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Does the Leica SF 26 flash work with the SL?

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Does the SL support the SF 26 flash? I have read conflicting reports. And since there are so few flashes that work well (my SF 58 does not work reliably, and 24D is a fixed head with no ability to bounce)--and the new flashes are not shipping anytime soon, I am considering the SF 26.  If it does work on the SL body, does the bulk of the 24-90 obscure the flash?

Edited by Ron Weissman
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I don't know about the zoom because I don't own it. The SF26 does work on the SL but it's really difficult to get the damn thing on there. It comes off easily enough but getting it on really takes some effort.


Also my SF26 has the original firmware and there is an update if you send it in. This *may* explain why sometimes it doesn't fire. It'll work great for a dozen shots and then nothing for a few then it's good again. I don't want to say it doesn't work because I suspect the firmware is the issue. Having said that I wouldn't recommend the SF26 if you can wait for the SF40. The i40 that it is, is a vastly better flash than the SF26. I have two for other systems and they're brilliant, for the size/money.


As an aside I have two SF58's (with different firmware) and I've had no issues with them on the SL. leech's TTL implementation isn't exactly class leading but the SF58 is better, for me, on the Sl than the M.



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Thanks to both commentators.


The SF 40 is based on the terrific Nissin i40. I've got them for Fuji, m43 and Sony A series and they work really well, don't seem to overheat, are easy to control (all controls are via physical dials).  Only issue is a very flimsy flash foot. I've already replaced one i40 flash foot and one A700 flash foot. Luckily US repairs are relatively speedy.


From what I've heard, the SF40 is not scheduled to ship for quite some time, but I'd be happy to be wrong.

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There is a problem with all available flashes on the SL (SF 24, 26 and 58). Leica was aware that this problem existed with the Q but did not realise that it had been carried forward to the SL. At the moment the only option is to use the SL in M mode but even then, you may find the GNC/TTL is not working consistently.  You can also use Shutter Priority (T mode) but you will then have little idea of how the aperture is going to vary with the flash power (too many variables which can fight against each other). In Aperture priority, you can lock the shutter speed but only in Auto ISO and the ISO then defaults to a fixed 50 ISO. This is another work around for the time being, albeit with a very low ISO. You cannot use fixed ISO in Aperture Priority, as the shutter speed is not locking to a fixed figure (often 1/125s), 1/focal length or 1/(2 x focal length) and will vary from very slow up to 1/8000 dependant on ISO, aperture and ambient light. The new flashes (the 40 and 64), which hopefully do not have the above problems, are not yet available. 


I am having a meeting with Leica on the 9th to take them through the problems and discuss solutions. I am hoping that this is a problem that can be sorted in firmware and is not hard coded into the camera. The other possibility but for only the SF 58D is a firmware update for that. I presume that Leica's relations with the reconstituted Metz (they went into administration) are still good, as the 64 is pretty definitely a reworked Metz 64-AF1. I hope therefore Metz could help Leica with new FW for the 58, which was built by Metz. Maybe Leica is not quite as close to Metz as it used to be, since moving back to Wetzlar and no longer next door in Solms. Also given that the new smaller SF40 flash is a reworked Nissin 40i and not either the Metz 44-AF1 or 36-AF5, which probably would have been the case in the past. 



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Folks should note that the little red dot on the front of the Metz 64 flash to make it into an SF64, equals a 100% mark up in price. Nice work if you can get it. 



I'm amazed that this Post has not mysteriously disappeared!!

A profit is one thing, Ethics are another!..

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Andreas has always made it 100% clear that justified comments on Leica are fair game and I would be more than a little upset if my gentle dig at their profit margins, were to be censored. 

Edited by wlaidlaw
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No the MZ-64AF is either Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Panasonic, Olympus or Sony specific. There is some muttering about Leica compatibility but I think they mean the Panaleicas. The only flash which Metz now say is Leica compatible for the bigger cameras is the humungous M7-76 Hammerhead unit and then only with the M. I suspect it is as compatible as the old MZ54 with the Leica 3502 Mk5 SCA unit. I bought this for the M8 after Metz told me it was fully compatible. I took great delight in visiting them at Focus on Imaging and demonstrating that it was not compatible. "Oops leave it with us and we will issue a refund to you tomorrow plus P&P."


I think Metz view on compatibility is rather different from most end users. "Ooooh look it goes flash" does not constitute compatibility.




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Leica make specific agreements with the manufacturers of their flashes. They've had a long standing arrangement that they will commission Metz to manufacturer a Leica compatible version of some flash models that will be badged and branded as Leica. This agreement stops Metz from selling that Leica flash under the Metz name. I would assume they have the same agreement in place with Nissin now. Neither Nissin or Metz are going to jeopardise their agreement with Leica by directly selling a Leica TTL flash.


While the actual SF units are identical to their Metz/Nissin counterparts, except for the hotshoe foot and the firmware, you will never get one to work in TTL on a Leica because of these agreements.


The Panaleicas actually use the Olympus protocols, which Panasonic licences from Olympus. It's probably more accurate to call it the four thirds mount. Leica has nothing at all to do with this system, as they have no involvement in the manufacture or repair of these Panasonic rebadges.



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It would be interesting to find out but the SF-58D was made by old Metz not the new company Metz-Mecatech. The agreements in place with old Metz to provide support services for the 58, including FW updates to accommodate new cameras, may have expired when old Metz went into administration. I will ask but I doubt if I will get a straight answer. 



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When I first got the SF58, its shoe was fractionally too large to fit into any flash shoe and certainly my M8. I had to do some work with warding files (files for making keys), being very careful not to remove too much before it would just fit in with a fair bit of wiggling. The foot was the correct width but slightly too thick. I filed on the top of the shoe so as not to alter the contacts on the bottom.


Considering its price, the shoe of the 58 is a very crude bit of manufacturing, being just a plastic moulding with flimsy sheet metal contacts and if you over tighten the locking ring, the contacts become intermittent. If you want to see how the shoe should have been made, have a look at the Nikon SC-28 Flash Cable, which has the same pin out and can be used as an extension cable for the 58. The Nikon is made from solid rigid plated metal and has nice precision machined conical contact pins.


Have a look below at the quick snap I took with my C112 of the two feet. The Nikon foot is on the right. That will last a lifetime, the foot on my 58 is already quite worn and is going need replacement within the next couple of years. The Leica foot is just not rigid enough for the weight and size of the flash and the 58 never feels very secure on a camera. 





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