Smart camera sensing and dedicated flash units for compact digicams from Metz
A compact flash unit is not, typically, something to get excited about. But two new units from Metz, the German company that specialises in alternative dedicated flash solutions, launched at PMA this week demonstrate some impressive technology to bring powerful and versatile flash performance to compact digital cameras – and with the 28 CS-2 model even to compact cameras that don't have a flash shoe or sync cord socket.
Metz 28 AF-30 hot-shoe dedicated
The Metz 28 AF-30 Digital is a pocket-sized dedicated flash unit that supports advanced camera feature compatibility
First of all, the Metz 28 AF-30 Digital (also known as AF-3), which is a hot shoe dedicated compact flash compatible with units available for Canon, Konica Minolta, Nikon and Olympus cameras. Of particular note to Canon and Nikon users, their versions are compatible with the latest advanced Nikon i-TTL and Canon E-TTL flash modes.
Smart-sensing 28 CS-2 Digital for wireless and shoe-less dedicated compatibility
The Metz CS-28 now incorporates an integrated flip-down bracket
If you have a very compact digital camera, you will probably be only too aware of the limitations that these types of cameras present when using their relatively puny built-in flash units. These cameras are just the sort that could seriously benefit from more flash power, but with no hot shoe or flash cord socket, you might think that option was not open to you.
However, Metz has developed a way for a separate flash unit to sense the pre-flash signature of a wide range of popular digital cameras enabling the unit to a) to synchronise correctly with the camera's own flash properly and to ensure correct flash exposures. There is no need to manually select a brand-specific mode either.
The 28 CS-2 Digital is the latest incarnation of Metz smart-sensing technology. Most compact digital cameras will routinely fire a pre-flash to help determine the correct flash power and camera exposure settings before firing the main picture-illuminating burst. Apparently, there is an agreed pre-flash flash signature system employed by the camera industry that enables Metz to identify the camera it is working in tandem with, so enabling the flash unit to fire at the right time and to contribute to a correctly exposed image.
The new 28 CS-2 Digital is pictured here with its larger predecessor that required a separate bracket.
A second-generation model, the 28 CS-2 Digital is more compact than its predecessor and incorporates a flip-out mini tripod bracket. It's also finished in silver to match the typical finish of your average compact digital camera. A comprehensive list of compatible cameras wasn't available, but according to Metz representatives on their show booth, the 28 CS-2 Digital is compatible with the majority of recent and current compact point and shoot cameras.
So it's only a flash unit, but with some impressively clever pre-flash sensing technology, the Metz 28 CS-2 Digital brings some serious flash power to users of point and shoot compacts.