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What is the most versatile flash to use on a leica MP (film)?


Jodad
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Would like to start using flash and wondered if you could help me with finding a flash that works best with a film MP. I am a total beginner when it comes to flash and want something that takes out all guess work/ required knowledge to use and, will maximise the number of good results (apparently its easy to over flash the subject even when using TTL). Although I love full manual when taking photos, for now and for starters, with flash, I want something that will do it all for me until I get some practice. 

Yes, I know the Ms aren't the most suitable for flash but lets please keep this out of the discussion since an M is what i have and what I'm going to be using.

 

 

 

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stray cat

Some great advice here, but perhaps a definition of how the different types of flash work would help: TTL flash will take measurements from the camera, what aperture you are setting, shutter speed, and ISO and then compute a flash output.  With Leica film cameras only the M6TTL and M7 allow use of this feature.With non-TTL Automatic flash you tell your flash what aperture and ISO you will be using then the flash will compute a flash output based on how much light is available.  This will be

Steven

I received my SF20 today, and mounted it to my M10R. 1/50th, F11, ISO 800, focus ring set at 2,5 meters, and boom! it's the easiest thing to use! I just shot away, all my photos where perfectly focused and lit!  So I loaded it on my MP, with the same settings, and shot a couple rolls of Cinestill, to check it out. I obviously didn't see the results yet, but I found it easier to shoot than without a flash, since I didn't have to worry about aperture and shutter speeds anymore!  Two rook

romualdo

my go to flashes 1. the tiny CF with two auto settings, to 3.5m & 7.1m (plus manual) 2. the Chico flash bulb unit - the capacitor is still functioning well (have had it tested twice by a local electronics person) - been experimenting with various bulbs this version designed specifically for the IIIf very happy with both systems Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelde

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Get a Meike 320 for Nikon. You won't need the TTL connections but it's a small versitle flash with both tilt and rotation. The Meike is a good size for your MP, not huge like the Metzs' and more offers more flexibility than the SF-20/24d. Plus they're about sixty five usd so if you don't like it, not much invested.

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2 hours ago, Jodad said:

Would like to start using flash and wondered if you could help me with finding a flash that works best with a film MP. I am a total beginner when it comes to flash and want something that takes out all guess work/ required knowledge to use and, will maximise the number of good results (apparently its easy to over flash the subject even when using TTL). Although I love full manual when taking photos, for now and for starters, with flash, I want something that will do it all for me until I get some practice. 

Yes, I know the Ms aren't the most suitable for flash but lets please keep this out of the discussion since an M is what i have and what I'm going to be using.

 

 

 

Without knowing how you intend to use flash you might want to think about the possibility that you will want to use flash more creatively than what a simple hot shoe mounted flash can offer after you've learnt the basics.

I use Godox AD200's off the camera at weddings and events.  They have reasonable power output, WiFi remote control and a range of heads and modifiers are available:  http://www.godox.com/EN/Products_Witstro_Pocket_Flash_AD200.html

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Nikon SC-28 for off camera flash. It will carry the TTL information, if needed. The SF-20 is a nice flash but the design is from the 1990's. There are a lot of better options out there now. As Ouroboros noted there are flashes on the market with built in wi-fi making multi flash setup's easier and more affordable for the occasional user. Also, try to find the right size flash for your MP. Many of the new flashes are slimmer, lighter and offer both tilt plus rotation and are often bundled with or have built in reflectors or diffusers. Today it's easy to find a small, powerful flash to slip in the bag.

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Metz has a great range of products.  But, any auto-flash (a flash with its own built-in light sensor) will work for routine on-camera flash pictures.  Getting the flash off the camera, with an extension cord or wireless trigger, gives you more flexibility in the direction of light.  Don't overlook studio type flash units if you are shooting static scenes in a controlled environment.  Personally, I like the Paul C. Buff range of products, especially the Digi-Bees, because they can also be used as continuous lights.

 

https://www.paulcbuff.com/Flash-Units/DigiBee/DigiBee-Flash-Unit.html

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Leica MP has synch. for electronic flash 1/50 s.

This would be the most limited factor.

 

I'd use any flash with choices of auto and/or manual power over small flash with only one or two power outputs.

