Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

Started Feb 21, 2011 | Discussions
Catalana Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

I just got done updating firmware version 3.0 for my Metz 48 AF-1 but found little to no information on how to enable it. I guess "Metz" is a bit behind :-). Anyway, I went ahead and played with the buttons and finally figured it out. It is a great feature, so I decided to put together a small "how-to" for all the other Metz 48 AF-1 owners...

The first image shows how to enter the slave mode by repeatedly and simultaneously pressing both - and + keys as the SELECT function.

Then pressing the + key actually enables the slave mode. At this point you'd have wireless P-TTL enabled (provided you have synced the channel between camera and flash).

A further press of the + key puts the flash into M (Manual) mode. This the "Servo" mode. You can now use the "built-in" camera flash to trigger the Metz 48 AF-1 with pre-flash suppression. Output strength of the flash is incrementally controlled via the + and - keys (once the display has settled). You can use your built-in flash in Standard/Red-Eye Reduction/Slow/Rear Curtain and Wieless modes. When setting the flash parameter to Wireless, you are still shooting "manually".

One of the first things I did, was to test the Servo mode using "Rear Curtain Shutter Sync" at a slow shutter speed because the delay between the pre-flash and the real flash is quite obvious. (Note the slight trailing blur of the green LED). Oops, it didn't seem to work at 1/2 sec. Hmmmm....

I ran a gamut of small tests and found out, that the slowest "Rear Curtain" speed is 1/10 sec. Below that it does not trigger. I would be interested to see if someone can verify this! All other "legal" modes seem to work as advertised.

I hope this was informative and if anyone wants to add or correct things, please go ahead.
Cheers

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math guy
math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,827
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

Catalana wrote:

You can now use the "built-in" camera flash to trigger the Metz 48 AF-1 with pre-flash suppression. Output strength of the flash is incrementally controlled via the + and - keys (once the display has settled). You can use your built-in flash in Standard/Red-Eye Reduction/Slow/Rear Curtain and Wieless modes. When setting the flash parameter to Wireless, you are still shooting "manually".

I have used my Metz 48 in wireless mode, but haven't needed to do so in conjunction with these features. Are you saying that these features (in wireless mode) are new with the firmware update?

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OP Catalana Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

Well, it isn't exactly using the "Wireless" flash mode. Neither does the Metz flash need to be synced to a channel. Effectively you have a remote flash in manual/dumb mode that is triggered by the built-in camera flash instead of radio triggers. The pre-flash is suppressed and light output intensity is controlled by manually setting the values from 1/1 (full power) to 1/128. You still need to have the Metz see the flash from the camera and I haven't tested the maximum distance. Also, from what I have read so far, this apparently does not work with an external flash mounted on the camera, i.e., it only works with the built-in flash, but don't my word as gospel.

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math guy
math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,827
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

Catalana wrote:

Well, it isn't exactly using the "Wireless" flash mode. Neither does the Metz flash need to be synced to a channel. Effectively you have a remote flash in manual/dumb mode that is triggered by the built-in camera flash instead of radio triggers. The pre-flash is suppressed and light output intensity is controlled by manually setting the values from 1/1 (full power) to 1/128.

Aha, I get it.

Do you know whether it would respond to the limited built-in flash if the camera is set to be a controller only but not contribute to the exposure? I ask, since it is supposed to ignore the pre-flash.

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OP Catalana Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

I went into the menu and toggled the built-in flash between "Master" and "Controller" mode (Pentax K-7 'Custom [5] 31. Flash in wireless mode'). It doesn't seem to affect the functionality between the camera and the Metzs' servo mode. Exposures appeared to be identical.

All that is happening, is the Metz recognizes the main flash and triggers with whatever power setting is has configured. In other words, it does not receive any particular data from the camera on which it could base an exposure value as determined by the camera. Totally manual...although the built-in flash still has its flash EV to contribute.

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Russell Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 12,617
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

math guy wrote:

Do you know whether it would respond to the limited built-in flash if the camera is set to be a controller only but not contribute to the exposure? I ask, since it is supposed to ignore the pre-flash.

Doesn't work at 1/1 and 1/2 with my unit. Any lower power setting works. 1/2 will sometimes fire, very random.

The previous post about this not working with an external flash is wrong. It will work with an external flash as long as that flash is P-TTL. A manual or auto flash without the preflash will not trigger the Metz.

Thank you
Russell

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OP Catalana Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

Hi Russel...

I did some more test shots and got similar results in "Wireless Flash" mode. The previous shots were done at 1/8 power (as I could see from the last settings). So once again, I toggled thru the Master/Controller parameters on the camera, setting the output power to 1/1 & 1/2 on the flash unit. In both cases (Master/Controller) and at 1/1 & 1/2 power, the Servo flash unit did not expose at all or intermittently.
Below that it was all fine again.

I posted this thread on the "other" forum as well, and Philbaum mentioned that by setting the camera's built-in flash to "Wireless Mode", you could have one or several Metz flashes operate in P-TTL mode and then others running in Servo/manual mode. The flashes running in P-TTL mode would expose with pre-flash functionality, while the Servo/manual mode flashes would be considered like fill flashes. It would make sense that they should discharge at less than 1/2 of the power without overpowering the key-flash, I think.

This is turning out to be quite an interesting exercise, and my head is starting to spin a bit with all the different permutations.

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OP Catalana Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

@math guy

I just re-read your question, and after some more tests, I realize my error. Anyway, I did some more test shots, but was more careful about reflective surfaces.

Indeed, the built-in flash set as "Controller" in Wireless mode does not contribute to the exposure, but it does trigger the Metz flash in Servo mode, although only at a power setting lower than 1/2.

There is something far more complex at work here than I can easily describe, considering how there is a cut-off point with Rear Curtain Shutter Sync speed and the power output threshold of the flash with Controller mode.

