Even within this deviant universe in which xenon light exists outside fire alert flashers, the SF-58 is a curiosity: why would I pay $630 for a flash that Metz usually sells for about $400? The SF-58 does not get much play in terms of reviews or even admissions by Leica users that they own/use this unit. The SF-58 is actually not a bad addition to a M setup. There are three reasons.
High speed sync (HSS). This is, after all, why you would buy this flash. Since the late 20th century, Nikon and Canon owners have enjoyed HSS, which allows flash synchronization beyond the normal sync speed. HSS is a bit of artifice. Focal plane shutters (such as the ones in Leica Ms and SLRs) expose the entire sensor, all at once, up to a certain speed, beyond which they expose a slit that moves across the sensor at a constant speed. The maximum sync speed is the highest speed at which the whole sensor is exposed at the same time. At that (or a slower) speed, when the shutter is all the way open, the flash fires. The problem is that at speeds higher than the normal sync speed, the flash would fire when the slit was in one place and would be extinguished before other parts of the sensor were exposed. HSS sidesteps the limitation of the slit by pulsing the flash so that as a smaller-than-the-whole-frame slit travels the sensor, it is always illuminated.
HSS has two principal side effects. One is that the available flash power diminishes (and the SF-58 will indicate the effective range in HSS). The other is that the color temperature will decrease (from white toward a warmer balance).
On the M240, HSS is very fluid; it is automatically activated when needed. In general, M240 fill flash is fairly good, though occasionally you will dial-down the ambient exposure or dial-up the flash, depending on how backlit the subject is. My impression, and this is subject to some further testing, is that in Auto ISO, the preflash sometimes tells the camera how to drop the ISO to avoid using HSS at all.
I have this same setup but I am not understanding how you can use HSS with the 240 without banding. I put the flash into TTL (the HSS goes on when I go above 1/180 but if I go above 180 I get a shadow band over the image. Is there a step by step you could publish on your page for correctly setting the flash to work above 1/180 ?
Thanks for this review. I picked up a B+W Redhancer and tried it on my M 240 in daylight landscapes, without flash. In side-by-side comparisons, I was surprised to find very little difference between using this filter and not using it. Any thoughts about why that might be the case?
The LPC2378 is an Arm7 microcontroller for embedded applications featuring a high level of integration and low power consumption at frequencies of 72 MHz. Features include 512 kB of flash memory, 58 kB of SRAM, Ethernet MAC, USB Device, DMA controller, 4 UARTs, 2 CAN channels, 2 SSP, 1 SPI, 3 I2C, I2S, 8-channel 10-bit ADC, 10-bit DAC, PWM, 4 general purpose timers, low power Real-Time Clock with separate battery supply, and up to 104 general purpose I/O pins. The LPC2378 is pin-compatible to the LPC176x Cortex-M3 MCU series.
The LPC2368FBD100 is a Arm7 microcontroller for embedded applications featuring a high level of integration and low power consumption at frequencies of 72 MHz. Features include up to 256 kB of flash memory, up to 58 kB of RAM, Ethernet MAC, USB Device/Host/OTG, DMA controller, SD/MMC, 4 UARTs, 2 CAN channels, 3 SSP/SPI, 3 I2C, I2S, 8-channel 10-bit ADC, 10-bit DAC, 2 PWM, 4 general purpose timers, low power Real-Time Clock with separate battery supply, and up to 70 general purpose I/O pins. The LPC23xx are pin-compatible to the LPC176x Cortex-M3 series.
With a guide number of 58 at its maximum zoom range of 105mm this units is very similar to any other high end flash by any other brand. I like to pair it with my Leica M Typ 240 and M9-P and the unit works perfectly on any other Leica M 10, M-E, M Monochrom, M9, M6 TTL, M7, M8, M8.2; R8, R9; Leica S, S2 and S3, X1, X2 and X-E! Also compatible with any other brand of cameras with a center contact pin when using in Manual or Auto mode.
So, if those inexpensive Nikon speed lights can offer Auto with other cameras, why get this Leica flash? well, you get full TTL for super quick moments and the special TTL-HSS, this is very handy when working outside and want Fill-flash or when wanting to freeze motion. TTL-HSS will allow you to synchronize this flash at any shutter speed (keep in mind that the higher shutter speed you go, the less brilliance you will get) another benefit is you can also get shallower depth of field for some dreamy shots with an open aperture and fill flash.
