Flash Connect

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.

Happy flashing!

9 thoughts on “Flash Connect

  1. Albert Ng Post author

    Bowdacious B: What do you mean? You mean, why doesn’t it come with the standard hotshoe? There are many downsides – for one, none of the brands have a common pin layout other than 2 main pins so TTL is not cross-brand supported. Then, typical screw-on-to-tighten hotshoes will either fall off from being not tight enough, or get stuck to the hotshoe. Only recently have other brands put quick-release mechanisms in their flashes!

  2. wombok Post author

    Recently had a similar problem with my canon *cough* 580exII and cleaning the pins a bit did the trick. Had me worried for a while thinking my flash had gone bananaboat crazy!

  3. JL Post author

    This article save me a trip down to Sg Wang, Thank you!! Wanted to complain and get a exchange. Anyway This did not happened when I was using my Nikon last time, so wasn’t aware of such thing.
    Now all is good, but the wobbling of the huge flash on top of the body make me feel quite uneasy at times when I flick my camera over to portrait orientation.

  4. Albert Ng Post author

    Bowdacious B: They used to with the A100 (and still do with the A700 and A900).

    Ewin: Thanks!

    Squashy: Soon soon I hope!

    wombok: LOL! Interesting to know it’s not just Sony that isn’t resilient to oxidization.


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