For a couple of decades I have been a Metz flash fan. The consistency of the light produced by the mecablitz is unparalleled.
Unfortunately I never took the plunge from the monstrous flashgun (mecablitz 76 MZ5 digital being the last one) to the more manageable hot shoe mount.
This past weekend I finally got myself a new in the box 58 AF-1 that was already phased out 2-years ago.
I never expected the smaller hot shoe mount to perform the same way as the big gun, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the beautiful and very consistent light.
The secret of both units is their dual reflectors. The large reflector that you can swivel to bounce the light, and a much smaller reflector in the base of the unit. The latter is the key to incredible portraits or event shots.
I always use a bounce card or more recently the large Rogue FlashBender to soften the light directed on my subject. The issue that always required some time in post-processing was the weird “raccoon-like”shadows under the eyes caused by the light coming from above.
Metz has had that second reflector on their flash for a couple of decades at least, and when set at its lowest power, provides wonderful and even illumination on the face of my subject(s).
For the past few years I have had a 3/4 CTO filter taped over the secondary reflector to make that direct light a bit warmer than the 5600K of the flash unit.
Doing the same on the small unit works just as good, and makes the faces appear a bit warmer.
The Metz 58 is priced well below the Nikon SB910 (and I presume the Canon equivalent). The only difference between the 1 and 2 is the mounting foot; it is plastic on #1 and metal on #2. Internally the guts are the same. What is surprising is that the 58 AF-1 is still being sold at close to its original retail price some years after it was replaced by the new 58 AF-2 .
I am now retiring my 76 for the 58.
I always felt like apologizing for the huge camera that really wasn’t. My Leica M9 and D800E were often a small attachment to this flashgun! Metz manufactures a simple SLA adapter base to allow true TTL operation with just about any camera.
The Metz 58AF-1 and 2 both work through the camera’s TTL and high speed sync systems, and can be switched from full power to 1/64th power (+3 to -3) in 1/3rd stops. I am looking for a few more and will then have completely switched from Nikon light to Metz.
If you are considering a new flash for your camera, I would highly recommend you try out the Metz series of lights. You cannot go wrong.