In 2006, Metz was the first company to put a USB port onto a hot-shoe flash. This year at Photokina 2012, Metz introduced Mecablitz 52 AF-1, the world's first speedlight with a touchscreen.
These days, you can see touchscreen being employed all over: from mobile phones and music players to refrigerators and cars. On one hand, a touchscreen simplifies the use of the device, but on another hand, it does not have a tactile feedback as buttons do. Also, using a touchscreen often means you need to be more precise with your finger actions.
While we are excited to see Metz making this advancement with Mecablitz 52 AF-1, we also believe that it is a potentially risky move. Is the screen big enough to be convenient to use in real world applications? Are the controls on the display spread out enough to be easily used by people with the different finger sizes? Does the menu structure take full advantage of the touch interface?.. The answers should come soon after the flash becomes available to the general public.
Besides the dramatic change in the interface, Metz Mecablitz 52 AF-1 flash brings many other improvements to photographers world wide. Replacing Metz Mecablitz 50 AF-1, 52 AF-1 has an increased Guide Number of 52 (ISO 100 at 105mm zoom). In a wireless setup, the flash can now not only be a slave/remote but also a master unit. The new servo function is essentially a "dumb" optical slave mode, in which Mecablitz 52 AF-1 can be triggered by virtually any flash (including studio strobes, point-and-shoot cameras, etc.). The screen menus rotate 90 degrees automatically when you move your camera from landscape to portrait orientation (similar to Nissin Di866 Mark II flash). Metz also notes that performance and reliability are further optimized.
Other features include high-speed sync, second curtain sync, wide-angle panel (12 mm coverage), catchlight card, 300 degrees swivel flash head, metal base with quick lock, a USB port (integrated inside the battery compartment), and more.
Metz Mecablitz 52 AF-1 will be available for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus/Panasonic/Leica, and Pentax.
For the full press release, please refer to the metz.de web-site.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.