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09-18-2010, 08:29 AM   #1
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Value of swivel ?

Ready to purchase my first flash for my Pentax K100DS. Expect my usage to be light initially at least, general indoor use, and for macro (building device as seen in this Forum to direct flash to subject).

Have it narrowed down to either the Pentax 360AF or Metz 48AF primarily because they're in my budget range.

What I don't appreciate is what makes the "swivel" ability of the flash unit valuable to the photographer. Can someone give me a basic explanation as to why this is so.

Thanks for the advice.

09-18-2010, 08:40 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I'm not an expert and I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will have a better answer but in my experience the swivel is useful for 'bouncing' the light off a wall, ceiling or whatever rather than blasting the subject full on. It gives you more creative options.

If you are just taking snapshots at the family dinner then maybe not too useful but I would not have a flash without it.
09-18-2010, 08:59 AM   #3
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Go with the Metz 48. It has a better guide number (more powerful), has more features, and the swivel head is very important. It lets you bounce the light off of whatever surface you need to.

Also I have a Lumiquest QuikBounce and you mount that on the side of the flash. This makes it possible to have the camera in portrait position but still have the light from the flash in an upright position.

The metz 48 is like having the pentax 540 but for less money. The only feature lacking is the ability to act as a master flash but that's not on the 360 anyway (I think, please correct me if I am wrong). Also if you get to the point of needing a master flash you're going to be in a position to buy another flash anyway. At that point the new Metz flagship or the new rumored pentax flagship flash should fit the bill.

I love my Metz 48. I bought it a year and a half ago and never once have I regretted it.

Bottom line. Go with the Metz 48.

Last edited by lurchlarson; 09-18-2010 at 09:00 AM. Reason: spelling error
09-18-2010, 09:13 AM   #4
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As an Metz 48 owner I can attest to its utility. The ability to swivel AND tilt is required for indoor shots where you don't want that nasty flash hotspot. Think of bouncing off a light wall behind you (crank up the power) to get the equivalent of a 6' diameter flash insteasd of 2". Soft shadows and light. Hit the ceiling and you can light up an entire living room to shoot a group with a wide lens.

Its no contest to compare the two units unless its only for direct lighting such as outdoor fill flash.

09-18-2010, 10:41 AM   #5
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Nobody has really answered yet

Bounce works fine for a horizontal frame to bounce off the ceiling, but without swivel you can't bounce off the ceiling for a vertical frame
09-18-2010, 01:43 PM   #6
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Ok, I will make it short.

Swivel is needed to bounce off of walls.

Swivel is needed to bounce off of the ceiling when the camera is in Portrait mode.

Horiz and Vertical frames? OK.
09-19-2010, 10:49 AM   #7
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Agree with all

I just got my Metz 48, and it is great. No contest far as the Pentax 360 goes. I too wondered about the swivel, but the first time you want to bounce to the side, you will realize that it is very necessary. Also, the GN number is better, and I think easier to use. More features+same price equals Metz
09-19-2010, 11:56 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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Old masters

When swiveling the flash to hit a vertical wall which is relatively close, it can give more pleasant lighting. With just tilt, the light will bounce off of the ceiling and straight down on your subject. By swiveling the flash to bounce off of the vertical wall, its' reflected light (from the side) will create the 'Rembrandt triangle', which is a more pleasing effect, especially on faces.

Wow, I do remember something from college!

K-r

09-19-2010, 12:12 PM   #9
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Interesting. Learned something new today..

09-22-2010, 07:08 PM   #10
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I don't have any of the flashes being discussed, but swivel is very helpful - hugely more useful than tilt by itself.

Paul
09-22-2010, 07:19 PM   #11
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I don't have either one. But the Pentax 360 has at least one advantage: it has auto mode using its own light sensor. This is in particular useful if you use manual lenses (with no A on the aperture ring).

Frankly, I'd buy neither.

If I have the fund, I'll go for either the Pentax 540 or the Metz 58.

If I don't, I'll save up. In the meantime, I'll get something used, inexpensive, having tilt and swivel, and auto mode, e.g. Sunpak 4xx series, Pentax AF280T, Nikon SB 24/25/26/28.
09-22-2010, 07:43 PM   #12
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If you are only using 1 flash then tilt/swivel is essentially a must have - for reasons already stated. If you are using multiple flashes (via radio trigger, etc.) then using no swivel flashes are fine (as they will be off camera anyway and you can set them up how you choose).

c[_]
09-23-2010, 04:31 AM   #13
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I wouldn't buy a flash without swivel unless I was planning to use it off-camera. Usually the last thing you want is to point the flash directly at your subject -- that is the main problem with the built-in units.
09-23-2010, 11:19 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
I don't have either one. But the Pentax 360 has at least one advantage: it has auto mode using its own light sensor. This is in particular useful if you use manual lenses (with no A on the aperture ring).

Frankly, I'd buy neither.

If I have the fund, I'll go for either the Pentax 540 or the Metz 58.

If I don't, I'll save up. In the meantime, I'll get something used, inexpensive, having tilt and swivel, and auto mode, e.g. Sunpak 4xx series, Pentax AF280T, Nikon SB 24/25/26/28.
Another disadvantage of the 360 is that you cannot disable auto power off when you use it off camera.

I second buying cheap second hand flashes to get started when you're on a budget. P-TTL is over rated.
09-23-2010, 01:27 PM   #15
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Swivel, basically, helps you put the light where you want it, whether the convenient bouncing surface is a ceiling or a wall or whatever your desired framing.

It doesn't necessarily take a 'swivel flash' to do the job you may like: the important factors are, 'Are the flash's head and sensor both pointing where you need them to be flashing, bouncing, and reading?' Tilt and swivel heads make this convenient with a flash shoe, but sometimes bracketry or freehand flash placement can do the same.

I, for one, haven't owned a swivel flash unit since I was like eighteen, ... Rented some, occasionally, when they were on brackets, but sometimes the feature is overrated, is all.


It's worthwhile to have, but the most important thing is really to be conscious of where you're placing the light. (And what any sensors are seeing: those sensors are trying to be your friend, but they aren't telepathic. )
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