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I'm new to Lecia systems, just bought SL2.  Surprised by the lack of flashes, just SF-40 and 60(?).  Are these really the only 2 options, any other off brands out there?  Looks like I'll get the SF-40 as the only difference seems to be remote control which I don't really need.

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Congratulations on your new SL2.  You will enjoy it.  The SF40 is designed to be used on-camera.  The SF60 can be used off camera when used with the remote device for creative lighting possibilities.   Purely personal.   Other brands of flash units will work but in manual mode.  Since you indicated you don’t need off camera lighting - go with the SF40 if you want full auto operation.  

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You can use flashes from just about every vendor on your Leica. I went with Godox and use the XPro commander with a Nikon pinout to use them off-camera.  No problems whatsoever with using them in manual mode.  

Do search around though as I’ve read reports from other forum users that the Nissin Air system flashes are compatible with the Leica SF C1 commander, but I can’t vouch for it.  

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both flashes are underpowered.  SF60 has a Gide number of 60 @ 20mm, GN 39 @ 50mm

obviously the SF 40 has GN 40.

Benefits of the SF60 are Wireless with SF-c1, more power output, and the ability of faster recharge time with external Sony power pack .

if you need more power the Nissin MG10 can be adapter with SF-C1.

that is it for TTL and HSS.

you can use many other flashes in manual mode. just be aware that the hotshoe of the SL2 is a new size and does not fit every flash.

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6 hours ago, Anakronox said:

Do search around though as I’ve read reports from other forum users that the Nissin Air system flashes are compatible with the Leica SF C1 commander, but I can’t vouch for it.  

The Leica SF C1 confirms compatibility with Nissin Air system. My experience with the Nissin i60A, Leica's SF60 is based on it, is varied. Firstly, one has to get the firmware in the i60A upgraded to the latest one for which the flash has to be sent to the Nissin distributor and pay roughly US$ 35 for the upgrade. After the firmware upgrade, my experience has not been satisfactory. Sometimes the TTL flash work fine and many times, does't. I have failed to reproduce the failure situation, as it seems to be randomly occurring. A vague association is when there is good ambient light, like room well lit with by sunlight coming in from the window. The Nissin MG10 has a higher GN, but not sure whether it will also be iffy as the i60A with the Leica SF C1.

Would be happy to hear other's experience on SF C1 and Nissin i60A.

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13 hours ago, Anakronox said:

You can use flashes from just about every vendor on your Leica. I went with Godox and use the XPro commander with a Nikon pinout to use them off-camera.  No problems whatsoever with using them in manual mode.  

Do search around though as I’ve read reports from other forum users that the Nissin Air system flashes are compatible with the Leica SF C1 commander, but I can’t vouch for it.  

You can use pretty much any flash on the SL/SL2 but you don't get HSS/HS with any of them, other than the SF60 or the Nissin MG10 with updated firmware (with the SF C1 controller) - and even with these two solutions, HSS works only in TTL, not in manual (and there are reports on this forum suggesting that reliability is questionable). What is clearly needed is a Profoto Air TTL (Broncolor RFS2.2 etc.) trigger compatible with the SL2, to allow syncing at shutter speeds above 1/250. Profoto, Broncolor, Elinchrom, Godox etc. offer such triggers for ALL the camera brands, including small players like Olympus and Pentax. Leica stands out by not being supported by ANY of these strobe makers (and before anyone mentions Priolite, that company is insolvent now). It fascinates me that Leica has not been able to address this for so many years...time seems to pass slowly in Germany. The usual argument is that Leica's sale volumes are small and it does not pay the strobe makers to support Leica. Perhaps adopting the Panasonic or Nikon flash protocols would be a solution (Nikon shares the same hotshoe pin layout, while Panasonic SR1 and the SL2 share a lot of systems). If Hasselblad can adopt the Nikon flash protocol for the X1D, why can't Leica do the same? Are they worried that people would stop buying their overpriced/underwhelming Nissin knock-off speedlites? I love my Profoto A1 and B10 for location work and .... would not touch the SF-60 with a barge pole. 

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8 hours ago, biswasg said:

 Sometimes the TTL flash work fine and many times, does't. I have failed to reproduce the failure situation, as it seems to be randomly occurring. A vague association is when there is good ambient light, like room well lit with by sunlight coming in from the window.

 

That is actually a bug that I have reported to Leica back in may, but the FW update of the camera didn't address it. It is only in the SL2. when the camera think there is enough light the flash just doesn't flash.

very frustrating. The flash works fine on Q2 and M10.

Like many other Nissin products the SF60 suffer from overheating and sometimes just takes a 10 min break showing only a red light.

