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CL and SF40 Flash - a good pairing

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I have just received my SF40 flash this morning to have a smaller flash than my SF58D and a more controllable one than my elderly SF24D. It seems to be beautifully made, very compact and unlike the more expensive Metz built SF64, I am delighted to see that it has a metal foot. The plastic foot of my SF58 is quite worn where it mounts in the camera shoe. Somewhat to my surprise, the wide angle coverage (with the front mini-diffusor deployed) is excellent with the 11-23 at 11mm, with little to no vignetting. Now this may be in camera correction but if it is - so what. I have not checked its night time distance coverage, as it is day but with a guide number of 40, it has to be better than my SF24, which I have been using on the CL, especially as I have an additional (to the supplied one) diffusor on the 24, to reduce its harshness on faces.

 

The only downside of the SF40, is that I would have preferred a rechargeable lithium battery or batteries. I know you can use NiMh AA rechargeable batteries but their variable self discharge performance can often leave you with flat batteries (or a single cell), just when you need the flash. When they first came out, I bought 4 sets of 4 Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable AA cells, which supposedly do not self discharge. 2 years later, they have virtually all died or leaked and disappointingly, Panasonic refused to honour the warranty, saying the charger was at fault and must have over charged the cells. As the quite expensive German smart charger I use, has digital mAH meters on each cell and I always use the lowest charge rate and no other batteries, Energizer, Duracell etc, have had any problems, this was nonsense.

 

If I personally had been designing this flash, I would have optedto use a pair of RCR123A rechargeable lithium batteries. The advantage of this is that in an emergency, you can use non-rechargeable CR123A batteries, which I normally carry a spare set for my Motor-M. 

 

Wilson

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Wilson, I have the same flash. I bought it first for my SL but then upgraded to Profoto A1 and relegated SF40 to my CL. It’s a match made in heaven, I agree !!

 

On the batteries, I’ve used one or two sets of batteries so far on that SF40 only. I use lithium AA batteries and they seem to last and last and last forever !!! Buy them in my local grocery store ...

Edited by meerec

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I have just received my SF40 flash this morning to have a smaller flash than my SF58D and a more controllable one than my elderly SF24D. It seems to be beautifully made, very compact and unlike the more expensive Metz built SF64, I am delighted to see that it has a metal foot. The plastic foot of my SF58 is quite worn where it mounts in the camera shoe. Somewhat to my surprise, the wide angle coverage (with the front mini-diffusor deployed) is excellent with the 11-23 at 11mm, with little to no vignetting. Now this may be in camera correction but if it is - so what. I have not checked its night time distance coverage, as it is day but with a guide number of 40, it has to be better than my SF24, which I have been using on the CL, especially as I have an additional (to the supplied one) diffusor on the 24, to reduce its harshness on faces.

 

The only downside of the SF40, is that I would have preferred a rechargeable lithium battery or batteries. I know you can use NiMh AA rechargeable batteries but their variable self discharge performance can often leave you with flat batteries (or a single cell), just when you need the flash. When they first came out, I bought 4 sets of 4 Panasonic Eneloop rechargeable AA cells, which supposedly do not self discharge. 2 years later, they have virtually all died or leaked and disappointingly, Panasonic refused to honour the warranty, saying the charger was at fault and must have over charged the cells. As the quite expensive German smart charger I use, has digital mAH meters on each cell and I always use the lowest charge rate and no other batteries, Energizer, Duracell etc, have had any problems, this was nonsense.

 

If I personally had been designing this flash, I would have optedto use a pair of RCR123A rechargeable lithium batteries. The advantage of this is that in an emergency, you can use non-rechargeable CR123A batteries, which I normally carry a spare set for my Motor-M. 

 

Wilson

 

 

Wilson

 

buy Eneloop AA batteries and maybe get four Lithiums as an emergency backup. The Eneloops don't discharge a lot. They are also made by Panasonic 

 . Otherwise, I agree the SF40 plays nicely with the camera. My complaint on the SF40 is that it does not have it's own Auto Mode (like the SF24 has) to use it on any camera and without preflash. And - it does not fold up nicely like most other flashes. But it does HSS - even on my old S2.

 

Regards

Ivo

Edited by Photon42

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Does anyone know if the SF40 will say hello to an M7? Given that the M7 does do TTL flash, I would hope so but I don't know about pre-flash. I sent an email to Leica Mayfair about a month ago but still to receive a reply. I will send one to my contact lady at Wetzlar, where I know I will get better service. 

