Best Flash for Sony A6500 [2021 Review]

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The Sony A6500 is an amazing E-mount APS-C camera and it’s been a favorite among photographers since it was launched in 2016. It has incredible touchscreen capabilities, fast and accurate autofocus, sharp optics, and an image stabilization system. 

The best flash for Sony A6500 can boost the camera’s built-in flash for improved lighting, and it can help you in achieving beautiful results while doing flash photography. 

Our Top Sony A6500 Flash Reviews

If you haven’t done flash photography before, selecting the best flash for Sony A6500 can be challenging because there are numerous brands and options on the market.

To give you an idea on what to get, we’ve selected the camera flashes that you can connect to your Sony A6500. 

Brand
Best Overall
Sony HVL-F45RM
Best for the Money
Sony HVL-F28RM
Best Cheap Pick
Sony HVLF20M
Product
Sony HVL-F45RM Compact, Radio-Controlled Gn 45...
Sony External Flash with Wireless Remote Control,...
Sony HVLF20M, MI Shoe External Flash for Alpha...
Special Features
Wirelessly supports 15 units in up to 5 groups
Higher power at close 50mm focal length
Bounce flash enables shadow less indirect lighting
Product Dimensions
2.38 x 4.5 x 3.5 inches
2.56 x 3.28 x 3.59 inches
3.5 x 2.5 x 4.5 inches
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Sony HVL-F45RM
Product
Sony HVL-F45RM Compact, Radio-Controlled Gn 45...
Special Features
Wirelessly supports 15 units in up to 5 groups
Product Dimensions
2.38 x 4.5 x 3.5 inches
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Sony HVL-F28RM
Product
Sony External Flash with Wireless Remote Control,...
Special Features
Higher power at close 50mm focal length
Product Dimensions
2.56 x 3.28 x 3.59 inches
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Sony HVLF20M
Product
Sony HVLF20M, MI Shoe External Flash for Alpha...
Special Features
Bounce flash enables shadow less indirect lighting
Product Dimensions
3.5 x 2.5 x 4.5 inches
Rating
Price

Best Overall Flash for Sony A6500: Sony HVL-F45RM 

Sony HVL-F45RM Compact, Radio-Controlled Gn 45...

The Sony HVL-F45RM external flash is built for professionals and beginners alike. With its radio control feature and optical wireless control, it can work as a commander and it can be connected to six other flashes. You can arrange them side by side and place them up to 98 feet away for maximum illumination. 

Whether you are improving your lighting system or you are building a new one, the external flash can give you a new perspective on lighting. 

The external flash does not overheat easily, and you can do 100 consecutive firings. This is thanks to its built-in cooling system that cools the head of the flash with a fan while it operates. 

The flash is also equipped with Through the Lens or TTL  technology. It is a feature that calculates the power that the flash produces based on the settings and exposure that you’ve selected. 

The flash also has a 2.6 second recycling time, which is fast, compared to the Sony HVLF20M that needs at least 3 seconds to refresh before you can use it again. 

However, the screen of the flash can be difficult to see when you are in a very bright environment. 

Also, its 34 guide number means its light can only go as far as 34 feet. The distance it covers is short compared to the Sony HVLF20M that can go up to 60 feet. 

Pros: 

  • The external flash can be used while travelling because it is light and easy to store
  • The flash as a built-in cooling system so you don’t have to worry about it overheating

Cons:

  • The guide number of 34 can only cover subjects that are 34 feet away from the camera
  • The text on the LCD screen can’t be seen when it is exposed to sunlight
Sony HVL-F45RM Compact, Radio-Controlled Gn 45...
  • Powerful flash lighting at guide number (gn) of 45
  • Operates as On-Camera flash, radio wireless Commander or receiver. Product doesn't work with cameras...
  • Wirelessly supports 15 units in up to 5 groups; Continuous Lighting Time: 4 hours (with Sony AA-size...

Best Sony A6500 Flash for the Money: Sony HVL-F28RM

Sony External Flash with Wireless Remote Control,...

The Sony HVL-F28RM wireless flash is equipped with a 2.4 GHz transceiver that connects it to six more flashes. These flashes can be placed up to 27 meters away from the subjects to give you more light when you take pictures. The Sony HVL-F45RM can cover a better distance because it can go up to 98 feet. 

The external flash can do 600 consecutive shots without overheating, and this is a higher number compared to Sony HVL-F45RM and Sony HVLF20M that can only do 100 consecutive shots each.  

The flash has a very fast recycling time of 1.5 seconds. It is faster than the Sony HVL-F45RM that has a 2.6 second recycling time. 

The 60 guide number can cover subjects that are 60 feet away from the camera. It is also well-built and sturdy, and it does not crack or break if you accidentally drop it. 

However, its LCD screen can’t be viewed when it is placed under direct sunlight because the text basically disappears. 

Also, since the flash is not sealed from external elements, it is not protected against water droplets, dust, dirt, and more. You need  to clean it as often as possible so that its performance and quality won’t get affected. 