I would welcome an open system where other companies can produce professional products for the SL2, It is really holding Leica back from professional photography. It seams that Flash photography is really an afterthought for Leica. You may think available light is the only strategy with Leica tools

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On 11/15/2020 at 10:06 PM, biswasg said:

The Leica SF C1 confirms compatibility with Nissin Air system. My experience with the Nissin i60A, Leica's SF60 is based on it, is varied. Firstly, one has to get the firmware in the i60A upgraded to the latest one for which the flash has to be sent to the Nissin distributor and pay roughly US$ 35 for the upgrade. After the firmware upgrade, my experience has not been satisfactory. Sometimes the TTL flash work fine and many times, does't. I have failed to reproduce the failure situation, as it seems to be randomly occurring. A vague association is when there is good ambient light, like room well lit with by sunlight coming in from the window. The Nissin MG10 has a higher GN, but not sure whether it will also be iffy as the i60A with the Leica SF C1.

Would be happy to hear other's experience on SF C1 and Nissin i60A.

My experience with the SF60 and MG10 controlled by the SFC1 on both TTL and manual strobe output. MG10 has higher output, consistent, fast (matches medium drive speed of SL/2) and does not overheat like the SF60 does when used daytime outdoors.

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14 minutes ago, sillbeers15 said:

My experience with the SF60 and MG10 controlled by the SFC1 on both TTL and manual strobe output. MG10 has higher output, consistent, fast (matches medium drive speed of SL/2) and does not overheat like the SF60 does when used daytime outdoors.

+1

the MG10s work even better with the PS8 battery pack. 

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1 hour ago, ynp said:

+1

the MG10s work even better with the PS8 battery pack. 

I am only using the designated lithium batteries and the recycle time almost do not exist and the juice stay up well beyond my needs as an hobbyist. The MG10 is not light but it is relatively compact and well built. Best is it cost almost the same as the prosumer SF60.

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2 hours ago, sillbeers15 said:

I am only using the designated lithium batteries and the recycle time almost do not exist and the juice stay up well beyond my needs as an hobbyist. The MG10 is not light but it is relatively compact and well built. Best is it cost almost the same as the prosumer SF60.

I was asked to shoot my friends who work at an independent chapiteau circus and I did not want to carry my studio lights or even my Move1200 from Moscow. I was able to shoot 10 FPS on my CL with three MG10 using the battery packs. Even shared battery pack improved the speed. Perfect light solution with MagMod reflector and Sphere. 

Thank you very much for sharing your experience with the MG10. I just followed your advice. 

Edited by ynp

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5 hours ago, sillbeers15 said:

I am only using the designated lithium batteries and the recycle time almost do not exist and the juice stay up well beyond my needs as an hobbyist. The MG10 is not light but it is relatively compact and well built. Best is it cost almost the same as the prosumer SF60.

Another thanks to @sillbeers15 for pointing me to MG10! 

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4 hours ago, TDR said:

Has the SF 64 been discontinued? It's still listed on the Leica Camera website, https://us.leica-camera.com/Photography/Leica-SL/Accessories/SF-64-Flash?SearchText=leica sf 64&cat=suggesterList, but not listed for sale when you click on "shop now."

It should still be available if it is still listed. It replaced the SF58 as a ‘on camera’ flash.

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On 11/15/2020 at 9:28 PM, albireo_double said:

You can use pretty much any flash on the SL/SL2 but you don't get HSS/HS with any of them, other than the SF60 or the Nissin MG10 with updated firmware (with the SF C1 controller) - and even with these two solutions, HSS works only in TTL, not in manual (and there are reports on this forum suggesting that reliability is questionable). What is clearly needed is a Profoto Air TTL (Broncolor RFS2.2 etc.) trigger compatible with the SL2, to allow syncing at shutter speeds above 1/250. Profoto, Broncolor, Elinchrom, Godox etc. offer such triggers for ALL the camera brands, including small players like Olympus and Pentax. Leica stands out by not being supported by ANY of these strobe makers (and before anyone mentions Priolite, that company is insolvent now). It fascinates me that Leica has not been able to address this for so many years...time seems to pass slowly in Germany. The usual argument is that Leica's sale volumes are small and it does not pay the strobe makers to support Leica. Perhaps adopting the Panasonic or Nikon flash protocols would be a solution (Nikon shares the same hotshoe pin layout, while Panasonic SR1 and the SL2 share a lot of systems). If Hasselblad can adopt the Nikon flash protocol for the X1D, why can't Leica do the same? Are they worried that people would stop buying their overpriced/underwhelming Nissin knock-off speedlites? I love my Profoto A1 and B10 for location work and .... would not touch the SF-60 with a barge pole. 

I talked to Profoto Nordic and Leica about this, and while they did not confirm or deny anything specific, I got the sense that Profoto just weren't interested. I think the only thing that might change that is if a lot of people wrote in asking for it. The unfortunate truth is that Leica is still very small, even in comparison to someone like Panasonic and Olympus, and their most famous camera is associated with ambient light shooting. I imagine Profoto just figures it is a money loser to do all the work to support it.

In that sense, I completely agree that Leica should just adopt the Nikon standard, if they can legally do so.

Meanwhile, I just use my A1 in manual mode. Not the quickest in operation, but very effective. I have not so much as glanced at the Leica flashes, as pretty much the only flash work I do is at night in the landscape at full power...

