One of the reasons which I don't bring my DSLR out a lot is the fact that if I am going to a casual get together with my friends and I'd like to take some nice photos I need to bring the flash, and if I'm going to bring my flash I'm gonna need to carry it in a bag, and the only bag I have that can safely hold both the flash and the camera is my Lowepro Fast Pack 250. And WAF of the bag is not very high cause it's big and solid... and if I just stick only the camera and flash into it, it feels like a waste.
I also have a Think Tank Digital Holster 20, which looks like this.
It's a simple camera bag designed to hold a camera, and nothing much else. That means I can't stuff my F36 flash into it. So I don't bring the camera out in this bag much because which I can boost the ISO to grab shots without a flash, it can only do so much when you're trying to snap a photo of a 2 year old. And because it's hard to actually bounce the built in flash, I end up with direct flash shots which make the WAF points go down.
So I was pleasantly surprised when Sony released this.
This is the Sony HVL-F20AM Flash. In the world of photography this would be called a low powered flash, can't shoot very far, has a slower (than other flash strobes) cycling time and I'd think is generally useless in long range. But... if you're using your camera indoors, in a party or an open house. This would do just fine! Oh.. and it helps that it's DAMN BLOODY SMALL!
This is how it looks in the off position, it just sits unassumingly on top of your camera. And for those of you who are wondering... yes, I pointed the camera at a mirror to take the picture. Anyway when it comes time to take a shot, all you do is flip it up and it's ready for action.
It's very obvious that the F20 was intended for the casual hobbyist photographer. There are no digital read outs, nor are there any complicated settings to work the flash. There's a switch that let's you flip the flash tube to point upwards so you have a bounce flash, and then there's another toggle to remove the diffuser from the front of the flash so you can try to use the flash on a longer range.
The BEST part about the F20, and the reason that I bought it once I saw it is that.
It just drops in to a corner of the Digital Holster with plenty of space to spare. So it means I can now carry around an external flash with the small camera bag. Sweet!
How well does it perform?
Indoors? just as good as any flash. Oh wait... wearing a hat, not a good candidate for a bounce flash shot. Let's switch to direct mode.
Typical shadow and effect of a head on flash, think the diffuser helped lower the harshness a bit.
Again, another shot in bounce mode. Works really well in doors, I'm very pleased. Not so worried about outdoor shots since I don't see myself doing a lot of that.
It's a nice piece of gear to own if you've always bemoaned the fact that your flash is too big and bulky to lug around and limiting your camera use. But it's definitely not as versatile as say... the HVL-F58AM, so best for your to ask yourself wheter or not the F20 suits your camera usage pattern before getting it.