Macro Photography Tips - Digital Photography Reviews and Digital Photography Tips for Beginners

Digital Photography Reviews of The Best Sony Camera Flashes

The Best Sony Flashes

Macro Photography requires Extra Light to obtain the Widest Depth of Field. For the Sony a77 II Camera, there are only two Sony Flashes that Meta recommends – The Sony HVL-F43M Flash or the Sony HVL-F60M Flash. Both of these Sony Flashes have similar features, but the Sony HVL-F60M Flash is larger, heavier, more powerful (GN=60 vs. GN=43) and costs more, than the smaller Sony HVL-F43M Flash.

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Digital Photography Reviews of The Best Sony Camera Flashes

Sony Flash Models

The smaller Sony HVL-F43M Flash (GN=43) and the larger Sony HVL-F60M Flash (GN=60) Flash work perfectly on the top of the Sony a77 II Camera, using Sony’s new Multi Interface Shoe. These two Sony Flashes can be used to trigger other Sony Remote Wireless Flashes, and can Control Power Ratios or Flash Groups.

For Macro Photography, these Sony Flashes can be Tilted Down 8°, plus contain a powerful and adjustable, LED Video Light, which is very helpful to increase the Depth of Field.

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Note: If you have an older Sony Camera, like the Sony a65 Camera, you’ll need to use the older Sony HVL-F43AM Flash.

When Meta is hiking, she carries the smaller and lighter Sony HVL-F43M Flash. Fits perfectly into her Little Stuffit Strobe Stuff Pouch, and attaches to the back of her Digital Holster 50 Camera Bag.

HVL-F43M Operating Manual


HVL-F60M Operating Manual


Meta uses Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce OM-EW Flash Diffusers on all of her Sony HVL-F43M Flashes, which fit perfectly.

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Digital Photography Reviews of The Best Sony Flash Adapters

Sony Flash Adaptors – Old Sony Flashes to New Sony Cameras

The Sony aDP-MAA Multi-Interface Shoe Adaptor mounts older Sony Flashes, Ring Lights and Minolta Flashes to newer Sony Cameras, such as the Sony a77 II Camera.





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Sony Flash Adaptors – New Sony Flashes to Old Sony Cameras

The Sony aDP-AMA Shoe Adaptor mounts newer Sony Flashes (Sony HVL-F43M Flash and Sony HVL-F60M Flash) and newer Ring Lights to older Sony Cameras and Minolta Cameras, such as the Sony a65 Camera.




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Sony Wireless Flash Setup

Sony Flash Operations

Macro Photography Tips - Reset Flash to Factory Defaults
Reset Flash to Factory Defaults

Reset the Sony HVL-F43M Flash

Before using the Sony HVL-F43M Flash, reset the Flash to Factory Defaults. Resetting the Flash can prevent a lot of headaches in the field, especially if you use more than one Sony Camera. After resetting the flash, you’ll need to Sync Each Wireless Flash back to your Sony Camera.

How to Reset Flash to Factory Defaults

Press and Hold both the MODE and TTL/M buttons down for more than 3 seconds. The Flash will make a slight noise when reset.

Sony HVL-F43M Operating Manual

Learn How To Add Dramatic Effects With Flash

Macro Photography Tips - Add Dramatic Effects with Flash
How To Add Dramatic Effects with Flash

How to Simulate Nighttime while Shooting in Daylight


What we are going to do is underexpose the background by about 3 stops of light, to simulate nighttime, then we are going to add back the missing 3 stops of light onto the subject using multiple flashes. The resulting photo should have a very dark background, but the subject will be perfectly exposed using Multiple Flashes.

Special Equipment Required

Sekonic L-308S Light Meter.
Sony HVL-F43M Flashes.
• One Primary Flash and One or Two Remote Rear Flashes.

Multiple Flash Setup

1) Set the Primary Flash on the Camera or close to the Subject.

2) Set the Remote Rear Flashes behind and to the side from the Primary Flash.

How To Add Dramatic Effects with Flash

1) Take a test shot of your subject in ambient light in Manual Mode at f/4 and ISO 100. Note the required Shutter Speed from the Camera’s Light Meter in Manual Mode. Lets say it’s 1/20th of a second.

2) Bump your Shutter Speed up to underexpose the background by 3 f/stops. Your new shutter speed will be 1/160th of a second (3 Stops Underexposed). Remember that doubling the shutter speed cuts your light in half or reduces 1/stop of light. The background should now look dark and dramatic, but not completely black.

