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Flash recommendation: tilt+swivel, TTL, manual, slave

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by panyuser, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. panyuser

    panyuser Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Dec 22, 2011
    Hi,

    I'm looking to buy my first flash for m43 (I have a GX1).

    I want it for when the lighting at parties etc. is too low and even my fast primes don't cut it. I have no interest in anything more professional, since I'll probably quite rarely use it.

    I am looking for TTL support, manual support when I get round to reading strobist, tilt+rotate for bouncing when taking portraits, as well as slave functionality (triggered by the on-camera flash).

    So far the Metz 44 AF-1 looks good, but I can't find anything else. Nissin make some nice models but the ones with a tilt+rotate head are Canikon only. Likewise, the Chinese models I've found seem to be manual only.

    Recommendations? Users of the 44 AF-1... remarks?


    Thanks.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    I have the Metz 50 and love it. But, honestly, I found that I rarely use TTL because I do mostly bounce flash in manual mode when I'm using it on-camera. But HSS TTL has come in handy a few times.
     
  3. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    I'd be interested in this too as I have considered this Metz model and have read a few favorable reviews (albeit on Amazon.com)
     
  4. drewbot

    drewbot Mu-43 Top Veteran

    702
    Oct 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Metz 50 for sure. I use one on my GF1. It's a little big compared to the body, but does everything you describe. It has a faster charge time (I believe) than the Metz 44.
     
  5. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I have a 48-AF1 that I got on eBay for about $100 shipped. I am very satisfied with it.

    One thing you didn't mention but should try is using the flash on manual for fill when shooting outside. Fill doesn't have to be garish or obvious but can sometimes be used to subtly emphasize a person in the foreground. I remember one shoot where I used the Metz on 1/16th or 1/32nd power.

    IMHO you are wise to insist on this.

    If you seach here for "preflash" you will find some threads. In a nutshell, the issue is that your camera's built-in flash (if it is like other Pannys) fires twice and it is the second flash that does the deed. Unfortunately this means that the preflash will trigger your slave. Options: (1) Turn down the slave's power until it can cycle fast enough to flash twice. (2) Use a small hot shoe flash on the camera as the trigger (tape over most of the lens so it does not affect exposure). (3) Buy a radio trigger set.

    I like #2 because my slave is always bouncing and I want all the power I can get. My little Vivitar flash cost me $12 on one of those deal-a-day sites. Much cheaper than radio triggers and no more bulky to carry.
     
  6. ean10775

    ean10775 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 31, 2011
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Eric
    I do recall reading a review that stated that the Metz flash can be used off camera with the E-PL1's built in flash used as a commander (which it is capable of doing with Olympus flash units). Can anyone confirm this is the case?
     
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    According to the Metz 48-AF1 documentation: "The flash unit is compatible as a slave flash unit with the wireless Olympus RC flash system (RC = remote control or remote mode). With it one or more slave flash units can be remotely and wirelessly controlled by the camera's built-in flash unit, which operates as the controller flash unit (remote mode)."

    I don't have any Oly equipment so I can't verify this, but the instructions for using the Oly RC system are quite extensive so it seems pretty likely that the feature works.
     
  8. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    308
    May 28, 2011
    Some of the Metz flashes that are compatible with Olympus wireless TTL do not have a simple optical slave capability (Metz calls it Servo Mode), but some can be upgraded to have such capability with a firmware upgrade. I think the 48 and the 50 can be upgraded to Servo Mode with firmware. Not sure about the 44.
     
  9. panyuser

    panyuser Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Dec 22, 2011
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I feel good about the 44 AF-1; will look into the 50.
     
  10. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    My Metz 50 does Servo Mode out of the box. I use it frequently.
     
  11. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    859
    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Before you purchase a flash unit, tell us which fast prime lenses that you own.

    Have you tried increasing the ISO on the GX1 to improve its light gathering capability?

    Delving into flash use takes a bit of dedication and if you may regret the purchase if you are not going to use it frequently.

