Sunpak PZ42X

The Sunpak PZ42X is a compact flashgun with a good set of features, including a tilt and swivel head and a built-in diffuser. Despite its small size, it feels tough and has positive clicks to the bounce and swivel actions. And there aren’t any fiddly release buttons on the head, which makes changing the position quick and easy.

Sunpak PZ42X

Sunpak PZ42X

As well as TTL you can control output via manual controls – from full power to 1/64 – and zoom coverage over a wide range of 24-105mm. You can even set this range according to whether you are shooting full-frame or APS-C.

Controls on the PZ42X are minimal, with just two buttons to move through modes and then select the one you want. There is an LCD, and this, coupled with the minimal controls, makes it a simple flash to use but one where you have a reasonable amount of creative control too.

Flash power is listed at a guide number of 42. We clocked it at 32 but that’s still very impressive. However, it would not operate when in manual mode on our 60D test camera. On further investigation it became apparent that a software update is needed on the flash but this would require sending it back to the manufacturer for fixing. Also lacking are a reflecting plate and wireless capability.


  • Street price: £99 (As of July 2016)
  • Listed guide number 42
  • Tested guide number 32
  • Listed recycle time 3.5sec
  • Tested recycle time (NiMH @ full power) 5.1secs
  • Tested recycle time (Alkaline @ full power) 6.4secs
  • Flashes per charge (NiMH @ full power) 260
  • Flashes per charge (Alkaline @ full power) 220
  • Focal length coverage 24-105mm
  • Wireless optical slave No
  • AF assist beam Yes
  • Fill-in reflector No
  • Wide-angle diffuser panel Yes
  • Power controls 1/1 – 1/64
  • Available to fit Canon, Nikon, Sony
  • Bounce angles 0, 45, 60, 75, 90 degrees
  • Rotate angles (right) 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, 180
  • Rotate angles (left) 0, 30, 60, 90, 120 degrees
  • Dimensions 64x116x102mm
  • Weight 260g
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This review was first published in the Spring 2012 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.