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Archive 2011 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2
Zenon Char
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

Well after a several days of research and almost pressing the buy button on several occasions late last night I pressed the buy button.

I have been looking for more accuracy for run and gun shooting and I have read that Metz in auto mode is supposed to be amazing.

After reading the reviews there were a few things I was not comfortable with. These were user reviews. The manual and menu system is complicated, it eats batteries and the recycle time is slow. One person said that you have to carry the manual with you. I don't see that as an issue at all.

I compared the recycle time to my 580II and the specs are the same. As for batteries that is subjective because you don't know what type people are using and how well charged they are.

I donít have it yet but I gave the manual a good read today. So for my review I think it is pretty strait forward and easy. You press the MODE button and then choose ETTL, Auto , etc.



The para (parameter) button gets you into features like FEC, etc. You just keep pressing it until the one you want comes up. Actually most of the other features like ISO and Aperture information are not necessary as there is a data transfer between the flash and camera. So that is about it for the para button. This will be the most important button however after I compensate for a gel I should never need to use it again based on what I have read when using it in Auto We'll see.


The Set button gets you into fine tuning. You can set the power of the secondary reflector (which really defeats the purpose of the BFT), flash bracketing, slave mode, auto off, meters to feet, auto zoom parameters if the auto transfer data does not work, etc. Depends on the camera. Mine will. It is easy because you just keep pressing the set button until the parameter you want comes up. It is clear as day in the screen and there are a whole bunch more items you can control. I can shut off the secondary reflector.

The few things I really like about this flash is it is supposed to provide battery power information. I have not found that yet. The LCD will light up if you touch any button. Probably the drain on the batteries a bit. Not like my Canon 580. It is a real pain for these old eyes in a dark venue. Just like my 580 an indicator flashes when a correct exposure is achieved but the flash beeps as well. Of course I can turn that off if I like using the Set button but I will be going by the histogram most of the time. There is also a warning beep if the shooting parameters are off. If you are at 1/8000, ISO 6400, 2.8 in a well lit room as an extreme example.

The only other complaint I have read about is no HSS in Auto. You need to go to ETTL. The complaint is that it exposes better in Auto. I can live with that.

So I will keep you posted when I get it and play around with it for a bit.

Dec 11, 2011 at 10:32 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

I had two AF-1 units for Canon for a couple of years. Yes, the Auto (basically Thyristor) was absolutely great. I used it quite a bit. ETTL worked just as good as Canon's too.

Learning the menu was a challenge but if folks read manuals they can learn the things that the maker is sharing Many people don't read. Anyway, it was a challenge but over time it became easy and quite fast to setup.

What I really did HATE is how expensive the Metz battery pack is: -/+ $500 USD!! Using regular rechargeable batteries the recycle time was similar to Canon's 580EX, but at times I needed faster. There was no way I was going to pay that much money for a battery pack, AND I needed two. Soooooo, I tried the NiZN batteries. That was an expensive mistake because those batteries fried the board in both flashes. The cost to repair the flashes was $250 each. I ended up tossing the flash units and going with a couple of 550EX units and battery packs I went with older units primarily because my use was for off camera flash.

My advice is if you are using them for off camera lighting you are better off with something else. For on camera semi-slow recycle and AUTO mode you will be very happy. At the same time you can do just as well with any flash that has Thyristor technology. I would even suggest finding an older flash that can take battery packs for fast recycle speed. ** I say this and I don't shoot my gear like it's a machine gun **


Dec 13, 2011 at 02:12 PM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

Thanks for the feedback. I had heard the old Vivitar flashes were great as well so this not just Metz but the Thyristor tech. I had a look at the battery pack and wow. I never did use at battery pack with my 580's so I won't miss it at this point. Thanks about the battery warning. I have the correct ones. Ansmann NiMH 2500mAh. I notice when they are fresh the ready button stays red even after the flash. Takes a while for it to go green as it recycles. Hopefully the Mets will be close.

The purpose of the Metz will be strictly on camera flash. l will probably keep my 580 and 580II for a while which I have used off camera but in manual only. I like M better. I also have Yongnuo 560 but I am considering my first real strobe. If all goes well I may be making a transition in the near future.

Well hopefully the thyristor does what it is supposed to. A lot of people say it does. I'm excited and yet skeptical. I have a two week satisfaction money back guarantee. It should be here tomorrow.

Dec 14, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

My first few hours with the Metz flash.

The 5D2 data transfer works perfectly. All functions like ISO, Aperture, Auto Zoom are working perfectly. FEC can be adjusted via the camera in the info screen or going through the Menus Ė External Speedlight control Ė for both ETTL and Auto Modes. I really like the beep that tells you when you get a good exposure.

