Any one who has used it will know how practical it can be, and I’m not going in to great details about it because its been covered 100000000000000000000 times buy people that can explain it better than I can.But I do want to mention it because it works up to some of the latter stuff I want to rant about ……
Sony Alpha DSLR’s have inherited Minolta’s wireless flash system. All the ADI Flashes i.e. from the Minolta 3600 HSD and 5600 HSD support wireless with a Sony/Minolta DSLR. Earlier models support wireless but will only work with a Minolta film camera due to changes in the metering system. All the Sony flashes with a Sony/Minolta hotshoe suppore wireless (with the exception of the HVL-F20AM and the HVL-MT24AM, the HVL-RLAM is a ring light and not a flash so it will also not work)
The reasons being that the HVL-F20AM is designed to be a pop up flash for the A850 and A900 that dont have a pop up and you need one to fire the wireless system (the flash will work with other Alpha cameras as a normal flash but cannot be used as a wireless trigger). And the HVL-RLAM is designed for macro work and the wireless feature is therefore not featured in the flash body.
One important note the HVL-F58AM can be used as a wireless flash controller and more on that latter.
With very little ease you can have full TTL/ADI flash setup even if you have light modifiers such as a sto-fen on your flashes. With the HVL-F58AM in mode CTRL1 you can actually set up 3 different groups. The newest generation of flashes support “Digital Wireless Flash with ratio control” (when a HVL-F58AM is the control flash), this helps to over come one of the major disadvantages.
Unless you have a “Digital Wireless Flash with ratio control” set up you will need a good line of sight from the trigger (in most cases the pop up flash) to the wireless flashes. I have had problems when shooting soft boxes and the Sony wireless set as the direct line of site between the trigger flash and the wireless units was blocked, thus the flashes never receive the signal to fire. There just isn’t enough info available from Sony and they should push it more.
There is also the fact that a very small amount of light from the trigger flash my affect the final image, but more about how to avoid that next time.