How to Use the Sony Nex 6 With Third Party Flash Accessories

Question from a student: I’d like to get into the off camera flash gear a little but my problem is I’m just finding it a little difficult to work out exactly what will work with my Sony Nex 6 camera setup.

I’ve looked at your recommended gear for flash page and I like the idea of the Yongnuo RF-603 radio triggers and the Yongnuo YN-560 II flash.

I have a sony alpha NEX-6 which I believe has a “standard” hotshoe but I’d like to know if this flash is compatible and just to clarify that I would need to buy the Nikon transceiver and the sony adaptor that you have linked to?

Thanks very much for any help or suggestions you can give!!

– W.M., a student in the Intermediate Photography Class

Answer from Jim: Honestly, I’m not sure on this one.  You’ve stumped me.  Here’s the issue.

Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, etc all use the same standard hotshoe.  Sony decided to be different and used the Minolta hotshoe.  That is my #1 complaint with Sony products is they always dump the industry standards to create their own technologies, which has the practical effect of stranding customers with problems like this.

After years of using the Minolta hotshoe, Sony finally decided to switch over to the standard hotshoe with the Sony Nex 6.  The problem?  Despite calling it the “Multi Interface Shoe” or even sometimes calling it the “Universal hotshoe”…. it certainly is not.  Nex 6 users are having all kinds of problems finding ways to use standard flash accessories on their systems.

I am not saying it is impossible to make inexpensive third party flashes work with the Sony Nex 6.  The issue is that it depends on a lot of different factors in the way the third party accessory is made and if it works with the Sony.

It is my hope that we will soon see a good Multi Interface Shoe to REAL standard shoe adapter soon, but I couldn’t find anything that works for sure.  Several devices on eBay and Amazon claim to do it, but the reviews say it is unreliable.

I can see two options: (1) Try buying a few items on Amazon and simply test it to see if the products work with the Nex 6, or (2) Pay up for the proprietary Sony brand flash accessories.  I realize that neither option is perfect by any means, but I haven’t found any other way just yet.

Comments from the I.P. Community

  1. Criswell3000 says

    the Yongnuo triggers do not work with Sony. I use the Cowboy Studio cheap triggers, which are around $30 for a set. I use the a99, btw. The riggers work fine, my only issue has been the cold shoe portion that attaches to a ligt stand break easy if our stand falls over. I plan to upgrade at some point, but they work in a pinch no problem.

  2. Cary Covington says

    I have a Nex6, and bought both the Yongnuo RF-603N and RF-603C, hoping that either of them would work to trigger my Yongnuo YN 560 III flash (or anything else.) The pins on the bottom of the transceivers are in a different configuration for -N vs -C, so I was hopeful..but neither works on my Nex6. I have put them in backward, slid them forward and back by tiny increments–to no avail. The -N works so well on my Nikon D70, that I am dying to be up and running on the Nex6, but haven’t been able to crack the enigma yet. My Nikon SB800 flash works on the Nex6, and also when using a Nikon SC-29 cord, but the Yongnuo 560III flash works intermittently mounted on the end of the SC-29 cord, and not at all mounted on the Nex6. (And neither transceiver works for the Nex6 when mounted on the cord.)
    I chatted with a Sony Service Rep about it, without any conclusions: he said there is no Sony adapter to help me, and he could only advise me about Sony products. Service Reps don’t always know their own products, so I am hopeful that he’s wrong about the adapter, but even looking to use two piggybacked adapters to convert to a Minolta format, then to a true ISO hasn’t yielded promising looking results yet, either.

  3. Cary Covington says

    I found a promising solution: a mod for a Yongnuo RF-603 transceiver. By soldering a resistor into the circuit in the right place, it simulates a half-pressed-down shutter button, telling all of the transceivers to prepare to fire, and will fire when the shutter button is pressed, (or the test button.)
    For more info, search “Sony RF603″ on Youtube, or “Yongnuo” on Dyxum.com (A Sony forum.) The resistor costs about a dime; I found a package of 10 on Amazon for $1.16 with shipping.
    By the way, the a99 is Sony’s newest DSLR, with the Multi-Interface Shoe that the Nex6 is also blessed with.

