At the end of 2010 I did get the Sony A-850 with lenses and the Sony HVL-F58AM as my first serious camera. I admit that I did use the flash not very often and I had absolutely no idea on what I was doing and the results did vary.
Late 2011 I head read most of Joe McNally’s Booksand also Bryans Petersons Book on flashlight where I finally did understand how that black magic thing of a flash actually works or at least a little.
To be honest my flash was not used much until late 2012 when I was hired to take pictures for the local Ice hockey team and their fans. Flash became a weekly requirement. I used the flash on camera but at least with a Flashbender to diffuse the light. I loved the old Sony Flash mount, you could actually carry the camera from the light. That benefit did go away with the Sony A99 and the mmi adapter. I can not even remember how many time the flash did take an unexpected beating but it did survive all these crashed. Eventually after many hours of use the battery door locking decided to break of and the flash did become not usable.
Time to buy something new I ordered 7x 560IV and the controller560-TX. I know it is an all manual setup. I ordered that many assuming that some would fail or break. At 60$ I was willing to put them in danger. This setup works great in the studio or when I want total control of the light. But when working at events a TTL flash is much better.
I decided to buy a new Sony HVL-F60AM the list price of 700 makes this pretty expensive but there are good deals on the internet.
Then I did spend one day with Joe McNally. It was both amazing and frustrating. His advice take your light off camera. I had a small HVL-20 which we used when traveling. Perfect to trigger the other light remotely.
I had a backup flash but not an ideal one. I was looking for an alternative and finally Godox did release the TT685sgreat deal on the web and definitely worth a try for 120$. TTL is great it is not as consistent as the Sony slightly different color cast and more variation but for a fraction of the price. I did order a 2nd flash and their external batter pack PB960 which I used also with the Sony.
Then godox did release the trigger which is great for off camera work. It is light, easy to use and reasonably priced the X1T-S
1 month before the warranty on my HVL-60 expired it did break. It was repaired under warranty. Great and less than 2 month later it was broken again. This time the repair bill was for more than 440$ or more than what a new one would go for.
I have decided that it is not worth the price difference and I will build up my godox lighting kit as needed.
Today between my Yonnuo, Elinchrom and Godox I have a solution for most cases. However a more integrated and seamless system would make things even easier.
Don’t get me wrong the HVL-F60A is a great light the way it turns sideways is great when you use it on camera without a diffuser. But off camera with a diffuser this is irrelevant. I much rather have a few spares or lights I can combine them or just 1 single light. I can get 3-4 Godox for 1 Sony and recently the Godox was on Sale I could have had 8 for the price of 1. For that price I am ok with minor variations in output and color well within the range of what I can fix in post and which are part of the TTL process anyway