Multi Interface shoe flashes for Sony cameras

Multi-Interface shoe flashes for Sony cameras


The Multi-Interface Shoe (MI Shoe/MIS) was introduced by Sony late 2012. It replaced a range of other hot shoes including the Minolta legacy Auto-lock Accessory Shoe (AAS), the NEX range Smart Accessory Terminals (SAT, SAT2), the Cyber-shot hot shoe, Intelligent Accessory Shoe (IAS) and Active Interface Shoe (AIS). This Multi-Interface Shoe has the same middle contact and frame as a standard ISO 518 hot shoe, but additional electrical connections are hidden under the front.

This ISO compliance means it is mechanically compatible with any ISO 518-based equipment, and all ISO-based flashes can be triggered, although no other functionality is supported. A range of adapters is available, including Sony’s ADP-MAA, which allows accessories that are compatible with an auto-lock shoe to be used with the camera’s new multi-interface shoe.

Before 2014, Sony released 4 Multi-Interface shoe flashes (HVL-F20M, HVL-F43M, HVL-F-60M and the HVL-RL1), but as of late this year there is also a new HVL-F32M available. This flashgun was specially designed for their A7 range cameras. You can easily find compatible flashes by looking at the product name: “AM” are earlier versions (fit when using an adapter), “M” are Multi-Interface Shoe products

German manufacturer Metz also updated 2 of their Mecablitz flashes, the 44 AF-1 and 52 AF-1 digital with the Multi-Interface shoe and a third one, the very powerful Mecablitz 64 AF-1 digital will be available soon.

Lastly, Japanese company Nissin released a compatible version of their small i40, making a total of 8 flashes available for current Sony cameras.

Glossary Of Terms

Before going over all the specifications of compatible flashes, it might be useful to start with some abbreviations of functionality I will be using.

Guide number (GN)

The guide number for an electronic flash measures its ability to light a subject at your selected sensor sensitivity. For example, doubling the guide number means the flash can light an object at twice the distance. A higher guide number indicates a more powerful flash.

Through The Lens metering (TTL)

This TTL process of calculating the correct amount of flash light (power) to be used. Both flash light and ambient light are measured through the lens, and flash power required is calculated.

Advanced Distance Integration (ADI)

Modern lenses have encoders within the glass hardware to send actual focusing distance of the subject back to the camera’s exposure computation system. This information is then used by the camera to compute the real flash power that it is required to ensure that enough flash is fired to provide the right illumination of the subject at that distance.

High-speed sync flash (HSS)

This HSS is the ability to use a flash at shutter speeds faster than your camera’s native sync. Most cameras have a native sync of 1/250th of a second, and anything faster than that is beyond the camera’s ability to synchronize the shutter with the flash. HSS is used in situations that require faster shutter speeds to capture the action adequately. When you want a fill light in bright daylight (to lighten shadows) or when you’re using a flash at wide apertures (where you’d normally over-expose your image).

All Multi-Interface Shoe flashguns available


Sony’s multi-interface shoe flashes might look expensive on paper, but they do offer the most features. All models listed are capable of remote controlling other flashes and all (except the HVL-F20M) are dust- and moisture-resistant. You’ll often find them at a significantly reduced street price, try Amazon.


Sony HVL-F20M muti interface shoe flash

The HVL-F20M is their smallest Multi-Interface Hotshoe flash and will give you a bit more power than a built-in flash. There’s no LCD screen, but controls are easy and straightforward to use. It’s also possible to use it as a remote controller for external flashes, an excellent feature at this price.

  • GN: 20
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • Can Be Used as Wireless Controller
  • Bounce Head
  • Built-In Diffuser
  • Wide and Tele Flash Settings
  • Compact, Flat-Folding Design
  • Runs on 2 AA Batteries

HVL-F32M multi interface shoe Flash

The latest Sony flash was designed especially for the A7 range of cameras. Keeping in line with the philosophy behind that range, it’s meant to give you the maximum possible quality in a small unit. This one is also capable of using HSS, and is weather and moisture resistant just like all products in the A7 range. Remember that you can use all Multi-interface flashes can be used with the A7 range.

  • GN: 32
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • HSS
  • Auto Power Zoom Range: 24-105mm (16mm with Panel)
  • Wireless Control
  • Dust and Moisture Resistant
  • Built-In Bounce Sheet
  • Runs on 2 AA Batteries

Sony HVL-F43M multi interface shoe flash

The HVL-F43M is my personal favourite of all the Sony flashes, as it does give you a decent amount of power with advanced functionality, but is still quite portable.

