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Old Oct 2, 2009, 1:59 AM   #1
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G'Day , I can not decide between these flashes for my K20D -

  1. Digital Concepts 952AF TTL $AU219
  2. Vivitar DF-383 $AU220 if I could find one in Australia
  3. Metz Mecablitz 36 AF-4 $AU250
I am on a tight budget of $200-250AU and would like to buy it here in Australia in case some goes wrong , I don't want to send it back overseas.

Any opinions ?

Rodney
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 10:35 AM   #2
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You might consider the Metz 48 AF1. The menus are a little confusing at first-interfaces great with my K10 & K20. Has wireless function and a lot of other options. Paid about $229 about a year ago in the US
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 3:03 PM   #3
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Thanks but the Metz 48 AF1 is $US225 plus $US60 delivery comes out to $AU330, over my budget unfortunately.
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 3:10 PM   #4
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It's my understanding that the Metz 36 AF-4 does not have High Speed Sync (a.k.a., HSS, FP mode). So, I'd take that into consideration. Of course, the other budget flash models won't have that feature either (meaning that the fastest shutter speed you can use will be limited to the camera's x-sync speed of 1/180 second, limiting it's usefulness for fill flash in brighter daylight lighting if you want to use wider aperture settings).

The better 48 AF-1 has HSS support, as well as USB upgradeable firmware (so that you can upgrade the flash for better compatibility without sending it back to Metz, as you'd need to do with the 36 AF-a4 if you ran into a compatibility issue with a newer camera model later). So, I'd take that kind of thing into consideration.

But, if budget will not allow for the better 48 AF-1, I'd probably go with the 36 AF-4, as compared to your other choices.
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 4:47 PM   #5
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Hi Rodney,

I'll agree with Jim C on all counts. If you're just looking for a P-TTL flash and don't really care about advanced features, then the Metz is probably easily the highest quality of those mentioned. IIRC the Ditigal Concepts and Vivitar are probably rebadged Sakars, and my spidey sense says to stay away. . .

The only thing I'd miss with the Metz is an auto mode. This comes in handy if you happen to have someone that you might photograph frequently who is quick enough to cause "blinking" problems with P-TTL (but I've found these people to be few and far between -- the only one in my small extended family -- and one of the two that I've ever encountered -- is one of my cousin's wife). Of course, if this ends up being the case, you can pick up a used Pentax AF 280T to use in Auto mode for about $25. . .

One tip -- a lot of people get caught up in the "tilt and swivel" thing with flash guns. Flashes that just tilt are fine. There are a lot of techniques, especially with flash modifiers like the Demb and Light Sphere that use the tilt and swivel to orient the flash more effectively for both landscape and portrait shots. I use the Demb, and sometimes choose to use the AF 360 FGZ, which also doesn't swivel but tilts for bounce and weighs less. With the K10, and especially the K20 or K-7, there's plenty of resolution to just shoot everything in landscape and crop to vertical.

Scott
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 8:41 PM   #6
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Thank You for your advice, looks as though I'll have to save for longer.

Rodney
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 9:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snostorm View Post
One tip -- a lot of people get caught up in the "tilt and swivel" thing with flash guns. Flashes that just tilt are fine. There are a lot of techniques, especially with flash modifiers like the Demb and Light Sphere that use the tilt and swivel to orient the flash more effectively for both landscape and portrait shots. I use the Demb, and sometimes choose to use the AF 360 FGZ, which also doesn't swivel but tilts for bounce and weighs less. With the K10, and especially the K20 or K-7, there's plenty of resolution to just shoot everything in landscape and crop to vertical.

Scott
Scott, I'd agree except that if you use the flash shoe-mounted, and shoot verticals with the battery grip, you can't bounce off the ceiling without the swivel. I had to make quick adjustments shooting candids of people standing around talking at a meeting not long ago and found it quite handy.
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 9:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snostorm View Post
away. . .

The only thing I'd miss with the Metz is an auto mode. This comes in handy if you happen to have someone that you might photograph frequently who is quick enough to cause "blinking" problems with P-TTL (but I've found these people to be few and far between -- the only one in my small extended family -- and one of the two that I've ever encountered -- is one of my cousin's wife). Of course, if this ends up being the case, you can pick up a used Pentax AF 280T to use in Auto mode for about $25. . .

Scott
Scott, I had this problem with my wife who always blinked when I took flash pictures with PTTL flash.

A way around this is to use the 2 second timer and let the people you are photographing know that they will see a light first (the pre-flash) and then to wait 2 seconds for the flash. This always works!

Lou
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 10:37 PM   #9
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Rodney, I don't have any experience with the Vivitar or Metz flash units, but I did waste my money on a "top of the line" (don't remember the model number) Digital Concepts flash. Tremendously unrealiable....probably the biggest waste of money I've made since starting in photography.

Paul
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Old Oct 2, 2009, 11:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penolta View Post
Scott, I'd agree except that if you use the flash shoe-mounted, and shoot verticals with the battery grip, you can't bounce off the ceiling without the swivel. I had to make quick adjustments shooting candids of people standing around talking at a meeting not long ago and found it quite handy.
Hi penolta,

I probably wasn't clear -- I'm saying that one can shoot everything in landscape mode, so the shoe mounted flash is always on top, then crop those shots that you want in portrait orientation to vertical. Yes, you'd be wasting maybe half the frame, but the point is that with 10-14 mp, there's more than enough resolution to get great prints, and to even print pretty big. With the 14.6 mp sensor, the short side of the frame is over 3000 pixels. If you take a full height vertical crop, the long side of your resultant frame will be 3000 pixels high, giving you an 8x10 at 300 dpi in a print -- at close to , if not, publication quality resolution.

In a real life print, you really probably only need about 150 dpi for a good print, so you could conceivably print this cropped file to 16x20 acceptably. You're using flash, so you can use a low ISO and hopefully get close to perfect exposure, so the image should be top quality if the photographer does his job. There's also the benefit of not needing the vertical grip, so it just makes the gear that much smaller and lighter.

Personally, I can't seem to help being a detail freak, and my people shots are often criticized (usually with a smile, but not necessarily jokingly -- and not unreasonably) for being too sharp. . . I remember hearing something about "every freaking pore and wrinkle. . ." Some people just can't deal wit reality. . .

I figure losing a little resolution really wouldn't hurt -- and this gives me an excuse to look for a nice soft focus lens. There was an FA 85/2.8 Soft that recently showed up at KEH, and I hesitated a little too long -- it was gone in less than an hour. Sooner or later I'll get one, and then won't have any more excuses. . .

Scott
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