Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Own Review of Sony Flash F58 : Part II - Wireless Ratio

I have written my very own review for this flash F58. I had just briefly discussed the wireless function of this flash. We know that this flash is compatible with Sony WL flash system. And this flash has one upgraded function that is carried forward from the F56, that is the Wireless Flash ratio. The F56 does offer wireless flash ratio of 1:2 with either F56 or F36, but this function is only usable on the old Minolta film cameras only. This F58 does offer 3 group WL flash ratios function with a digital body, but it's ONLY on A700 body. Even the "supported camera which does not have a pop-up flash" could only do two grouping only. Hmm.... a flagship that is not as complete as its lower class battleship ?

To enable the three group ratio flashing, one F58 must be mounted on A700 as the controller [CTRL]. Group 1 which is indicated as [RMT] can be either F58 or F42 and the Group 2 [RMT2] must be a F58. The flashing ratios could be any combination ratios between 1,2,4,8,16 or none.

So, what does ratio of 1:1:1 meant for? How about the flash ratio of 1:4:1 ? What would I get from a flash ratio of 4:16:1 ?? The best way to answer my questions is: do a test shot with different flash ratio combination, and I should notice the difference.

I have two F42s and one F58. Hence, I could only do 2 groups flash ratio.

First, the preparation. I would like to let my camera do all the works. Hence, I set my A700 to "P" mode with ISO 200. Set my F58 to wireless ratio setting according to the manual, and the flash is under TTL mode and auto zoom. So does my F42 in auto mode (level: auto, zoom: auto).

Let me introduce to you, my super model, the lovely Teddy the Bear as my model ! *Crap* *Crap* *Crap* *Crap* He is lovely and easy to work with no complaint at all. And he is so kind enough to do this photo shooting free of charge !

Exif : f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 200 (P-Mode, ADI flash)

Say "Hi" to everyone, Teddy ! LOL

My F42 is on light stand, about 1.2 m away from the bear slightly behind it. My A700 with F58 are on tripod at about 1.2 m in front of the bear, and my lens is zoomed at 60mm. The bear is about 1 m away from the wall behind it. Please ignore the sticker on the wall. :p

First shot : Flash ratio [CTRL]:[RMT]:[RMT2] = 1 : 1 : 1
(Please ignore the [RMT2] setting. Same as follows.)

Exif : f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200

Second shot : Flash ratio [CTRL]:[RMT]:[RMT2] = 1 : 4 : 1

Exif : f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200

Third shot : Flash ratio [CTRL]:[RMT]:[RMT2] = 1 : 16 : 1

Exif : f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200

Fourth shot : Flash ratio [CTRL]:[RMT]:[RMT2] = 4 : 1 : 1

Exif : f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200

Fifth shot : Flash ratio [CTRL]:[RMT]:[RMT2] = 16 : 1 : 1

Exif : f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200

Sixth shot : Flash ratio [CTRL]:[RMT]:[RMT2] = 4 : 16 : 1

Exif : f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200

Seventh shot : Flash ratio [CTRL]:[RMT]:[RMT2] = 2 : 16 : 1

Exif : f/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200

From the shots, these are what I found:
1) Worth to mention that when the F58 mounts on the A700 as a flash only, under "P" mode, the camera automatically set to shutter speed at 1/100s and aperture at F5.6. But for F42, the setting is 1/60s, F5.6.
2) When the F58 mounts on A700 as a WL controller, under "P" mode, the camera setting is 1/125s, F5.6.
3) The ratio of 1:4 means the off camera (in my case, the F42) flash's intensity is 4 times brighter than the on board F58. The rest may be deduced accordingly.
4) The ratio of 4:1 means the on-board flash's (in my case, the on-board F58) intensity is 4 times brighter than the off camera flash F42. The rest may be deduced accordingly.
5) Even though I set the ratio to 4:16, but the end result is similar to the photo with ratio 1:4. Well, simple metamathematical calculation could tell that 1/4 is equal to 4/16. Hence, the flash ratio for 2:16 would produce similar result as 1:8.

So, although I don't have a 2nd F58 to couple with my current arsenal to do three group WL, to understand how the system work is easy. Simply determine the flash strength ratio for 3 flashes groups, and the camera will do all the calculation.

This grouping is a great function to use. Although I do not have another F58 as the 3rd group, but two F42s would produce a similar effect. What I need to do is set the [RMT] ratio to 4 and the on-board F58 [CTRL] to 1, and what I get is a portrait with rim lights from the sides, and the on-axis F58 would provide sufficient fill to the subject.

Oh boy, I'm starting to fall in love with this F58 already. :p

Read here for my very own review on F58.


svllee said...

Hi Templar, could i have your email please. I am trying to contact as many Malaysian photography enthusiasts as possible as I will be launching a ground-up, regional contest shortly. Kind regards, Steven Lee

Templar Tan said...


You got mail ! :D

albert said...

Excellent review of the wireless ratio control! I thought it was the case too where 1:4 = 4:16 but I wasn't sure until you did it!

I reckon that your 2nd F42 can have its own power ratio, although only in Manual Level. Thus acting as the RMT2 group just that you have to walk over and poke the Level button. :(

Templar Tan said...

Yup, I still can do the ratio thingy with my 42s+58 and 42s,58 and 36 in manual mode. Of coz that would be troublesome to do so when I need to adjust the flash level for each flash.

Anonymous said...

Im confused, what are you using for the control flash? If you are only using a two flash system, then how are you controlling the ratio on the controller? Does the pop up flash offer ratio control? email me please.