  • GN: 43
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • HSS
  • Auto Power Zoom Range: 24-105mm (15mm with Panel)
  • Wireless Control for up to 3 Flash Groups
  • Dust and Moisture Resistant
  • Pivot 90° L/R
  • Built-in Bounce Sheet
  • Retractable 15mm Wide-Angle Panel
  • Runs on 4 AA Batteries
  • Mini Stand and Case Included

The HVL-F60M is a seriously powerful flash for professional use but suffers from fast overheating issues. There is no sign that Sony will be updating it soon, so if you need a flash of this calibre, I’d suggest going with the Mecablitz 64 AF-1 Digital.

Update: Sony just released a firmware update that would resolve the overheating issues, though with a longer recycling time.


  • GN: 60
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • HSS
  • Auto Power Zoom Range: 24-105mm (15mm with Panel)
  • Wireless Control for up to 3 Flash Groups
  • Dust and Moisture Resistant
  • Dedicated Flash and Video Light
  • Quick Navi and Large Dot Matrix LCD
  • Stroboscopic Lighting Control

 Metz Mecablitz Flashes

German consumer electronics manufacturer Metz makes a range of semi-pro and pro flashes called Mecablitz. These are often quite a bit cheaper and offer equal performance and functionality as their Sony counterparts, except for weather proofing and wireless control for external flashes. Their flagship 64 AF-1 Digital is an exception to this, as it is dust/moisture resistant and has wireless Master functionality.

Mecablitz 26 AF-1 digital

mecablitz 26 af 1 digital

Despite its compact size – it even fits in a shirt pocket – the new mecablitz 26 AF-1 digital boasts comprehensive features. The flash output impresses with a guide number of 26 for ISO 100/21° and 85mm and outperforms integrated flashes. It’s handy format makes it the ideal holiday companion, particularly suited to compact cameras with flash shoes. Adjustments can be set using the function keys – ideal for flash novices who expect nothing less than perfect illumination. The ingenious design enables the reflector to be rotated for an indirect flash. Together with the integrated wide-angle diffuser, the mecablitz 26 AF-1 digital allows sufficiently creative scope for inventive illumination – for shooting videos, too. Because an additional two-level adjustable high output LED permanent light with up to 30 Lux lights up even motion picture photography.

  • GN: 26
  • 90° vertical bounce facility
  • Simple operating concept
  • Integrated wide-angle diff user for 24 mm illumination
  • Flash readiness indicator and correct exposure display on unit and on camera ***
  • Status LED
  • AF-assist light on Video LED
  • Automatic unit shut-off ( flash mode)
  • Metal base* with quick lock
 Mecablitz 44 AF-1 Digital


mecablitz 44 af 1 digital

The 44 AF-1 is their smallest available for the MIS, and does not support HSS. It is quite cheap though and offers a more powerful alternative the Sony HVL-F20M (although it’s bigger).

  • GN: 44
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • no HSS
  • Auto Power Zoom Range: 24-105mm (12mm with Panel)
  • wireless slave mode only (TTL)
  • No weather sealing
  • Modelling Light for Checking Shadows
  • Tilts Upward 90° & Rotates 300°
  • USB Port for Firmware Updates
  • 1st & 2nd Curtain Sync
  • Runs on 4 AA Batteries
The Metz Mecablitz 52 AF-1
mecablitz 52 af 1 digital

The Metz Mecablitz 52 AF-1 is an almost a fully featured TTL, and HSS flash with auto zoom functionality and an illuminated rear touchscreen with swivel. A great buy if weather proofing is not important to you.

  • GN: 52
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • HSS
  • Auto Power Zoom Range: 24-105mm (12mm with Panel)
  • wireless controller
  • No weather sealing
  • Modelling Light for Checking Shadows
  • Tilts Upward 90° & Rotates 300°
  • Manual from 1/1 to 1/128 in 1/3 Steps
  • Illuminated Rear Touchscreen with Swivel
  • USB Port for Firmware Updates
  • High-Speed, 1st & 2nd Curtain Sync
  • Runs on 4 AA Batteries
Mecablitz 64 AF-1 Digital

mecablitz 64 af 1 digital

This is their top-of-the-line flash featuring an exceptional build and all possible functionality. It’s currently the only useable flash option for professional use.

  • GN: 64
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • HSS
  • Auto Power Zoom Range: 24-1200mm!! (12mm with Panel)
  • Secondary Reflector with 2 Output Levels
  • Only Mecablitz which is weather sealed
  • Wireless Master & Slave Functionality
  • Tilts -9 to +90° & Rotates 300°
  • Color LCD Touchscreen & Modeling Light
  • Strobe & Servo Flash Modes
  • High-Speed,1st & 2nd Curtain Sync
  • Sync, Power, and USB Ports
  • runs on 4 AA Batteries


Nissin is a Japanese company that has been making flashes for over 50 years. The currently have three lashes available for the Multi-Interface Shoe: the i40, Di600 and Di700.

