Well the Sunpak 511 I use with my ETRsi is no longer cutting it. Decent flash, but I got the ETRsi so I could get more flash control. Especially rear curtain synch, etc.
So it looks like the sensible way to go is to get a Metz. And since I am getting a pretty decent tax refund this year, I think I will need to seriously look into it.
Thing is, I am not going to have THAT much to blow on a flash. I figure paying off credit cards, car payments, angry bookies, etc. will have to take up most of my tax rebate. Frugality would be nice.
Which seems at odd with the Metz system.
Here is my conundrum -
1) Figuring out how all of the Metz stuff works together is a PAIN. The website doesn't seem that clear. It looks like I will need an SCA386 module. But do I need cords for that too? And what about these "track adapters" and such that they mention but do not talk about much? What would I need to get a WORKING TTL flash system going on my ETRsi.
2) Compatibility - I have the ETRsi as well as an N80. Ideally, if I sink some cash into this I would like to get something that will work between the two. But it seems that to get FULL Nikon compatibility I'd need to get an expensive flash that does 3D Matrix Flash. Then again, I'm wondering if I DO need that.... ANY help on that issue would be nice.
3) Handle or Shoe mount? I have a Speedgrip so I can shoe mount a flash easily if I need to. And I can always get a Stroboframe. I am just not sure which way to go on this. Some of the shoemounts are pretty cheap on the used market. And they would do 95% of what I want. But are they worth even the $100ish price? Plus I worry that they need some sort of external battery pack or something (again the Metz site seems sketchy on some things).
4) Metz or maybe something else? Sunpak? I like my 511, but I have heard iffy things about the newer stuff. Any feedback on that?
I can't help you (I own a Vivitar 285). but Metz is imported by Bogen. I talked to them a couple years ago when purchasing a Gitzo tripod and they were very helpful on the phone. they can be reached at 201-818-9500. probably tomorrow since it's after 5PM in Jersey. vis-a-vis metz, the bogen website (bogenphoto.com) seems most productive if you click on the metz symbol at the very top of the page. if you go in through "Products" for example, you don't seem to get very far.
Hey, Robert, this is one that I've over-researched! I've got a ton of Metz units. The only Sunpak that is worth anything is the 120J. And, I wouldn't worry about all the 3D-metering-does-it-all-for-you crap, it really isn't worth it. Hell, I rarely use TTL, the Metz units are so accurate I use it on Auto most of the time.
The SCA module goes on the camera, and then the flash unit (shoe mount) attaches to the SCA module. It just slips on and locks into the flash. For the handle mounts (45, 60, 70 series), you'll have to get an SCA300A cord, which attaches to the SCA module and locks into the side of the flash, except for the 70, which will attach to most of the SCA modules directly.
For your Bronica, you'll need the SCA386 (300 series). For the F80/N80 series, there are a bunch of adapters, dependent on which strobe you choose. Here's the link to the chooser:
There are 300 series SCA's, and 3000/3002 SCA's. The 300's are the "basic" adapters, they usually only show flash ready and correct fire. The 3000 series allows for more advanced features, such as auto sync speed, rear-curtain sync, etc.
As far as the type of strobe goes, it depends on what you want to do. The best part is with Metz, you can get a strobe and use it on all your cameras! Here are my recommendations:
For wedding/location shooting, where you may need a lot of power and long life, the 60 series kicks-ass. The 45 series is great too, but you may have to get a Quantum battery 2 to give the extra power and the 45 series recycles a bit slow. I use 60CT-4s for weddings with 45CT-4s for backups. The CL (current) and the older CT units are the same, except the CL's use a LED instead of neon light for the "ready" light...the only thing about these are: they only work with the 300 series adapters. With 3000 series adapters, they don't take full advantage of the special features (your N80 would still work in TTL, but you wouldn't have all the stuff a speedlight would give you)
I keep a 40MZ3i in my camera bag for my travel and general shooting, with the zoom reflector, modeling light, buzzer, etc, this is one great flash for all-around usage. And, the 40 series allows for usage with the 300 & 3000 series adapters (it'll adapt to your Nikon and utilize almost all features.
The 50 series (and the new 70 series) is a combination of the above two: power, features, handlemount, etc.
I wouldn't get anything less than a 40MZ_-i series. The 32 series is nice, but a bit underpowered. The 40 is a great size and fits INSIDE my camera bag, next to my A12 backs.
The bad thing about the 60 series is that you MUST have the damn battery pack attached at all times. This means WEIGHT...I mean W-E-I-G-H-T. But, if your using this for a wedding, it's worth it. The 45 can be operated with a cluster of 6AA or nicad or power pack. The 40 series takes 4AA, nicad, ni-mh, or power pack. The 50 & 70 have their own clusters of Ni-MH, Ni-Cd or you can get a special power pack for them.