    These two statements may be contradictory::tongue:
    • "...I'll probably quite rarely use it"
    • "I am looking for TTL support, manual support when I get round to reading strobist, tilt+rotate for bouncing when taking portraits, as well as slave functionality (triggered by the on-camera flash)"
     
  12. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    When you start using it, and begin to get good quality results from flash, you'll be hooked. I know I am :biggrin:

    The great thing with flash is you'll be able to use lower ISO, and done right you won't get that obvious "P&S shot taken with a flash" look.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. panyuser

    panyuser Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Dec 22, 2011
    Pany 14mm and 20mm (the 14mm being moderately fast at 2.5, of course), Oly 45/1.8, Oly OM 50/1.8.

    I would love to buy the PL25 and/or Voightlander 25/0.95, but they're far out of my price range for now.

    Yes, and this is what I mostly do.

    I agree, and it is something I want to learn more about. So while I'm learning, or at times when I don't have time to properly set things up, I want TTL abilities. At other times, as I learn more I want manual control. I'm planning on working my way though Strobist's lessons.
     
  14. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    859
    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    The 20mm and 45mm at f/1.7 & 1.8 respectively should be fast enough when coupled with higher ISO except for the most poorly-lit environments. I've shot some events with both with just low-level tungsten ambient lighting and achieved good results.

    Naturally, my desired results may invariably be different from yours.

    You need a flash unit then.

    I am currently using three flash units- sometimes in tandem; the Oly FL-14 purely for fill, the Panny DMW-FL360, and Metz-58.

    The Metz 58, with its large output lens/head and 4-batteries, is a beast next to a Panny GF/GX. I use it with a radio trigger off camera when I need the faster cycle times when I'm covering events.

    The DMW-FL360 is not too obtrusive on top of my GF1 or GH2. With only two batteries, I bump-up the camera ISO and lower the 360's output to get faster cycle times. This is a good compromise for me.
     
  15. panyuser

    panyuser Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Dec 22, 2011
    Thanks, I'll check those out.
     
  16. clengman

    clengman Mu-43 Regular

    29
    Dec 21, 2011
    Vivitar DF-383, I believe, has all the features you're looking for. Size and guide number make it comparable to the Metz AF50, but it's about half the price.

    I have the Vivitar DF-293 and I like it a lot. It doesn't have wireless slave function, but I made a hacked TTL cable that I use to take it off the hot shoe.

    I'm always surprised that more people don't use these vivitar flashes.
     
  17. Declan97

    Declan97 Mu-43 Veteran

    379
    Feb 3, 2012
    Padang, Indonesia

    i also considering this DF-293 for using it with my upcoming E3&EP-L2, it look like the build quality is better than cactus and similar like metz 44 af-1 with the advantage of price
     
  18. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    273
    Sep 20, 2011
    I have to disagree with the sentiment of this post. I bought a FL-36R thinking I would use it only sparingly and do the whole "low light" with fast primes thing as touted (far too much, if you ask me) on this board. It took some reading and practice, but now I'm using it far more than I ever initially and getting some incredible results, far better than cranking my ISO and reducing my depth of focus in an attempt to capture light where there really isn't a whole lot.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. clengman

    clengman Mu-43 Regular

    29
    Dec 21, 2011
    Amen, Brother!

    I like some of the thin DOF and/or low available light photos that fast primes make possible, but there is no substitute for good illumination if you want the best quality images.



     
  20. clengman

    clengman Mu-43 Regular

    29
    Dec 21, 2011
    I have actually heard some good things recently about the cactus af50. I think if I hadn't already bought the df-293, I might consider this one. Does everything the df-293 does plus optical wireless slave and high speed sync. That's a feature that none of the other low cost flashes has got. I can't comment too much on build quality. The df-293 seems adequate to me. Sometimes when tilting the flash head there is an loose case edge that catches and prevents free movement. I haven't seen one in person, but I would guess the oly and metz flashes are considerably better in build quality than the vivitar.

    I bet there's not a whole lot of difference between the cactus and vivitar when it comes to build quality (or bower, polaroid, etc, etc.) I think all of these similar low cost TTL flashes are made in the same factory.