A Minolta/Sony Alpha Flash compendium

The current Minolta AF/Sony Alpha flash system has grown quite complex, and it is not very well covered in the manuals. That's because this would involve to cover some very basic concepts, and there are many combinations of cameras and flash units with different capabilities that would have to be documented.

What I try here is to explain how the Minolta flash system works in detail. This compendium assumes that you have some basic knowledge of photography, ie. you know that an aperture is and you know how a shutter works.

Sony has taken over further development of the Minolta A mount (now Sony Alpha mount) and has also kept the Minolta AF flash system with their new DSLRs. When this compedium says “Minolta”, the same is true for “Sony Alpha”, too, except when noted otherwise.

The current Minolta AF/Sony Alpha flash system has grown quite complex, and it is not very well covered in the manuals. That's because this would involve to cover some very basic concepts, and there are many combinations of cameras and flash units with different capabilities that would have to be documented. What I try here is to explain how the Minolta flash system works in detail. This compendium assumes that you have some basic knowledge of photography, ie. you know that an aperture is and you know how a shutter works. Sony has taken over further development of the Minolta A mount (now Sony Alpha mount) and has also kept the Minolta AF flash system with their new DSLRs. When this compedium says "Minolta", the same is true for "Sony Alpha", too, except when noted otherwise.


Readers' comments

#1: Comment posted by Don on February 1st, 2013 - 03:44:48 AM:
Hello Michael and thanks,

I have been around for a lot of years and have accumulated a good number of Vivitar 283 and 285 strobes. I know that I cannot use them on the flash shoe of either of my a700 or a550 (I do have one 285HV), but can fire them from an off camera bracket using a regular synch cord to the PC on the a700? I keep hearing conflicting reports so I am turning to the expert. Thanks again.
Michael Hohner answers:
It should be possible to fire the flash via the PC sync connector. Of course, you get only manual flash control.
#2: Comment posted by setona on August 1st, 2013 - 12:07:33 AM:
Can I use my Maxxum Flash 5400HS with my Sony a900?
Michael Hohner answers:
I suggest you read the pages above and the F.A.Q..
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