Some Sony Alpha owners have reported loose flash problems, where the flash is on, but the camera does not detect it, causing it to fire at full power or not fire at all. How can this problem be solved quickly?
The problem has two reasons – firstly, the metal pins on top tend to oxidize if exposed, especially in humid Malaysia. The oxidized layer is scratched away by the flash’s pins, leaving small tracks where there is contact.
The second reason is that the plastic on the flash mount and the body’s mount is looser to allow for quick mounting and dismounting of the flash. The slight play and wobble is fine but the problem happens because the wobble makes the pins move onto the oxidized area, off the clean tracks.
So, you will need to clean the metal pins on top – you could use a key which you carry, in emergencies, but if you want to be gentle, you can use an ink eraser.
Yes, I am advocating the use of rubber.
Or, in the worse case scenario, you can rub it with your fingernails! This is perfectly fine; it will not electrocute you (the circuit to be shorted is on the flash itself.)
So now, mount the flash – it works! Wobble it about and it’s still fine.
Finally, test it by turning it sideways. Some HVL-F58AM flash owners have reported that the flash might not be detected in portrait orientation before cleaning, so test it in this position as well.
If the wobble still bothers you, you could apply some white tape to the insides of the hotshoe so it will look like this hotshoe. That should tighten it up a lot. You must clean the oxidization regardless – if not, it will just be a tight, undetected flash.