Pros: 

  • The flash has a cooling technology, it does not overheat even if it fires 600 shots in one go
  • The 1.5 second recycling time is fast, so you won’t have to wait long to fire another round

Cons:

  • The LCD screen of the flash can be difficult to see when it is used outdoors
  • It is not protected from external elements, exposing it to dust, rain, and dirt can affect the quality of the screen
Sony External Flash with Wireless Remote Control,...
  • Compact, reliable and made by Sony for flawless flash control
  • Ideal Guide Number power for compact mirrorless cameras (GN28)1
  • Higher power at close 50mm focal length

Best Cheap Flash for Sony A6500: Sony HVLF20M 

Sony HVLF20M, MI Shoe External Flash for Alpha...

The Sony HVLF20M is a light and compact external flash. It can be turned as a commander because it can be connected to six different flashes. This allows you to have more light while you do your photoshoot, making it ideal for studio settings. 

The external flash has a very strong LED light that can shed steady light on your subjects. It is also great to use at night, in low lit places, and when you are doing still photography. 

You can go through the settings easily through the flash’s LCD screen. Also, it has an active cooling technology that prevents the head from overheating, so you can use it for hours. 

The TTL technology measures how much light your flash illuminates. It also prevents shadows from forming on your images due to harsh lighting. This feature ensures that your images are sharp and clear. 

However, the 24 guide number can only reach subjects that are 25 feet away from you, unlike the Sony HVL-F28RM that can go up to 60 feet. 

The 3 second wait for the flash to get ready again is slow, unlike the Sony HVL-F28RM that has a 1.5 second recycling time. 

Pros:

  • The flash has built-in TTL technology that prevents distortion from showing on your image
  • It can serve as a commander and be connected to six other external flashes. 

Cons:

  • With a 24 guide number, it can only cover 25 feet of distance, which is short. 
  • The 3 second recycling time is too slow especially if you want to do flash photography
Sony HVLF20M, MI Shoe External Flash for Alpha...
  • Extends flash range beyond camera's built-in flash
  • New Multi Interface shoe for expanded compatibility
  • Bounce flash enables shadow less indirect lighting

Features to Consider in a Flash of Sony A6500

The best flash for Sony A6500 can take the quality of your pictures and videos to a whole different level. 

Product Recycling Time Guide Number Weather-Sealed
Sony HVL-F45RM2.6 seconds34 Yes
Sony HVL-F28RM1.5 seconds60No
Sony HVLF20M 3 seconds24 Yes

Before getting an external flash for your camera, there are certain features that need to be considered so you can achieve the type of output that you want. 

Recycling Time

Every external flash takes a couple of seconds to recharge, this is called a recycling time. It needs to get power from its battery so it can burst light on your pictures. If the flash does not have enough power, it will only result in dark shadow on your images. 

If you are into flash photography, you need to get an external flash with a recycling time that is fast. The Sony HVL-F28RM has a recycling time of 1.5 seconds, which is the fastest one on the list. 

Sony camera flash

Guide Number

A flash’s guide number gives you an idea about how far its light can go. If the guide number of your external flash is high, it means that it can shed light to subjects that are far from you. If it is low, then it can only shed light to subjects that are around you and near you. 

When selecting a guide number for your flash, you need to know the types of subjects that you wish to take pictures of. For subjects that constantly move and are far from you, you need to get one that has a high guide number, like the Sony HVL-F28RM. 

Weather-Sealed

Flash photography is done both indoors and outdoors. Since the device will likely be exposed to external elements like rain, dirt, dust, and moisture, you need to get one that is sealed against those elements. 

Flashes that are weather-sealed last longer compared to those that aren’t because they preserve the quality of the flash. The Sony HVL-F45RM and the Sony HVLF20M are the two flashes on the list that are sealed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Equation Used in Calculating the Guide Number of Your Flash?

The guide numbers on external flashes are based on a certain equation. The said equation states that the light that the flash produces is equal to the distance of the device from your subject. Then, it is multiplied by the lens’ aperture. 

For a standardized and straightforward process, manufacturers use ISO 100 and a 10-inch distance as a fixed reference point when calculating the flash’s guide number. 

For example, if your flash has a 60 guide number and the aperture of the lens is f/4, and the fixed point is 10 inches, then the equation will be 10 inches multiplied by f/4 equals to 60. That means that the light of your flash can cover subjects up to 60 feet. 

Sony flash

Can You Use Other External Flash Brands With the Sony A6500 Camera?

You can connect other brands on your Sony A6500. However, keep in mind that not all brands are compatible with a Sony camera.

Sony cameras have a multi-interface hot shoe that does not work with Canon and Nikon flashes. If you pair them up, you won’t be able to use the features of your camera.

The third-party brands that you can use for your Sony camera are Godox, Yongnuo, and Sigma. These brands have the same hot shoe as Sony. 

Conclusion

Flash photography is a popular genre among professional photographers. It gives images a different aesthetic, especially since it is exposed to several ranges of light. 

The best flash for Sony A6500 has all of the capabilities and features that you are looking for in order to perform flash photography, and it results in incredible images. 

Jared Bauman has spent more than twenty years in the professional photography profession. He founded Bauman Photographers in 2001, which is a wedding and commercial photography studio in San Diego, California. The company has been in business for 20 years, and has a stellar reputation in the community. In 2007, Jared co-founded ShootDotEdit, the premium post production company for professional wedding photographers worldwide. The company has edited millions of images for photographers around the world. Jared has spoken and presented at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference 9 years in a row. He has also given several multi-day courses on Creative Live, in addition to two national speaking tours.