Using the A7r with flash

Started Jan 11, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Douglas Boyd
Regular MemberPosts: 494Gear list
Using the A7r with flash
Jan 11, 2014


I thought I would share some observations so far in using the A7r with flash.

1. The proprietary A7/r hotshoe does not support older flashes with a single pin such as those from Vivatar or Sunpak. Some of these would be ideal solutions with small size and thyristor auto flash modes. The workaround is to use one of the many multi-pin Nikon flashes that support auto flash such as Nikon SB20 and SB800.

2. There is an adapter to support the Sony HVL-58AM flash and this works well. The advantage of this flash is that it fully supports High Speed Sync (HSS) on the A7r so can be used outdoors in sunlight as a fill light. The native guide number in meters is 58 at ISO100. However this is reduced to single digits when HSS mode is used for shutter speeds faster than 1/200th. Smaller flashes like HVL-20AM are not useful outdoors since they simply will not have the power for fill. The Nikon flashes will not HSS on the A7r. Here is the table of guide numbers:

3. The biggest problem I have found in using the A7r is the long shutter delay which is even longer when used with a flash in TTL mode. This long delay also encourages eye blinking from the preflash. Image Resource measured the shutter delay at 165 msec without flash. With TTL flash it seems much longer, perhaps as high as 300 msec. The workaround is to use an auto-flash as in #1 above when indoors, or when outside with the HVL-58AM (#2) and disable the TTL mode by setting it to MANUAL.

In the end in order to enable basic photography I have added 2.5-3 pounds of stuff to my 1 pound A7r body: LA-EA4 with Minolta 24-105mm lens and HVL-58AM with adapter. This gives me fast focus, a good zoom lens, HSS sync, but no image stabilization in a package similar in size to DSLR.

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 Douglas Boyd's gear list:Douglas Boyd's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P610 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony Alpha 7R II +35 more
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