Metz 54 mz 4 for Canon Kicks Butt

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by khitrovg, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. I decided to upgrade my flash equipment by switching from Canon 550
    and 580 to Metz 54mz 4. What a difference. Beautiful light, very,
    very powerful (Guide 170) besides TTL working better than Canon's
    there is also an option for Automatic (like autotherister) as well as
    manual. What is also incredible about this flash is it has a small
    flash under the main unit. So if you decide to bounce the light of
    the ceiling, you get an automatic fill in for the areas under the
    bride?s eyes.

    The battery life is much better than canons as well.

    All and all great flash, cheaper than Canon 580 with a rebate now it
    goes for $300.00
  2. Would this Metz work well with film cameras too? For $80 in saving I'd be inclined to go with this instead of the 580.

    I read in the description that you can set the format(film, APS, 6x6 etc), but if someone can confirm this that'd be great.

    How do you find working through the menus with only 2 buttons and a thumbwheel? easy?
  3. it


    I use this flash too. Another great thing about it - change the SCA module and I have a TTL flash for my 645. Change it again and I have a automatic flash for Xpan, Holga etc. Great for travel.
  4. Yes I have tied it with my EOS 3 and it works like a charm (Light meter reading were dead on) with the SCA 3102 ttl adapter which works on both film and digital bodies.
  5. Metz flashes are indeed great flashes, but I'm wondering what exactly, makes this flash give "better" TTL than Canon's? When I had both an EX flash and a Metz flash to use on my Canon body, both gave identical results in TTL, which makes sense, since ETTL flash implementation is built into the camera body, not the flash.

    Also, as Ben Rubinstein will tell you, auto thyristor is not usable in any of the modes except manual mode on the camera, with the latest version of the SCA module, which is SCA 3102 M3. You have to go backwards in SCA versions to get auto thyristor to work in non-manual modes, and the M3 version is supposed to be the most compatible with ETTL/digital. Compatibility is one of the reasons I went with the 580EX when I got my 20D. I already had a Metz 40MZ1-i (predecessor to the 54 series), which I love but isn't compatible with digital cameras. If it was, I would have just continued to use it with the right adapter.
  6. Nadine,

    I have done a direct comparison Canon vs. Metz and Metz seems to be allot more consistent. With regard to autotherister, yes it is true you probably can't use it any other mode other than M on camera, however, fill-in flash on TTL work also better in Av and Tv modes with Metz compared to Canon. So this is the way I used it last night. While outside, I used it in TTL in Av or even Manual mode of my camera, once I got inside I have switched to autothurister on Flash and M on camera and have received incredible results. I don't want to bash Canon, however, when you photograph complex heterozygous weddings (Black and White bride and groom or very contrasty bride with a very white gown) TLL on Canon is a nightmare, I used to use in on Manual at about 1/8 of the power to get the results that I want. Metz does it much much better. I do like Canon don't get me wrong, I was just amazed at a difference between Metz and canon head to head.

  7. Greg--what camera were you using?
  8. I was using, 20D, 1Ds and Eos 3.

  9. Greg, where did you get your Metz for $300?
  10. B&H the price is $349.00 you get $40.00 mail in rebate.
  11. Should I consider making my 550ex my backup?
  12. I have two, one with the up to date shoe, one with a downgraded shoe for Auto flash in the other modes.

    With my 10D and 1Ds I noticed no difference whatsoever in ETTL mode, between the metz and my 580ex, they both sucked, fill or no.

    The interface of the metz is awful compared to the 580ex, what I would give for that big wheel on the metz instead of a tiny hard to manipulate 'nail' wheel that needs an awkward to do press to activate.

    The 580ex saves settings when switching between modes, is a lot easier to set and use for hi-sync, and in general is a more ergonomic, lighter and nicer to use flash. It also recycles much faster and is quieter.

    Now if only ETTL/II was worthy of it....
  13. Ben,

    If you were to talk about your chair or perhaps a mouse pad you could talk about ergonomics. Flash is a tool that allows you to get the best possible light in variety situations. I think Vivitar 283 and 285 are better than 580 only because they do not use TTL.

    Now jokes aside. I have used the potato masher for a long time on my Medium Format gear. Thus I am used to the "ergonomics" of these instruments. For years I have used Metz 45 potato masher with it. With regard to TTL on Metz I find that I don't need to compensate as much on Metz compared to Canon. Furthermore, I don't even bother using TTL indoors, I switch it to Auto and it is dead on every time. As for the recycle time, I don't worry about it too much I use a Quantum Turbo battery, therefore, it is not an issue. I did compare the recycle times between Canon and Metz and if you shoot in A or auto with Metz the recycle time is much better than that of Canon.

    The bottom line is use equipment that most suits you, I am only reporting my experience and it is no way a treatment to any major disorders. Therefore, consult your doctor or your eyes before using any major photographic equipment, the side effects may follow.


  14. Greg, not sure if you are trying to be clever, it isn't working.

    Do you even understand what 'ergonomics' means? Does the ergonomics of the camera body or lens not matter as they serve only to transfer the light to the film/sensor?

    I use a piece of equipment day in day out, shooting well over a thousand frames a week, I want my equipment to be as comfortable and easy to use, as well as doing the job it need to do. The difference between professional and non professional is usually just that.

