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Sony HVL-F20M External Flash

B&H # SOHVLF20M MFR # HVL-F20M
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Product Highlights

  • Compatible with Sony ADI / P-TTL
  • Guide Number: 66' at ISO 100 and 50mm
  • Coverage: 27mm & 50mm (Full Frame)
  • Tilts Upwards 75°
  • Wireless TTL Controller
  • Recycle Time: 0.1-5 Seconds
  • Slow, 1st & 2nd Curtain Sync
  • Runs on 2 AAA Batteries
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You Pay: $148.00

Questions? Ask our experts:

With a notably slim, compact design and ADI / P-TTL support, the HVL-F20M External Flash from Sony is ideal for those looking to add a little fill light to their images or for use as a wireless TTL controller for off-camera flash units without adding too much weight to their gear bag. It offers a modest guide number of 66' at ISO 100 and 50mm along with two coverage settings for 27mm or 50mm with full-frame sensors. Also, the unit can tilt the flashtube upward 75° for achieving softer, more diffuse bounce lighting.

For remote triggering of additional off-camera flash units, the HVL-F20M is able to work as a TTL controller. Also, it has slow, first and second curtain sync settings and will recycle in 0.1 to 5 seconds. Additionally, it runs on 2 AAA batteries and comes with a terminal protector cap and a carrying case.

This unit is compatible with Sony's Multi Interface Shoe and is not natively compatible with the older Sony/Minolta Auto-Lock Accessory Shoe. Though, with the use of ADP-AMA Shoe Adapter, Sony cameras with the Auto-Lock Accessory Shoe can be adapted to use Multi Interface Shoe external flashes with full compatibility.

Advance Distance Integration (ADI) flash metering works with cameras and lenses with distance encoders to more accurately balance flash output with ambient light and subject reflectivity by taking camera-to-subject distance into account
Effective range of 3.3 to 16.4' when used at ISO 100 and f/2.8
Battery life of approximately 90-150 flashes
White balance information is automatically transferred to the camera
Turn the flash on or off by simply raising or lowering the flash unit
Locking foot
Flash-ready indicator light
UPC: 027242866737
Mount Shoe
Guide No. 65.62' (20 m) ISO100 at 50 mm position
Exposure Control TTL
Angle of Coverage Wide-Angle Adapter: 74.3°
46°
Bounce Head +0° to +75°
Swivel Head None
Coverage 27 mm - 50 mm (Full frame)
Distance Range 3.28 to 16.40' (1 to 5 m) at f/2.8
Off Camera Terminal None
Recycle Time Approximately 0.1 - 5 seconds
Flash-ready Indicator Yes
Compensation -3 EV to +3 EV (in 1/3 EV steps) In-camera control
Wireless Operation Method: Optical pulse
Distance: Up to 16.40' / 5 m
Power Source 2x AAA Alkaline, Rechargeable NiMH Batteries
Dimensions (WxHxD) 2.4 x 4.5 x 0.9" / 62.0 x 114.0 x 24.0 mm
Weight 3.70 oz / 105 g
Packaging Info
Package Weight 0.4 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 6.3 x 4.6 x 2.3"
Sony HVL-F20M External Flash
  • Terminal Protector Cap
  • Carrying Case
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    SonyHVL-F20M External Flash
     
    4.3

    (based on 54 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (27)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (16)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (10)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (1)

    91%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Lightweight (41)
    • Easy to use (39)
    • Consistent output (23)
    • Fast recycling (20)
    • Durable (13)

    Cons

    • Weak output (6)
    • Not interchangeable (3)

    Best Uses

    • Fill flash (30)
    • General purpose (28)
    • Portraits (8)
    • Night photography (6)
    • Family photos (4)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Photo enthusiast (23), Semi-pro photographer (15), Pro photographer (7), Casual photographer (5)
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No (46)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Great alone.Even better as a controller!