 Nissin i40
Nissin i40 multi interface shoe Sony

This small flash uses dials instead of the standard LCD screen. It offers full functionality; the only caveat being that it is not dust and moisture resistant.

  • GN: 40
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • HSS
  • Zoom Range: 24-105mm (16mm with Panel)
  • LED Video Light with 9 Output Levels
  • Tilts Upward 90°
  • Rotates Left & Right 180°
  • Wireless Slave TTL Functionality
  • Recycle Time: 0.1-4 Seconds
  • Slow, High-Speed,1st & 2nd Curtain Sync
  • Runs on 4 AA Batteries
Nissin Di600

The Nissin Di600 Digital TTL flash for Sony MIS covers a focal Length range of 35-105mm, has a GN rating of 32 at 35mm/GN44 at 105mm. It is TTL/wireless TTL capable.

  • GN 32 at 35mm/GN44 at 105mm
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • Auto Zoom Range: 35-105mm
  • AF assist beam
  • Energy saving system
  • Wireless TTL mode
  • Rear Curtain Sync
Nissin Di700

The Nissin Di700 Air advanced flash for Sony MIS covers a focal Length range of 24-200mm. It has a GN rating of 54 at 200mm/GN48 at 105mm, fully rotating flash head, is HSS/TTL/wireless TTL capable and features a LED control panel.

  • GN 54 at 200mm/GN48 at 105mm
  • TTL
  • ADI
  • HSS
  • Zoom Range: 24-200mm
  • LED control panel and selector dial
  • Head rotates horizontally 180° to right and left, tilts up to 90°and expanded 7°of downward tilt
  • Wireless TTL mode
  • External power socket for Nissin Power Pack PS 8
  • PC terminal socket for flash sync


Phottix is a rapidly developing company that specializes in manufacturing photographic accessories.

Phottix Mitros and Mitros+ TTL for Sony MIS

phottix mitros sony

Phottix just released versions of their Mitros, and Mitros+ TTL flash units for the Sony multi-interface hot shoe. The Mitros+ has remote radio flash control with built-in Phottix Odin and Strato II receivers, and both can be triggered remotely or used to trigger off-camera flash units. These flash units provide a guide number of 58, with 180° rotation and tilt by 97°.The Phottix Mitros and Mitros+ are available now for $299 and $399.

  • GN: 58
  • TTL, M, Multi (Stroboscopic) modes
  • Auto/Manual Flash Head Zoom with 180 degree rotation and 97 degree tilt
  • High Speed Sync and Rear Curtain Sync
  • Flash Exposure Compensation: Manual
  • Quick Flash Mode: with 0.1-2.5 sec. recharge times
  • USB port for upgrades
  • 3.5mm Sync port
  •  IR Wireless Triggering with Master and Slave mode
  • Optical Slave Sync Mode
  • 4 AA batteries
  • Port for external battery pack
  • Compatible with Phottix Odin TTL Flash Triggers


With now 13 flashes available for the Multi Interface Shoe, you are not limited the Sony flashes anymore. Which one is best for you depends on your usage and how much power you actually need.

Two features to keep in mind are whether you need dust and moisture resistance and the ability to use HSS, as this will limit your options. I’d recommend keeping your flash as small as possible and upgrading as you need more power.

Two new arrivals are very interesting in particular: the small, inexpensive but feature-rich Nissin i40 and the pro Mecablitz 64 AF-1 Digital. The latter will particularly appeal to users unsatisfied with the HVL-F60M’s overheating issues.

The HVL-43-M is my personal flash of choice for both the A7r and A77 II, as it is still portable whilst having both HSS and weather proofing. It’s been on the market for over a year now and prices have dropped significantly.



wim arys

Wim Arys is a photographer from Belgium Europe with a passion for mirrorless cameras.

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4 Responses

  1. Alec says:

    Hey Wim,

    if I use the SONY HVL-F32M as Master on my A7s, can I use third party slaves w TTL/HSS? which ones? Only those listed here or also other third party TTL/HSS flashes? So what I am asking is the protocol somewhat open and compatible with other flashes or am I restricted to use only SONY flashes as slaves in TTL/HSS Mode?


    • wim arys says:

      Hi Alec, I can’t really help you there. I think your safest bet for HSS and TTL would be to use something like the Phottix Odin to trigger other brand/shoe-type flashes.

  2. Espoir79 says:

    I’m still new to photography and have a Sony A3000. What speedlight would you recommend for this model?

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