Speedlite 580 or Metz 50 AF -1

Discussion in 'Canon Accessories' started by fotomumma09, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. fotomumma09

    fotomumma09 TPF Noob!

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    Recently I was in a local camera store and the sales person recommended a Metz flash over the 580. I had mentioned that I would love the 580 but can't afford it just yet and that why he suggested the Metz which runs around $250.

    Any thoughts?


     
  2. fotomumma09

    fotomumma09 TPF Noob!

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    By the way I did try searching in the forum first, but couldn't find anyone recommending the Metz who actually uses one.:)
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Metz is a good name in the world of flashes...but I don't know many people who actually use them these days.

    My first question would be, is it dedicated for use with your Canon camera? In other words, I know the camera can fire it, but can it be used with E-TTL auto flash metering (and all the other features) like a Canon flash can?
    And if it does, then we can assume that Metz has had to reverse engineer a Canon flash to figure out how to program it. That sometimes works well, but not always. I'd assume that it would be fine, with a reputable name like Metz...but many prefer to use Canon flashes on Canon cameras because they know it will work.

    If the 580EX is too pricy, have you considered the 430EX or the 320EX?
     
  4. Steve5D

    Steve5D TPF Noob!

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    I can't speak to the Metz, but I have two 580EX-II's that I know I wouldn't want to be without...
     
  5. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I own the 580EX II as well as a 430EX II (as well as a few others), and I've had this question come up before. Friends have asked me for help buying lights and are intimidated by the high price tag of the Canon 580 -- so they ask about off-brand flashes.

    While I don't actually own a Metz, I did do quite a bit of research.

    Before I get into that... let me also just state that high end flashes do quite a bit more than just flash a pulse of light at the right moment. And this fact comes into play when you make the comparison.

    The Canon E-TTL and E-TTL II system evaluate and re-evaluate a scene as you're preparing to shoot. The camera meters the scene using evaluative metering WITHOUT THE FLASH. It then triggers the flash at a fraction of full power (usually it'll use 1/32nd power but you can adjust it's default) and it meters the scene AGAIN... this time WITH THE FLASH. What it's looking for are the deltas between the two. This will help the camera identify ambient light sources in the scene (e.g. is there a lamp in the scene giving off it's own light -- if so the difference with and without the flash won't be very different.) It's also looking for reflections... is there a spot in the scene which was dark without the flash but VERY BRIGHT with the flash. Finally, it also works with the lens (for lenses that support this feature) to request the actual focused subject distance. It can use that to calculate how much power, theoretically, *should* be required to properly illuminate a subject at that distance. All of this combined is then used to decide how much power will be used for the shot -- this time the camera shutter opens and the flash fires using the power level calculated by the E-TTL system. As compared to earlier systems... A-TTL and Thyristors, the E-TTL system is very hard to fool because it does the comparative evaluations.

    So the question becomes... will the off-brand flash fully support the E-TTL system. Also, Canon brand flashes can be controlled via in-camera menu systems. Some off-brand flashes might do the E-TTL metering, but can not be controlled via in-camera menus.

    The 580 can also act as an IR command or as an IR slave in a multi-light setup. Some off-brand flashes... even if they work with E-TTL, will not fully support the multi-flash system... or only offer limited support. The Metz 50 AF-1, for example, I think claims to work as a slave, but not as a master (it can't be an IR commander like the 580.)

    The 580 also supports 2nd curtain shutter, high speed sync, multi-strobic mode (programmed rapid flash pulses through a scene to catch a subject in multiple positions within a single frame.)

    And here's what I found.

    Metz DOES have flashes that claim to support all or nearly all of the features (it was hard to determine this conclusively) of the features of the 580. BUT... what I found was by the time you found a Metz that could do everything the 580 could do, the price tag was only fractionally cheaper than the Canon flash. So you weren't _really_ saving that much money. Whenever I found a unit that seemed to be saving a lot of money, I would find that it was also dropping a lot of features.

    This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The 580 does a lot. Chances are you don't need every feature that the 580 offers. So maybe going with the Metz offers a significant savings by dropping features that you weren't planning to use. Just be aware that if the Metz costs half as much, it's not an apples to apples comparison. There are Metz flashes that do offer apples to apples comparisons... but the price tags are not very far apart.

    The next question to ask yourself is: if the Metz costs half as much because it's dropping some of the features... then exactly *which* features are being dropped and are you ok with that?
     
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  6. fotomumma09

    fotomumma09 TPF Noob!

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    Wow! Thank you for taking your time to give me your thoughts!! Much to think about and research.
     
  7. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    While it is not the exact question you asked, I to am interested in a good flash and the 580ex in any form is out of my budget. I had originally considered the 270ex but after a little research bought the Yongnuo yn 465, which is on ebay for very small money and does support ttl. It works fine for what I use it for but may not be good enough for pro use.

    Back to the 580, while researching this the yongnuo 565ex keeps coming up in comparison. I have read many reviews on this and it does pretty much everything the 580 does except high speed sync and it cannot be used as a master. It gets mostly good reviews with the odd horror story thrown in, but its about 1/3rd the price of the canon, it may be worth a look
     
  8. WesternGuy

    WesternGuy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    fotomumma09, here is a link to a page that compares the Metz 50 AF-1 to Canon and Nikon flashes. Metz 50 AF-1 Speedlite Flash | Speedlights.net . From what I read, it would seem that it is quite comparable to the Canon 430EX II Speedlite. I have just purchased the next higher model, the Metz 58 AF-2 and, while I am still in the process of testing it out, it seems to meet or exceed the specs for the 580EX II and was about $200 (Cdn) less than the local camera store wanted for the 580EX II.

    Ultimately, the final decision is up to you - go with the Metz flash now (it will probably do you for quite a while), or wait until you have the $$ and go for the 580EX II. Of course, there is always the new 600EX-RT...maybe the prices for the 580EX II will come down - don't hold your breath - of course, you could always look on e-bay for used components. My 0.02¢ FWIW.
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    P.S. I just came across this review of the 50 AF-1 and the 58-AF-2 from when they were introduced in 2010 - interesting reading - scroll down to see the 50 AF-1 - http://www.dpreview.com/news/2010/8/23/metz58af250af1
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  9. fotomumma09

    fotomumma09 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for sharing! Great review for the Metz for sure. I think I'm leaning that way. It would get me into a flash a lot sooner as its almost 1/2 the price!
     

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