    The unit itself was a pleasant surprise. Gives great photos with the ceiling bounce, very pleasing to the eyes. Now let me explain how I came about this flash. I first purchased the...Read complete review

    The unit itself was a pleasant surprise. Gives great photos with the ceiling bounce, very pleasing to the eyes. Now let me explain how I came about this flash. I first purchased the HVL-F60M a few weeks back. I only did one "shoot" with it, which was for my newborn nephew. In 3.5 hours, trying as hard as I could I only was able to capture 73 photos with the flash (about 1 photo every 3 minutes average) because I spent the majority of the time waiting for the darn thing to not be overheated. Check this flash out - it is widely known for it's overheating. It never felt warm to me (batteries or flash) but kept displaying the error. So I returned that flash out of frustration. I decided to give the HVL-F43M a try, as it still had sufficient power for anything I needed photo wise. I was also interested in getting it to work as an off camera flash. Well this ended up pretty much being a no brainer! 2 Flashes for the same price of the overheating piece of junk I had previously. Now I came home, popped in fresh batteries and gave it the best stress test I could do. In 35 minutes, I snapped 362 photos with the HVL-F20M on the camera, and the HVL-F43M sitting elsewhere in the room. FINALLY after my finger was getting sore did the HVL-F43M give me the overheated warning (HVL-F20M still seemed to want to keep trucking). Batteries still seem to be sufficient in both flashes after letting sit to cool, so that is another plus. Let's see - 1 photo every 3 minutes, or about 10 photos a minute? I will take this super combo, thank you!One final note - as I was really mainly stress testing HVL-F43M, the only "ready" light I paid attention to was the HVL-F43M. Quite often I never let the HVL-F20M CHG light light up (meaning I was firing it at reduced strength) and EVERY time it was still strong enough to set off my HVL-F43M.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    Lacking in power

    Bought the F20M specifically to use with my NEX-6, as an older 3rd party ISO-style flash does not trigger at all.
    I've been shooting in manual mode, using the camera's TTL...Read complete review

    Bought the F20M specifically to use with my NEX-6, as an older 3rd party ISO-style flash does not trigger at all.
    I've been shooting in manual mode, using the camera's TTL with the flash to do action and portraiture in a variety of rooms, the largest of which is roughly 24'x24' (garage-sized), and using both the stock 16-50 as well as a SEL18200 and the 16mm pancake. I've experimented with both bounce and direct as well as with and without the diffuser, which seem to be the only options selectable.
    Some shots have come out beautifully. Others, not so much.
    The main beef I have with the flash is that switching the flash on/off is done by rotating the flash. You would think that rotating the flash about the joint is what you'd do in order to get variable bounce angle. Au contraire. You have exactly 2 designed options: one is to flash direct, with the usual issues to do with hot spots and harsh shadows behind your subject, especially with such a small flash.
    The second is to bounce directly above you. That's right -- if you shoot horizontal and are in a regular rectangular room, the bounce goes straight up. As near as I can tell, the bounce/direct slider is designed with detentes which make the flash unit rotate and tend to snap into either straight up or straight forward. If you want an angle, you're out of luck -- you need to add on a reflector of some sort. I experimented with doing a funny half-angle, but this was not very reliable and, worse, would make the flash intersect half the diffuser.
    Under 10-12 feet from the subject, bounce mode gave me great pictures -- well-lit, good temperature, etc. Over that, I'd have to rely on direct, even if I tried bounce with the flash power cranked up to 2.0 on the NEX-6.
    Apart from this limitation, though, the flash is what one of the other reviewers claimed -- quite a good trooper, getting through many shots on a pair of charged NiMH AA's.
    I'll have to try experimenting with grafted-on diffusers and reflectors next and see if I can pull any better performance out.

    Reviewed by 54 customers

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    5.0

    Stick to a Sony Brand Flash

    By Charlie

    from Metro Atlanta Georgia

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Lightweight
    • Powerful Output
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • Protector Cap Inconvient

    Best Uses

    • Fill Flash
    • General Use

    Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

    Great little flash. Very strong for its size and small enough that you don't have to keep taking it on and off all the time.

    I would advise anyone to stay with a Sony brand Flash and accessories instead of a third party manufacturer. Although I do have some non manufacturer lens that are great.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    A great basic flash

    By Tony Vazquez Artist

    from Miami, Fl.

    About Me Semi-pro Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Easy To Use
    • Lightweight
    • Powerful Output
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Fill Flash
      • General Use
      • Portraits

      Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

      A basic no nonsense flash.
      With some creativity you can get a lot out of this affordable product.
      Very compact, perfect for light traveling.
      Ideal for mirrorless cameras - for example the sony a 7II -.
      Packs a powerful light that can be directed, bounced, and softened.
      Recharges quite fast.

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      • No

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Great for fill flash

      By El Marque

      from Washington DC

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Durable
      • Easy To Use

      Cons

      • See Above

      Best Uses

      • Fill Flash

      Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

      Small, compact and adds just right touch of light in the shadows. Uses easy to find AAA batteries. Cons: Awkward 'off' position; sometimes gets in the on position when in the bag if moved around. No flash test button a flash costing this much should have one. Difficult to tell when in the 'tele" or WA position. Not that here's a lot of difference between the two positions that I could tell. But all in all worth the money.

