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Thread: Best Flash

  1. #1
    coloav8r
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    Best Flash

    I have an SF24 D flash for my M9; but I was curious if anyone has any thoughts about whether the SF 58 is that much better.

  2. #2
    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: Best Flash

    Yes it is better and considerably larger and heavier and far more expensive. So it depends on what you are looking for. Personally I think it too unwieldy for daily use on my M9. But then, on an M camera, I would only use flash for fill flash or family shots. But that's just me.
    And welcome to the forum
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    Re: Best Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    ...it depends on what you are looking for. Personally I think it too unwieldy for daily use on my M9. But then, on an M camera, I would only use flash for fill flash or family shots.
    So the SF24 would be a good choice for fill? And will the older SF20 also work well for fill?

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    Re: Best Flash

    Tom,
    Any quality flash will work well on a Leica. I use a very small Nikon SB30 manual flash, a very tiny unit whose output can be controlled by a switch. The M8 will still control the exposure if set to auto, but I typically use it on manual. The only thing I miss on it is a bounce flash option. In my opinion the smaller the better. I have heard good things too about the small Metz digital flash unit, but have no experience with it.

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    Re: Best Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by victoriapio View Post
    Any quality flash will work well on a Leica.
    I thought one had to be careful about voltage so as to avoid frying one's camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by victoriapio View Post
    The M8 will still control the exposure if set to auto, but I typically use it on manual.
    I still have much to learn about this camera. Is it the camera or the flash that is set to auto?

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    Re: Best Flash

    Any modern flash - especially one designed for digital - will have voltages that work with any camera.

    I can set the SB30 to manual or auto and the M8 recognizes the flash. So if I have a manual exposure on the M8 I will use the manual setting on the flash to match the exposure on the M8. If I am shooting on auto with the M8 then I still have the flash set to manual and the camera will end the exposure automatically when the exposure is correct.
    I understand Metz makes a digital flash unit with bounce that is quite small yet has good power. No experience with it however.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc....html#features

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    Re: Best Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by victoriapio View Post
    I understand Metz makes a digital flash unit with bounce that is quite small yet has good power. No experience with it however.
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc....html#features
    Small, cheap, and can bounce. Looks like a winner. I read the manual for the M8 but it baffles me. Which camera setting would I use for fill flash?

    On my DSLR, I use a Metz 54MZ3 set to A, camera set to M, 1/60th f/5.6 when using the flash indoors. What setting would I use on the Leica to use the small Metz 20 C2 as an indoor flash?

  8. #8
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    Re: Best Flash

    My proceedure with flash on the M8 is to set the camera to "A" and then set the output of the flash to match the aperature setting on the lens or perhaps one stop under. This gives pretty even lighting, especially for snapshots or family portraits. As you have deduced, this is not true TTL fill flash.

    I may be wrong on this, but as far as I know the only way on the M8 or M9 to get true automatic flash fill is with a TTL compatible flash which may limit you to Leica's newest models. (They are made by Metz so perhaps there is a compatible Metz that is recognized by the camera )

    Someone mentioned that Sean Reid has just posted a review of the new Leica flash on his site, that may help as his reviews usually cover other compatible equipment, in this case flash units. (His site is a fee-based site but worth the cost (IMO), $35 for a year if I remember correctly.)

    Hope this helps...

  9. #9
    Super Duper
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    Re: Best Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by coloav8r View Post
    I have an SF24 D flash for my M9; but I was curious if anyone has any thoughts about whether the SF 58 is that much better.
    Yes, the SF58 is better and more powerful. I tried one on a M9 and sent it back immediately ... it was way to big for a M camera IMO.

    Otherwise there is no good solution for a modern bounce TTL flash on the M, and there never has been one.

    Canon and Nikon are so far ahead of Leica when it comes to integrated TTL flash systems it isn't even funny.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Peter Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Best Flash

    TTL is not necessary. Any modern low-voltage auto flash with a tilt bounce head will work. Or better yet, a or tilt and rotate head so it works both vertically and horizontally. I use a Vivitar 2500 (tilt), and sometimes an old Sunpack (tilt and rotate) that I got for almost nothing and removed the Contax TTL circuitry from. Take a couple of test shots to fine-tune exposure, and away you go.

    I've heard of people experimenting with smaller flashes that don't have tiltable bounce head by making cardboard or plastic "light conduits" to direct the light up at the ceiling. I have to try that sometime. I like the little Olympus FL20 flash I got several years ago. It's small enough to fit the M8, and it works well as a direct flash. But direct flash is not the way to go unless there's no alternative. Bounce is beautiful! Available light is even better, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

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    Re: Best Flash

    I also have great success with Vivitar 2800. It has tilt function for bounce, unfortunately no rotate for vertical shots. Cost me $30.