If you plan on doing location work, a stroboframe QR66 ("dennis reggie" bracket) can be adapted to work with all the strobes. My bracket is set up for my Hassy to allow a PocketWizard, 40MZ, 45/60, "modeling/focusing" light (video light for focusing in low light situations) and SCA adapter by a bit milling and custom work. It works great. When I don't want to have to carry this 2' tall thing, I'll put the 40MZ3i on the prism, attach my Winder CW, and off I go. You can also use the sidebar for the 45/60 series. It's a really sturdy bar that doesn't move. But, I'm a stickler for single catchlights, dead-centered overhead flash, etc. so I use mine on my custom bracket.
You may want to consider getting one of these units USED from a reputable store (avoid E-Gay). These strobes are a few years old, but will save you immensly on cost and get you a good unit that'll last for years.
BTW, the support on Metz (provided by Bogen in NJ) is great. They are very professional and reliable. Unlike Sunpak. I use to have 522, 611 & 622 units. I could never get parts to fix them. So, I hacked them a bit and use them as location "background lighters".
The newer Metz units are nice too, but unless you want new, the older units will do just as good. I think I'm going to buy a pair of 54Mz-3 units for secondary backup strobes. The best thing is: my SCA adapters all transfer from one to another!
The weight and balance of each unit is remarkable. I've never seen one that isn't. They're sturdy too. I've dropped mine so many times, it isn't even funny anymore. But, I've never had to send a strobe back yet, and I've never had to get any parts, except for the wide-angle filter on my 40MZ, which I ripped off and threw at and airport rent-a-cop when he accused me "hiding contraband" in my camera equipment, but that's another story.
You can go to bogen's website and fill out the form for them to send you literature: www.bogenphoto.com. They'll usually send you your stuff within a few days!
You won't regret getting a Metz. Hell, the only strobes I think are worth anything are Quantum Q-flash and Metz units. Everything else is junk to me (even the "manufacturer's" units, speedlights, etc)
BTW, I think the SCA adapter that fits most Nikons is the 3402 and for handlemounts you'll also need the 3000C cable.
And, if you're really wanting to get a good flash. And have about $600 to spend, the QFlash is the best you can get. But, you have to carry a battery pack all the time. The Sunpak 120J/120JTTL is great too, and allows you to use 4AA or the HV pack with it. I use the 120J, barebulb or on a monopod for fill during weddings...
Thanks for the info.
My problem is figuring out what Metz MEANS in that little table they give you when you search for an adapter.
For example for the 40MZ-3i, you get the following -
TTL Flash Control - It says it works with : Camera/Adapter/Flash/Combination.
But then pretty much EVERYTHING else is only only listed as being a feature of the flash.
Such as automatic flash synch (which is ODD on a camera with a leaf shutter...isn't EVERYTHING synched?) or Rear Curtain.
Does this mean the features won't work on my ETRsi?
Well, I found part of my answer.
Apparently to get rear-curtain synch you simply turn on an AE prism AND use an SCA unit. According to Tamron/Bronica this is the way you do it. The SCA adapter can't link with the electronic shutter so when you turn the AE prism system on, it will keep the shutter open and THEN fire the flash.
Which makes me wonder at what point in the shutter cycle the flash is triggered.
Aggie, well, the Mamiya 6 & 7's don't have a dedicated SCA adapter, so you'll end up using the "standard PC" cord to attach it. That's the 5521 cord. Or the 5531 which is the hotshoe to Metz 45 adapter. I'm assuming that you have the CL-1/CT-3/4/5 series. The CT-1 takes some weird cable like 5520 for PC and 5523 for hotshoe.
The canon F1-N (New?) requires the 310 or 311 cable AND the SCA300A adapter for handlemount flashes. It's that piece that clips on the SCA adapter and goes to the flash. With the canon, you'll get the auto-flash sync, flash-ready light, and auto-aperture control.
BTW, with LS lenses, the "auto-sync" does nothing. It's for FP shutters where the adapter signals the camera to automatically set the sync speed to max (if higher) so you don't accidentally over set the camera.
Even with TTL, I rarely use my 45/60s in TTL mode. Except when I have tubes on my hassy and a bunch of filters. The auto setttings work great. A friend of mine shoots weddings with 2 black 7II and a pair of black 6's (Mamiyas). He has that Stroboframe Pro-T that's modified specially for 6/7's and uses 45's. Literally sets the aperture at 8 or 11 and shoots away. Never had a misfire (until his sync cord grabbed his tietack and ripped outta the PC socket...)
Oh, and BTW, on the 45's there is a clip-on wide-angle diffuser. For the Mamiya 7 with the 43, the flash exposure is great with this filter on. Just a hair of darkening on the edge of the images, kinda like a custom-edge-burn-in effect.
BTW, maybe I should get a job working at Metz...hehehe... http://apug.org/forum/html/emoticons/smile.gif
You forgot to mention that the little sca adapters are freakin expensive...I have them for the minolta, mamiya, and the Bronica...owich! I use the CT 60-4...powerful unit that, and you can replace the dry fit cell in to for cheap..