Upgrade from HVL-56 to HVL-58 worth it?

Started Sep 15, 2009 | Discussions thread
WaltKnapp Forum Pro • Posts: 13,857
Re: Upgrade from HVL-56 to HVL-58 worth it?

gipper51 wrote:

I have a pair of HVL-56 flashes but am considering selling one and upgrading to the 58. Can't afford to do both right now. I really don't have any complaints with the 56's performance wise. I do wish they had a standard PC sync because I hate adapters for radio triggers. But I am interested in upgrading if the 58 would gain me something. After reading on these forums though I'm not sure I'd gain much. Here's how I typically use my flashguns:

-Mostly on the hotshoe. When I need two bodies for a shoot I put one flash on each and use them with bounce indoors, HSS outside, etc. I've found this combo on the A700 and 5D to be quite reliable. I like having two flashes for the convenience and backup factors. Selling both to get a single 58 is not an option.

-Single flash for occasional wireless indoors. Sometimes I'll put the camera in a corner aimed at the ceiling to fill a room. Rare occasion when I do though.

-Rarely as a pair for off camera wireless...for now. I've used them together in manual mode for quick portrait sessions but don't prefer to. The preflash still causes some people to blink (even on A700). It's much better than my 5D but not perfect. I'm probably going to invest in a pair of the Flash Zebra hot shoe adapters with mini jacks. I can fire them with my radio triggers this way. If it works good I may start using them as light duty location strobes.

With those uses, would the 58 add any benefits? Using the 58 as a controller on the camera has no appeal to me, rather use radio triggers instead of wasting a flash. I wish the system had Nikon's commander ability to remotely control flashes but it's not there yet. So I guess the real question is if the 58 is that much better of a tool as a hot-shoe mounted flash?

I made the switch and now have two 58's. As others have mentioned the color seems a little nicer. In little ways they just seem like a smoother operating flash. Most of the benefits are in the wireless control system, and that is not complete whan using the flash with the a700. The a700 is designed for Minolta's original control language and Sony has come up with a incompatable and new language. Mostly does the same things, but the newest features are only in the new language. The 58 is a hybrid in that it understands both control languages and can use either under appropriate conditions. The 900 is designed around the new language but I believe it's still at least somewhat hybrid. One thing of note is that on the a700 a mixed set of 56's and 58's might be a problem in what you can do wireless. But if you are only running one wireless flash the built in flash can control the 58's fine.

I went to the 58's primarily to try and avoid one change of flashes at some future date when the new control language turns manditory. I do not know yet if I succeeded. I did get them cheaper than the usual price via careful watching on ebay.

Gary Friedman has a discussion of this on his website and I think in his 900 manual.
http://www.friedmanarchives.com/newsletters/newsletter-09-01/index.htm
His a700 manual predates the 58 and it's issues.

Walt

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