HVL-F56AM Flash discontinued by Sony...WHY?

Discussion in 'Sony/Minolta' started by steve_c.|5, May 21, 2009.

  1. I know Sony wants to move those high-priced 58 flashes they have now, and have inexplicably introduced two new amateur flashes, but there is no middle ground anymore. The new 58 is $500US. The 56 was a street price of around $300US. The two lower models are lower guide numbers, and have no professional features like the aux. battery connection on the side. I'd use neither of them for anything.
    If you're P.O.'d about this like I am, then let's launch a complaint campaign to Sony, to either introduce a suitable update to the 56 or bring it back.
  2. It's fine with me, honestly. The way I see it is:
    • The 58AM is a much more advanced beast, with newer features that suit digital more so and a better interface - the price is justified if you need a high end flash.
    • The 56AM/5600 are so available second hand, you can get one when ever you want
    As far as i know, you have enough flashes Steve? Or are you thinking about when/if one potentially 'burns out' in the future?
  3. Steve, having used both, I can tell you that the 58AM is way better than the 56AM. It is just so much easier to flip and re-position the head compared to the 56AM. And to be honest, the way you can rotate the head for the vertical orientation is nothing short of revolutionary. I'll be very surprised if Canon and Nikon don't come up with something similar soon.
    Seeing as you are a wedding photographer, the difference in price I would imagine be insignificant compared to the advantages it brings. Try it, you won't regret it!
  4. Steve, the HVL-F56AM is basically the Minolta 5600HSD, so it is an old design. While I'm not real crazy about the flip head design of the HVL-58AM, as I use a flash bracket, I realize time marches on. There are plenty of used HVL-56AMs and 5600HSDs on the market.
  5. Thanks for the responses, guys. Actually, I see very few used 5600's or 56's on Ebay or other sites these days, at least in the States. As a wedding photographer, I'm leery about buying a used flash that could have been overused in the past and could burn out at any second in the middle of a wedding.
    No doubt, the 58 is a revolutionary flash. I played with one and really liked it. I'm sure Nikon and Canon are smacking themselves in the foreheads saying, "why didn't WE think of this?". However, it's a lot heavier and bulkier, something I try to keep in mind with all the gear I have to lug around, and will a full-bore A700 with battery grip and heavy pro lenses to wield for 8 hours straight. It would also take up a bigger space in my already packed gear case. And, a firm $200 higher price than the 56 doesn't help my bottom line any, particularly in these tight economic times. Even we wedding shooters with $6000 or more in gear have to be careful with our expenditures.
    I'm just saying they really need to keep a midrange flash like that in the lineup. Perhaps redesign it a bit.
  6. Steve, the 58 is somewhat heavier than the 56, but not that much. It doesn't feel significantly more when I have the CZ-24-70 mounted as that lens weighs a ton! The other advantage is that the flash recharge is much faster than the 56. I have to say that when I borrowed the 56 from my brother, the use of the button to swivel drove me nuts. For me, ease of use and the increased functionality wins hands down. If you do get one, your two 56s would act as backups for the foreseeable future.

    I have not idea about your costs and the market you cater to, but I would have thought $6000 worth of gear is not particularly high if you are doing weddings full time. The equipment cost per wedding over a couple of years would be pretty small I imagine. I have WAY more than gear than that across a few systems and I don't consider myself a pro. Just someone with a very expensive hobby! *laugh* Of course, perhaps that is because photography doesn't put food on the table.
  7. Steve, there is someone advertising a new 58AM on photo.net for 400 bucks.
    Pretty cheap if he is legit. But he is offering Paypal so presumably isn't too dodgey?
  8. Steve, this might be of interest to you-
  9. Sony seems to be following Nikon here too. Nikon axed its flagship flash, the SB-800 and replaced it with the SB-900, a larger unit. Prices jumped from $380 to almost $500. I was lucky enough to find a demo SB-600 when I needed to replace a Nikon flash two months ago. It was the last one in town.

Share This Page