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11-08-2010, 11:36 AM   #1
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Handle flash (Metz 45)

hey, I am thinking of getting myself a flash gun...what do people think of using a handle/hammer flash with manual focus lenses. The Metz 45 and 60 units sounds like they are much more powerful than hot shoe mounted flashes, at the expense of being a bit inconvenient. I am wondering whether they will be impossible to use with a manual focus lens. I suppose I could mount these things off camera, so that they provide a large, diffuse and therefore softer fill light using an optical trigger and smaller flash in the hot shoe to fill in. How do these bad boys compare to the Vivitar 550fd/283/3500? I looked in the film forums and could not see any mention.

11-08-2010, 12:01 PM   #2
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If you don't mind the weight and the size, you'll like handle-mount flashes.

The Metz 60 is of course more powerful than its brother 45, but with the 60, you need a dedicated external power supply, not very convenient IMHO. The 45 uses common AA cells.

I'm currently using a Sunpak 611 remotely just like you describe in your post. My house has high ceiling. When there is a party at home, I aim the 611 up to the ceiling, connected with a radio-frequency remote trigger, to provide ambient light. I have a flash attached to the camera's hotshoe for direct light. I use the 611 because it's powerful, and I have an AC power adapter for it.

But there is no reason not to use a handle-mount flash attached to the camera.

There are several Metz 45 models. They have the same power (GN 45 in meter at ISO 100). The 45-CT4 and 45-CL4 have a secondary flash used as fill light when you bounce its main head. If you plan to use the flash also for DSLR, you'll have to pay attention to the flash's trigger voltage. Let's leave that for a different thread.

You may want to see if you can find a Metz Mecamat remote sensor with the Metz flash. The Mecamat has its own light sensor (so that no matter where the flash's head is facing, you always measure the scene in front of the camera). It also has more power ratio settings. The problem is that Mecamats are not very common, even in its own days. I don't have a photo of the setup here, I'll see if I can post one tonight.

One of my favorite setup is the Sunpak 555. It has the same power as the Metz 45, remote sensor is easy to find (same as the modules for the hotshoe-mount 4xxD series), manual power ratio settings from full to 1/64, and low trigger voltage.

11-08-2010, 01:11 PM   #3
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Thanks SOldBear, if you recall, you advised me on the M 100 f4 in another thread, so this is me sourcing the related flash now. I saw something about the Metz 45 not having a dedicated tripod thread, whereas the 60 does. If the 60 takes proprietary batteries, I will steer clear. I've just picked up a couple of flashes to date on evil bay...a 550fd and a 283. I am thinking I might also try out the 3500...they are cheaper than the cost of a processed roll of film.

From your mention of the Mecamat, it sounds like there is not normally an auto thyristor in the Metz handle flashes? I would only want to use a flash on auto, I am not into this manual flash thing. Just literally meter the scene and let a portion of light be ambient and the remainder sourced from the flash, by messing around with the ISO settings and the EV adjustment dial on the ME Super. Have I misunderstood this.

I was thinking that by using the optical trigger and a 550fd as the on camera flash, I can circumnavigate the hazards of blowing up the ist DS, but this will primarily be used on a ME Super, and have already sourced a multimeter to check the 550fd is really safe anyway.
11-08-2010, 01:28 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
I saw something about the Metz 45 not having a dedicated tripod thread,
The Metz 45 does have a threaded hole for tripod. It's under the bracket.

QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
I am thinking I might also try out the 3500...
The 3500 is nice. The only possible limitation is that it's powered by 2 AA cells. Cycling time may be long.

QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
From your mention of the Mecamat, it sounds like there is not normally an auto thyristor in the Metz handle flashes?
The Metz flashes do have light sensor. You don't really need the Mecamat for that (I still can't find the Mecamat for my 45-CT4). But the Mecamat makes the flash more flexible. For example, in terms of manual power ratio, the flash has only full, 1/4, and "winder" (1/40 I guess); the Mecamat has 5 or 6 settings from full to 1/32. If you are not into manual settings, don't worry about the Mecamat.

Here's a thread on Mecamat.

