As noted earlier this macro-flash from Sony is basically a rebadge of the Minolta flash that preceded it. This isn't a bad thing because it was a pretty good flash to begin with.

It does mean however that the unit lacks two features found in many more modern flashes. It can't be triggered with a remote flash and it lacks ADI. You can only shot with this flash in TTL or manual mode.

These aren't critical issues for a macro-flash however.

The main difference between this flash and the Sigma EM-140 I was using before is the flexibility with the position and direciton of the light. The Sigma works on 2 lamps set at 180 degrees apart and the light is diffused through a ring mounted on the lens.

If we start with the Sony macro twin flash, you can see it starts with a mounting ring

This shows you can set the two flashes 45 degrees, 90 degrees and 180 degrees apart. The mounting shoes are fixed onto the ring.

You then attach a lens adapter to the ring to screw it on to the front of your lens.

This shoes the adapter for a 55mm diameter lens.

The flash controller mounts on the hotshoe of the camera.

Back-view of the controller. You can also see the dials that are used to manually adjust output of each flash when you shot in manual (M) mode.

The front of the controller has the sockets to attach the flash cables.

The flash heads are then mounted on the ring. They also swivel so they can point inwards towards the subject, front on or outwards.

To modify the flash you can
1) Attach it to a mounting arm that can also be positioned at a 90 degree or 60 degree arc.

2) The arm can be extended to create even more side light

3) The lamps can be fitted with wide-angle diffusers

4) Or with their own diffusers to soften the light further.

So how does it all work?
Well I had a quick trial last night (before it rained) on a tunnel-web spider that was occupying a tree-trunk. The challenge with this subject is the tunnel. Also you're shooting at night-time. So what I did for this shot was to place the lamps 90 degrees apart. The lamp located at the top of the ring was angled to direct light into the tunnel itself. The second lamp was positioned at 90 degrees to throw light on the actual spider. I went with TTL metering and exposure compensation of -3 (to minimise hotspots).

The spider

Closeup #1

Closeup #2

Now, I'm very pleased with this. The tunnel has received enough illumination to pick out the details of the legs and other body sections. The direction of the light has also meant that the hairs on the fangs and underneath the front legs have been revealed in sharper detail.

So overall, I am very pleased with the flexibility and usefulness of this unit for macro photography.