zaterdag 29 januari 2011

First impression metz 36 AF-5

I recently ordered this flash, and I haven’t been able to give it a full review yet, but I will update the review in another article [UPDATE: I HAVE POSTED MY FULL REVIEW UNDERNEATH THIS ARTICLE]. The first thing I noticed when I got the package was that it was so small. There comes a manual with the flash but you will not find any useful information in it. It states that you shouldn’t shortcut it and the usual stuff but not how things work.

Luckily this flash is very easy to use. It only has two switches: on/off and test. You control the flash via your camera, over/underexposure and what mode you use. If there is such a thing as a plug and play flash, this one qualifies as one. And it does a good job, I seriously did not have a bad exposure due to the flash. (of course I did have some bad exposure because of me).
The i-TTL of Nikon does a good job, and most important it plays nice with the flash. First I was skeptical about a third party flash, but I got to say it works really well.

The flash also has a zoom-function. But this is not automatic. You have to do this yourself. On one hand this is a bad thing, you tend to forget about it. I have forgot about it a few times, and messing up my exposure because of that. But it also gives you a lot of freedom, and it’s really easy to use. You have to pull the head out, it works a bit like a push-pull zoom. For a manual zoom, I like the system, it just feels right.

Now the weird things. It doesn’t support manual exposure. You can not fire it without i-TTL. The first thing I realized was that this means it won’t play nice with my manual focus lenses. This really disappointed me because in the description in clearly stated that it would be able to do so (on the site of the store, not on the box. Shame on you store!). Therefore I have serious doubts about sending it back. [I got my money back and my flash as well, because the advert said I could fire this flash manually. So obviously I am very satisfied with the service of this store.)

This also means that this flash is not suited for off camera use. I’ve read somewhere on the internet that it won’t even fire at full power when you try to trigger it off-camera, say with using cactus triggers. [update: it does on mine, on some others it doesn't]

So if you’re looking for a “plug and play flash” this flash is a good one. You turn it on, and you have no other fancy things. Only the things you can dial in in the camera. But if you’re looking for a flash which allows you to use it off camera, or with MF lenses this lens is a no-no.

Updated review
As you’ve probably read above I used to be fairly positive about this flash. And to be honest, it does what it’s supposed to do. It takes well exposed photographs, and I never had a miscommunication issue with the camera.

But now a few downsides:
  • It doesn’t swivel: this is a huge downside. Seriously, when I bounce a flash I always look if the walls aren’t colored because light coming from the side tends to be more pleasing than from directly above. When you don’t have a lot of space between you and your subject you will create raccoon-eyes with your ceiling-bounced flash.
  • It only fires on full power when fired off-camera. And I heard stories it won’t fire at all. Personally I think it’s caused by the brand your flash is made for, I guess this flash works if it has a Nikon foot but I have no real evidence for this. And to be honest, it only fires at full power so why bother?.
  • It isn’t very powerful. To be honest it might not be a fair comparison because my other flashes are SB-24’s which used to be the flagship of Nikon a long time ago, so they are professionally powered. But I bought these flashes for less than half the money of this Metz! They do swivel, have manual control, and have more power.

Updated conclusion:
If you don’t want any hassle this flash might be for you. It exposes well, and it’s cheap. But if you want to use this for “advanced” (like bouncing of walls :P) techniques, then move on. 

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