Flash Mash

I sold out.

I got myself a Sony HVL-F56AM strobe flash for RM1180 at Boeing Camera, Sg. Wang Plaza.

On one hand, there is the proud owner of a Minolta 50mm F1.4 on a Sony A100, able to shoot in darker conditions with Super SteadyShot without flash and without having my cover blown…

And on the other hand, there is the experimenting geek who has been reading Strobist.

Don’t flash me!

Wireless flash ad. Minolta invented wireless flash, and its technologies were bought over by Sony.

I can dial in exposure compensation, and it will transmit the signal to the wireless flash. Amazing!

Strobe mode; 40mm F9 0.8 seconds ISO100. I can’t remember the Hertz and how many strobes were on the flash itself.

45mm F36 1/40s ISO100. Flash pointed at ground below the shrub. The shrub might’ve been lit by the wireless flash signal. (The camera’s flash must be up to send the signal… and the signal itself has a tiny amount of light.)

18mm F22 1/125s ISO100.

These pictures were taken to show the full power of the HVL-F56AM, which has a guide number of 56 meters at ISO100, 85mm zoom. I set it to manual mode, full 1/1 power, 85mm zoom. On the Sony A100 SuperSteadyShot was turned off so I could use 1/160s flash sync without having to rely on High Speed Synchronization (which decreases apparent flash power). All shots at 50mm F1.4 ISO1600. Left column obviously without flash, right column with.

First four pairs of shots were taken from the balcony of Burger King, Rainforest side of the new wing of 1 Utama. The smog impairs the ability to tell how far the flash really can go. In the 4th pair, you can actually discern the people smoking in the middle.

The flash should reach… the guide number (56 meters) divided by the aperture (F1.4) multiplied by the square root of ISO (ISO1600) divided by ISO10 at 85mm zoom… or 56m/1.4*40/10 = 160 meters!

Same setup, without flash…


And now, at F5.6. They must’ve thought it was lightning.

I used my Nikon SB-28 connected to my Sony A100 via the remote-shutter-release-cable/flash-trigger in conjunction with the HVL-F56AM to fire both.

Full power flash. 70mm F16 1/4s ISO100. Transformers Classics Optimus Prime.

Does a full power discharge have enough to overcome the infrared-blocking filter of the Sony A100?

Yes. 50mm F1.4 1/125s ISO100. I used crossed polarizers for this. Note that there is just enough flash power for macro infrared shots but nothing else.

Note that 1/1 power will almost always blow you away.

Optimus sees the light.

All shots except the first two were taken using smashpOp‘s HVL-F56AM flash back when I borrowed it for a test run.

My stance on (flash) photography still remains; make it look natural, or the complete opposite as a special effect. That might explain why some of my gig shots look normal, while others are madly saturated to complement the colored lighting. No point trying to hack the white balance to make a performer have normal skin tones when there are pretty red and green lights pointing on him/her, yes?

The quick-release mechanism invented by Minolta, with wireless flash, are very handy when I want to quickly switch from landscape to portrait orientation. Just press the button on the flash, slide it off, pull up the flash on the camera, and turn the camera!

No more beheaded flashes.

It also helps when the ceiling is high, so I can point the flash at a white wall instead of having to reorient the flashhead while still stuck on the camera. I am no longer limited to the angles the flashhead allows you to pivot it!

And now, for a family portrait clockwise from middle: Sony A100 with Minolta 50mm F1.4 and Sony HVL-F56AM flash, Olympus OM-2000 with Olympus 50mm F1.8 lens and Nikon SB-28 Speedlight flash, infrared-modded Fujifilm Digital Q1 with Vivitar 24mm F2.0 lens, Pentax P30t with Auto Chinon 135mm F2.8 lens, Minolta X300 with Seagull 50mm F1.8 lens and Canon 580EX Speedlite flash.

(Yes, another new member; the X300 is sadly a Minolta MD mount and can’t use my Minolta AF/Sony lenses.)

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