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06-29-2008, 01:14 AM   #1
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Pentax 540 FGZ vs. Metz 58 AF-1

I have an opportunity to get a flash unit from USA by a friend who goes there on vacation.
Now I really cannot decide. 540 FGZ is cheaper than Metz (540 FGZ = 320 $US, Metz 58 = 400 $US), but is it really best choice for a flash unit on my K100D (or K20D later this year )?
Can anyone tell me a reason for getting a Metz unit? If not, I'll go for Pentax.

Please help!

06-29-2008, 09:59 AM   #2
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No one?
Bump..
06-29-2008, 03:16 PM   #3
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Hi Pentagor

The Pentax 540 AFZ has some well documented underexposure issues, when using it's bounce-mode in P-TTL and can occasionally get permanently jammed in the camera's flash hot-shoe ! The smaller Pentax 360 AFZ reportedly suffers from a weak battery door design, which is often subject to breaking. Therefore you might like to study the following threads, before coming to an eventual decision ?

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/26752-540-fgz-s...0+AFZ+problems

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/6874-flash-totally...0+AFZ+problems

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-camera-accessories/30520-af-360-fg...0+AFZ+problems

Best regards
Richard

Last edited by Confused; 06-29-2008 at 05:06 PM.
06-29-2008, 03:22 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentagor Quote
Can anyone tell me a reason for getting a Metz unit? If not, I'll go for Pentax.
Caveat: I haven't used either one. But two things stand out from the specs: first, the Metz flash has a longer zoom, so it's actually more powerful if you're using a 57mm or above lens (according to the manufacturer-stated guide numbers). Second, the Metz has a secondary forward-facing flash head built in, so you can bounce and have direct flash.

06-29-2008, 05:04 PM   #5
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Hi Matt

Having weighed-up all the various pros and cons of each brand and model, like yourself I finally decided to plump for the Metz 48 AF-1 and have been trying to find my way around it's operational modes.

I recently contacted Intro 2020, who are the UK importers of Metz, and spoke with a technician. One thing I hadn't fully realised is that when using the built-in P-TTL pop-up flashgun on the K10D in conjunction with it's anti red-eye setting, the infuriating delay which generally occurs between depressing the shutter-release button and the flash eventually going off is actually exacerbated by engaging this two-stage process (P-TTL + anti red-eye) ! It's a pity they don't tell you THAT in the instruction manual ! The technician said that due to this annoying delay, many people apparently prefer to switch off the anti red-eye mode altogether, but that would inevitably lead to an awful lot of additional work editing eyeballs at the post-processing stage ! Not sure I entirely like the sound of that time-consuming proposal.....

However, I have to say in the Metz 48 AF-1's favour that the responsiveness of this model is a great improvement over the built-in P-TTL pop-up flashgun, so spontaneous flash photography is now firmly back on the agenda. Obviously the pop-up flashgun has to draw current from the LIon rechargeable battery along with the rest of the camera's internal circuitry which slows matters down somewhat, whereas the Metz 48 AF-1 flashgun reacts in a quicker manner, as it's powered by 4 dedicated AA batteries.

My general preference is to employ natural light whenever possible, so I have precious little experience in the field of using external flashguns and am necessarily on a pretty steep learning curve. I'd be most grateful to learn from your experience in this area, so if you have any useful tips for obtaining effective results from the Metz 48 AF-1 in the shortest time possible, I'd be most grateful.

Best regards
Richard

P.S. I've already obtained a Stofen diffuser for the Metz, so I'm hoping that might help with direct flash scenarios ?

Last edited by Confused; 06-29-2008 at 06:14 PM.
06-29-2008, 08:25 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Confused Quote
The Pentax 540 AFZ has some well documented underexposure issues, when using it's bounce-mode in P-TTL
Hadn't heard that before but certainly have experienced the problem. So, this thread got me looking at some Metz flashes and I am going to replace my 540 with the Metz Mecablitz 76 MZ-5 Digital flash ...perfect for weddings and other indoor events that need the bit of extra power and I like the handle mount set up. Will continue to throw the 360 in my camera bag for when I need a flash and don't want to bring along the heavy artillery.

Of course this one's not cheap so will have to start saving my nickels.