 

Wilson

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I do not think that the M7 does a pre-flash. It was introduced with the digital Ms. Whether the SF40 will talk with the M6TTL/M7 I do not know.

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I have the SF40 and I teally like its size. It is really small and light. I like the dial system which makes it very easy to setup in manual mode (the mode I always use).

 

What I dislike about this flash is that it feels rather cheap to me.

The dials seems very weak (they are made of plastic) and the battery door seems not so durable either.

Also, the flip system feels not durable or sturdy conpared to a regular flash.

If you put a middle sized diffuser on your head flash it may flip down because it is not strong enough to support the weight. This is a serious issue to me because it makes this flash limited about the basic flash accessories you can use...

 

But so far...I got no issue with it.

Regarding AA batteries...I prefer it this way versus Lithium pack.

You can buy AA batteries everywhere in the world so this is very convinient if you've got an issue while traveling.

I use Eneloop batteries and got now problem so far though.

All in all...I do really like this flash because it is so small and light !

 

Another issue to me...is about the body itself and not the flash.

Regarding the use of a flash on the T, there is no way to deactivate exposure simulation.

This makes composition very complicated when you want a dark background and your subject to be lite only by your flash as you cannot see your subject when composing (you only see a black screen...). This is a serious limitation.

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I do not think that the M7 does a pre-flash. It was introduced with the digital Ms. Whether the SF40 will talk with the M6TTL/M7 I do not know.

 

I fear you might be correct, in that there can be no delay in the M7 shutter release (as far as I know, although it is of course, electronically controlled). A shutter delay on the yellow marked flash position on the shutter speed dial might then allow the pre-flash to be registered by the TTL system reflecting off the white spot on the closed shutter. This would then set the main flash power, while waiting for the shutter to open revealing the film. I have asked Andrea to find out for me. As the poster above points out, it is a pity the SF40 did not have a thyristor controlled auto mode, like the SF24 and 58 do. Reverting to manual and calculating aperture against subject distance for every shot, is a pain, although I am used to doing it, as I still use bulb flashes on some of my older cameras. 

 

Wilsom

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I do not think that the M7 does a pre-flash. It was introduced with the digital Ms. Whether the SF40 will talk with the M6TTL/M7 I do not know.

 

 

With the advent of TTL flash metering, film cameras used to meter off the film plane, thus no pre-flash. Olympus with the OM-2 was the most prominent brand in the beginning marketing this technology. When sensors became fashion, that was not possible anymore. Look at the sensor with a flash light and you know the reason. That is the reason for the pre-flash. I'd still prefer the old A mode, but most flashes don't have a built-in light metering cell anymore.

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I am still waiting to hear from Leica about the SF40 TTL on the M7 but I am not optimistic. Meantime I have made a little Excel chart for using ISO 100 film. Obviously for ISO 200, you need to add one EV to each aperture and so on. I display it here below if it might help anyone. It is promulgated on a Guide Number of 32 for a 50mm lens. 

 

Wilson

 

 

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 I finally received my Mecablitz 26 AF-2 from B&H after checking with them and making sure it is compatible with CL. But  it is not working on CL!..... 

 

In BH site, the Leica version is even posted as an accessory for CL.  I am very disappointed. it is small and looks really nice on CL ! 

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 I finally received my Mecablitz 26 AF-2 from B&H after checking with them and making sure it is compatible with CL. But  it is not working on CL!..... 

 

In BH site, the Leica version is even posted as an accessory for CL.  I am very disappointed. it is small and looks really nice on CL ! 

 

I suspect that is an error by B&H. They meant the Leica SF26 (also made by Metz), which is Leica's smallest flash and the replacement for the long running SF-24D. The SF26 is a pretty basic flash for the price but does do pre-flash TTL. It is in effect the same flash as the Metz 26 AF-2 but with a different control system and huge additional profit margin (close to three times the price in the UK). The SF 40 is only a little more in the UK and I think worth the extra, with auto zoom, more power and to my eye, a neater form factor . The downside of the 40 is that it does not have an auto mode for use on non-pre-flash Leica cameras but neither then does the 26, unlike its predecessor, the SF24.

 

Wilson

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Good news for M7 users. The SF40 has a built in SCA 3502 emulator and so will work in TTL, A and obviously also M modes on all cameras with TTL and SCA 3502 compatibility. This is more than I was expecting, so a "Well Done" to Nissin for getting this 100% correct. I will also post this on the M7 forum for those that don't read the digital forums. 

