A short tutorial on old compact Metz flashes

Started Feb 8, 2007 | Discussions
philzucker
philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,463
A short tutorial on old compact Metz flashes
1

I think I seem to acquire a mild case of FBA (Flash Buying Addiction) recently; while not finding the time to use them properly (yet!), I'm busy building a small collection of old compact Metz flashes of the 32 Z/MZ and 40 MZ series. I got all of them for less than 100 Euros (some for less than 50 Euros), and if you know their limitations they are quite worth their money - as excellent, reliable and consistent flashes. Since not all their features are documented online, here a short tutorial on what to look out for if you want to buy a used compact Metz flash of this series for your Pentax DSLR.

But don't forget to check first Jens R's site on Metz and other flashes:
http://www.jr-worldwi.de/photo/flash_technique.html

Okay, here we go:

The compact flashes of the 32 Z/MZ and 40 MZ series need an SCA module to make contact to the camera. For Pentax users there are three currently available modules that make sense (for the older analog modules check out Jens R's page):

  • the simple and cheap SCA 301 (around 8 Euros) - giving only a flash sync connection without any transmission of camera data to the flash;

  • the SCA 3702 (expensive, around 40 Euros), the dedicated Pentax AF adapter that transmit all sorts of camera data to the flash (e.g. ISO, aperture, focal length);

  • the SCA 3083 (even more expensive, around 50 Euros) that allows the flash to act as a wireless slave in different combinations.

You will use the 3702 (or it's predecessor, the 3701) for a flash directly connected to your Pentax DSLR; then you can use it in Auto, some models even in "Smart Auto" mode (check out Jens' page for details on this); with the *ist D and Ds there is even TTL support (albeit limited to ISO 200 and 400). There is currently no P-TTL/HSS support for those flashes, and there seems to be none in sight.

Used with the SCA 301 you get a manual flash that is ideal for remote triggering by standard radio triggers or by conventional cable; the SCA 301 has an 2,5mm plug (female) built in, and with a standard adapter you can use radio triggers and / or studio flash cables that usually come with 3,5 or 6,3 mm jacks safely and easily.

The SCA 3083 finally offers the possibility to use the flash as a remote wireless slave, triggered by another flash. The beauty is that with the MZ 40s you can use one as master and others as slaves, so Auto and TTL modes (if applicable) of all flashes can be controlled by a main flash.

So what are the features of those different models of the 32's and 40's series?

Here we go - again :

32 Z-2: Very compact model with swivel and tilt zoom reflector, but a manual one - no motorization. Works good as a TTL-flash for D/Ds. Works also in Auto mode (three auto aperture settings), but has no "Smart Auto", since ISO and aperture are not read by the flash. No AF assist light. Manual mode has no output regulation; only possibility to reduce the output is to switch into "Winder" mode (max. 2 flashes per second, 1/15000s each).

32 MZ-3: Same as 32 Z-3, save these differences: Slightly larger; motorized zoom reflector; with AF assist light.

40 MZ-1: Larger and more powerful model with motorized swivel and tilt zoom reflector. TTL with the D/Ds, Auto, Manual and "Smart Auto" modes with other Pentax DSLRs. Stroboscopic mode. Very fine regulation of (maximum) output in Manual and Auto modes. Extra wide-angle diffuser (built in). User programmable. Modelling Light mode. AF assist light. Can act as master or slave for wireless control; slave flash must have an SCA 3083 (or earlier model).

40 MZ-1i: Same as 40 MZ-1, but AFAIK supports some additional flash modes on a few special cameras (non-Pentax). If P-TTL support is ever added from Metz with an updated SCA-adapter, the "i"-Flashes are the most likely to support it; but no guarantees here …

40 MZ-2: A tiny bit smaller and rounder than the 40 MZ-1, without Modelling Light mode and without the built-in wide-angle diffuser. Slightly different control layout. Beeper for different acoustic signals (e.g. "flash ready") that can be turned off. Second flash reflector (can be turned off) for fill light (if main reflector is bounced). Two different ND filters included for basic output regulation of the second reflector. Other features as with MZ-1. No "i"-Model. Beware: bouncer caps like those from Sto-Fen that are made for the 40 MZ-2 won't fit the MZ-1 or MZ-3 models - the MZ-2 is slightly smaller!