3) Your Primary Flashes need to compensate for the missing 3 f/stops of light. Set your Sekonic L-308S Light Meter to ISO 100 and 1/160th of a Second. Take a test flash with your Light Meter next to the subject. Adjust the Power of the Primary Flash Power so that your Light Meter reads f/4. If you don’t have a light meter, you can adjust the Flash Power up and down until you get the desired effects.

4) Repeat Step 3 for your Remote Rear Flashes.

5) Take the final shot using both the Primary Flash and the Remote Rear Flashes together. If the Remote Rear Flashes are too bright, reduce the power down slightly.

Meta took this shot of the Statue using 3 Flashes. The two side Flashes were set to 1/2 Power. The camera mounted flash was set to full power at 2x the distance away.
Macro Photography Tips - Photographing Hummingbirds with Four Remote Flashes
Photographing Hummingbirds with Four Flashes

Sync Wireless Remote Flashes to Sony Camera

Meta uses the Internal Popup Flash on the Sony a77 II Camera as her main Flash Controller, plus Four Sony HVL-F43M Flashes as Wireless Remote Flashes (Illustration: Left).

Sony Camera Flash Sync Procedure

If you are using the Internal Popup Flash as a Controller, Set the Sony a77 II Camera’s Power Ratio to 1/16.

MENU –> Camera 3 –> Power ratio –> 1/16

This sets the Power Level of the Internal Popup Flash only, and has no effect on any other Sony Flashes.

1) Put the Sony a77 II Camera into (WL) Wireless Mode. Turn the Sony a77 II Camera ON. Set the Sony a77 II Camera’s Flash Mode to WL (Wireless).

MENU –> Camera 2 –> Flash Mode–> WL (Wireless)

2) Mount the 1st Sony HVL-F43M Flash on top of the Sony a77 II Camera. Turn the Flash ON. Wait two seconds.

3) The 1st Sony HVL-F43M Flash will automatically go into“WL” Mode, and the Red LED will start blinking. Remove the Flash.

4) Mount the next Sony HVL-F43M Flash on top of the Sony a77 II Camera. Turn the Flash ON. Wait two seconds.

5) The Sony HVL-F43M Flash will automatically go into “WL” Mode and the Red LED will start blinking. Remove the Flash. Repeat as needed.

6) Popup the Internal Flash on the Sony a77 II Camera. Test Fire the Camera. All of Sony Wireless Remote Flashes should fire at the same time.

7) You are now ready to position your Programmed Remote Flashes anywhere around your subject.

Sony HVL-F43M Operating Manual

Macro Photography Tips - Learn How to Reduce Power Level For a Faster Flash
How to Reduce Power Level For a Faster Flash

Reduce Flash to 1/16 Power Level

When Photographing Hummingbirds, Meta sets the Power Level of all of the Flashes to 1/16 Power Level, which fires the Flash at 1/15,000th of a second.

1) Set the Camera to Manual (M) Mode, or Remove the Flash from the Camera.

2) Press the MODE button once to get to “ WL ” Remote.

3) Press the TTL/M button once to get to MANUAL.

4) Adjust the Power Level of the Flash by pressing the Bottom Arrow until it reaches 1/16 Power Level.

MANUAL Mode on the Flash can only be selected when the Camera set to Manual (M) Mode or the Flash is Removed from the Camera. When the Camera set to any other Mode, TTL measuring is automatically selected by the Flash.

Sony HVL-F43M Operating Manual

Macro Photography Tips - Learn How to Use High Speed Sync (HSS)
How to Disable High Speed Sync (HSS)

Disable High Speed Sync (HSS)

High Speed Sync (HSS)

HSS is Defaulted ON in the Sony Flashes, when the Sony Flash is pointing Forward or Tilted Downward 8°. High Speed Sync is automatically Disabled if the flash is tilted into any of the bounce positions.

HSS

can be disabled in the Custom Settings Mode below (Set C 01 to OFF). Disabling HSS is recommended for Shooting Hummingbirds in the Low Power Mode.

Sony HVL-F43M Operating Manual

Macro Photography Tips - Enter the Custom Settings Mode
Enter the Custom Settings Mode

Custom Flash Settings Modes (C 01 to C 09)

There are 9 Custom Flash Settings that you can change.

Enter Custom Settings Mode

1) Press and Hold the Fn button for more than 3 seconds. This will put you into the Custom Settings Mode.

2) Select the Setting Item to be changed by pressing the Left Arrow or Right Arrow.

3) Change the Setting by pressing the Up Arrow or Down Arrow.

4) Press Fn to Lock in the setting and Return to the MAIN MENU.

Note: The Selected Custom Settings are maintained in the Flash, even if the Flash is Turned Off, the Battery is Removed, or the Flash is Reset to Factory Defaults, so be careful of what you are doing in here.