    • Cary Covington says

      Like I mentioned in my previous comment, I bought a resistor, (120 Ohm, 0.5 watt) and soldered it into the circuit board of a RF-603C transceiver. It works now, and I can use wireless flash on my Sony Nex6; pretty well. A few tips/cautions for anyone following in these footsteps.
      – The master/modified transceiver can’t be slid all the way into the hotshoe, or the “ready” light goes off, and it won’t trigger the other transceivers.
      – When soldering the resistor in, don’t let it touch anything inadvertently–like the computer cord port–or it will short out and won’t work.
      – After the mod, it can be used off-camera to fire the other transceivers, (a very nice feature for doing light painting.) But note that if you are wearing metal finger rings, they can short-out the pin connections on the underside, and cause misfires.
      – The Master/modified transceiver is constantly in a “ready” state, (as if you have pressed the shutter button halfway down.) And you have introduced somewhat of a short circuit into its process. So whenever it is turned on it will drain the AAA batteries down quicker than an unmodified transceiver. That doesn’t mean that your batteries will go dead from an hour of use, but they will be draining a little faster than normal.
      – Having all of the transceivers in a constant “ready” state does NOT mean that your non-Yongnuo flashes will stay awake and ready to fire. You may have to “wake them up” if you let them sit for a few minutes.

  4. Emric says

    Which trigger model would that be?
    I wonder if the transmitter would work with a Yongnuo 560-III wich has built in receiver…

  5. says

    I purchased the ATG Gold Pro II Flash Set and able to do wireless radio ATG ADI TTL flash in 1st, 2nd and HSS.
    This can do nine wireless flash modes and has two flashheads.

    If many are saying they can do wireless radio flashes.
    It means the flash still has to be set manually like using Pocket Wizard Plus/Plus II/Plus III. This is outdated & not as good as getting ATG ADI TTL flashes.

    If you are on a budget, then get the ATG Gold Pro II Flash.
    It is a direct fit and is much better than Sony HVL-F60M flash.

  6. says

    Since the question is about using third part flash & system.

    If you want to control your flash wirelessly by advanced radio ATG ADI TTL {ATG ADI TTL (Sony), ETTL II (Canon) or ITTL (Nikon)} you have to use a flash that do Commander/Remote on the camera hotshoe or a radio transmitter on the hotshoe. But Sony do not make wireless radio TTL, only ATG.

    Only two models have that:
    1. ATG Gold Pro II Flash (Commander/Remote in radio ATG ADI TTL & IR)
    2. Sony HVL-F60M Flash (Commander/Remote in IR)

    To get wireless IR (line-of site) flash:
    a. Sony HVL-F60M Flash, set on hotshoe as a Commander
    b. Sony HVL-F43M Flash set as Remote
    c. Control all settings from the Commander flash.

    To get wireless radio ATG ADI TTL flash:
    A. ATG Gold Pro II Flash Set
    B. Take is out of the camera hotshoe and you got wireless radio ATG ADI TTL
    C. If you have a Sony HVL-F43M or HVL-F60AM or HVL-F60M, it then
    become wireless radio ATG ADI TTL flash.

    ATG is only available in USA.
    Try to contact Alzo Digital, CT and they can direct you to the right channel.

  7. says

    Thank you for the information.

    I have seen many professional photographers preferred the ATG Gold flashes over Canon, Nikon and Sony flashes.

    I will get in touch with Alzo Digital.

  8. Robert says

    My problem is a bit different, but tangentially related. I have used the Cowboy Studio system successfully, with several of my Contax external flash units. However, my question applies to any of the remote flash systems I am currently aware of. When my Cowboy transmitter is mounted on the Nex 6 hot shoe, I am restricted from using the Sony’s in-camera flash for an additional straight-on fill light. Is there a more streamlined transmitter unit available, or a more sleek hot shoe extender that could sink to any transmitter via the transmitter’s cord input?

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

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