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Metz 64 AF-1 Digital Flash Review

The Metz 64 AF-1 digital flash gun is the top of the range Metz flash gun offering an impressive guide number of 64.


|  Metz 64 AF-1 in Portable Flash and Lighting
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash (8)

The new Metz 64 AF-1 digital flash gun is the top of the range Metz flash gun, and offers one of the highest outputs of any available flash gun at GN 64. The Metz 64 AF-1 is available for Canon, Nikon, Olympus / Panasonic, Pentax, and Sony, priced at £329. We test the Metz 64 AF-1 with a Canon EOS 600D, which has built in Remote TTL Master control to trigger compatible flashes off-camera. 

Metz 64 AF-1 Features

Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash (2)

The Metz 64 AF-1 is a 24-200mm zoom flash, which is a longer range over previous Metz flash units, and there is a 12mm reflector built in for even wider lenses. The GN (Guide Number) is 64 at ISO100/21 and 200mm focal length, making it one of the most powerful compact flash units available. Alternatives include the Canon 600XE-RT, at £449 with a GN of 60, and the Nikon SB900/910 with a GN of 54 priced at £339.

The flashgun is designed to handle heat, with a built-in temperature sensor and info display screen letting you know if the flash is getting warm. There is an under exposure warning and the flash will work wirelessly in remote master / slave modes - to work with Canon / Nikon and other compatible kit - when set to remote master, you can set the channel, and in remote slave you can also set the group. The Metz 64 AF-1 digital works with the respective camera-specific system flash modes for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus / Panasonic / Leica and Sony cameras, including the applicable wireless TTL modes. TTL Traditional mode can be used to work with Nikon F5 / F90X film cameras.

Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash (5)

Key Features

  • Secondary reflector with 2 light levels
  • Vertical (–9/+90°) and horizontal (300°) swivel reflector
  • Large illuminated, graphic touch display in colour, with automatic rotating function (90°)
  • Simple operating concept
  • Motorised zoom for 24–200 mm illumination
  • Spot and extended zoom
  • Integrated wide-angle diffuser for 12 mm illumination
  • Flip-out reflector card
  • Modelling light (permanent light for checking shadows)
  • Integrated autofocus multi-zone flash metering
  • Flash readiness indicator and correct exposure display on unit and on camera**
  • TFT flash range display
  • Acoustic status notifications (beep)
  • Automatic unit shut-off and manual key lock
  • Wake-up function via the camera
  • Integrated sync cable socket
  • Power pack connection
  • Rapid mode
  • Programme memory (4 memory locations)
  • Metal base*** with quick lock (*** Excludes Sony version)
  • Colour temperature: Ca. 5600 K
  • USB interface allows firmware updates
  • Belt pouch and Slave stand included

Metz 64 AF-1 Handling

Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash (7)

Mounting the flash on the camera is straightforward, with a standard 1-turn lock when putting the flash on the camera's hot-shoe, and it is recommended that you fit it with both the flash and the camera switched off. The flashgun feels well built with a pleasant design and feel although it is quite large and will seem quite large on some of the smaller DSLR bodies such as the Canon EOS 100D or Nikon D3300, although it's unlikely you would pair this flash with these cameras. 

Angles available include a 9 degrees downwards tilt for macro lighting, as well as 45 / 60 / 75 / 90 degrees up. In addition it can be rotated 300 degrees to enable the flash to bounce from a wall behind you. 

Flash modes:

  • TTL flash mode (digital only)
  • Automatic flash mode with 12 f-stops
  • Manual flash mode with 25 partial lighting levels
  • Strobe flash mode
  • Servo flash mode with learning function
  • HSS – high speed synchronisation**
  • 1st and 2nd shutter curtain synchronisation
  • Manual flash exposure correction for TTL or automatic flash mode
  • Automatic fill-in flash
  • Flash bracketing

Canon Version: E-TTL / E-TTL II flash mode, E-TTL remote mode (Master and Slave)
Nikon  Version: i-TTL / i-TTL BL flash mode, i-TTL remote mode (Master and Slave)
Olympus / Panasonic / Leica Version: Micro four thirds / four thirds TTL flash mode, Micro four thirds TTL remote mode (Master and Slave)
Pentax Version: P-TTL flash mode, P-TTL remote mode (Master and Slave)
Sony Multi Interface Version: ADI flash mode / TTL pre-flash, ADI remote mode (Master and Slave)

** Functions depend upon camera being used

Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash Main Screen
Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash Main Screen

Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash Menu Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash Ev Screen Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash Info Screen
Flash Menu EV Screen Info Screen


The menus are clearly laid out with large buttons and controls making it easy to change and set options. The screen is a resistive touchscreen so you need to press quite firmly when selecting the options. The screen will also automatically rotate when you are using the camera and flash in portrait mode.

Metz 64 AF 1 Digital Flash (6)

Battery life - The flashgun uses 4 AA batteries, letting you use your preferred type of battery, with lithium batteries giving the longest battery life, although rechargeable Ni-Mh batteries also give good battery life. You can also use alkaline batteries which are readily available, if you find yourself with flat batteries. You can also use the High performance Metz NiMH power pack P76 with V58-50 cable for extended battery life. 

The flash should deliver the following number of shots, when used at full-power:

  • 140 shots with alkaline batteries
  • 190 shots with Ni-Mh 2100mAh batteries (good quality rechargeable batteries are recommended)
  • 290 shots with lithium batteries
  • 360 shots with external power supply (Metz Power Pack P76)

The flash should give many more shots when used at lower power settings. Shooting on continuous mode / rapid mode, we were able to shoot at 3.3fps with a Canon EOS 600D with 0.3 seconds between shots, although using a quicker camera is likely to give quicker continuous shooting with the flash capable of 0.1s recycle times.

