I was watching This flash video
you linked in a nother topic. He is uses a nikon camera but he is able to set the flash on the main body camera to not fire but be used t controle the wireless flash. Can this be done with the HVL-F42AM?
Yes, that can be done, exactly the same way, only changing the settings is a lot easier on the Sony.IMPORTANT: I'm planning to make a CL-style video review the next couple of days, which, of course, I will link to in this thread!
...a diffuser is mentioned. I just want to clear up what this is. Is it a part of the flash? Or an add on? If so, did it come with the flash or a separate accessory?
Yes, this is build into the flash. I'll show it in the video. It's a small, plastic diffusor that folds out of the flash head and is used to get light at a wider angle.
Does the flash work well at short distances? By that, I'm thinking under 2m from camera to subject.
Must say I haven't really payed close attention to close distance shots. Best would be to use an omnibounce, because the ligth might be a little hard. It is however useable at 2m, also without omnibounce. For portraits, don't expect the light to be extremely flattering, in dark conditions that is. Unless of course, you bounce of a wall or ceiling...
Reason for asking this is I feel a bit limited in my indoor ability at the moment. I currently work around using tripod and long exposures. The built in flash of the A350 is too low, so often I get lens shadow at very short range. Also I think I really could use a much more diffuse light. I wonder if one of those white clip on plastic boxes will suffice, or if I need to start looking at those umbrella like things. Stop me if I get too technical there
Basically I've tried assorted direct lighting, but they're all too harsh. I want bright even lighting to keep sharp shadows to a minimum, which I suspect can only really be achieved by having light from a large area. On that note... how well does bouncing the flash work?
I can tell you, an external flash is probably one of THE MOST USEFUL accessories you can buy for your camera. I don't use the pop-up flash anymore (only for flashing wireless), because compared to the flash gun, it just isn't much good. For diffuse light, the cheapest and also a very good option would be to bounce of ceilings and walls. Alternatively, use an omnibounce to diffuse the light. I don't have one of these myself yet, but they're an absolute neccessity on flash guns (I'm saving too hard for my lens, so no money for the omnibounce
Apart from the omnibounce, there are also small and even pretty large softboxed available for flash guns like these. Some of these can only be used when the flash is not mounted on the camera or mounted on a seperately sold bracket (you'll need cables for that, and they are **** expensive). Umbrella's are also available, and can be used on the HVL-F42AM flash gun, but you'll have to use it off camera (wireless, with those expensive wires or manually).
And on the remote activation, I assume there will be a small time difference between the body flash going off and the external flash. I assume the camera is clever enough to sync to the external flash? Or are the two close enough together that they work together?
The pop-up flash will fire, providing the off camera flash gun with TTL-information etc. (yes, that all works perfectly fine) and in a matter of milliseconds, the flash gun will fire while the shutter is open. All goes extremely fast. I wish I had a high speed video camera to show you in the video review, but... I'll have to use my P&S Cyber Shot...
Looking foward to sharing the video with you guys!
- Bjorn -