Hi guys, just want to ask something very quickly here, I have a sony HVL-F42AM that I just got from the mail and I wanna ask if the built-in wide panel (the plastic thing that you pull out above the flash tube) also acts as a diffuser?
Not really. All it does is spread out the light to cover a wider range, hence it's name. It will allow you to probably cover something at or less than 18mm.
To soften light, you need to increase the size of the light (softbox, umbrella, bouncing, etc....)
Sony HVL-F58AM Bounce-Shift Flash
Tamron SP 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di
Sony 50mm F/1.4 SAL-50F14
Sony 100mm Macro F/2.8 SAL-100MF28