How do you protect your Metz from freezing over? (a little story)

Started Feb 20, 2009 | Discussions thread
B Gavin
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Re: How do you protect your Metz from freezing over? (a little story)
In reply to thanos, Feb 21, 2009

thanos wrote:

For over two years now I use a couple Metz 54i flash guns fitted with
the Canon SCA 3102 shoe and I'm very happy with the light they
produce and their reliability.

Last night I was shooting a local event under very cold weather (-5
C). After about half an hour the back screen of the flash blanked and
the gun stopped responding. I turned it off then on and the screen
came back but it refused to have any communication with the camera
(Canon 1D MarkII) although it displayed the menus and numbers. I
could navigate with the Mode button but no communication with the
camera happened in any mode. It didn't even fire with the test
button! Needless to say I shot the rest of the event in ISO 1600.

Anyways back at home I switched the SCA adapter with a 301 shoe and
the flash triggered ok. I put the SCA shoe on a second 54i I have and
it couldn't trigger even in test. So, I figured the problem was with
the shoe. After about 20 mins in the warm room the shoe came back
from the dead and started working flawlessly. I tested it thoroughly
and now it works fine.

So, what do you think I should do? I'm a long time user of the Metz
flashes (I have 6 of them) and I find it hard to go to a Canon model.
Do you have any stories shooting with flash in very low temps?

Without actually having the equipment in my hands to check - I'm only makinmg educated guesses, but agree with the comments that your flash batteries are likely the problem and not the SCA adapter.

I'm also a long time Metz user, and this info you can confirm for yourself: The test button on the back of the flash will fire the flash EVEN WITH NO SCA UNIT ATTACHED TO THE FLASH! So the type of SCA module you had attached would only affect the battery drain required for flash operation - slightly more for camera communication with a dedicated module vs none for the SCA 301 unit.

The temperature you mentioned (-5C) isn't really all that cold, so you might want to check your battery conditions as well. I've used a Metz in conditions (with wind chill) of -40C recently without issues - except for my poor hands!

Turning the flash off for a brief period would let the batteries recover slightly - but in reduced temperatures - obviously not enough. The other operations you did were inside and as the batteries warmed up - looks to me like everything else simply returned to normal.

Switching to Canon will still put the same 4 x AA cells in an exposed position on top of your camera and really won't change anything. Some Metz models have an an external power connection and will let you plug into an external power pack that you can keep in a warm pocket. I believe the Metz P50 Power Pack will work for your model, but there are likely third party units that will also do the same job.

Good luck!

BG

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