Over the last few months, we have been trying to steadily work our way through as many different camera flash units as possible from as many brands as possible. More recently, we have seen a few people reaching out for advice on the Sony flash unit line so we have decided to publish our ultimate Sony hvl-f45rm review.
Although not as popular as you would expect to be a premium price tag Sony flash unit, the hvl-f45rm is still a solid choice that a number of photographers have chosen to use as their go-to camera flash of choice over the years. As this is a premium flash unit, its price tag is quite high so we would like to point out that picking the hvl-f45rm up second hand or refurbished (Click here to check for product prices and availability) can save you a fair amount on its list price.
A number of these photographers who use the hvl-f45rm as their flash of choice have posted their own review online (click here to read some of them) sharing their experiences with the flash. If you have the free time available then we would highly recommend that you read some of those reviews as they offer a truly independent external opinion of how the flash unit performs from photographers who have used it for an extended period of time.
User Interface And Control System
The photograph above shows the control system as well as the navigation display screen. The control system is based around the simple, tried and tested system of a directional pad that is augmented by a number of buttons. Although the Sony design is a little different to the design of the other popular camera flash brands on the market, we feel that most of our readers will be able to easily pick the flash unit up and get familiar with it quickly.
The directional pad, as well as the additional buttons on the flash unit, are easy to locate and easy to press, even if your fingers are wet or cold. This ensures that you are able to use the hvl-f45rm in all conditions while still getting the performance that you require for your photographs. When it comes to the actual control system, we really can’t find a fault with it and feel that Sony has done an excellent job on the flash.
That said, the actual navigation menu can be a little confusing at first, especially if you are not used to the Sony flash menu. For the price point of the flash, we feel that Sony could have done a better job to make the navigation menu smoother and easier to navigate. In all fairness though, if you are able to use a modern smartphone without issue, we feel that you will pick the navigation menu up in around an hour if you sit down and pay with your new toy with it quickly becoming second nature.
The bottom button on the directional pad on the hvl-f45rm also serves as the flash units mode button allowing you to quickly and easily switch between flash modes within seconds. You are able to switch between TTL mode, manual mode, guide number, and a number of custom modes to ensure that your flash is performing as required no matter the situation.
Performance And Functionality
In our opinion, the best thing about the Sony hvl-f45rm that helps it stand out from the competing flash units at this price point is its performance and functionality. Sony has done everything in their power to ensure that the flash excelles and is usable in pretty much every flash photography situation that you may find yourself in.
Here are some of the core features of the hvl-f45rm that we feel our readers will commonly use on the flash:-
- Full functionality as an on-camera flash or an external flash.
- Full wireless flash capabilities that support multiple protocols and up to 15 units at once.
- 2.5 second recycle time.
- 210 flash activations per fully charged set of batteries.
- The flash bounce head can be rotated 180° in each direction.
This allows you to easily set up your lighting solution for your photography session and control it from your hvl-f45rm mounted on your camera to make your life as easy as possible. Although Sony list 210 activations as a fixed number per set of fully charged batteries, this will depend on the settings that you are using on your flash as well as the batteries you are using in the flash unit.
Both the design and build quality of the hvl-f45rm are excellent with the compact flash design helping to ensure that the unit is both dust and moisture resistant. Sony has added additional protections to the flash unit to ensure that it has some of the best dust and moisture defense available on the market right now helping to reduce the chance of any potential damage.
Rather than use a regular hot shoe mount, Sony has chosen to use their own MI shoe mount and in all honesty, we can’t make out minds up if this is a good or bad thing. Various adapters are available to convert their MI Shoe into a regular hot show but in our opinion, the flash would be doing better if it had a regular hot shoe mount and then you used an adapter to convert it into a MI shoe mount if required.
The actual build quality of the flash is great but this is expected for its price point in the market. It is predominantly made from various high-quality plastics that help ensure the flash unit is robust while also staying as lightweight as possible. Its lightweight and compact design also ensure that you can easily add the hvl-f45rm to your photography kit bag without issue or use it as a travel flash without having to waste any of your baggage allowances on a bulky and heavy flash unit.
That brings our Sony hvl-f45rm review to an end, although we feel the Sony hvl-f45rm is a solid flash unit that will make a decent addition to your camera accessories, we feel that Sony could have improved the navigation menu a little and shipped it with a standard hot shoe rather than a MI shoe.
That said, it is a solid external flash unit that will help improve your flash photography image quality with minimal effort required on your part. You can customize the hvl-f45rm to be able to perform in any situation that you may find yourself in and its robust nature ensures that it is able to take any punishment without breaking.
The video below offers an additional third-party, independent review for the Sony hvl-f45rm camera flash to offer our readers an independent opinion of the product.
Shared under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Igor Menezes Fotógrafo – 15 Anos – Daniele Dias – https://flic.kr/p/jCG2E8
dallashangerphoto – Bekah Timm – https://flic.kr/p/8rXMCh