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      • No

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      (0 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Not so great

      By Carlos

      from Puerto Rico

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Easy To Use
      • Lightweight

      Cons

      • Slow Recycling
      • Weak Output

      Best Uses

      • General Use

      Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

      Cheapest but fell that can break very easy. For the price is a good choice

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      4.0

      Does What It Is Supposed to Do Well

      By Don

      from Brooklyn

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Consistent Output
      • Easy To Use
      • Lightweight

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • General Use

        Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

        This is a small, light weight, that works well on a Sony A7r. I don't like to use flash, but sometimes you need a little more light. This serves the purpose. It does nothing special well enough.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Great Little Flash

        By ygbsm

        from NYC

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Durable
        • Easy To Use
        • Fast Recycling
        • Great Bounce And Fill
        • Lightweight
        • Versatile

        Cons

        • Inconvenient Onoff

        Best Uses

        • Fill
        • Fill Flash
        • General Use

        Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

        A very nice adjunct to the compact Sony A7 series -- if you got an A7 to go light and compact, this is a light and compact flash. It really does a very nice job -- surprisingly good given the size -- with bounce flash and as a fill flash. It works very nicely with eneloop rechargeable AAs. Biggest negative feature -- the on/off switch requires the flash be bent to be in the off position which makes little sense space-wise for the vast bulk of time the flash is off, i.e. stored. In part, because of this, for long terms I store the flash with the batteries removed. But this is a very small price for a flash that in some sense fits the minimal footprint/maximal feature philosophy of the A7 series.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        HVL-F20M flash

        By MAGGIE

        from Eastampton n.j.

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Easy To Use
        • Fast Recycling
        • Lightweight
        • Love The Bounce Flash
        • Versatile

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Fill Flash
          • Photojournalism
          • Portraits

          Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

          Great for fill flash!!!

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          4.0

          small and efficient

          By Gonzalo

          from Calera de Tango

          About Me Pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Fast Recycling
          • Lightweight

          Cons

          • Does Not Turn To The Side

          Best Uses

          • Fill Flash

          Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

          good and strong flash
          light and small
          use regular AAA batteries

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          4.0

          Good add-on flash

          By Old Marine

          from Wilmington, NC

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Fast Recycling
          • Lightweight

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • General Use
            • Photojournalism

            Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

            This works well as an add-on to the camera's internal flash. It's fairly limited in power, and don't expect it to rival the top of the line strobes available, but for the price and the cameras you'd be using it with, it gets the job done. Only negative is the on/off switch being the folding hot-shoe.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Good unit to use with A6000

            By Ex Minolta SRT Guy

            from Cleveland OH

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use
            • Fast Recycling
            • Lightweight

            Cons

            • Weak Output

            Best Uses

            • Fill Flash
            • General Use

            Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

            Small and lightweight to match the A6000. Unfortunate that the bounce feature can not be used in portrait mode. The swivel up to turn on instead of an on/off switch is also a little strange.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

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            4.0

            great little flash, does the work

            By hams

            from los angeles

            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Easy To Use

            Cons

              Best Uses

                Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                very easy to use, just installed it and go. use 2 x AAA battery

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                3.0

                Works, but...

                By weidmic

                from Senoia

                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                      The design is OK and it works as advertised.
                      However, I dont like the fact that the flash's on/off switch is in the hot shoe - flipping up the flash turnes the flash on. Bad about is that you cannot put the flash "flat" in a bag - so it does waste some space...

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • Yes

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                      5.0

                      Flash Review!

                      By Melrose

                      from NYC

                      Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                      Love it. Small enough for my camera but provides what I need. I like the sleek look. Thanks for the advice!

                      Share this review

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      So you bought a Sony a6000

                      By Old Guy with a New Camera

                      from San Francisco, CA

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Easy To Use
                      • Fast Recycling
                      • Lightweight

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Fill Flash
                        • General Use
                        • Portraits

                        Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                        This small but very effective flash is the perfect compliment to the Sony a6000. Small, easy to use, adds just the right amount of flash. I also use it on my a7 and it really delivers. Especially on the street where you need it photographing people in the shadows.

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                        • No

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                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        5.0

                        Great little flash.

