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Old Dec 10, 2008, 10:14 AM   #1
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Hello,

Sorry if this offends, it's not meant to be rude, but just an honest perspective from someone who is actively trying to figure out what flash unit to get next. (It's really targeted more at any Ext. Flash Mfgs that may be reading through this thread as consumer feedback.)

Although the landscape of External Flash units out there is really good . . . there are a couple of holes that I'd like to point out.

Background: I just recently got a Vivitar 285HV (after reading the Strobist) to try out this external flash stuff and was completely unprepared at how an external flash can completely enhance the quality of image you are taking. So . . . now I'm willing to toss a lot more money at the situation and have put it to the top of my want list. [I've got $300 saved up so far.] [NOTE: I own a Pentax K100D & Nikon D70s]

Pentax: Please add swivel to your mid-range flash unit. If you had swivel on your 360FGZ, I'd probably already have that unit. Now I got to wait to save up for a 540FGZ, and along the way I'm losing focus and wondering if I just get a SB600 and be done with it. But, koodos to you for adding a flash commander mode to the Pentax K200D!!! When I think that I can get a commander mode on the Pentax platform for such a reasonable price, it plants the seed in my mind that I might let my Nikon D70s go.

Nikon: Good job at position the SB900 as a higher model than the SB800 and giving more options to professional and non-professionals alike. I'm going by Vistek to try out the SB600 to see if it is enough flash for me. If not, it's going to be a tight race to see if I purchase the 540FGZ or the SB800. I don't want to have two camera platforms. I just happen to like the low-light focus capability of the Nikon, but like the great image quality of the Pentax. But . . . Koodos to you for having the commander mode in the D70/s, D80 and D90. Cameras that are in my price range!

Canon: Good job at making such a great mid-range flash unit (430EX or 430EXII). Your line-up of camera gear is already great, but add in that gem of a flash unit (so easy to use) and anytime someone asks me what SLR they should get, I say each platform has its pros and cons, but I always tell them to check out Canon as well! Now . . . when are you adding the commander mode to your consumer camera? If I switch to Canon, I don't want to have to buy a separate commander unit. <grin>

As for other third party flash manufacturers . . .

Does anyone remember the Vivitar 3700 Flash Unit?

Its claim to fame was that you could switch out the bottom of the flash unit (the platform module) and then have dedicated TTL for different camera platforms with the same flash unit. I've got one of these flash units with the Pentax module. Now . . . it is obsolete because we've all gone digital . . . but for me, it would be the perfect concept.

. . .

Sigma, if you are listening . . .

I haven't considered Sigma, because for $50-70 more I can get an OEM flash unit.

But . . .

If Sigma (or some other flash mfg) made a flash unit that was USB updateable and had modules to be able to switch it from Nikon to Pentax (and Canon and Sony and Olympus) with most of the features of the high-end flash units then I would pay a premium for that flash unit. (For myself with two platforms, even if I paid $500 (+100 for an additional module) for the flash unit (more then I would pay for a Pentax 540FGZ or Nikon SB800) I would still be saving money because I wouldn't be buying two flash units.

All of a sudden, the third party flash manufacturer has made me turn my head and made me consider purchasing their flash unit at a premium price! Even if it has slightly less capability then the flash units they are directly competing against.

Also . . .

That third party flash manufacturer could make flash modules for platforms that they want to target, but not necessarily devote a lot of money towards because they just have to make the modules for those platforms and keep those in inventory (not the entire flash unit!)

Some people might even buy the flash unit on the speculation that they might change platform (a type of obsolence insurance) but never cash in on this feature. (Which I'm sure happened a lot with the Vivitar 3700).

Regardless, all of a sudden third party flash manufacturers can have a feature that might let them one-up OEM manufacturers and get a premium for their flash units without necessarily having to have a completely superior flash unit.

Anyway, my rant and challenge is out and I'll go back to saving my pennies for my next flash unit.

Take care,
Glen


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Old Dec 11, 2008, 11:13 PM   #2
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tacticdesigns wrote:
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If Sigma (or some other flash mfg) made a flash unit that was USB updateable and had modules to be able to switch it from Nikon to Pentax (and Canon and Sony and Olympus) with most of the features of the high-end flash units then I would pay a premium for that flash unit. (For myself with two platforms, even if I paid $500 (+100 for an additional module) for the flash unit (more then I would pay for a Pentax 540FGZ or Nikon SB800) I would still be saving money because I wouldn't be buying two flash units.
Actually Metz has been doing this for decades with their SCA adapters, with sometimes even more features than the 'high-end' from the OEM, but time has changed: http://www.metz.de/en/photo-electron...a-adapter.html

Their latest attempt was the 54MZ series: http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/news...tory_4354.html
-> but their dedicated module for each different manufacturers tend to be costly "Furthermore, the Metz Mecablitz 54 MZ-4i can be used with system cameras from other manufacturers merely by exchanging the corresponding adapter." Which leads them to the latest 58/48/36AF series

If you haven't looked at their Metz 58AF-1 series, I highly recommended it. They have moved away from the dedicated foot, but now at least it's USB upgradeable:
http://www.metz.de/en/photo-electron...formation.html

IMO this flash exceeds any Nikon, Pentax or Canon and I do have experienced a fews already...



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Old Dec 12, 2008, 8:03 PM   #3
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Thanks NHL!

I'm going to look into this line of flash units!

Might be exactly what I'm looking for!

Take care,
Glen



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Old Dec 15, 2008, 8:31 PM   #4
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Well, Tactic-

Have you had a chance to truly evaluate the Metz Mecablitz Flashes? Based on a short/partial experience with the Mecablitz 28 Slave flash, I have to say that Metz produces very excellent and very flexible,easy to useflashes. I for one am becoming a huge Metz flash supporter.

I really would appreciate hearing your own personal evaluation.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Dec 17, 2008, 2:08 AM   #5
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Hello mtclimber!

After learning about the switchable nature of the Metz 54 mz 4i here in this thread, I've been trying to read as much about the unit and figure out what components I would need to get it to work between my Pentax K100D and Nikon D70s.

So, far I've read around the net that to get it to work with the Pentax platform with P-TTL I would need . . .

Metz 54 MZ 4i (flash unit)
+ SCA 3702 M2 (Or M3) adapter unit.

I'm trying to figure out what SCA adapter unit I would need to get it to work with my Nikon.

Once I get that figured out, I'm going by the Henry's or Vistek here in Toronto to see if either of them have these items for me to try it out in the store.

1st to see if it lacks in any features I want. Such as true P-TTL / i-TTL, high-speed sync, etc.
2nd to see how easy the menu is to use & also control on manual, which I seem to be doing a lot more of.

NOTE: I tried out the Nikon SB-800 at the store, and that is one intimidating menu system. I was going to read through the manual to see if I could make heads or tails of it, but it might be a moot point if I like the Metz.

Take care,
Glen



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Old Dec 17, 2008, 10:16 AM   #6
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tacticdesigns wrote:
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I'm trying to figure out what SCA adapter unit I would need to get it to work with my Nikon.
There's a limitation with the older 54MZ series in that it's not compatible in wireless... If you're using the 54MZ by itself (or among others Metz - MZ's flashes) then this is fine but it won't be able to communicate with other wireless Controller/Slaves in the Nikon system... The Metz use RF whereas Nikon is IR for the wireless feature

The newer 58/48AF-1 series overcomes this wireless issue and will work with any other Nikon's SB (Master or Slaves)
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