40 MZ-3: Same size, features and layout as MZ-1, but with second reflector as MZ-2. No ND filters for second reflector. Acoustic signaling feature same as with the MZ-2.

40 MZ-3i: Same as MZ-3, but additional support for some cameras (non-Pentax). See 40 MZ-1i.

If you buy any of those flash guns used, beware of descriptions saying "rarely used". Make sure that the flash was at least used once every three months; else the flash can detoriate internally and malfunction is possible.

Some English language user manuals are available for download:

40 MZ-1(i): http://www.metz.de/en/service_support/service/bedienungsanleitungen/download.83.pdf

40 MZ-3(i): http://www.metz.de/en/service_support/service/bedienungsanleitungen/download.82.pdf

For the 32 MZ-3 you'll find only a German language version: http://www.metz.de/service_support/service/bedienungsanleitungen/download.143.pdf .

No manuals available for the 32 Z-2 and the 40 MZ-2.

Do anything on your own risk with these fine flashes - if you want to get one of them!

Here a peek on my growing Metz family - from left to right, back row: 40 MZ-1, 32 MZ-3, 40 MZ-1i; front row (for decoration only): Metz 20 BC 6, Pentax AF200T. Taken with a 40 MZ-2 on my Ds (main reflector bounced, fill reflector for some nice specular highlights). A 40 MZ-3 is on its way to me.

-- hide signature --

Phil

GMT +1

barneycg Regular Member • Posts: 239
Re: A short tutorial on old compact Metz flashes

I love my 40MZ-2 ... got it BNIB for the princely sum of £25

Quick question ... I was looking at the wireless adaptor sca 3083 but I can't find out if it can be triggered using the onboard flash of the DS.

philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,463
Re: A short tutorial on old compact Metz flashes

barneycg wrote:

I love my 40MZ-2 ... got it BNIB for the princely sum of £25

Good price!

Quick question ... I was looking at the wireless adaptor sca 3083
but I can't find out if it can be triggered using the onboard flash
of the DS.

Yes, you can. The SCA 3083 allows for different modes of pre-flash suppression, and the first one of those works nicely with the Ds' onboard flash.

-- hide signature --

Phil

GMT +1

JensR Forum Pro • Posts: 17,971
Re: A short tutorial on old compact Metz flashes

Hi Phil!

Excellent overview, thanks! And thanks for the plug

  • the SCA 3702 (expensive, around 40 Euros), the dedicated Pentax

AF adapter that transmit all sorts of camera data to the flash
(e.g. ISO, aperture, focal length);

The 3701 works exactly the same BUT it has problem with Auto modes. This was first reported by RichardDay and verified by me (and maybe others). We assume it is due to the communication of Smart Auto mode values. The problem "only" occurs with higher ISO sensitivities. The 3701 is slightly cheaper than the 3702 (and more common on the sued market). But I would urge anyone to either buy the 3702 and get proper Smart Auto for the whole ISO range, or the 301 and save money with "dumb" Auto flash.

  • the SCA 3083 (even more expensive, around 50 Euros) that allows

the flash to act as a wireless slave in different combinations.

It is over-engineered (IMO) if you want to use it as a dumb trigger. It can be set to ignore a preflash (which is hand) but the high price is due to it enabling wireless TTL and even preflash (with other brands). EDIT: You mentioned this further down, sorry.
Dumb triggers can be bought for 10 Euros, but they will not ignore preflashes.

for details on this); with the *ist D and Ds there is even TTL
support (albeit limited to ISO 200 and 400).

