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Old Jul 23, 2009, 12:24 PM   #11
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Also if you shoot multiples bodies like I do, you don't have to adapt to a Canon, Nikon (or Sony) interfaces quirks, the same 4 soft-keys works identically on any camera if you happen to own the Metz!
Or, if you go with something like the Metz 54 MZ-4, the same flash can be used with more than one camera brand by purchasing the correct SCA module for each camera. :-)

You'd lose the USB Firmware update ability you get with the Metz 48 AF-1 or 58 AF-1, and you might have to get Bogen to upgrade the flash foot (SCA Module) for best compatibility with newer cameras. But, you could use the same flash on more than one camera brand with a newer Metz MZ series flash, while still enjoying the benefits of a dedicated flash.

I've been tempted to get a Metz 54 MZ-4 from time to time. If I were a lot of flash work at larger events, I think I'd be tempted to get a Metz 76 MZ-5, too. It's not cheap though.
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Old Jul 23, 2009, 1:55 PM   #12
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take a look at the lightsphere by Gary Fong.


you can learn about it by going to youtube.com and watching a video on the lightsphere.

The lightsphere is a large diffuser that fits onto an external flash such as the various flashes you've read about in this thread. The cloudy lightsphere softens light yet still give great exposure to your shot.

I never shoot with my flash unless I've got a lightsphere on it. I own both the cloudy and clear versions.

FP
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Old Jul 23, 2009, 2:15 PM   #13
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NHL-

I honestly have never used the Metz 48 or Metz 58, so I have no hands on experience. However based on your response I will give the Metz a try. I will be purchasing a Metz 48 to use on my Pentax DSLR in place of the Pentax AF-360 flash.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 23, 2009, 9:09 PM   #14
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The lightsphere is a large diffuser that fits onto an external flash such as the various flashes you've read about in this thread. The cloudy lightsphere softens light yet still give great exposure to your shot.
I agree any light modifier is better than direct flash; However what I've found with the lightsphere after I've used it are:
1. It spreads the light 360 all around the room which is very inefficient as all the light behind the camera (3/4 or more) is pretty much wasted (i.e. all the reason to get a more powerful higher GN flash unit), also the inverse squared law also applies here
2. The Gary Fongs also take too much room and difficult to pack with everything else already in the camera bag

-> I've found the Lumiquest Promax system much more flexible:
http://www.lumiquest.com/lq931.htm
1. You can modify your light every which way you like with the various inserts (white, silver or gold)
2. All the light is directed to the front of the camera where it's captured (and not ignored). It can be bounced or diffused
3. The whole thing fold flat and fits in the included bi-fold wallet... which can even follow you in your vest pocket.
The neat thing about this device is the same Promax system will work on any flash (big or small)
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Old Jul 23, 2009, 9:17 PM   #15
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I have a Sigma 530 DG Super and Rebel XT.

The 530DG is spot on. Even in virtually pitch black it paints the subject with red lines and allows for good focus and accurate lighting.

Bouncing light is important, Defusing light is important. To do these things you need the xtra guide number/ power
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Old Jul 30, 2009, 7:56 AM   #16
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Quote:
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NHL-

I honestly have never used the Metz 48 or Metz 58, so I have no hands on experience. However based on your response I will give the Metz a try. I will be purchasing a Metz 48 to use on my Pentax DSLR in place of the Pentax AF-360 flash.

Sarah Joyce
Have you gotten the Metz 48, if so what do you think about it so far?
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Old Jul 30, 2009, 1:50 PM   #17
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This is not on your list, but I recommend the 580EX II. Yes, it's a lot more, but the greater power and having both Master and Slave modes make it more useful. In a comparison with the Metz equivalent, the Canon was more rugged, easier to understand, and its IR master/slave operation was better, especially around corners.

In the comparison with the Metz (I believe it was Shutterbug mag) it was noted that the mechanism that holds the flash head in various positions, like 45 degrees for bouncing, was much stronger on the Canon than on the Metz. That could matter if you use flash modifiers on the flash head.

The 580EX II also has a weather seal around the hot shoe connection, as well as an excellent attachment mechanism--compared to prior models.

As to modifiers, I have them all--softboxes ranging from small to really big, the lightsphere, and the totally useless Stofen diffuser. Of all, the best modifier is the Lumiquest 80/20, which lets 80% go through a grid to the ceiling and 20% reflected forward for fill. HOWEVER, when the ceiling permits, just bouncing off the ceiling and using the pull-out catchlight panel for fill, I find works quite well. In fact, if you can stand with your back to a white wall with a white ceiling, you can angle the flash 45 degrees back and get extraordinary results, as long as you have enough power--another reason to go with the 580 EXII.

An external flash has more in common with lenses than bodies, in some respects. It will long outlast (technologically) your camera body. Why not get the best now?

Just one more opinion.
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Old Jul 30, 2009, 2:35 PM   #18
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I have a sigma 500 dg super and the canon 580exII. The quick lock on the 580exII is a real bonus - great little feature that makes it more useful. I found the old dial lock would sometimes loosen on the sigma (probably not specific to sigma but to the design of the lock). I did find the sigma didn't hold the angle positions well - it tended to drift. The canon seems more steady at the different angles. One other nice thing about the 580 (dont know if the newer sigma or metz have it) is single button for both tilt and swivel. Again, makes it easier to use.

The build quality on the canon flashes is just better - again I noticed it with the different tilt angles. To me build quality is an important feature. It's why I prefer metal vs. plastic lenses.

I also like the fact the 580exII had external battery support. To me that's important in a flash - so I would look for that feature. Very useful when shooting an event - recycle is faster and you don't have to change batteries as frequently.

Just my opinion
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Old Jul 30, 2009, 10:21 PM   #19
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I can answer about the tilt on the 530DG. Its stable. It is still two buttons. Like everything it is matter of cost. The Sigma 530DG is good on power and features and is the best value.

The Canon 580 exII and Metz 58 are even a little better on power and each have additional features of merit. The canon weather sealing (assuming the rest of your stuff does, otherwise it just a heavier flash) built in bounce card, quick mount. The Metz has two light sources and is USB flashable. Both are also about $200 more, More like about $430 delivered instead of about $230 last I checked. All three will serve you well. The less powerful ones from all manufactures is a bit of waste because you often need the light to bounce.

I think if I were going to spend $400+ I would go with the Metz for the two heads and the USB. I had already spent a lot of dollars on a strobe, AB800, Stand, and Shoot through Umbrella or I might have chosen to spend $400 plus on a flash. A flash is the more daily useful accessory.

One more thing if your going to invest $400 in the flash you might also want to consider a flash that can move between camera families as Jim suggests with the 54Metz. Though only window shopping I would consider switching from Canon to Nikon. The fact that I would have to loose even my $200 Flash and My $400 Lens is enough to make me wait for the Canon I want. But if you only spend $200 is a lot easier to swallow if you change camps.

Last edited by anthlover; Jul 30, 2009 at 10:33 PM.
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Old Jul 31, 2009, 7:58 AM   #20
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I like all the differnt opnions its amazing how hard its been for me to choose a flash.

am down to
430ex ii for $234
or
EF-530 DG Super $219

The event I need it for is a quinceanera (15th birthday party) it will be held in a pavilion, I dont know how high the celings will be but I have no clue how am supose to bonce the flash in a place like that. This is where I think the 530 DG will do better, but I like the fact that the 430ex is better built from what i read.
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