                        By Jeremy Goad

                        from Greensboro, NC

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Consistent Output
                        • Durable
                        • Easy To Use
                        • Fast Recycling
                        • Lightweight

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                            Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                            I do mostly natural light/available light, but if I need a flash, this is what I want. I especially love the small size (with a nice little flannel bag). The ceiling bounce is sweet. Perfect on my A7.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            3.0

                            good flash

                            By jh

                            from Helena, Al

                            About Me Photo Enthusiast

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Easy To Use
                            • Fast Recycling
                            • Lightweight

                            Cons

                            • Weak Output

                            Best Uses

                            • Fill Flash
                            • General Use
                            • Night Photography
                            • Portraits

                            Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                            This flash is very good for general shooting. I would recommend

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            4.0

                            Great pair with Sony A7

                            By Shamsul Aqbary

                            from Kuala Lumpur

                            About Me Photo Enthusiast

                            Pros

                            • Easy To Use
                            • Lightweight
                            • Versatile

                            Cons

                            • Ergonomics

                            Best Uses

                            • Fill Flash
                            • General Use
                            • Portraits

                            Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                            Great flash paired with my A7. The size is small and I can easily slip it in the compartment in my bag. The only lack of this flash is that I can use it only when taking picture horizontally, but while the A7 in vertical, I can't tilt the flash to bouce upwards to the ceiling.

                            • Was this a gift?:
                            • No

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                            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                             
                            5.0

                            Great for Travel and Master Flash

                            By ActionJunky

                            from Mid-Atlantic, US

                            About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                            Verified Buyer

                            Pros

                            • Consistent Output
                            • Durable
                            • Easy To Use
                            • Fast Recycling
                            • Lightweight

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Fill Flash
                              • General Use
                              • Remote Trigger

                              Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                              The construction quality is on par with the cost of this flash. Care must be taken to properly store the flash, preventing potential damage. However, the simplicity of operation and light quality generated from this flash is outstanding. The on/off switch is the orientation of the flash. Lay it flat and the flash is turned off. Stand it up and the flash is turned on. This is super simple, but does require the flash to be vertical to operate. The flash head does rotate, internally to allow direct or bounce flash and includes an internal optional diffuser.

                              This flash also works as a great master for remote flashes, but with some lag between flashes. The lag will not affect architectural photos, but could affect animals and people. Most will blink their eyes on the first flash and second flash will capture the image with eyes closed. Get a radio trigger if photographing animals or people.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • Yes

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                              5.0

                              Surprisingly powerful

                              By Moochdog

                              from Illinois

                              About Me Pro Photographer

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Consistent Output
                              • Powerful Output

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Fill Flash
                                • General Use

                                Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                                Add on to the built in flash on an A6000. I was amazed at the even coverage over the wide angle lens field and the power that handled 18mm at 15 feet.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

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                                4.0

                                Much more useful than expected

                                By GeneV

                                from Albuquerque NM

                                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                                Verified Reviewer

                                Pros

                                • Easy To Use
                                • Fast Recycling
                                • Lightweight

                                Cons

                                • Not Interchangeable
                                • Weak Output

                                Best Uses

                                • Fill Flash
                                • General Use

                                Comments about Sony HVL-F20M External Flash:

                                I bought this flash thinking I would use it to control a bigger flash for wireless TTL. However, this little flash has proven far more useful by itself than I imagined.

                                I really like the small size, but I was skeptical of the capacity of a flash powered by two AAA batteries. So far, the number of flashes has been more than acceptable, and carrying a couple of extra rechargeable AAA batts is no problem.

                                The biggest surprise was the bounce capability. I've had small flashes with nominal guide number ratings similar to this, and the bounce was of very little use. This one does quite well in a home with 8' to 10' ceilings.

                                The only thing which keeps this from 5 stars is the price. Granted, the dedication features and the design are great, but it is a little steep for a flash of this power

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                                Batteries & Power

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                                Required item: Batteries are not included, and are required to power your flash.

                                Duracell - AAA 1.5V Alkaline Coppertop Battery (2-Pack)
                                • You Pay: $1.95
                                 
                                Watson - 4-Hour Rapid Charger with 4 AAA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries (1000mAh)
                                • You Pay: $16.95
                                 

                                Books & Tutorials

                                See more
                                Amphoto - Book: Understanding Flash Photography: How to Shoot Great Photographs Using Electronic Flash
                                • You Pay: $19.61
                                 

                                Flash Accessories

                                Impact - Large Clip Clamp with Ball Head Shoe Mount
                                • Price: $60.00
                                • Instant Savings: -$15.05
                                • Offer ends DEC 31 '15
                                • You Pay: $44.95
                                 
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