With the F36AM flashgun now discontinued, Sony Alpha users have a current choice of two: the top-end F56AM and this, the F42AM...

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Overall score:87%


  • Display, good illumination


  • Occasional underexposure


Sony HVL-F42AM Flashgun


Price as reviewed:


The well-constructed F42AM offers a guide number of 42m at ISO 100, as well as tilt-and-swivel and wireless TTL control. Coverage is provided for focal lengths between 24mm and 105mm, which extends to 16mm via the built-in wide panel, while Advanced Distance Integration (ADI) metering is said to use subject distance information from compatible lenses, together with ambient and reflected light value measurements to expose more accurately for predominantly dark or bright subjects.

The unit bucks the standard LCD display trend by illuminating values in bright green and yellow, making it easier to see and work with in darker conditions where you would otherwise need to illuminate it via a lamp option. Coverage is generally good, with very little fall-off towards the corners, although the auto setting does seem to underexpose a touch on occasion, even where highlights aren’t at risk of blowing. Adjusting the intensity manually solves this, and though there are only six options available for this they should suffice in most situations. Recycling times are also good, and considering its power and wireless capabilities the F42AM is not bad value at all.


Overall, a capable and good-looking option for the Alpha user.