Sony HVL-F58AM Flash Review - Photo Jottings

Sony HVL-F58AM Flash Review

Sony HVL-F58AM flash review

Contents of box, including stand, case, manual and flash unit.
LCD lit up, showing some available settings
Plugs for external battery pack and off-camera cable
LCD panel index
LCD panel index

Specifications and general information.

Sony HVL-F58AM  announced in June, 2008, discontinued in 2012, and replaced with HVL-F60M,review here.
Owner’s manual
Sony eSupport HVL-F58AM page    Go here and click ‘manuals, specs & warranty’ tab.
Original Sony MSRP; $499.99
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
58 meters, 190′. (ISO 100, @105mm zoom position), and 42 meters, 138′ (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.
LCD monitor
LCD.  1.7″ x 1.1″ (43mm x 28mm).  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 images 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
About 3 sec at 1/1.  Half-power (1/2) is instantaneous for about 2-3 pops, then it slows down.  Quarter (1/4) power is instantaneous.  Rechargeable nickel-metal hydride batteries used.
Sony claims about 5 seconds for full power recharge, probably using standard throw-away AA batteries.
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
Six full levels; Auto, 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, no half or third stops.
Wide angle diffuser type
Built-in, pulls out and down, covers 16mm, (11mm APS-C) and shows on display when pulled out (Wide).
Bounce card or reflector plate
White bounce card built in over diffuser, pulls out.
Bounce positions
150°, 120°, 90°, 75°, 60°, 45°, 0° and -10° (down).
Swivel positions
Right, 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 90°, – Left, 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 90°.
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, 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 controller mode setting, 1 or 2).  (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).
Sony off-camera cable and Sony external battery adapter connector.
White balance info
Modeling flash
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 wireless control flash for up to three groups.
Sony ADI support
Red eye reduction
Not supported by Sony.
3.0″W x 7.1H x 3.0D   77mm x 195mm x 78mm   Maximum length 7.1″ (195mm) including shoe mount.  Length and depth measured with flash flat.
15.6oz (440g) without batteries.
Operating temp
0°-40°C,  32°-104°F
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 (10°), but not in any ‘up’ position.  It will show when the flash is swiveled.
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™ triggers.
Good for
Almost everything.  Suited well for studio use because of the ability to use an external battery pack, and off-camera cables for connecting other flashes, although real studio strobes are less expensive and recycle much faster.
Not good for
Good for everything, but most people will probably be better served with the HVL-F43AM, which is much less expensive.
Discontinued, replaced with Sony HVL-F60M.


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