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07-16-2011, 08:15 AM   #1
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Metz 58 AF 2 smell

I recently purchased from B&H and received late this week a Metz 58 AF-2. Last night I got some brand new Eneloops to put in the flash and test it out. After about the 5th or so flash I put my nose near the main reflector head and noticed a burned-type smell. There was no smoke or anything, and it really wasnt a big smell, somewhat faint, only if you have the flash reflector under your nose. The flash unit continues to function normally.

Now, I did not "run-and-gun" this series of flashes. It was more like take a picture, chimp, adjust swivel/tilt, wait a couple seconds, then take another picture. I read the manual several times and did notice the "15 flashes wait 10 minutes" warning, but it was less than 15 flashes when I noticed the smell. I took a couple more test pics then put the flash away. This morning I took the flash and did one full power flash and smelled the reflector and got a similar faint burn smell.

I've searched the net and PentaxForums and read of other Metz 58 (AF1 and AF2) users with same/mixed results. Some suggested keeping it, while others to send it back. Some posts say it smells at first but it goes away. Some of those posts have no follow up though, so I'm not sure if others ended up keeping it or sending it back.

Should I return this to B&H and ask for an exchange for the same model? Or should I just keep on and see it goes away/ends up not a big deal? To those that also experienced this, what did you do?

07-16-2011, 09:01 AM   #2
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Did the smell go away when you stopped 'flashing' but while the unit was still powered up?

Try setting it on stroboscopic mode and just test triggering it, that will really exercise the flash unit and as it is something you might want to do in real life you're not 'torturing' it.

Also try about 5 - 10 full power manual flashes right after the other. Again, this is within the design spec of the unit as long as it rests afterwards. Test for smells after these tests.

I know that new electronics do sometimes have a smell right at first plus the flash tube itself would generate some type of odour when it fires. You are generating small amounts of lightning when it flashes.

I'll have to admit that I haven't noticed that with my two 58s but I didn't hold them up to my nose to test.

I did just try out what you did with my 58 AF-2 and there was the 'slightest' whiff right next to the flash head when I almost stuffed it up my nose. It went away very quickly.

I wouldn't worry too much unless it starts to get worse. I presume B & H provides a normal one year warranty just in case?
07-16-2011, 12:17 PM   #3
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Well all flashes have soldered connections in them, and if you've ever done any soldering yourself, there's always a unique smell as the heat of soldering boils off some of the resin they used for cleaning. Flashes, unlike a lot of other electronic stuff, has some high voltage in the capacitor, and as that is released, i'm not surprised that some heat (and smell) would be generated.

I think mtansley has the right idea. Do 10 or 15 full power flashes, and the smell will either dissipate in progression or it will get worse. The former is OK, the latter is a problem indicating perhaps some "flashing" going on outside the flash tube which is reason for returning it. Even new cars have a "smell" to them

More importantly, tell us about your opinions of the flash?
07-16-2011, 01:40 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I did the suggested routine. I did about 10 full power manual flashes spaced about a minute or so apart. I also did a couple of strobe-oscope and modeling light pulses spaced at a normal pace as well.

As mtansley suggested, the smell is there but it is faint, and you only smell it with the flash practically "shoved up your nose". It is a very faint smell and it doesn't grow or get worse with use. The smell does fade if the flash is not used, even with the flash still turned on. Temperature-wise I felt no odd heat or warm spots on the flash.

I have done my fair share of electronics soldering, and it does have a similar smell. So it could be resin and or the flash tube being "worn in". I guess I might be overreacting with the smell issue. I'll watch it and see. And yes, it does have a one year guarrantee, but I will probably have to ship it to Bogen/Manfrotto who is the US distributor to get it serviced if it becomes a problem.

I am a flash newbie but so far I like it. I have a K-7 and using the flash with PTTL indoors I have had pretty consistent exposures. I did try wireless PTTL indoors with the built-in flash as controller. It was able to trigger, but the "controller" flash for sure does fire during the exposure time. I havent compared it if I set the built-in to master to notice any exposure differences. The smaller secondary reflector fires as the the red-eye flash before the main flash in those red-eye modes. It also only fires if the main reflector is tilted or swivelled and can be adjusted (no fire, full power, half power, quarter power). Mine already came with the latest firmware (v2) installed and noticed a remote servo mode in the menu, but havent played with that yet.

07-16-2011, 02:35 PM   #5
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Sounds like you're OK then, I'm glad we do this flash testing in the privacy of our own homes, I can just guess the comments from salespeople if we did this in a store, "Oh don't worry about those photographers, they're just sniffing the flashes!!!"

I guess it's possible that there may be extra flux or resin or even some sort of protection on the circuit board that slowly burns away with use. Probably toxic as hell like new car smells are supposed to be.

I find that it surprises people that the controller flash does flash during the exposure and I think the bit in the manual about 'the controller doesn't contribute to the exposure' is a bit wrong, it has to contribute 'something' to the exposure.

I find that the P-TTL with my K20 sometimes doesn't give me just what I'm looking for but that's another thing about the Metz I like, you can quickly switch it to automatic and I like the way that it will automatically track the f stop you set the camera to. I don't remember if the Pentax AF540 did that (I owned one before it fell off a light stand.) but I don't think it did.

Hope you continue to enjoy it.


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