I think this flash was introduced in 2009, so it has been discontinued for a while, but good gear lasts and most Leica flash gear is very well kept by their users, so even an used version will most likely be in good condition. Here is a list of all of the features:
Notice the two flashes on this unit? while one flash can be used to bounce, the other can be used to illuminate the subject in front of you. While I thought this would be cool in theory, well, the look you get is often just that of a direct flash, maybe I can add some type of ND to the front flash because even at its lowest setting, it still gives me a lot of light for half body portraits.
So what is the most portable flash for the Leica systems? well, is the SF26 and even that unit has a tilting head with a slave mode and would be almost perfect if it could also rotate its head. I loved the size of it, imagine a future world where the flash had a built-in radio or you had a tiny radio on the top of the camera and just use that tiny pocket flash? The fact is that the technology already exists, there are other manufacturers that have it but Leica has never been Avantgarde on speed lights. Look at the Godox TT350 for example.
If you still wish to take this flash off your camera, there are good news. The pins on all of the newer Leica flashes are on the same place as any other newer Nikon flash. This translates to being able to use a dedicated cable from Nikon SC-29 (buy it here) and viola, off camera flash with full auto and HSS but still tied to a cable.
Bonus: Want to use this flash in Auto mode with an optical trigger? Simply use an external optical trigger by Wein (buy it here) and the the flash to Auto and the ISO on your camera and viola.
The Metz 58 AF-2 flash is loaded with features that makes it idea for extreme macro photography, be it used in the studio, mounted on a bracket or used top down with a diffuser. A flash that remembers its settings when it is turned off is a joy to use and the Metz 58 AF-2 flash does exactly this. The Metz 58 AF-2 tilts and swivels, and is the only Pentax compatible flash that can combine rear sync with manual use on the K7. But not by default on the K5 because Pentax, in their infinite wisdom, decided to remove this feature for no reason whatsoever. But you can fool the Pentax camera (see below).
The Metz 58 flash has a huge swathe of manual power settings down to 1/256, and has 1/3 stops in between. The Metz 58 flash is the only Pentax compatible flash that can combine rear sync with manual use, something that neither the Pentax AF360FGZ nor even the top of the range Pentax AF540FGZ can do. Recycling time is fast and whilst the next shot can be taken after 2s with an added power pack, there is a 4 sec recycle to full using just the 4 NiMH or alkaline batteries. Colour temperature and exposure show good consistency even down to the lower levels.
The Metz menu system comes in for a lot of flak online, but once you work it out it is perfectly sensible. It is more menu driven than the Pentax flashes though so there's a bit more clicking. The only other thing that I prefer about the Pentax flashes is the light button on the interface. Metz doesn't have this, and I wish it did.
Modeling flash option uses a custom 'test' button setting, so you have to change back and forth unless you want the modeling flash to go off every time you test fire the flash. Flash will fire even if it isn't charged sufficiently, so check the charge indicator before shooting, otherwise you may wind up with the wrong exposure. It does this so you won't miss a shot waiting for the flash to fully charge. Bounce indicator shows only on downward bounce (10), but not in any 'up' position. It will show when the flash is swiveled.
Almost everything. Suited well for studio use because of the ability to use an external battery pack, and off-camera cables for connecting other flashes, although real studio strobes are less expensive and recycle much faster.
The treatment of primary interest in this experiment was two (2) rectangular LED flashing beacons as shown in Figure 2. The LED flashers on the front and back were each six (6) inches wide, 2.5 inches high, and placed nine (9) inches apart. Each unit was dual indicated (LED's on front and back). Each side of the LED beacon flashed in a wig-wag flashing sequence (left light on, then right) - the two LED's in combination flashed 190 times in the wig-wag flashing sequence during a 30 second cycle. Of the two LED's, the Left LED, flashed Two times (in a slower type of a rapid flash) each time it was energized followed by the Right LED, which flashed in a very fast rapid three (3) flash volley when energized. Four (4) signs along with beacons were installed at each crosswalk. Radio frequency transmitters linked the devices so a depression of any of the pedestrian call buttons activated the flashers on all four signs. A separate LED facing the pedestrian flashed to indicate to pedestrians that the system was operating. The system also presented an audible message instructing pedestrians that the light flashing across the street indicates that the device was operating, and instructing them to wait for cars to stop before crossing.
The comparison device included a pre-existing traditional over-roadway incandescent yellow beacon. This beacon was located at the 58th St. site described above. The system was activated with a pedestrian call button. The standard traditional systems employed two 12-inch diameter yellow beacons facing each direction of traffic. The beacons flashed at a rate of 55 times per minute. 041b061a72