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    Re: Best Flash

    Two more comments/ideas:

    Comment: I have the Leica 24D flash, and it only works on TTL if you have the Menu set to auto dectect lens, even if the lens is uncoded. Otherwise it WAY over exposes the picture to the point of WHITE out. It is really odd, both my M8 and M9 have this problem. Seems like firmware or I am doing somthing really dumb and don't know it. I tried every setting I know on the flash unit, but it always seems to come back to setting the menu to auto detect lens, then it just works.

    Idea: The off camera flash cord for Nikon uses the same pin layout as Leica, so you can buy a Nikon flash extension cord and turn your little Lieca 20 or 24D flash into a off camera hand held, or in TTL mode a ceiling bounce unit. Make sure you buy the current one with the right pin layout, and don't spend the extra for the one with build in IR focus light. I just read that somewhere on the web a few months ago and it works great. (you still carry the cord around and it is doubling the bulk of your flash, but you don't need to buy a new flash, just use your 24D.

    Any ideas on the flash white out issue above would be welcome.

    Dave

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    Re: Best Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    I have the Leica 24D flash, and it only works on TTL if you have the Menu set to auto dectect lens, even if the lens is uncoded. Otherwise it WAY over exposes the picture to the point of WHITE out. It is really odd, both my M8 and M9 have this problem. Seems like firmware or I am doing somthing really dumb and don't know it. I tried every setting I know on the flash unit, but it always seems to come back to setting the menu to auto detect lens, then it just works.
    Thanks a lot for that info! The same behaviour is with Panasonic GH1 + TTL flash - when manual lenses are attached. But Panasonic GF1 work OK witch such scenario. It means a BUG in firmware.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    The off camera flash cord for Nikon uses the same pin layout as Leica, so you can buy a Nikon flash extension cord and turn your little Lieca 20 or 24D flash into a off camera hand held, or in TTL mode a ceiling bounce unit.
    But it won't help - if lens detection is OFF, right?

  14. #14
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    Re: Best Flash

    PS: Pls set camera to 2nd curtain and test again. I just found it helped some of G1\GH1 users. Maybe it will help M8, M9 too?

  15. #15
    henricus34
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    Re: Best Flash

    Has anybody used the Olympus Fl-36R on M8 or M9, it would help me to know.
    I have the small Leica Flash, but can not bounce light with it.

    Harry

  16. #16
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Best Flash

    Worked on this issue last year and concluded that all options were real compromises .

    . As indicate above only the SF24 , SF58 and a few Metz flashes will work on TTL. The SF24 works fine for fill (decent light modifier is the SFILL) . The SF58 is way too big . None of the Metz falshes are any better.

    . Lots of alternatives for small on camera flashes that will work on M or A (not TTL) . Most are suitable only for low volume limited usage as fill flash .

    . Couldn t find any on camera bounce flash alternatives that were small enough to balance on the camera.

    . Reid Reports has an excellent report on this ..bottom line is that he uses Nikon cord and keeps the flash off his M cameras. Requires technique to use effectively. IMHO most people will end up dropping their flash .

    Nothing even close to Nikon or Canon exists for the M series. I use my D700 with Gary Fong puffer for the popup flash (works great for auto fill flash) or I get serious and use the SB900 with a flash bracket and a Lightsphere .

    The other thing i found was that even the Sf24 is underpowered for any serious work even for fill flash without bounce. Outdoor portraits work nicely but indoors with an SFILL or bounce its underpowered.

    I would still like a small on camera flash that could work like an built in flash for fill situations. Something like the one available for the Olympus Ep-1. Underpowered for sure but just a small quality improvement.

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    Re: Best Flash

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveS
    The off camera flash cord for Nikon uses the same pin layout as Leica, so you can buy a Nikon flash extension cord and turn your little Lieca 20 or 24D flash into a off camera hand held, or in TTL mode a ceiling bounce unit.

    But it won't help - if lens detection is OFF, right?
    ______________________________________________
    Response: Correct, still needs to have lens detect on.
    ____________________________________________
    Lastly, I just picked up a small flash from Oympus called FL-20, it is really small, has no bounce, and only one Auto setting. (won't work on ttl) But it is about the size of a deck of cards, or smaller. So it can be fill or emergency direct. You can play with iso settings to effectively make the one auto setting work with different F stops, so in a sense you do have some control. Just started playing with it. It was clearing out at 1/2 price. Otherwise list price was too much to consider ($200 in Canada, but for $100 I went for it)

  18. #18
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    Re: Best Flash

    Have you seen FL-14?

  19. #19
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    Re: Best Flash

    YEs, but it looked like it wasn't far from the lens and I was concerned a bit about red eye. (Have no idea if it is an issue) But the real factor for me was price and shape of the FL20

    Both these also work if you have Olympus gear like EP-1, and it will work in ttl with those. So for me I like the standard baby flash size and shape of the FL-20 and the price at the time.

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