Recycling times in seconds. (min./max.)

  • 0.1s / 4.4s when operating with alkaline-manganese dry cell batteries (1,5V)
  • 0.1s / 1.8s when operating with nickel-metal-hydride batteries (1,2V / 2100 mAh)
  • 0.1s / 4.2s when operating with lithium batteries (1,5V)
  • 0.1s / 1.6s when operating with external power supply with Metz Power Pack P76

Flash duration: Full power (1/1) 1/750s, rapid mode 1/180s and at 1/256 power 1/40,000s or 1/18,000s in rapid mode. 

Metz 64 AF-1 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Metz 64 AF-1 General Article Images

The flash unit delivers even illumination on default settings with very little fall-off, there are also zoom settings available that you can set, including wide, which fires wider letting the light bounce off the walls for less intense lighting. The spot zoom mode focuses the light more towards the centre, giving brighter and more intense illumination. 

Metz 64 AF-1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The flash head can be tilted downwards by 9 degrees for close-up macro photography, and results are good when shooting with a 50mm lens. Using a lens that is too wide-angle and focusing too closely on the subject is likely to show an area that the flash is not able to illuminate, although this is likely to be the case with any traditional flashgun. The servo / sync learning mode can be used for easy off camera flash use, to give directional lighting or for a rim light effect if positioned behind the subject. Setting this up with the Canon EOS 600D was straightforward and possible without having to spend a large amount of time reading the manual.

The front flash can be used in conjunction with the main flash when it is tilted upwards, here we've used the flash at 45 degrees with the white reflector extended, and the front flash set to off, half power and full power:

Metz 64 Af1 45degrees White Card
Metz 64 Af1 45 degrees White Card

Metz 64 Af1 Half Front Flash 45degrees White Card
Half Power Front Flash 45 degrees Bounce White Card

Metz 64 Af1 Full Front Flash 45degrees White Card
Full Front Flash 45 degrees Bounce White Card

The front flash does a good job of filling in shadows, and being able to adjust the front flash gives you good control over how bright you want the subject to be lit. Using the front flash with the main flash in the bounce position means the flash isn't as harsh when shooting subjects at close range, and you can achieve a more natural looking image with the background lit more effectively. 

Value For Money

The Metz 64 AF-1 is available for £329 which is less than the Nikon SB-910 (GN54) at £339, and much less than the Canon 600EX-RT (GN60) at £465, Pentax AF 540 FGZ II (GN54, with LED light for video / stills) at £399, and Sony HVL-F60M (GN60, with LED lights for video / stills) at £459, making the Metz 64 AF-1 very good value for money.

Metz 64 AF-1 Verdict

We found the flash gave excellent results when using the bounce flash in combination with the additional front facing flash. Having a built in front facing flash which is available when using bounce flash is a rarity in flashguns, and for more natural portrait shots we would highly recommend this combination. The flash is powerful and gives a wide variety of options and controls, and will be available for all major camera systems. The Metz 64 AF-1 is a powerful flash that offers more than manufacturer's own flash guns including more power, all at a lower price point. 

Metz 64 AF-1 Pros

Built in forward facing flash for use with bounce flash
Very good value for money
Belt pouch and slave stand included
Abundance of options
Tilts down 9 degrees
Rapid mode
USB updates
Powerful 64GN rating

Metz 64 AF-1 Cons

Some may prefer a video light to be built-in
Doesn't have battery level information

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Metz 64 AF-1 is a powerful flash that offers more than manufacturer's own flash guns including more power, all at a lower price point. 

 

Metz 64 AF-1 Specifications

Flash
Flash Guide Number (ISO100/m)64m
Camera Dedication
  • Canon
  • Nikon
  • Pentax
  • Sony / Minolta
  • Olympus (Four Thirds)
Flash DurationNo Data
Power Source
Battery TypeAA
Dimensions
Weight422g
Width78mm
Height148mm
Depth112mm

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Comments


EM1 4
19 Feb 2015 4:50AM
I have been using the Metz 64 with the OMD EM1 in slave mode.

I have read a number of comments that the exposure isn't quite correct because the Olympus FL‑LM2 flash (the little one that comes with the camera) contributes to the exposure rather than just triggering the Metz flash units.

To solve this problem, I have attached an Infra Red filter to the front of the FL‑LM2 unit. It now triggers the Metz units without having any noticeable effect on the exposure. I used a Cokin gelatin filter. I removed it from the plastic housing ring, and scoured each cut line with a sharp knife. The filter was broken along the score lines over the edge of a table, and the rough edges filed. The cut filter has then been taped to the front of the FL-LM2.

You can see some sample photographs here... http://theosbornes.com/index.php/Jason-and-Karolina---indoor-portraiture-101

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Paul Morgan 18 19.4k 6 England
18 Apr 2015 7:03PM
I have read a number of comments that the exposure isn't quite correct because the Olympus FL‑LM2 flash (the little one that comes with the camera) contributes to the exposure rather than just triggering the Metz flash units.

The exposure is spot on every time and of course the FLM2 contributes, its just another flash in the groups,

To solve this problem, I have attached an Infra Red filter to the front of the FL‑LM2 unit. It now triggers the Metz units without having any noticeable effect on the exposure

As above there is no problem, there is no need for any filters.
rhody 17 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
9 Jun 2018 2:25AM
This a powerful, very well built and highly versatile flashgun. I've paired it with a Gary Fong Lightsphere and I am very happy with the results.
Highly recommended as per the review above.

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