My first major possible disappointment. Auto mode (thyristor) does not seem to like high ISO. I like to shoot high ISO in dark venues 1600, 3400 and 6400 IS0 to bring as much ambient light in to balance it with the flash. However at lower ISO 1600 and down Auto produces excellent consistent exposures as advertises. So if you are a low ISO shooter it will not disappoint. Even bouncing I did not have to adjust FEC. The whites where very close to the right wall every time. 1600 ISO is borderline.

The only thing I can attribute to this is that ETTL (in general Ė not flash specific) identifies the subject while Auto meters everything in the frame. It will allow to FEC all the way + but is inhibiting me for when I want to Ė the FEC. I keep getting the warning beeps. What I find at high ISO it overexposes a tad and I canít minus it. Again at lower speeds the exposure is exceptional. I disabled the warning beep but it still did the same thing. I will call Metz support tomorrow so Iím still undecided.

I was thinking that it was not going to work for me because I really purchased it for the Auto feature. But! My tests using ETTL absolutely surprised me. Sorry but at point I donít think Canon holds a candle this flash at this point. Far more accurate in ETTL both low and high ISO.

Bouncing appears to be very consistent on Auto with little need for FEC and a bit of a mixed bag on ETTL but closer that Canon. Iím not done with this yet and this gets tiring after a while.

The flash will go +/- 3 EV while the 5D2 will go only 2. If you use the flash you have to out it back to 0 to use the camera as it gets confused.

No numbered Custom Functions where without the manual you canít tell what they do. The Metz spells everything out.

I donít like the lock the foot locking mechanism as well as my 580II but it is better than the 580.

Dec 15, 2011 at 12:56 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

Zenon Char wrote:
My tests using ETTL absolutely surprised me. Sorry but at point I donít think Canon holds a candle this flash at this point. Far more accurate in ETTL both low and high ISO.

I am happy to hear about your good results with the 58. I have a 54 and have had many years of excellent service from it.
However my ETTL experience is not as happy as yours. Exposure is less accurate than auto and a general waste of time.
In average situations my Metz gives decent results in auto or ETTL but when in real world event photography it is far worse than manual operation.

I was under the impression that ETTL control was camera based as it is the body that reads the reflected light and computes the cutoff of the flash. As a matter of fact, it seems to me that other than having the circuitry to control firing and duration the flash is actually "dumber" than the auto function controlled flash.

Dec 15, 2011 at 05:19 AM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

That is what I thought as well but the more I have been reading about it some state both flash and camera play a part. ETTL is not perfect but closes and can still be a mixed bag of nuts.

From repeated tests

Metz Auto




Canon 580 II


Dec 15, 2011 at 05:29 AM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

Here I took a series of shots at ISO 3200 Auto with the Metz. No FEC. It seems that the flash works better at high ISO close up. From direct to bouncing strait up, behind me and top the sides of the ceiling. Last shot with ETTL.






ETTL did not do as well here.


Dec 15, 2011 at 05:35 AM

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Zenon Char
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

So does anyone know why this flash does not like High ISO in Auto mode. As I stated in a dark room up to 1600 is fine. 3200 and higher it starts to beep and tends to overexpose. I cannot adjust - EV very much. 1600 or lower Auto is very consistent. Like I said in the above hand shots it worked great at 3200. Other times it struggles.

Dec 15, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

I think I solved this. I have Metz person checking this out in TO. But I did a few other tests.

This morning I set the camera to 3200, 1/60 & f4 in a reasonably dark room and put the Metz on Auto. Got the warning beep and when I took the shot it was overexposed. I then put it in manual and set it to the lowest output level - 1/246. Same over exposure as Auto. So basically the ISO was way too high for the lowest flash output level.
I put the 580 on ETTL and took the same shot and only a small area of it over exposed. I put the 580 on manual and set the output to 1/128. It overexposed. That proves what I had read about Canon's ETTL. In ETTL it will output higher or lower than 1/1 or 1/128 if it needs to.

I put the Metz back on and on ETTL. It overexposed so the Metz will not work outside of 1/1 and 1/248. FEC did not do much when it was outside the working range.

I then put the Metz back to Auto. Warning beeps at 3200. I tried to use Metz's FEC but it would not allow it. I tried through the camera menu and it changed on the screen on but the flash did not accept it. I set the ISO 800 and everything worked correctly.

So for exposure consistency Metz wins. It appears for adjusting on it's own outside the 1/1 to 1/128 boundary
Canon wins.

I'll see what this person from Metz has to say.

Dec 15, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

Metz Canada tested this flash on a 5D2 and confirmed my findings.

I have decided to keep the flash. I shoot most low light venues at about 1600, around 1/60 and between 2.8 and 5.8 on average. I can let enough ambient in within these parameters. Although I can get one one or two more stops in with the Canon flash there are too many benefits with the Metz. Even when I pushed with the Canon I'd still cross the histogram line. Nothing wrong working within limits as it guarantees great exposures. I can say I am very happy with the product. Hits those whites no matter where I shoot.