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The SF64 was the worst flash I have ever used. It has all the spec sheet functionality that one might want, in a package that is totally unintuitive, slow and impractical. It looks like they gave the UI to a kid straight from computer school who thought anything classy had to work only with a touch screen and menus, and gave him a budget that excluded anything but the oldest touch sensitive screens. There's a reason most flash units have physical power dials. I couldn't wait to sell it.

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The SF40 is a lot more intuitive, although less powerful.

I never use automated flash with digital. It's so easy to take to exposure, confirm that the lighting ratios look right, and then keep the same settings until conditions change. Of course, that technique only works with bounce flash. The height of the ceiling doesn't appreciably change from shot to shot, so you get the same amount of light coming back down. You can't do that with direct on-camera flash because the subject distance varies. It should go without saying that direct on-camera flash creates a very specific look, which goes through cycles of popularity. We saw a lot of it a few years back in major fashion campaigns.

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9 hours ago, Stuart Richardson said:

I talked to Profoto Nordic and Leica about this, and while they did not confirm or deny anything specific, I got the sense that Profoto just weren't interested. I think the only thing that might change that is if a lot of people wrote in asking for it. The unfortunate truth is that Leica is still very small, even in comparison to someone like Panasonic and Olympus, and their most famous camera is associated with ambient light shooting. I imagine Profoto just figures it is a money loser to do all the work to support it.

In that sense, I completely agree that Leica should just adopt the Nikon standard, if they can legally do so.

Meanwhile, I just use my A1 in manual mode. Not the quickest in operation, but very effective. I have not so much as glanced at the Leica flashes, as pretty much the only flash work I do is at night in the landscape at full power...

I have received similar answers from both Leica and Profoto over the years.   

Elinchrom now offer a HSS trigger even for Pentax. Not sure about Pentax sales volumes compared to Leica.

Broncolor evidently collaborated with Godox for the RFS 2.2 triggers, to offer HS. I bet a lot of Leica users are Broncolor users, too.  But I don't think Bron are very keen to offer a Leica HS trigger, either. 

Now that Priolite is insolvent - the only people to have ever offered a working Hi Sync trigger for Leica SL - (and with Metz, Hensel and Multiblitz being bankrupt, too), I wonder if there is a chance for Leica to buy the know-how and whatever else is needed, in Germany, on the cheap, and perhaps reengineer a solution like they did with the S lens adapters for Hassy H and Contax 645 to offer a Leica trigger for Profoto lights (or Broncolor etc.) without any support from the strobe maker themselves. On a side note, the Priolite trigger is actually nice in that it is bidirectional, unlike any of the Profoto etc. triggers - you can see the power number set on the strobe on a display on the trigger and vice versa. 

Edited by albireo_double

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1 hour ago, BernardC said:

The SF40 is a lot more intuitive, although less powerful.

I never use automated flash with digital. It's so easy to take to exposure, confirm that the lighting ratios look right, and then keep the same settings until conditions change. Of course, that technique only works with bounce flash. The height of the ceiling doesn't appreciably change from shot to shot, so you get the same amount of light coming back down. You can't do that with direct on-camera flash because the subject distance varies. It should go without saying that direct on-camera flash creates a very specific look, which goes through cycles of popularity. We saw a lot of it a few years back in major fashion campaigns.

Lack of automation (TTL) is not the biggest issue, I think. Syncing above the max sync speed when shooting outside is. The problem with Leica is that this is relevant only for SL/SL2 users - S and Q users don't care (they have leaf shutters) and M users don't care either (they mostly don't shoot with flash). And there are not enough SL users out there to warrant a solution (my guess). And those who would appreciate a HS/HSS trigger can buy a variable ND filter and sync their strobes at 1/250s, if they want to "overpower the Sun", while shooting at a wider aperture (the EVF in the SL/SL2 can compensate for a few stops of lost light, plus the cameras can go down to ISO50 which also helps...as long as the strobe is powerful enough).

Edited by albireo_double

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I think it's just Leica being pig headed. Trying to keep as many funds in house as possible by selling a cheap flash at double what it's worth. While it may feel profitable to keep sales of accessories in house I think it would benifit Leica much more if they made the SL and S (non CS lenses) more attractive to potential buyers by having Godox and ProFoto available as partners. I think they'd more than make up any losses in camera/lens sales and they'd have one less inventory and product development issue.

 

Numbers may be small but it's just a hotshoe and some software. The flashes and commanders already exist for other brands. Leica need to stop trying to put the red dot on flashes and give the protocols away for free OR carry a range of Leica badged commanders for ProFoto and Godox systems and be done with it. If they need to have a gun with a red dot the superb lithium powered Godox unit is the one.

 

Recently they changed their policy on the Fotos software realising it was doing more harm than good. Hopefully they'll realise that it's the same for their flashes. One can only hope. The SL excels in the studio. It'd be better with HSS support.

Gordon

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