11-08-2010, 05:02 PM   #5
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Back before I grew up and bought studio lights, I used a Metz 60-CT-2 and a Mecatwin (essentially a 45 head) as my portable wedding kit. The flash on camera Metz 60 is a very good unit. It's just a big old auto flash, but it is extremely accurate, my experience is that it is far more accurate than Pentax's TTL flash, be it older analog or newer P-TTL.
11-10-2010, 03:11 PM   #6
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BTW, as for having a free hand for manual focus, one thing you can do is tape or band a cable release to the flash handle and just use your right hand to focus. (Or hang onto the handle and switch the position of the right hand)

Remember, too, that you can fine-focus with your feet. (The catch-in-focus feature might prove handy for digital, too, potentially, though I'm not sure how well that'd work, considering timing concerns with people. I haven't used it, myself. )

I had a lot of funny little arrangements and maneuvers when I last used one of those handle-mount units.
11-10-2010, 04:02 PM   #7
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Thats a neat idea with the cable release. I am steering towards just using little flash units for the moment as its a bit cheaper. The handle flashes seem to average about USD 40, whereas I have picked up a 283 and 550fd super cheap.

The cute little Vivitar 550fd thyristor flash arrived in the post today. It lights up the 125x ready light in my ME Super and has a guide number of about 20 or more metres. I intend to try using the 550fd to trigger an optical slave on a Vivitar 283 which I will also have on auto, coming in at a right angle. Its quite complicated I think as in the manual it states its capable of TTL with the LX and Super Program.

I am not sure what happens if the flashes do not perfectly sync with each other? Its a Vivitar optical slave I am going to use, so I am hoping Vivitar have optimised this whole arrangement, but I find it hard to believe two flashes can coordinate their stopping correctly, when the timescale involved is of the order of < 1ms. I guess I will need to look out for specular reflections of the light from the off camera flash.
11-10-2010, 04:23 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hoojammyflip Quote
I am not sure what happens if the flashes do not perfectly sync with each other? Its a Vivitar optical slave I am going to use, so I am hoping Vivitar have optimised this whole arrangement, but I find it hard to believe two flashes can coordinate their stopping correctly,...
Please report back your result.

I did some experiment with two flash units on "auto" setting, one triggered optically by the other. The exposures were all over the map, very unpredictable. I ended up giving up the idea. Now when I use multiple flash setup, I use manual mode. This is why I insist on the flashes having different power ratio settings.

I sold my 283 units because they don't have manual power ratio settings (There is accessory to do this, but I didn't want to bother).

11-10-2010, 04:57 PM   #9
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At worst, the flashes will fire with no overlap, and they will provide double the necessary light. At best, their overlap will be perfect and I will get exactly the right exposure. I could place a bet that they dont coordinate at all, and stop down one stop. I guess it wont matter so much in BW as I print my stuff myself, but in print film, I hope the girls running the Fuji machine are feeling switched on!
11-12-2010, 01:33 PM   #10
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Metz flash

Been using my CT60 since my children were the age of my grandchildren! Wouldn't trade. Try using it off camera right next to the lens on macro work of just a few inches! Killer! Great for scientific and medical work!

My first Metz had a liquid battery with floating balls for charge indicators like a motorcycle battery. It wasn't auto. This must be my second!

Sometimes use a Vivitar 285 on a stand w/slave as fill or vice versa.
11-12-2010, 11:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by puderse Quote

My first Metz had a liquid battery with floating balls for charge indicators like a motorcycle battery. It wasn't auto.


Sometimes use a Vivitar 285 on a stand w/slave as fill or vice versa.
I had something like that too. A Braun Hobby flash. I had 2 heads for it as well. One day the pack got tipped over by my mom hanging up cloths or something and the battery leaked into the pack.
So much for my Braun.
I then got a Metz 402 after farting around with shoe mount flashes and L-Brackets. I never found them to be satisfactory.
I killed the Metz at a wedding. I don't recall exactly what happened, but managed to bump the power pack into the arm of a pew just as the bride started up the aisle.
Something went "POP" in the pack and that was it.
It was done.
Never been so glad to have an f/1.2 lens as i was at that moment.....
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