I use since long many old style flashes Cullmann CX40 ( like here ) the most versatile with manual zoom head 24 to 100mm and choices of f/4, 5.6,8 11 in A mode, and the nice

smaller Cullmann DC32, (like here ), Osram VS280 (see here ), Metz 32CT3, etc.

These flashes share SCA300 system and all with orientable head, use 4xAA batteries and can be used off camera with extension cord.

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4 minutes ago, madNbad said:

Nikon SC-28 for off camera flash. It will carry the TTL information, if needed. The SF-20 is a nice flash but the design is from the 1990's. There are a lot of better options out there now. As Ouroboros noted there are flashes on the market with built in wi-fi making multi flash setup's easier and more affordable for the occasional user. Also, try to find the right size flash for your MP. Many of the new flashes are slimmer, lighter and offer both tilt plus rotation and are often bundled with or have built in reflectors or diffusers. Today it's easy to find a small, powerful flash to slip in the bag.

Thank you. 
can you explain how an off camera flash carry the ttl info ? 
and how can my MP communicate with a flash via Wifi ? 
 

EDIT: just Googled Nikon sc28 and understood what you meant by carrying the ttl info. 

Edited by Steven
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With many new manufactures bringing flashes to the market, they're a so many choices now and most include features once reserved for high end units. The ability to adjust output in manual mode and more effective auto sensors. With built in wi-fi, you can now get three flashes, be creative and have spent less money than a dedicated flash from several years ago that if it was TTL relied on line of sight to transmit the information to additional off camera flashes. Leica M and flash have never really been a natural fit. The M6 TTL and M7 are the outliers. As has been pointed out, you don't need TTL for creativity. Now if you just want something for some fill or to light a whole room, there are plenty of options.

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29 minutes ago, madNbad said:

With many new manufactures bringing flashes to the market, they're a so many choices now and most include features once reserved for high end units. The ability to adjust output in manual mode and more effective auto sensors. With built in wi-fi, you can now get three flashes, be creative and have spent less money than a dedicated flash from several years ago that if it was TTL relied on line of sight to transmit the information to additional off camera flashes. Leica M and flash have never really been a natural fit. The M6 TTL and M7 are the outliers. As has been pointed out, you don't need TTL for creativity. Now if you just want something for some fill or to light a whole room, there are plenty of options.

So what's the most "auto" third party flash once could start with ? Is there one where I can dial in the aperture, shutter speed and ISO of my MP, and have it do the rest of the work alone automatically? 

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1 minute ago, Steven said:

How does one meter with no ttl flash ? 

Well, you could use a flash meter. Or you could calculate things manually based on the guide number and power setting. In the past there were a number of solutions. Nikon even produced the 45/2.8 GN (Guide Number) Nikkor. Whilst far from impossible to use flash manually and get predictable results, it does mean pre-visualising what you are trying to achieve (amount of fill-flash or pure flash only illumination). TTL flash is simply another form of automation and has its limitations depending on sophistication of camera/flash.

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17 minutes ago, Steven said:

What ? the MP doesn't have TTL?! that changes my plan ! how does one meter with no ttl flash ? 

Ha!  What was once old is new again.  Guide Numbers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_number

Or, the use of an auto flash (flash has built in light sensors that extinguishes the flash when exposure value ha been reached).

Edited by Danner
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44 minutes ago, Steven said:

Any recommandation of auto flash to use with a Leica MP?! Thanks 

Depends on what you intend to do with it.

Are you an aspiring Bruce Gilden with a small flash in one hand attached by a synch cable to a camera in the other hand or do you want adjustable power settings,  tilt & swivel head for bouncing the flash, adjustable beam angle etc? 

Take a look at Metz for starters.

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1 hour ago, Steven said:

What ? the MP doesn't have TTL?! that changes my plan ! how does one meter with no ttl flash ? 

I do not have a mp so please correct me if I am wrong: it does ttl for metering (I.e it meters through the lens) but it does not do ttl flash (I.e it cannot adjust exposure time based on flash light). You need an electronic shutter for ttl flash. 

As a side not, basic manual flash is fairly straightforward: look at the scale and select the aperture based on the distance to the flash unit. 

Edited by Aryel
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