Photos: Metz 58 AF-1 vs Nikon SB-900 on PocketWizard FlexTT5
Clearly the SB-900 is larger then the 58 AF-1. Though I do like the fact that the Metz has a secondary reflector with 3 light output ratios. Sometimes it does make a good fill light.
Though the SB-900 looks like it has more buttons then the 58 AF-1 it is actually more intuitive to navigate the menu’s then the 58 AF-1. You can also see that the SB-900 has a better locking mechanism than the 58 AF-1. I found it MUCH easier to remove the flash from the camera or the FlexTT5 with the lock then the round wing.
One downfall of the 58 AF-1 is that it can not turn a full 360 degrees. It can turn full backwards in one direction, but not in the other direction whereas the SB-900 can do it in both directions.
The SB-900 is made in Japan and the 58 AF-1 is made in Germany.
The CLS sensor on the SB-900.
The CLS sensor on the 58 AF-1, but we are not testing CLS today, we are testing the PocketWizard’s FlexTT5 ability to do HSS on both these flashes.
So with both the flashes mounted and ready to go in TTL mode I got started.
These were the batteries that I used to take all the shots with the flashes. They are Duracell AA Pre-Charged Rechargeable NiMH Batteries. I do have Sanyo eneloop batteries but I wanted to try these out. So if you go out and buy these, make sure you get the white top version which is made in Japan. The blacktop versions are made in China.
So without further ado, here are the actual test pics. All pics are at ISO 200 and f/4 with only the shutter speed changing. One the left was the SB-900 and on the right was the 58-AF 1. The camera was set stationary and the flash was fired from the right with a Lite Genius Lite-Scoop attached just to soften the light.
* As a note, “14-Bit RAW recording not compatible with High Speed Sync (HSS)” is what PocketWizard says so these pictures were all taken as JPG’s. So please forgive the white balance even though I manually set the K setting at 5560.
1/8000 sec – The maximum shutter speed for the Nikon D700.
Yes your eyes do not deceive you, that is a red dot which means that is a Leica Summicron-R 50mm (E55) f/2 lens. I’ve actually converted that to use on a Nikon system with a Leica for Nikon-F bayonet. I will do that review later.
- Nikon D700
- Nikon 50mm f/1.4
A reader asked if I liked using the Metz flash with the pocketwizards. Now that the 58 AF-2 digital is out, I haven’t been able to try that model. While both models performed almost equally at the hight shutter speeds, the lower shutter speeds seemed inconsistent using the 58 AF-1. I have both speedlights and I am happy that I have both and am able to use both. I have yet been able to use this in a portrait setting but I hopefully will soon.
As a side note – when I first meet Joe “Numnuts” McNally and David “Strobist” Hobby at the Flash Bus Tour I truly saw what TTL vs. full manual was all about. The ability to control flashes manually was nice, but imagine being able to fire off ~50 speedlights all at the same time. That’s exactly what Joe McNally was able to do with Nikon CLS. If you had to do that with PocketWizard’s or any type of triggering system, you would have needed a transmitter and 50 receivers! It was pretty amazing!
I hope you enjoyed reading this. If you are interested in any other type of reviews please feel free to comment below and if I have the capability I will try to do the review!