Sony announces new flagship guide number 60 HVL-F60RM wireless flash
Sony just released a new flagship radio-triggered wireless flash for its full-frame E-Mount cameras. The HVL-F60RM has a built in radio receiver, which means it can be triggered simply via a FA-WRC1M Wireless Radio Commander attached to your E-mount body. It's a powerful unit with a guide number 60m at 200mm, ISO 100. The flash covers a zoom range of 20-200mm and promises to provide "uniform wide-range zoom coverage without shading with continuous shooting up to 220 flashes."
The HVL-F60RM does not replace the HVL-F60M flash, which remains in Sony's lineup for A-mount cameras. The RM version is designed specifically for E-mount (though it will work with A-mount, but without AF Assist), but even for A-mount it has the added benefit of not requiring a separate radio receiver mounted to the flash to be triggered wirelessly.
Several improvements have been made to make the RM version worth your money. First, you don't need a separate radio receiver attached to your flash. Also, heat resistance has been increased by "as much as" 4x, recycle time has been reduced to 1.7 seconds, and a new External Battery Adaptor (the FA-EBA1 seen in the gallery above) can drop that recycle time even further to just 0.6 seconds.
Additional features include non-directional wireless radio communication from up to 30 meters away, support for up to 15 flash units (assigned to up to 5 groups) when the flash is mounted to a compatible camera and used as a transmitter, an LED Light and AF Illuminator, and a dust and moisture resistant design that "allows flash shooting even in challenging environments." But there's one important thing to keep in mind...
No truly usable AF Assist
Sony removed the AF assist beam from the original HVL-F60M that projects a red grid upon your subject to quickly help the AF system achieve focus on subject in total darkness, say, on the dance floor at a wedding. This oversight puts the system at a significant disadvantage - compared to typical DSLRs - for low light event photography. We have yet to see if any light is triggered at all to assist AF in low light, or if the LEDs are simply for video. Regardless, a blinding LED is not what subjects at events in the dark want thrown in their faces. A dim, colored projected grid is far less obtrusive, and the lines help focus systems lock quickly (phase detect AF systems are essentially line sensors).
We hope Sony develops a radio transmitter that projects a blue grid for AF-assist in the future, for fast AF in total darkness
Since Sony's AF pixels on most modern a7/a9 bodies actually use blue color filters, a blue AF assist grid would be ideal, and likely wouldn't bother subjects you're focusing on significantly. It could even be built into the radio transmitter that sits atop your camera - and we sincerely hope that's something Sony considers as it continues to develop its flash system and matures its product line to suit all types of professional photography.
Here's a quick video intro to this new flash:
To learn more, head over to the Sony product page for either the HVL-F60RM flash or the FA-EBA1 external battery. The HVL-F60RM costs $600 USD (€700), while the FA-EBA1 External Battery Adaptor will run you $250 USD (€300). Both products will begin shipping in April.
Sony Launches New Flagship Guide Number 60 Flash
New HVL-F60RM Combines Overwhelming Continuous Flash Performance with Advanced Operability and Wireless Control
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 22, 2018 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today announced a new flagship addition to its digital imaging range with the launch of the HVL-F60RM Flash.
Addressing the needs of the increasing numbers of professional photographers adopting the Sony α system, the HVL-F60RM offers high-power flash output, reliable continuous performance and advanced control features with integrated radio control options.
The HVL-F60RM has a guide number of 60[i] and covers illumination angles from 20mm[ii] to 200mm[iii] providing uniform wide-range zoom coverage without shading with continuous shooting up to 220[v] flashes. The use of heat resistant materials and the deployment of new advanced algorithms means that heat resistance has been increased by as much as 4x[iv] compared to the previous model, HVL-F60M.
Further improvements have been made to the recycle time which has been reduced to 1.7 seconds[v] or just 0.6 seconds[v] with the new External Battery Adaptor, product code FA-EBA1. A unique benefit of previous Sony flashes, Quick Shift Bounce is included, allowing the photographers to quickly shift from horizontal to vertical orientation, 90 degrees left or right, upward by up to 150 degrees, and downward by 8 degrees for flexible positioning and optimum lighting for a wide range of scenes.
Independent light output level (LEVEL -/+) buttons allow direct control of output or compensation, supporting an efficient workflow. A comprehensive display facilitates adjustments and flash output level confirmation, and also provides intuitive access to flash output settings for paired wireless flashes.
Functions can be freely assigned to the unit’s four-way controller, center button, and control wheel for easy access when required. Furthermore, TTL flash output can be memorized and recalled in manual mode when needed for immediate use or use after minor adjustment. This is another feature that can simplify manual workflow and save time.
The dust and moisture resistant design[vi] of the HVL-F60RM allows flash shooting even in challenging environments and a new optional Rain Guard[vii], product code FA-RG1, provides added protection to the connection between the flash and camera[viii]. Another example of the complete attention to detail that has gone into the design of the HVL-F60RM, is the metal foot of the Multi Interface Shoe™ connection which has been re-designed for increased rigidity and reliability.
A pre-requisite for leading-edge studio set-ups, the wireless radio communication is non-directional so receiver flash units can be positioned anywhere up to approximately 30 meters[iii] away from the camera, even in situations where reflectors or other obstacles would interfere with optical communication. A HVL-F60RM mounted on a compatible camera[ix] functioning as transmitter can be paired with off-camera units functioning as receivers. Multiple flashes are supported with the user able to use up to 15 flash units, assigned in to up to 5 groups[x] or wireless flash control and the use of a pairing system effectively prevents interference from other electronic devices.
Pricing and Availability
The new HVL-F60RM will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $600 US or $730 CA.
The new FA-EBA1 will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $250 US or $330 CA.
The new FA-RG1 will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $25 US or $30 CA.
[i] 200mm at ISO100 in metres
[ii] 14mm with wide panel
[iii] 35mm full-frame equivalent
[iv] Sony test conditions
[v] With Ni-MH batteries, Sony test conditions
[vi] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof
[vii] Not to completely protect against water ingress. When the camera is held in the portrait orientation or at a tilt for photographing, in particular, it may fail to protect water ingress
[viii] With this unit attached, the camera may fail to record audio during video shooting, depending on the model. For the camera models to which this precaution applies, visit http://www.sony.net/acc/rg1/.
[ix] Refer to the Sony support page for camera compatibility information. http://www.sony.net/flash/f60rm/
[x] In the Group flash mode. Up to 3 groups in the TTL or Manual flash mode
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