Cheers, Mike.
06-29-2008, 10:55 PM   #7
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Thank everyone for responses.
As I have a chance to get a flash unit for less money, I'd like to have the best unit you can get for a Pentax DSLR. I'm leaning towards the Metz 58 AF for now. It also has a USB port for upgrading the firmware, which can be important since Pentax changes the TTL protocol with new generations of bodys.
I hope I'll here some more opinions on that. I have a couple of days to decide, before my friend departs to states....
06-30-2008, 02:53 AM   #8
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I got my self a Mecablitz from German shop for 285€ because it's cheaper than Pentax. But If I was in your shoes I'd probably go for AF540FGZ. Considering prices in Europe let alone in Slovenia 320$ for AF540FGZ is a steal.
Oh and regarding firmware upgrades, it's nice that Mecablitz has an option, but that's advantage only over other third party manufacturers like Sigma. Pentax doesn't really need that option because future cameras will be made compatible with 360 and 540 flashes as long as P-TTL is in play (long enough).

06-30-2008, 04:25 AM   #9
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I would go for the Metz 58 AF.
A flash will serve you for many years to come (longer than a camera body these days) so if one flash has advantages over the other, I would ignore the extra cost ("pay more and cry only once").
A big factor for me is the "smart auto" of the Metz. No presets, nothing to dial, it's just like TTL except that it's not through the lens. (What a great statement: "it's just like through the lens except that it's not through the lens" :-)). If the bride happens to blink on the P-TTL preflash, you can switch to auto-mode and... well, nothing changes, except that there is no preflash anymore.
07-01-2008, 08:21 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andreas Quote
I would go for the Metz 58 AF.
A flash will serve you for many years to come (longer than a camera body these days) so if one flash has advantages over the other, I would ignore the extra cost ("pay more and cry only once").
A big factor for me is the "smart auto" of the Metz. No presets, nothing to dial, it's just like TTL except that it's not through the lens. (What a great statement: "it's just like through the lens except that it's not through the lens" :-)). If the bride happens to blink on the P-TTL preflash, you can switch to auto-mode and... well, nothing changes, except that there is no preflash anymore.
Completely agree, the Metz auto-exposure setting is wonderful to work with and (at least in my experience) even more accurate than P-TTL.

Ben
07-02-2008, 02:24 PM   #11
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Does Metz 58 decide flash power output by itself ('smart auto' mode) or decision made by camera ?
What if there are two wireless slave's (Metz 58 and 360FGZ ), who/how total exposure calculated ?

Andrew
07-03-2008, 02:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andrews Quote
Does Metz 58 decide flash power output by itself ('smart auto' mode) or decision made by camera ?
What if there are two wireless slave's (Metz 58 and 360FGZ ), who/how total exposure calculated ?

Andrew
You have different modes:
Pentax P-TTL: the camera controles the flash or the flashes, mounted on the camera or wirelessly. This is possible with the Metz 58 or the MZ54-4i with the dedicated SCA-adapter and some more Metz flaash guns

Metz Auto-Mode, basically the good old Thyristor control but with the added convenience, that the Metz flash gun reads out the camera settings (aperture, ISO setting and focal length to adjust the reflector) and can dial in the sync-speed on the camera. This is quite as easy to use as P-TTL, but the flash measures the light output, not the camera.

in Metz Auto-Mode there is also the possibility to use a special "Metz wireless" mode, which only works with Metz flash guns and where one flash is the master, which controles all the other ones.

In my experience Metz Auto mode works better at near distances than P-TTL, but P-TTL can lead to better results if the object is farther away.
All in all, it is a good alternative to P-TTL, because it doesn't need the pre-flash, P-TTL affords. That means, you don't have that long delay between pushing the shutter release button and the actual image taking, which you have in P-TTL. Also, the pre-fllash is something which often disturbs the object, especially when photographing portraits. I often find, that People's eyes are closed on the actual image, when shooting in P-TTL...

Ben
07-19-2008, 09:39 AM   #13
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I'm new to Pentax and digital SLR. I've been a long time film user. My old flash is not working well with my Pentas K10D. So I too have been looking at these 2 flashes. Can you use th Pentax 549 FGZ or the Metz 58 AF-1 off camera?
07-19-2008, 12:28 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigT Quote
I'm new to Pentax and digital SLR. I've been a long time film user. My old flash is not working well with my Pentas K10D. So I too have been looking at these 2 flashes. Can you use th Pentax 549 FGZ or the Metz 58 AF-1 off camera?
You can use both off camera, either with P-TTL compatible sync cords or wirelessly.

Ben
07-25-2008, 05:38 AM   #15
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Can anybody tell me where the best place to buy a Metz 58 AF-1 online is?

I'm from Canada.
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