Photography Advice: Off camera wireless flash for Sony Mirrorless Cameras

So I was out on saturday night teaching a group of photographers a cool Bokeh/Portrait technique with off camera flash.  

This kinda thing (shot on sony mirrorless ages ago)

   Emma-Lou McAfee  out in Belfast one cold, cold night!

Emma-Lou McAfee out in Belfast one cold, cold night!

Nothing new there, photographers love to get together to shoot and talk gear.  What surprised me this time was that sony mirrorless shooters where actually the majority out of the ten or so who turned up.

I dont normally care about gear at all but I wanted to post this because lots of folks asked. "How can I get off camera flash for my sony camera?". Sony has only recently announced its own wireless technology so folks like me shooting professionally for years have had to make do with other solutions.

This is my current set up and what I brought with me on saturday night to the class. 

YongNuo YN-560 III

and either a dumb

Yongnuo 2.4GHz Wireless Remote Control RF-602

or the clever

Yongnuo YN560-TX Wireless Flash Controller for DSLR Camera 

I say dumb and clever because the rf602 just triggers the flash, you have to set power, etc, on the back of the flash, where ever it may be, manually by hand. On saturday night it was high in the air in a softbox, so a pain to set manually.

I would personally recommend the 560tx because it allows you to set power and zoom as well as multiple flashes at once in groups or seperately on the trigger itself, which sits on top of your camera in the hot shoe mount. It also takes double AA batteries, unlike the smaller one, which takes a silly specialist battery. I have personally used this exact set up on a A7r and an a3000, on saturday some folks used it with their a6000s too, but my understanding is any new sony with the newer flash hotshoe works. 

Either way this is a manual solution, but I would suggest if you want to learn off camera flash manual flashes are much better for learning.  Through the lens (TTL) flashes are the auto mode of off camera flash, they do everything for you and can't read your mind, so they are good as a lazy solution but better to learn manual flash first.

I use a Nissin i40 for Sony Cameras regularly when I am being lazy, its a great TTL flash, but I still set it manually a lot myself.  but for the same money you could get 3 manual flashes and a transmitter!  So do yourself a favour if you just want a flash that helps fill in, get the Nissin.  but if you want to learn about the fascinating area of lighting and how it can dramatically improve your photography then get YongNuo manual flashes.

If anyone reading has their own experiences of shooting off camera flash with Sony please feel free to share or ask questions. (PS im not sponsored by Nissin or Yongnuo, just sharing these solutions I found, however if you buy through the links I get a few pennies for sharing my knowledge and experience with you.)