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Metz 44 AF-1 External Diffuser

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by plutoniumhunter, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. plutoniumhunter

    plutoniumhunter Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2011
    Hello everyone, been a while since I posted here. I bought a Metz 44 AF-1 for my G3 a few months back, and I bought a JJC diffuser to go with it. Unfortunately, it is a little small for my tastes (The thing won't stick on, shoving and pushing keeps in temporarily on, but it's easily knocked off), and I actually considered taping the thing to my flash at one stage!

    I've looked online for some other alternatives, and I found the Sto-fen OM-MZ80, OM-MZ2, and the Metz Mecabounce MBM-02. Has anyone used these any of the aforementioned products before, and are either one of them a decent fit for the Metz 44 AF-1?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I would not suggest either, especially given your dissatisfaction with your last diffuser. The Sto-Fen and Mecabounce don't do very much. They're very weak diffusers. They're better than shooting with no diffuser at all, but there are so much better options. I would never use one myself, though I'd rather see somebody using it than shooting bare flash (bounced or not).

    What you need is a proper softbox. Lumiquest offers a number of them made for speedlights, such as their classic Softbox or their modified softbox they call the Ultrasoft. Aurora has a more professional-level selection from mini softboxes to snoots to grids to speedrings for mounting full-sized monolight softboxes to your speedlights.

    These types of soft boxes, as with most decent speedlight modifiers sold commercially, are attached via velcro (not counting the regular softboxes mounted via speedring). You could use the stick-on velcro that comes with them but I don't like to make these kind of permanent modifications to my lights. Instead, I think it's well worth the extra $13 to buy a "Speed Strap" like that made by Honl (like a speedring, but for mounting speedlight accessories rather than monolight accessories). The accessories themselves are always made with male velcro, while the female velcro is put on the speedlight. The speed strap is a strip of female velcro which uses a friction grip to wrap around your speedlght. This way you can remove it, use it on another flash, or change it if it wears out (the female part of the velcro is always the one to wear). Or if your flash goes before your speed strap does, then your velcro half won't go to the graveyard with your flash if you're using a speedstrap instead of the included stick-on velcro.

    After you've used softboxes, you'll see that those plastic cups you were looking at are nothing more than gimmicks. In fact, most commercial softboxes are even too harsh for me. I like a real soft light so most of my speedlights use light modifiers I've made myself. If I do use the commercial variety though, it's always in a full softbox form.

    If you're worried about carry size (considering what you were looking at, I'm guessing you might want to keep it small) then don't worry... softboxes fold up flat and take up little space, easily slipping into the outside pocket of any camera bag. You have lots of size varieties to choose from, and the smallest mini softboxes are indeed small.

    Softboxes provide directional lighting, which I personally much prefer over anything that scatters lights (including umbrellas) or bounces it. Bounce I particularly dislike, as it casts light unevenly and requires something to bounce off of. Those diffusers you were looking at are made to be used along with bounce, and don't soften the light enough to use with direct flash. Some other diffusers (like Gary Fong) do nothing but scatter light all over the place. This will help to improve your shutter speed, but won't give you much controlled light for improving the quality to your photos.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    What/where are you trying to shoot with flash? Like Ned said, the little diffuser "caps" like the Sto-fen are just to help your flash bounce better off ceilings or walls, not really diffuse the light for direct flash. If you decide to look into small speedlight softboxes, I've been happy with my Lumiquest Softbox III.
  4. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Two questions: How do the Sto-fen caps help the flash bounce better off ceilings or walls? Are you talking color? Or is it that they slightly soften bounced flash? And two, have you used the Lumiquest Softbox III with the Oly FL-600R? I know it blocks the AF-assist light on most flashes, but some of the reviews say to tilt the flash up a click, and the AF-assist works fine. I'm wondering if the FL-600R is too small for this, as I'm not ready to try learning manual flash techniques quite yet. :smile:

    And re the Oly FL-300R, I realize this is a low-powered flash, but is there any type of diffuser that will fit this oddly sized little flash? :biggrin:
  5. ill_dawg

    ill_dawg Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 26, 2010
    All the sto-fen does is scatter the light from the flash in all directions. If you are in an enclosed space with surfaces for the light to bounce off, it will help to light things mre evenly. If you are outside, it just scatters light away from your subject and does pretty much the same thing as turning the power down.

    Sent from my HTC Vision using Tapatalk 2
  6. plutoniumhunter

    plutoniumhunter Mu-43 Regular

    May 9, 2011
    Thanks for the info! However, I'm kind of just starting out (advanced beginner to intermediate), the complexity worries me.
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