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Old Nov 4, 2010, 12:24 PM   #1
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Default Metz 48 AF-1 Flash on GH1...

Another treat arrived in the post today my Metz 48 AF-1 flashgun. I'm still in the office, so no time to play yet other than to confirm it attaches properly, communicates properly and meters properly. I'm glad to say it's "yes" on all three counts, and I'm looking forward to testing it out properly.

I decided to go for the Metz 48 for a number of reasons: 1) more powerful than the standard Panasonic FL-360 unit for the same price; 2) faster recycle times because of the 4x AA cells power source; and 3) it has both tilt and swivel. Yes, it's a little bit bigger than the 360 (and indeed the Metz 36), but it actually balances OK on the GH1, although it verges on looking like a monster....



Time will tell if I made the right decision, but now, some 11 months after selling up my Canon kit 40D, 17-85mm, 50mm and 430EX I've kinda got my old kit back, only in m43 form (GH1, 14-140mm, 20mm and 48AF-1). Looking back my library shots, it's clear that I shot a lot of my family occasions with the 40D, 50mm and 430EX bounced (or with Stofen Omnibounce), and I'm looking forward to the light boost the Metz will provide come Christmas morning this year!

I would like to experiment using the flashgun off the hotshoe, perhaps with an umbrella can I just buy a curly TTL cable to do this? I'd appreciate any links or pointers on that front if anyone can help.
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 12:08 PM   #2
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That's a funny picture you got there...the angle makes the flash look 5x bigger than the camera...LOL

Looking forward to see some images taken with it. I shot some pictures with my GH1 on Halloween night using its flash. It seems that the GH1 does a better job metering with the flash than the G1.
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 4:21 PM   #3
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Cheers Tullio! Yes, that pic does make the flash look a bit on the large side.... guess that's just the angle-of-view on my iPhone 4 camera distorting reality.

Either that or it's just a huge flash LOL
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Old Nov 11, 2010, 10:56 AM   #4
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Help folks please....

I got all of 5 minutes to experiment with my new flash last night, but in that short space of time, it's clear I've got a lot to learn (which is good!). I'm not sure if anyone can answer my questions and/or offer some advice, but here goes anyway.....

I set the Metz to TTL and HSS, which seems to work as expected. The GH1 defaults to a 1/30 sync for the flash, which I reckon is way too slow, certainly for capturing the kids antics – they never sit still!! The HSS setting lets me up the shutter speed, and the TTL seems to still be effective, but I wonder if is this a good starting point for general flash illumination..? I think there's another 'automatic' mode on the flashgun (i.e. not TTL) but I'm not sure why you would choose to use that over TTL.

I know the 20mm pancake isn't ideal for portraits, but it is a good general indoor lens – the fast aperture gives much more pleasing available light portraits indoors than the kit lens does, and it's generally my 'go-to lens' with the family shots over the 14-140mm. However, with the 20mm portrait working distance isn't that great – for a head shot of my two kids I'm probably only a couple of feet away, and I reckon that's much too close to be firing the Metz directly at them. Would you agree?

The 48 when bounced off the ceiling fills my living room easily (approx 5m x 4m), so I reckon bouncing with the reflector card pulled out would therefore be the best approach for indoor portraits, especially when using the 20mm. It does seem very bright when bounced, so maybe I need to tweak the zoom setting when bouncing... Ultimately, I guess I need to go manual, but I think I'm a way off that.

I did have a Sto-Fen Omni Bounce on my old 430EX and I was thinking I might get one for the Metz, and I also can't help but feel getting the Metz off the camera via a TTL-cord would be a much better idea (Heck, I'm even toying with the idea of getting a shoot-through umbrella and stand).

Ultimately though, I'm just trying to improve my indoor family portraits and snaps making use of the extra light and flexibility of the Metz. I guess holding the flash (with diffuser) in my left hand at subject face level will render the nicest portrait lighting.

I don't think I'm ready to try my manual primes with the Metz as I'll lose all TTL capability (I think), but my Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 or newly aqcuired Lensbaby Composer/Tilt Transformer (40mm f/1.6 max) would be good for portraits.

I guess that's the beauty of digital. I can experiment, screw it up, try again, and learn as I go – I just don't want to burn anyone's retinas into the process, especially my kids, which is why I'd like to make sure I'm approaching things the right way, and I'd love some input from you knowledgeable folks!
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 6:43 PM   #5
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You should not loose the TTL with a manual lens in the AP mode just make sure you have the Metz set to HSS.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 4:24 AM   #6
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Cheers... I've yet to try my manual lenses, but hopefully I'll get another 5 minutes to myself at some point over the weekend!

How do I know if I'm using 'automatic' flash with the Metz..? I can only select TTL or M on the flash, with or without HSS? Maybe I'm just misunderstanding the terminology.

When the external flash is fitted, the only flash options on the GH1 are 'forced on' or 'slow sync' (i.e. No 'auto')... My first tests make me wary of pointing the flash towards my kids as the results on static non-human subjects are very overexposed. Not sure if I'm doing something wrong - I just didn't expect with TTL to have to dial in -EV or resort to M mode at reduced power... seems weird to me.

Does anyone else have pointers for starting out with this Metz flash on the GH1..??
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 8:46 AM   #7
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I will do some tests with mine on my GF-1 and see what we can determine regarding TTL. I've mostly used my Metz with my E-620
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 12:20 PM   #8
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I mounted my Metz 48 and the Minolta 45mm f2 (MF) on the GF-1. The Metz was set to "TTL HSS" and the camera set to the AP mode @ ISO 100. I shot number of test shots at all the handholdable aperture/shutter speed combinations using both front-lit and back-lit subjects. All shots appeared to be exposed correctly. For just fill with a subject lit in bright sunshine I liked the shots where about -1 stop of flash exposure compensation was used. The Metz is a great flash.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 3:48 PM   #9
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Thanks again Turbines!

I did get the chance to experiment indoors today, and I reckon I get pretty good results when bouncing with the reflector card out, whether I shoot aperture or shutter priority. I tried the 14-140 kit lens, 20mm pancake and my lensbaby TT+Composer too, and the TTL (with HSS) clearly works as it should both straight and bounced.

I have found that using M (HSS) mode is really fast though. There doesn't seem to be a preflash or shutter lag, and this makes it feel really snappy. There's lots of light though and using manual flash mode I do have to dial in some power adjustment, but again I found I was still getting good results when bouncing with the reflector card without the aid of TTL metering.

I'm only scraping the surface so far, but I think I'm getting to grips with the Metz. It is powerful and versatile enough for my needs, and I do like the speed - I can shoot indoors at ISO100 with a very fast shutter speed (1/250 and faster) which is great for capturing the kids antics

Thanks again for your input! Next up... do I bother with the StoFen Omnibounce or do I get a TTL cord and umbrella? Mmm.. Maybe I should write a letter to Santa

Last edited by mrmacmusic; Nov 13, 2010 at 3:51 PM.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 5:17 PM   #10
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With 2 Metz units and some small umbrellas you can get real creative with your lighting ratios. Lots of fun and and you will get professional looking results. I usually do this with manual everything. A good flashmeter will come in handy to get the ratios precise but you can also just use the guide flash number to adjust the subject to flash distance for each unit. Two lights and getting the units off camera will make a big difference. You'll find a lot of tutorials on web on how to configure a simple two light portrait setup.
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