Photos: Metz 58 AF-1 vs Nikon SB-900 on PocketWizard FlexTT5
To the left, we have theÂ Metz mecablitz 58 AF-1 digital (N for Nikon). To the right we have the Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlight.
Clearly the SB-900 is larger then the 58 AF-1. Though I do like the fact that the Metz has aÂ 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 moreÂ intuitiveÂ 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 aÂ 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 soÂ 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 notÂ deceiveÂ you, that is a red dot which means that is aÂ Leica Summicron-R 50mm (E55) f/2 lens. I’ve actually converted that to use on a Nikon system with aÂ 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 seemedÂ inconsistentÂ 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 aÂ portraitÂ setting but I hopefully will soon.
As a side note – when I first meet Joe “Numnuts” McNally and David “Strobist” Hobby at theÂ 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 theÂ capabilityÂ I will try to do the review!
Thanks for the Flash review.
My SB-800 (which I use with my D-300 and D-700 is giving meissues. instead of having it repaired, I wanted to look for a replacement and use the SB-800 as a slave.
didn’t think there was a difference in power between the 800, 900 and the Metz 58 AF
I was going to stay with Nikon, but always felt (especialy during the medium format film wedding days) that Metz was a hi quality product. I woul dlike a round reflector, but quantum too expensive a hot shoe flash.
thanks again for the review.
Love Leica lenses but thinking of a Zeiss 35 f-2 for my D-700
Hi, Thanks for your review. I have a Metz 58AF-1, really enjoy the nice color and durability that turned me away from Canon flashes.
My question is: Doesn’t the Metz 58AF in your test need to be set on HSS so the PW can properly expose with the Metz? These shots look exactly like my HSS test results with the HSS turned off. As I understand it, the PW is basically just a glorified “wireless cable” from the camera hot shoe to the flash, so I would expect the HSS on the Metz would need to be turned on.