1. Auto has great consistent exposures even when bouncing
2. ETTL works well
3. LCD is lit with any button that is pushed
4. Audible warning for potential underexposure
5. Audible warning for correct exposures
6. You can access key settings like EV (FEC) through the camera
7. Data transfer for bascis like ISO, aperture is great.
8 Low battery warning


1. Although the menu system is easy it is in on average one extra step than the Canon
menu. At least I can see what I'm doing now.
2. Rumours about battery drain. Probably the LCD and audible system. You can shut
off the audible system. Have not seen how long the batteries last yet.
3. No HSS in Auto but is there in ETTL
4. Auto and ETTL limited to within manual settings 1/1 to 1/256 parameters

Dec 16, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

An update. Sadly I wound up returning it. It had a characteristic I could not work with.

When I have my Canon 580 on my 5D2 and adjust the FEC through the camera the FEC info on the flash will change. The exact FEC amount is not be displayed on the flash, just an Icon showing it has been adjusted. This is Canons way of telling FEC was adjusted via the camera. If the the FEC is adjusted via the flash then the actual FEC amount is displayed on the flash. Also the flash rules in this case so if an adjustment made through the flash you cannot override it via the camera menu. The FEC adjustment is locked via the camera. Only when I put the flash FEC back to zero then I can again adjust it via the camera. Perfect because I always adjust it via the camera anyway. Much faster.

The Metz worked the same the exact same way. The only difference is that it has a warning system to let the operator know if the flash is outside acceptable exposure limits. Basically if it would overexpose at ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/25 when was testing for ambient exposure it would beep at me. I really liked the audible warning system. The only problem was that when this warning took place it locked the FEC on the flash and these locking instructions were sent to the camera. So the FEC control was locked on the camera. The only way to unlock the camera was to lower the ISO something similar to get it out of the overexposure zone, go through the flash menus and put the flash FEC back to zero.

I shot a charity concert on Sat night which involved bands. I had to shoot the people dancing and was virtually black in there so a high ISO. Almost no ambient on the crowds. I could not hear the audible warning and the camera FEC would locked up on me several times. It let me take the shot but locked up my camera FEC. I shot my wife's christmas choir on Monday. Very bright conditions so I used a low ISO. Again a few times I went out of the flashes parameters and it locked up on me.

I do not have the time for that in a fast paced environment. I liked the warning (which you can shut off) but the flash should not override the operator. Problem was it locked up the FEC before you even took the shot - 1/2 shutter press. With my 580 if I overexpose I can quickly adjust the FEC and reshoot. My set button (middle of dial) goes right to the info page. If FEC was used last time it is ready to go with the dial.

I think it was a firmware thing. When I went into the flash menus it would usually lock up at - 2/3 and not let me but let go anymore in the minus direction. It would let me go all the way to +2 which did not make sense as that meant more overexpose. You think it would let me minus it and not add to it. I did test to be sure this happened during an overexposure not an underexposure.

When I first noticed this I talked to Metz Canada support. They put the same flash on a 5D2 and confirmed it would beep and not let the person adjust the FEC to a minus position. We never discussed it locking up the camera FEC because I started noticing that a day later. I spoke to the retailer and told them if Metz corrects it I'll buy it again.

I will call Metz Canada and tell the support person the same thing. Actually the seller knows the support person at Metz. Too bad because it was more accurate in both Auto and ETTL. The colours were better I thought - whites were whiter and I will miss the LCD illuminating on any button press. I will miss the low battery indicator which I did not see and I took about 300 shots between both events. That de-bunks the bad reviews about battery life. It is all the about the batteries you use.

Dec 22, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Zenon Char
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

I have the answer. I contacted Metz USA support.

They told me that you cannot use FEC in Auto mode. It was never designed to work that way. It confuses the camera. In ETTL it operates normally. Metz Canada did not even know that.

Page 124 of the manual. I see a big A in the instructions for FEC or what they call EV in the instructions and I could not find any warnings not to use EV when in A mode. Those German translations


I had 14 days to return the flash. I mailed it on the described day to get it back within the 14 days. I will be contacting the seller. $10 to ship here and $20 to ship back all because the manual was incorrect. I am not happy because I really liked it. It worked better in ETTL than my Canon did.

They are going to ship it back for free and cover my costs for shipping it back to them. The manager is going to have a chat with the rep. The staff was trained a month ago.

Dec 22, 2011 at 05:50 PM
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Metz Mecablitz 58 af-2

cordellwillis wrote:
...you can do just as well with any flash that has Thyristor technology.

Why do you say that? What benefit do you think a thyristor quench has over newer IGBT quench?

I have a Vivitar 285HV that uses a thyristor, and Canon 430EX II and 580EX that use IGBT, and all three seem to behave similarly from a flash cut-off aspect.

Dec 22, 2011 at 10:43 PM

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