Flash Cat

Flash Cat, originally uploaded by john m flores.

Via Flickr:
So, Nate, if you don't mind, I'm going to take some flash photos of you while you snooze, and share my impressions of the Metz 50 AF-1.

I have a Metz 58 AF-1 for Pentax and have been very happy with it. It is my first proper flash, so maybe glowing praise is to be expected.

Stepping down to a physically smaller camera (the GH2), I thought that it was only appropriate to step down to a physically smaller flash as well. The 50 AF-1 is not only smaller than its kin, it's cheaper too. It the savings worth it? In a word, no. At least in my opinion.

The step down is size is also a step down in usability, as the 50 has a less sophisticated display and fewer buttons to controll settings with. Now in many cases, a reduction in buttons may actually aid usability, but in this case, it just means more button presses (and combo presses) to get the same thing done. Now that may not seem like a big deal, until, of course, it is. Like in the heat of shooting and you've got to fiddle faddle to get it set.

As far as actually quality and performance, the 50 seems just as good as the 58. Mind you, this is not after extensive shooting, but it is a first impression.

The other thing that annoys may not actually be the flash's fault. On the GH2, I can't get the focus-assist lamp to fire. The GH2 has it's own focus assist lamp, but it's tucked in the corner and gets blocked by longer lenses. I can turn it off, but that in turn doesn't send the right signals to get the Metz to turn its focus assist on. Panasonic, are you listening?

I've also played a little bit with off-camera flash, and I'm not sure if I've got it to work. Again, this appears to be a shortcoming of the GH2, not the Metz, as the 50 does have a slave mode where you can select group and channel. Some more investigation is necessary.

Now you can resume your full-fledged cat nap...

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