ISO 100 @50mm zoom).  Specs are for full frame sensors and 35mm film.
Guide number accuracy
Maximum output seems similar to other models with same rating.
Stated color temperature
Not stated.  New version states approx. 5500k.
LCD monitor
LCD.  1.65″ x .95″ (42mm x 24mm).  Has low battery indicator, overheat, zoom length with wide panel down indicator, power levels, HSS, quick shift bounce, wireless channels, and many other items, see image above.
Lights and switches
Test/Flash charge light, display light, TTL/M, zoom, function button inside four way controller, and the on-off switch.
Power source
4 AA, 1.5V
Recycle time
Less than 3 sec at 1/1.  Half-power (1/2) is instantaneous for 2-3 pops, then it slows down slightly.  Rechargeable nickel-metal hydride batteries used.
Flash duration rating
No info.
Power saving function
Yes, none, 30sec, 3min, and 30min.  Wireless flash mode power save can be set to 60min or none.
Adjustable power levels
Eight full levels; Auto, 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128, and third or half stop intervals, user selectable for a total of 22 levels.  Power levels will not continue on after reaching highest or lowest setting, you must manually press the up or down buttons and go back.
Wide angle diffuser type
Built-in, pulls out and down, covers 15mm, (10mm APS-C) and shows on display when attached (Wide).
Bounce card or reflector plate
White bounce card built in over diffuser, pulls out.
Bounce positions
150°, 120°, 90°, 75°, 60°, 45°, 30°, 0° and -8° (down).
Swivel positions
Right, 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 90°, – Left, 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 90°.
Zoom positions
Auto, wide (15mm), 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 105mm.
Zoom type
Internal, and fully automatic in auto mode.
Auto format zoom
Yes, the flash knows what focal length the lens is at, either full frame or APS-C format, except on the Sony A100.
AF assist beam
Yes, red, works properly.
Custom functions
The following settings may be customized.  (Wireless CH1-4).  (HSS, on or off). (Wireless contoller mode setting, 1 or 2).  (Power level intervals, .03/.05). (Time to power save-30sec, 3min, 30min, none).  (Time to power save when using wireless flash; 60min/none).  (Recording modes in which manual flash or multiple flash may be set, M mode only or all modes).  (Feet or meters on LCD).  (Test flash setting, once, 3 times, 4 seconds).
Connections
None.
White balance info
Yes.
Modeling flash
Yes.
Multi-flash emission
Yes, highly customizable.
High speed sync
Yes, to the cameras highest shutter speed.
Wireless ability
Yes, and can be used as a control flash for a total of three groups.
Sony ADI support
Yes.
Red eye reduction
Not supported by Sony.
Dimensions
2.9″W x 6.9H x 2.75D   73mm x 164mm x 68mm   Maximum length 6.9″ (164mm) including shoe mount.  Length and depth measured with flash flat.
Weight
12.0oz (340g) without batteries.
Operating temp
0°-40°C,  32°-104°F
Quirks
Modeling flash option uses a custom ‘test’ button setting, so you have to change back and forth unless you want the modeling flash to go off every time you test fire the flash.
Flash will fire even if it isn’t charged sufficiently, so check the charge indicator before shooting, otherwise you may wind up with the wrong exposure.  It does this so you won’t miss a shot waiting for the flash to fully charge.
Bounce indicator shows only on downward bounce (8°), but not in any ‘up’ position.  It will show when the flash is swiveled.
Notes
Can be custom set for full manual use in all recording modes, even “auto.”  Flash is automatically turned off when camera power is turned off, then back on if flash is still switched on.
Fully compatible out of the box with Radiopoppers™ flash triggers.
Good for
Almost everything.
Not good for
A minor negative: Intense studio use, as there is no external battery pack input or cable connection like the F56AM or F58AM.
Recommended?
Highly recommended.  Replaced HVL-F42AM in early 2011.
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