 

Wilson

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This is not surprising as Leica use two different flash systems, the traditional one which is used by the Wetzler / Solms  made in Germany cameras M, X, T and I assume SL series. The Pana Leica cameras made by Panasonic use the Olympus/Panasonic system  used by the micro four thirds system cameras. Some flashes are rather confusingly labelled as being Olympus/Panasonic/Leica compatible.

 

I have a Nissin i40 flash which worked well with my Leica DLux 109 as well as with my Olympus OM-D E-M1mkII but if I want to use it on my forthcoming CL I will have to pay up for its Leica labelled clone the SF40.

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Well, here is the conclusion I am getting to. When a flash says "Olympu-Panasonic-Leica" , Leica means the Panasonic/Leica cameras; therefore, it doesn't work with Leica made in Germany, but with Leica made by Panasonic.

 

Therefore, Mecablitz 26 AF-2 is only compatible with V and D Lux cameras that originally are Panasonic. It does not work with CL.

 

I also tried it on T and had the same result: not compatible!... 

 

I was told by BH that SF 40 may work with CL. The Metz, and therefore cheaper version, is Metz 52. But again, as CL is new, nothing is sure yet!

 

This is the hot shoes of both T (on the left) and CL (on the right)

 

 

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This is not surprising as Leica use two different flash systems, the traditional one which is used by the Wetzler / Solms  made in Germany cameras M, X, T and I assume SL series. The Pana Leica cameras made by Panasonic use the Olympus/Panasonic system  used by the micro four thirds system cameras. Some flashes are rather confusingly labelled as being Olympus/Panasonic/Leica compatible.

 

I have a Nissin i40 flash which worked well with my Leica DLux 109 as well as with my Olympus OM-D E-M1mkII but if I want to use it on my forthcoming CL I will have to pay up for its Leica labelled clone the SF40.

 

.....and no doubt the little red circle costs more than the whole of the i40 flash itself. In the UK: Nissin i40 MFT/Panasonic £149 SF40 £330. This is getting close to gouging. 

 

Wilson

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Well, here is the conclusion I am getting to. When a flash says "Olympu-Panasonic-Leica" , Leica means the Panasonic/Leica cameras; therefore, it doesn't work with Leica made in Germany, but with Leica made by Panasonic.

 

Therefore, Mecablitz 26 AF-2 is only compatible with V and D Lux cameras that originally are Panasonic. It does not work with CL.

 

I also tried it on T and had the same result: not compatible!... 

 

I was told by BH that SF 40 may work with CL. The Metz, and therefore cheaper version, is Metz 52. But again, as CL is new, nothing is sure yet!

 

This is the hot shoes of both T (on the left) and CL (on the right)

 

 

The SF40 works very nicely with the CL as given its cost, so it should. Its coverage for wide angle, which is the problem of the older SF24 and to a lesser extent the SF58, if you don't use a Sto-Fen diffusor, is excellent, with the 11-23 mm lens at 11mm. No perceptible vignetting. Its distance coverage is pretty good as well. Reasonably effective up to a little more than 15 metres, ISO dependant but I am using fixed 400 ISO for my flash profile. It is very controllable with the power/EV compensation dial on the flash working well. Much easier than diving into menus. 

 

Wilson

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The SF40 works very nicely with the CL as given its cost, so it should. Its coverage for wide angle, which is the problem of the older SF24 and to a lesser extent the SF58, if you don't use a Sto-Fen diffusor, is excellent, with the 11-23 mm lens at 11mm. No perceptible vignetting. Its distance coverage is pretty good as well. Reasonably effective up to a little more than 15 metres, ISO dependant but I am using fixed 400 ISO for my flash profile. It is very controllable with the power/EV compensation dial on the flash working well. Much easier than diving into menus.

 

Wilson

I share your view. The SF40 also works well with my ancient S2 (even HSS). I will try the M7 some day according to your report, but I hardly use film Ms with flash at all.

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Anyone made any discovery about a non-leica flash being compatible with CL?

 

I heard the old Sunpak 383 is working, but I wish I had a confirmation before ordering.

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Anyone made any discovery about a non-leica flash being compatible with CL?

 

I heard the old Sunpak 383 is working, but I wish I had a confirmation before ordering.

 

will the Metz Mecablitz 26 work for you?

 

- Vikas

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will the Metz Mecablitz 26 work for you?

 

- Vikas

I already ordered it; got it; tried it; and it is not working on CL... So, I returned it!...

 

That small pretty flash is for Panasonic/Leica and not compatible with Leica/Leica, unfortunately!

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