Metz 52 AF-1 flash for Olympus/Panasonic

On Christmas eve, I unfortunately had an accident and dropped my Olympus E-P5 with my FL-600R flash on board, a short distance onto a thick rug. That jolt was enough to break the hot-shoe foot of my Olympus flash. As I tend to use flash photography for indoor photos, it was essential for me to have a flash I could use. Hence I had to look for a replacement or get it repaired. Then I saw in the Amazon Lightning deals that they had the Metz 52 AF-1 for Olympus on offer for £125.40 (RRP £209). Hence I snapped it up before the offer ended.

This is what my Olympus FL-600R hot-shoe foot looks like – I’ve used the Lazer Bond Liquid plastic to repair it, but I would not trust it to withstand heavy use. And the cost for repair would be at least £120+, which makes the purchase of the Metz 52 AF-1 great value – and I can still use the FL-600R as a wireless Slave flash.

Olympus FL600R broken hotshoe foot

I ordered it on 1/1/17 and it arrived the next day. It is definitely larger in size than my FL-600R, and does not have an LED light – but the light output is more powerful and the colour output seems to match the output of the Olympus flash, so the photos still look great.

Metz 52 AF-1 flash for Olympus/Panasonic

It does come with a fairly flimsy pouch, which still does offer protection to the flash. The cold-shoe stand is bulky and does not fit within the pouch, unlike other flashes that I’ve used (Olympus, Canon, Sony) – so it isn’t very useful, as I’m unlikely to bring it along. But it does have 1/4″ screw threads at the base for mounting onto a tripod, if you do bring it along.

With pouch and stand

The hot-shoe foot on the Metz 52 AF-1 is a strong metal one, which means that it is less likely to break compared to the Olympus flash, which is great. But the locking mechanism requires the use of a turning knob rather than the simpler and easier to use lock-switch of the Olympus FL-600R.

Metal hotshoe foot

It uses 4 x AA batteries for power. The head can be rotated about without requiring to depress  an unlock button, but it still feels firm and unlikely to move out of place – unless there is a truly heavy light modifier attached to it. I had no issues with the flash head staying in place with the light modifiers I’ve used (which are reasonably light).

Uses 4 x AA batteries for power

The user interface is a touch screen which can automatically rotate to ensure it can still be read in portrait mode.

Illuminated touch-screen display
Screen will rotate automatically for portrait shots

What do I like about the Metz 52 AF-1?

  1. Great price with excellent power output (especially with the deal on Amazon).
  2. The light output matches the output from Olympus flash, which means I can use them together without any white balance issues.
  3. It can be used as the Master or Slave wireless flash on the Olympus cameras – which means I can use it to trigger my slave Olympus FL-600R (even if I don’t get that hot-shoe foot repaired).
  4. That metal hot-shoe foot means it is less likely to break compared to the Olympus flash.

What could be improved?

  1. The flash locking mechanism should be the simpler lock switch like most new camera flashes on the market.
  2. The cold-shoe adapter should fit within the camera pouch, as it is less likely to get misplaced.
  3. The flash pouch does feel cheap and more flimsy than other ones I’ve used – but still protects the flash reasonably well.

Verdict:

I am pleased with the actual flash, as it has taken over the place left by my damaged Olympus FL-600R, and as it has more power output it also means that I have even more control of the lighting of my subjects. Its light output does match that from the Olympus flash, which means the light output will not look out of place when paired with Olympus flashes for multiple flash photography and cause white balance issues. That metal hot-shoe foot is definitely a great positive – compared to the plastic, broken hot-shoe foot of my Olympus FL-600R.

So even though the accessories which come with the flash do let it down, overall it is a great alternative flash for the Olympus and Panasonic camera systems. Recommended.

Boon