    Saying that ergonomics is not an issue for any piece of photo equipment is liable to get you laughed at in the face by any professional who actually uses his equipment.

    Comparing Auto to TTL for recycle time is plain ignorant, they arn't outputting the same amount of light! Try your test again with both flashes in manual, full power, same batteries. My 580ex is up to 2 seconds faster.
  15. You are absolutely right, after checking the definition for ergonomic

    "Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction
    Etymology: erg- + -nomics (as in economics)
    : an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely -- called also human engineering"

    I understand I was wrong regarding the definition and my understanding of ergonomics (English IS my second language). I was not trying to start any arguments, I only wished to express my enthusiasm for a new toy I got and was (am still) thrilled with it.

  16. Ben,
    you are mean though. There is no need for cut throat responses on this forum.
  17. Hey guys, just agree to disagree. It's just a flash unit. Use whatever works for you. While I didn't have the same experience with better ETTL with a Metz than an EX flash as Greg did, I accept that his experience might be different. And I can understand his pleasure at finding a flash unit that works for him. As for which unit recycles faster, etc., those facts should be something each buyer should research for himself. In any case, I'm sure the specs for both are close to each other.

    I was interested in the cameras used because of the ETTL original and ETTL II difference. With a 20D (ETTL II), I have been pleasantly surprised at the consistency of flash exposures once I tested things and could figure out how the camera/flash would react. Before, I was very down on ETTL the original (focus point bias) and never could get the hang of how it would react. Overall, I've been pleased with the 580EX, especially the size/weight and staying power, but I wouldn't have cared about these things if it didn't give good, consistent exposures. And Metz flashes are great too. I still have the one I mentioned above, as well as the handle mount units.
  18. Greg, I found your post patronisingly sarcastic, hence my response. Oh and I had a splitting headache and had just had another run in with my fathers new *BLEEP* of a wife.

  19. I udnerstand, of course friends.
  20. Nadine, assuming this rumour of a 5D is true, I have already put my order in for one and my 1Ds is going up for sale (I'm having an operation at the beginning of September and won't be shooting till December so no loss).

    Although I still think I'll be using Auto indoors, I was thinking of trying ETTL II for fill outdoors, what has been your experience with ETTL II for fill, does the camera understand when you just want a 'eye socket opening' fill as opposed to a 'my subject is in shadow and needs balanced with the bright background' fill when using regular Evaluative fill flash? Does the fill/ambient need toned down for men in black suits or is evaluative capable enough?

  21. Ben, the difference between ETTL and ETTL II is that I found ETTL II predictable, while ETTL the original was not. Every time I tried to second guess the camera/flash's response, I was wrong. I have used auto thyristor a lot in the past, and would still be today if I didn't find TTL on my Hasselblad and ETTL II on my 20D workable.

    You still have to compensate for things like black tuxes and white gowns--I don't think that will ever go away, although I have been surprised at ETTL II's ability to discount bright spots and very light colored subjects and turn in a pretty good exposure. The thing about it is the predictability. You can eyeball a scene, dial in what you think is the right compensation and if you've done your testing, be pretty accurate.

    Here is what I do outside for fill (outside is always evaluative flash metering, not everaging flash metering). Even shade, set exposure as per meter, dial in -2 stops on the flash, shoot. It ramps down the flash quite nicely. Now I would assume auto fill flash reduction is still in play, but it has worked very well for me. If the lighting is more contrasty, I dial in -1 on the flash--like for direct sun. You also must still do some compensating for back lighting--sometimes up to +2 or +3 stops depending on the severity. Thing is, you won't get differing exposures from frame to frame if you have changed nothing--like you would sometimes get with the original ETTL flash.

    Indoors, I change the flash metering mode to averaging and shoot away with manual mode on the camera to control DOF and shutter drag. Averaging flash metering mode does not ramp down enough for fill outside, so don't use that mode outside. If the reception is all indoors, I have been emboldened to shoot it all in jpeg and it comes out great. These are the shots that are not the hugely important ones. I did shoot a wedding in jpeg last week though that was outside and inside, and was pleasantly surprised. All the exposures were pretty nice, with very few blown highlights--even the ones that I couldn't reshoot even if I wanted to. If I did get blown highlights, I just adjusted and reshot.

    When you get your 5D, test the 580EX extensively, because I have found that it requires a permanent +2/3 flash compensation in evaluative flash metering and 0 or +1/3 in averaging. Everything is figured from there.
  22. Ben, so if the older foot version does AV, TV and M camera modes for auto thyristor, and you think that the ETTL implementations of the 580ex and Metz are similar, why do you have a 2nd flash with the newer foot?
  23. The older foot cannnot do any TTL with digital period. The second (new) shoe came with the flash to be honest, but as I said to Nadine, if I get the '5D' then I would be interested in experimenting with ETTL II which is why I haven't sent it off for downgrading.

    Nadine, thanks, I'll have to try it. Using my lightsphere outdoors pointed upwards not to confuse the auto sensor, although it works and pretty well, means that the flash range is cut to almost negligeable.
  24. i have a metz 54 and 53 when shooting up close say under 10 feet is itg better to use the fill flash or the maine head? john

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