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Metz 58 AF-1 Canon Digital Flashgun
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Due to its high GN of 58 at ISO 100/21deg. and 105mm focal length, the 58 AF-1 digital is not only especially powerful, but also can be used for indirect flash lighting to great effect. For the first time Metz integrated a reflector card that can be flipped open into its vertically tilting and horizontally swiveling reflector. In addition, the Bounce diffuser 54-23 is avilable as an optional accessory. Using the integrated secondary reflector, additional brilliance can be achieved with this flash technology in close-up areas. The integrated slave trigger unit allows the 58 AF-1 to be implemented separately. An additional plus for all those who want to use the 58 AF-1 digital apart from the camera: the new flash can be used wirelessly with the Canon E-TTL remote system and the Nikon i-TTL remote system, thanks to the integrated slave trigger unit.
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Ettl (Canon EOS 40D Digital SLR Camera (incl. EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens Kit)) underexposes a little but can be compensated for separately from the normal exposure compensation so that isn't too much of a problem. Once adjusted the exposures for close-ups of peoples faces and anything up to around 15ft away are spot on and consistent. It was a pleasure to have to do so little exposure adjustment in Adobe Lightroom 3.0 (Mac/PC) the first time I used it seriously (500+ images). It doesn't have the power I was hoping for to take shots from 20+ feet away which I just about used to get away with with the Metz 45 CL4 Digital Flashgun - Basic Kit.So I'm still stuck with a 'grainy' ISO 800 for these.
I get 40-50 shots from a fresh set of batteries. The menu system is a bit tedious but I don't make changes that often once I start shooting for it to be a serious problem.
I could really use a bit more power but the only thing I think is better is Quantum flash but the price for that is a serious investment. The main thing I was looking for was more consistent exposures over a range of distances and this flash gives me that. I've no reason to believe that the 580 EX II is any better.
Would I recommend it? Yes, unreservedly.
Metz offer the bonus of very easy, free, software upgrades too, which means you can dedicate the unit to any Canon camera by installing the latest update. My second one was old stock but with the update loaded it functions perfectly with a 5D MkII. Battery life is good too, so long as you buy good quality rechargeable Ansmann's (or similar).
By now you'll guess I endorse the Metz 58 AF-1. I do, 100%. In fact I wish they'd bought them at work (Police Forensics) when we went digital, instead of the SB800's we ended up getting.
Just shop around for a good price and don't worry about a used one if it's in good nick.
I use it with an EOS 40D and it worked out of the box.
I used it for family portraits and it was excellent.
As it can have its firmware upgraded, it is reasonably future proof, and a good deal cheaper than the Canon, so I give it 5 stars.
I also tried the Canon model, and honestly I cannot understand the extra price you pay for that. I guess you pay just the logo ;-)
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