You can use flash exposure compensation to remedy that: For each ISO step beyond 400, the TTL metering overexposes by one stop. When in Av mode, EC becomes FEC and thus it is easy to correct (within limits of course).

cable; the SCA 301 has an 2,5mm plug (female) built in,

Really? Are you sure you don't mean the 3001? I only have the 301 and I think it does not offer this. I'll check tonight.

40 MZ-3: Same size, features and layout as MZ-1, but with second
reflector as MZ-2. No ND filters for second reflector. Acoustic
signaling feature same as with the MZ-2.

I'm pretty sure my 40 has that ND filter. I'm not sure though whether it is for the second reflector or the auto metering cell (to create overexposure)

40 MZ-3i: Same as MZ-3, but additional support for some cameras
(non-Pentax). See 40 MZ-1i.

Good info, always wondered about that one.

Here a peek on my growing Metz family

I'll spare the forum a collection of my Metz and Braun SCA flashes. I suffered from FBA beyond reasonening

So I'll just say that I use my 40-MZ3 and 32-MZ3 intensively and sometimes together.

Cheers
Jens

PS: Sorry, it took me 3+ hours to complete the post, so apologies to anyone who postes something similar before I did.

-- hide signature --

'Well, 'Zooming with your feet' is usually a stupid thing as zoom rings are designed for hands.' (Me, 2006)
http://www.jensroesner.de/
--=! Condemning proprietary batteries since 1976 !=--

philzucker
OP philzucker Veteran Member • Posts: 9,463
Re: A short tutorial on old compact Metz flashes

Hi, Jens!

JensR wrote:

Hi Phil!

Excellent overview, thanks! And thanks for the plug

You're welcome!

  • the SCA 3083 (even more expensive, around 50 Euros) that allows

the flash to act as a wireless slave in different combinations.

It is over-engineered (IMO) if you want to use it as a dumb
trigger. It can be set to ignore a preflash (which is hand) but the
high price is due to it enabling wireless TTL and even preflash
(with other brands). EDIT: You mentioned this further down, sorry.
Dumb triggers can be bought for 10 Euros, but they will not ignore
preflashes.

Yup. With "in different combinations" I meant the ability for a master/slave control circuit with one MZ40 acting as master, and others with the SCA 3083 as slaves. For a dumb trigger it's indeed quite expensive.

cable; the SCA 301 has an 2,5mm plug (female) built in,

Really? Are you sure you don't mean the 3001? I only have the 301
and I think it does not offer this. I'll check tonight.

I have two 301s - and both have that unobtrusive hole. I asked Metz support what plug to use, and they said any standard 2.5mm one would do. It works!

40 MZ-3: Same size, features and layout as MZ-1, but with second
reflector as MZ-2. No ND filters for second reflector. Acoustic
signaling feature same as with the MZ-2.

I'm pretty sure my 40 has that ND filter. I'm not sure though
whether it is for the second reflector or the auto metering cell
(to create overexposure)

Ahh, my fault. I stand corrected. The MZ-3 has them - as I wrote the MZ-3 I recently bought hasn't reached me yet, and so I looked in the manual to find out - but I overlooked it. Yes, it has both grad filters for the secondary reflector.

-- hide signature --

Phil

GMT +1

JensR Forum Pro • Posts: 17,971
Re: A short tutorial on old compact Metz flashes

Quick question ... I was looking at the wireless adaptor sca 3083
but I can't find out if it can be triggered using the onboard flash
of the DS.

Yes, you can. The SCA 3083 allows for different modes of pre-flash
suppression, and the first one of those works nicely with the Ds'
onboard flash.

Just to make sure, because there's often confusion about that:

You can trigger it, but not control it. No wireless P-TTL. The camera will do the preflash, adjust its own flash, and for the main flash, the slave flash fires in addition. Either in its manual or auto mode.

Cheers
Jens

-- hide signature --

'Well, 'Zooming with your feet' is usually a stupid thing as zoom rings are designed for hands.' (Me, 2006)
http://www.jensroesner.de/
--=! Condemning proprietary batteries since 1976 !=--

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