First impressions on the Metz 58 AF-1

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by hjoseph7, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. A couple of days ago my order for a Metz 58 AF-1 hotshoe flash came in the
    mail. After allot of research I opted to get this flash for my Canon 30D,
    rather than the 580EX II. Why ? Well, I had some bad experiences with 2
    previous Canon flashes which tended to underexpose by 1 or 2 f stops.

    The metz 58 came with a carrying pouch a stand and of course a manual. The
    first thing I noticed was that it wasn't as rugged as my 550EX never mind the
    580EX II, which I heard is built like a tank. The 58 is much smaller, lighter
    and flimsier, a little too flimsy for my taste, but what the heck, time to
    check out some of those features.

    I quickly inserted 4 Alkaline 1.5 volt Duracell batteries in the chamber and
    began firing away. Everything seemed to be working properly in ETTL mode just
    like with my 550EX. The camera operates through some push button menu system
    that some bloggers complained loudly about while I was doing my research. At
    first it was a little annoying pushing all those buttons, but after a while you
    get used to it. The good thing is that when you first push a button, the LCD
    lights up, then you got to push the button again to nagivate through the system.

    There are some up/down arrows and +/- sign that allow you to set the flash. For
    example if you want to set the Mode(ETTL, Manual, Automatic, Strobe) you press
    the mode button which lights up the LCD and also displays the up/down arrows
    that let you choose which mode you want. To get to the 'A' or Automatic mode,
    you have to push the button right below the down arrow on the screen.

    I hit the 'down' arrow two or three times, which put me in the 'A' mode then
    hit the'set' button and now the flash was set to "Automatic". Automatic mode is
    different than TTL, or ETTL, or ATTL. It was the method used in older flashes,
    prior to TTL, when the tryistor measured the amount of light that reflected off
    a subject and cutt-off the flash when it determined the subject was well lit.
    The Vivitar 283/285 used thryistor technology. The reason why I wanted this
    function is that ETTL often gets fooled when you have highly contrasting
    subjects such as a guy in a black tuxedo and a gal in a bright white wedding
    gown.

    Anyway, I set the flash to 'A' mode for automatic and then set the camera
    to 'P' mode also automatic(sound confusing ?). I then tried to set the camera
    to the aperture/shutter speed I thought might give me the better shot.

    For some strange reason everytime I hit the shutter button the camera and flash
    would be set to F22 @ 1/250. No matter what I tried pushing all the buttons,
    changing the batteries, going back to reading the manual, turning the flash on
    and off, it would revert to the same settings F22 with a shutter speed of 1/250
    sec. Finally it dawned on me that Automatic is usually done in Manual mode, so
    I set the camera to 'Manual' mode and now the flash and camera were in sync.

    Paranoid, I wrote to the folks at Metz concerning the F22 @ 1/250 sec in 'P'
    mode and they told me that all Canon SLRs can only handle Automatic mode in 'M'
    and 'AV' mode. The F22 @ 1/250 is a default the camera puts out because it
    cannot handle it.

    Before the folks at Metz got back to me, I had already written B&H about this
    problem, but the salesman I talked with just gave me a long lecture on why I
    should have gotten the 580EX II. I even talked to the folks at Bogen in New
    Jersey and they told me the Flash was faulty and to send it in. Since I was
    still under the 15 day B&H return policy, I was going to trade the flash in for
    a 580EX II and call it a day, until I received the email from Metz.

    To keep a long story short, so far I'm very happy with this flash. It has all
    the features I want and the exposures are dead on. I'm not saying it's a huge
    improvement over the 550EX, but it's peace of mind,(so far). The only thing I
    just wish it wasn't so flimsy.
     
  2. Harry--you should have taken me up on the offer to tell you the pluses and minuses of the Metz 54/58 units. I could have told you all of the above. There's nothing wrong with the 58.
     
  3. Nadine, I did put contacting you before I purchased the unit on my to-do list, but I just plain forgor. Since you mentioned it, is there something else I should know about the Metz ?
     
  4. Interesting, never noticed that about P mode before (I don't think I've ever put one of my cameras in P). My 30d goes to f/16@250 which I think is the minimum for that lens.
     
  5. What about ETTL on Metz 58, is it real ETTL (thru the lens) or simulation as on Metz 54 MZ4?
     
  6. I received mine some days ago (P-TTL version) and, first thing I noticed was a "zoom error" message on the LCD. Also the Flash zoom would not move as if it was stuck. I found some complaints in the internet about this problem, even guys who had returned their flashes: after all, it seems that it has something to do with low charge batteries; after I put fresh batteries everything was normal again.
    The flash tends to underexpose too much when the subject is against a white wall, for example. We all know we must compensate with some EV+ in those circumstances, but I expected that P-TTL would deal better with those situations. In fact, it seems that using Auto mode instead of P-TTL produces less underexposure
     
  7. I'm getting the Zoom Error message - batteries make no difference - does anyone know how to get into the head where the zoom mechanism is. I've seen a photo of a screwdriver between lens and side wall but the text in Spanish has me foxed. Another person mentions forcing the side walls toward the back of the flash. I'm asking because when I needed a replacement foot the part had arrived from USA before UK service centre replied to the initial email! and UK had two day start. Was not impressed and if it's something lkike a displaced worm drive it may well be within my capabilities. I know about the capacitor hazard by the way. Cheers
     

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