Custom Settings You Can Change

C 01: High Speed Sync (HSS) – On | Off
C 02: Wireless Channel Setting – CH 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
C 03: Wireless Controller Mode – Ctrl1 | Ctrl2 *
C 04: Recording Mode – M | PAS M *
C 05: Test Flash – 1 | 3 | Manual
C 06: Time to Power Save on Camera – 0.5 Minutes | 3 minutes | 30 minutes | None * (I set mine to 30 minutes)
C 07: Time to Power Save with Wireless Flash – 60 minutes | None *
C 08: Flash Range Units – M | Ft
C 09: Power Level Interval – 0.3 EV | 0.5 EV.

* When a Custom Setting, other than the Default Setting is selected in C 03, C 04, C 06 or C 07, a “C” is displayed on the LCD panel (Bottom Right above the Battery Indicator). Refer to the Flash Manual for more details on each Custom Setting.

Sony HVL-F43M Operating Manual

Sony Wireless Flash System with 3 Flash Groups

Digital Photography Reviews of The Best Sony Flashes

Sony HVL-F43M High Power Flash – Fits Sony a77 II Camera

The Sony HVL-F43M Flash delivers flexible lighting control for photographers. The “Quick Shift Bounce” system allows the flash to pivot 90 degrees left and right, and Wireless Ratio Control. High Speed Sync (HSS). Fits perfectly into the Little Stuffit Strobe Stuff Pouch.
GN: 43. Size: (W x H x D) 3” x 5-5/8” x 3-1/2”. 4 AA Batteries.

HVL-F43 Operating Manual


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Sony HVL-F60M High Power Flash – Fits Sony a77 II Camera

The Sony HVL-F60M Flash is a superior lighting solution for working photographers and videographers. The “Quick Shift Bounce” system allows the flash to pivot 90 degrees left and right and Wireless Ratio Control. High Speed Sync (HSS). Features new built-in 3 LED video light. Fits perfectly into the Little Stuffit Strobe Stuff Pouch.
GN: 60. Size: (W x H x D) 3-1/4” x 6” x 4-1/8”. 4 AA Batteries.

HVL-F60 Operating Manual


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Gary Fong Collapsible Speed Mount Light Sphere Diffusere

Meta recommends the Gary Fong Light Sphere Collapsible Speed Mount speed light flash modifier with the added convenience of a new, patented Speed Mount. Provides photographers with the ability to achieve studio style lighting effects, anywhere at any time. Collapsing down to a mere 1-1/2” thickness. This addition to the Gary Fong line-up will make traveling with large lighting set-ups a thing of the past.


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Sto-Fen Flash Diffusers

Meta uses Sto-Fen Diffusers on her Sony HVL-F43M Flash for softer shadows.

For the Sony HVL-F43M Flash, use the Sto-Fen Diffuser OM-WE.

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For the Sony HVL-F60M Flash, use the Sto-Fen Diffuser OM-EZ.

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Digital Photography Reviews of The Best Sony Ring Lights

Polaroid LED Ring Lights for Macro Photography and Close-Up Photography

Polaroid Super Bright Macro SMD LED Ring Flash and LED Ring Light features 18 Super Bright SMD LED Bead. It attaches macro capable lenses with mounting ring diameters between 49–77mm. 8 Ring Adapters are included. Power pack attaches to the Standard Sony Hot Shoe for Total Flash Control. This is a must have accessory for any serious Macro Photography and Close-Up Photography. Battery Life is only about 20 Minutes, so carry extra AA Batteries. Fits perfectly into the Think Tank Photo App House 8 Tablet Case.
GN: 21. Size: (W x H x D) 3.2” x 10.8” x 5.7”. 4 AA Batteries.

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Digital Photography Reviews of The Best Sony Camera Books

Sony's a77 II SLT Cameras

The Complete Guide to Sony’s Alpha 77 II (PDF)

– Gary L. Friedman

This very easy-to-understand yet thorough guide provides a complete a77 II instruction manual which explains each setting in plain English and provides hundreds of visual examples as well. There is no better way to learn about and get the most out of the Sony a77 II Camera. Includes Valuable Printable Reference Cards. This Detailed Book is Highly Recommended!

Download Color PDF Version (599 Pages $26.45).

Black and White Paperback Edition

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Contact Meta Gätschenberger

Photos By Meta

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Blowing Rock, NC 28605
1-828-265-2730 Ad Sales Only
Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 5 PM (Eastern)
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Photos By Meta - Meta Gatschenberger Photographer Blowing Rock NC

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