Maybe someday I'll have the patience to sit down and create a table with all the various permutations between camera and flash settings.

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math guy
math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,827
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

Thanks for the answer. I am such a novice with flash that I don't know whether I'll use this much or not. I can imagine wanting rear curtain flash once in a while, though, so I'll at least go ahead and update the firmware so that it's ready when I am.

This, by the way, is one reason to choose Metz over Sigma flashes. When I was shopping for a flash last year, the deciding factor for me was that Metz can be updated via the internet, whereas Sigma has to be mailed into a service center for a free update. Not sure if that's still the case with Sigma, but now I'm glad I chose the Metz for that reason.

Thanks for the info!

Catalana wrote:

@math guy

I just re-read your question, and after some more tests, I realize my error. Anyway, I did some more test shots, but was more careful about reflective surfaces.

Indeed, the built-in flash set as "Controller" in Wireless mode does not contribute to the exposure, but it does trigger the Metz flash in Servo mode, although only at a power setting lower than 1/2.

There is something far more complex at work here than I can easily describe, considering how there is a cut-off point with Rear Curtain Shutter Sync speed and the power output threshold of the flash with Controller mode.

Maybe someday I'll have the patience to sit down and create a table with all the various permutations between camera and flash settings.

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math guy
math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,827
bad question

I just updated my firmware and tried this out. It occurs to me now that my question before was kind of a dumb question, since Servo mode is intended for use when the camera is not in wireless flash mode. And my question was about the controller flash in wireless mode.

I think overall I prefer to use TTL flash (at least until I learn enough about flash to use it in manual mode well). But it's nice to know I have this option if/when the need for it arises. So thanks for pointing out that the update was available and for the tutorial.

Catalana wrote

:

@math guy

I just re-read your question, and after some more tests, I realize my error. Anyway, I did some more test shots, but was more careful about reflective surfaces.

Indeed, the built-in flash set as "Controller" in Wireless mode does not contribute to the exposure, but it does trigger the Metz flash in Servo mode, although only at a power setting lower than 1/2.

There is something far more complex at work here than I can easily describe, considering how there is a cut-off point with Rear Curtain Shutter Sync speed and the power output threshold of the flash with Controller mode.

Maybe someday I'll have the patience to sit down and create a table with all the various permutations between camera and flash settings.

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OP Catalana Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: bad question

Hi math guy...

As the saying goes, there are no dumb questions and I myself am learning a few new things. I have posted this "how-to" on the other forum as well and from feed back there, I have come to understand the workings of the flash system better. In the process, some of the findings haven't made it into this thread, so I'll post a quick 'copy and paste' from one of my posts in the other forum:

This was a reply to someone correcting my assertion that the on-board flash in "Controller" mode does not contribute light to an exposure...

I stand corrected. I took some test shots with a highly reflective surface in the frame and it shows some contribution by the on-board flash (in Controller mode). To further verify, I used TAv and M mode on the camera (K-7) at 1/160sec and F10 and no flash, to get a relatively black exposure with low level ambient light. Then I popped up the flash in "Controller" mode and repeated the shots with TAv and M modes at 1/160sec F10. I can clearly see a reflection from the chrome trim on my bookshelf, albeit quite dim.

In some situations the output level of the on board flash may be negligible, but if one has a studio set-up with reflective surfaces that should only be lighted from specific angles, this would be a real bummer. Furthermore, I was able to replicate it on my K-x. Other modes are also affected as far as I can tell. I could not find a work around to this issue.

In addition, a Metz flash in Servo mode can be used in conjunction with a Metz in "Slave" mode while having "Wireless" settings enabled on the camera. The slave flash will use pre-flash data, while the servo flash will suppress it and use the manual output level settings (the fractional settings of 1/4 to 1/128....Full and 1/2 power will not be available on the servo flash [tested with Metz 48 AF-1]).

Hope that helps.

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math guy
math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,827
Re: bad question

Catalana wrote:

Hope that helps.

When one knows as little about flash as I do, every little bit helps!
Thanks again.

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math guy
math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,827
works with point-and-shoot cameras

After updating the firmware, I starting thinking about what situations Servo mode might be useful. One thing I thought about was using it with my Canon P&S camera which has no hot shoe. At first it didn't work. But then I came across another thread:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=37771646

James explained that the P&S's flash is so weak that the Metz needs to be pretty close to it with the sensor directly facing it. I found that it was feasible to do so by holding it a little above the camera. Of course, it takes a little tinkering to get the flash output right, but that's a simple adjustment.

So now I have a flash that works with a camera which cost about half as much as the flash did! Not that I use the P&S that often, but it may come in handy once in a while.

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OP Catalana Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

Nice, more bang for your buck. What is the needed distance from the P/S to the flash sensor (I assume line of sight between the two)? Did you swivel the flash head to your target and the sensor to the P/S?

Edit: No worries, I read the other thread....

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math guy
math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,827
Re: Enabling "Servo" mode on Metz 48 AF-1....

Catalana wrote:

Nice, more bang for your buck. What is the needed distance from the P/S to the flash sensor (I assume line of sight between the two)? Did you swivel the flash head to your target and the sensor to the P/S?

Edit: No worries, I read the other thread....

Even so, here's what I did.

Distance: As far as my left hand could reach, so a little over 2 feet from the camera. That was with the camera flash turned down to -2 stops. I suppose it could probably be 4 or 5 feet away at full flash. The problem is that since it needs to be basically in front of the camera, it needs to be moved out of the field of view. In order to do that, it needs to be pretty close to the camera.

Direction: This was the more important change, I think -- making the sensor face the camera. And yes, I did swivel the flash so that it pointed up to the ceiling while the sensor faced the camera.

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