Flash with digital cameras
I have already mentioned a few restrictions when using flash with digital cameras. This is a summary of these points:
With modern digital cameras (DiMAGE 5, 7, 7i, 7hi, A1, A2, A200, Dynax/Maxxum 7D and 5D, Sony Alpha DSLRs) TTL-OTF metering is not possible. This has a number of consequences:
- For flash metering either ADI, pre-flash TTL metering or manual flash must be used. This means that only D flashes, the new macro flashes and Sony flashes are fully compatible with digital cameras. These are marked with “yes” in the “digital ready” column of the flash table. Earlier flashes only work in manual flash mode.
- Wireless flash with ratio control is not available with the built-in flash. A possible workaround is using two remote flashes, positioned at different distances from the subject. You can trigger both remote flashes with the built-in flash, but the built-in flash will not contribute anything to exposure. Wireless ratio flash is possible with several dedicated flashes and several cameras (see the table of working combinations for details).
- Only certain dedicated flashes mounted on the camera can act as a wireless controller, with certain flashes as the remote flash (see the table of working combinations for details).
- Older non-D flashes will not fire in wireless mode, even when they are in manual mode.
© 2014 Michael Hohner; This page was last changed on 2014-10-26
The current Minolta AF/Sony Alpha flash system has grown quite complex, and it is not very well covered in the manuals. That's because this would involve to cover some very basic concepts, and there are many combinations of cameras and flash units with different capabilities that would have to be documented. What I try here is to explain how the Minolta flash system works in detail. This compendium assumes that you have some basic knowledge of photography, ie. you know that an aperture is and you know how a shutter works. Sony has taken over further development of the Minolta A mount (now Sony Alpha mount) and has also kept the Minolta AF flash system with their new DSLRs. When this compedium says "Minolta", the same is true for "Sony Alpha", too, except when noted otherwise.