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09-16-2012, 06:36 PM   #1
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Help Me Decide on a Flash

I'm looking at buying the Metz 58 AF-2 or the Metz 50 AF-1. I've looked at the specs and I'm not really sure what makes the 58 much better. In what situations would I want a 58 instead of the 50? In other words, why would I want to pay 200$ more for the 58?

09-16-2012, 07:09 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The 58 is a bit more powerful obviously, but apart from that it has quite a few features that the 50 does not. Among them "auto thyristor" mode (though think it's an IGBT circuit now) is an absolute deal-sealer for me. It means the flash will never be obsolete, you can switch brands, go back to film, even use it with a P&S with no hotshoe or sync ports. It also means that you can use it on a pTTL camera and not have to use the preflash which can startle your subjects and cause them to move or blink. Also auto thyristor mode is a MUST makes your life a lot easier when using flash with old K, M and Takumar lenses.

Some other nice features are the ability to act as a HSS master, a secondary reflector, flash bracketing, and stroboscopic mode. The secondary reflector can be used to add some catchlights to your subjects eyes while the main reflector is bouncing off the ceiling, or, a trick that I love, put it on a paint pole, and the secondary reflector acts as a hairlight while the main reflector illuminates the background.
09-16-2012, 08:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I'm interested in the 58's auto thyristor mode that you mentioned, but I don't see it mentioned as one of the features (Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-2 Digital - Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison). This flash will work on other brand DSLRs?

Also, why do people in other forums say that the Pentax flash system is horrible?
09-16-2012, 09:25 PM   #4
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Because they read Ken Rockwell and chums.
Basically the current main whinge is that Pentax flash sync speed is "only" 1/180th. They then read a recipe for achieving an effect on strobist and can't do it because it "requires" 1/250th sync. Then they throw their toys out of the cot and say that they can't do 'pro' work with this limitation.*
Anyway, all medium format cameras are pretty 'horrible' when it comes to flash sync and 'pros' still use them, because they know how to work around the 'problem'. Anyway, if you're dead set on being a 'pro' you will need to buy a Nikon.**
(*Hint - it has something to do with HSS allowing you to increase your ISO speed.)
(**Although there's now whinging from Nikon users that there new cameras don't have a high enough sync speed.)


Last edited by calsan; 09-16-2012 at 09:48 PM.
09-16-2012, 10:45 PM   #5
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Calsan, I read that you can do more than 1/250 sync, but not wirelessly. Is that correct? Also I don't know what you mean by "HSS allowing you to increase ISO speed"; can you clarify? Thanks for the info.
09-16-2012, 11:11 PM   #6
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I've never read Ken Rockwell, but I have been shooting in bright sunlight before with my ISO at 100, and my flash at full power and I still can't cut out enough ambient light to strike the balance that I want. By the way, most medium format cameras have leaf shutters giving them very high sync speeds, or they are used in dimly lit studios so that the flash duration becomes the effective shutter speed.

There are plenty of other reasons the Pentax flash system is horrible besides sync speed. I don't know lack of zones maybe, or the fact that you can't get a sync signal to an off camera flash at speeds over 1/180th without a second flash, HSS compatible no less, sitting on the hotshoe. Or maybe it's the way camera EV comp affects both the ambient and the flash, maybe it's the lack of third party support, or maybe it's the way the camera prioritizes variable so that you end up shooting at ISO 3200 and F/16 when f/5.6 and ISO 200 would have been fine once the flash contributed it's share to the equation.

QuoteOriginally posted by eachaglimpse Quote
Thanks for the reply. I'm interested in the 58's auto thyristor mode that you mentioned, but I don't see it mentioned as one of the features (Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-2 Digital - Pentax P-TTL Flash Comparison). This flash will work on other brand DSLRs?
Anyway, I call it "auto thyristor" mode, that was the old name for it, now I guess they just call it "auto" mode, but I assure you it's on the 58 AF2. If you look at the front of the unit, just to the left of the red plastic window that shields the AF assist beam there is a small circle. That circle contains a photo cell that reads light reflected back from the flash. It's different than using pTTL because the flash itself senses the light, and therefor can shut itself off once it sees that it has emitted enough and there's no need for a preflash. This all happens in a few microseconds. Here's a video from Adorama TV and Mark Wallace showing how it works.

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