Sony HVL-F42AM Flash Review - Photo Jottings

Sony HVL-F42AM Flash Review

Sony HVL-F42AM flash quick review

Contents of box, velcro on flash head not included.
LCD lit up, showing available settings

Specifications and general information.

Sony HVL-F42AM  Discontinued in 2011.

Owner’s manual

Sony ESupport for HVL-F42AM  Go here and click on the ‘manuals, specs and warranty’ tab.
MSRP $299
Tested on
Sony A580, Sony A900.
In the box
Flash, stand, vinyl pouch and instructions.
Build quality
Very good all around.
Weather sealing?
Hotshoe style
Sony proprietary type
Guide number
42 (138′) ISO 100, @105mm zoom position, and 35 (112′) at 50mm zoom.
Guide number accuracy
Maximum output seems similar to other models with same rating.
Stated color temperature
Not stated.
LCD monitor
No LCD, but has panel with illuminated settings.  2″ x 1.2″ (53mm x 30mm).  Has battery indicator, zoom length with wide panel down indicator, power levels, HSS, wireless channels, and auto levels.
Lights and switches
On-off slider, test/charge button, select buttons for mode, HSS, level and zoom.
Power source
4 AA, 1.5V
Recycle time
About 3 sec at 1/1. Half-power (1/2) recharge is almost instantaneous for a couple of pops, then it slows down.
Flash duration rating
No info.
Power saving function
Yes, 30sec, 3min, 30min and none.  Wireless flash mode power save can be set to 60min or none.
Adjustable power levels
Six full levels only; Auto, 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, and 1/32.
Wide angle diffuser type
Built-in, pulls out and down, covers 16mm, (11mm APS-C) and shows on display when attached (Wide).
Bounce card or reflector plate
Not included.
Bounce positions
45°, 60°, 75°, and 90°.
Swivel positions
Left, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75°, 90°, – right, 30°, 45°, 60°, 75°, 90°, 120°, 150°, 180°.
Zoom positions
Auto, wide (16mm), 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.
AF assist beam
Yes, red, works properly.
Custom functions
Five settings may be changed.  Wireless CH1/CH2.  Time to power save-30sec, 3min, 30min, none.  Time to power save when using wireless flash; 60min/none.  Recording modes in which manual flash may be set.  Brightness setting of the display, bright/dark.
White balance info
Modeling flash
Multi-flash emission
High speed sync
Yes, to 1/4000.
Wireless ability
Sony ADI support
Red eye reduction
Not supported by Sony.
3.0″W x 6.4H x 2.4D   76mm x 162mm x 62mm   Maximum length 6.4″ (162mm) including shoe mount.  Length and depth measured with flash flat.
11.8oz (335g) without batteries, 15.5oz (439g) with batteries.
Operating temp
0°-40°C,  32°-104°F
Will work with Radiopoppers™ triggers with Sony cable adapter or other connection, but needs to be mounted on camera first, with both (camera and flash) turned off, then both turned on, then flash is taken off camera and attached to receiver.
If power save turns power off, you must do this again.  Advice; turn off power save when using radio flash triggers.
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.
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.
Good for
everything, it’s easy to use, and great for beginners.
Not good for
No real negatives.
Highly recommended, but not available new.  Replaced with HVL-F43AM in early 2011.


Scroll to Top