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Metz 15 MS-1 first hands-on

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Poki, May 19, 2014.

  1. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Today, I received the Metz 15 MS-1 twin flash with ring reflector. It's the first part of my macro setup, which hopefully will soon be joined by the 50mm Touit and a Metz 52 AF-1. My first impression was very positive - it's built much better than I anticipated, with a metal mount and a very tight plastic body. The menu is as simple as it could be, the servo mode works great and the recharge times are okay - can't really test it as the recharge time of the internal flash is much longer.

    The flash runs off 2 AAA batteries - I use Sanyo Eneloops. The light from the two GN15 flashes can be set from 1/1 to 1/32 and spread in a ratio of up to 1:8 between the two flashes. Both flashes feature a three-step reflector to direct the light. It also features a built-in focus assist light, which is a bright, white LED bulb. The "modeling light" works interesting: It fires through a full flash transistor charge in small, weak steps so that you get a few seconds of seeing how the light will look on the model.

    Here just a few OOC snapshots I just made:


    DSC08138.

    DSC08130.

    DSC08119.

    You can indeed achieve pretty flat light like with actual ring flashes if you desire.

    DSC08134.

    The following example is cropped and shot with a wide angle, non-macro lens, mind you. But at least you can see a little how the highlights in the eyes will look like from this flash. If you move away from the face more than a meter or so you'll just get a single highlight like with any other flash.

    DSC08157.
     
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  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    A few more snapshots with the flash. The ring design makes it very compact, while it still offers a very organically looking light as opposed to the clinical light from actual ring flashes. You just have to be careful with reflective surfaces as the highlights tend to look gritty, as can be seen in the first picture. The last one is off-camera - because there are absolutely no hardware connections between the camera and the flash, you simply can take it off the camera and continue shooting.

    I can't wait to start working with this lens when I get the 50mm Touit. Seems like it offers pretty much everything somebody could need for macro lighting.

    DSC08169.

    DSC08177.

    DSC08180.
     
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  3. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    The more I use it, the more I love how the light out of the twin flashes look. Glad I didn't get a generic ring flash.

    <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/48126456@N05/14046488178" title="B&amp;W MM-1 by Hannes Brecher, on Flickr">"800" height="800" alt="B&amp;W MM-1"></a>
     
  4. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    Wow, I never knew such flashes existed. The photos look great!
     
  5. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Twin flashes are made by all the big ones, including Sony. The problem is that they're clunky (because of the controller unit which goes on the hot shoe) and take a while to set up. Also, all of them cost above €600 afaik. The Metz one is not only significantly cheaper, but also smaller and much faster to set up. For that, you trade a bit flexibility, but for now, I think I'm absolutely happy with it. Great flash if you're into close-up photography of any type.
     
  6. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    As an audiophile, I like this ;)

    I studied acoustical engineering at university and on our first day we got to take apart a set of Nautilus 801's to do an experiment separating bass/mid/treble - I was torn between intrigue and sacrilege!

    One of the company directors is actually a family friend (he enjoyed the above story when I first told him!), his personal studio is, ummm, WOW!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    I wouldn't call myself an audiophile, but I value a good audio quality very highly. And although I only have been able to afford their low end offerings like the MM-1 (in the photo) or their P5 headphones, I would absolutely love to try their 801 Series Diamond speakers! Hopefully I'll meet somebody someday who owns a pair of those. I even would help him putting them back together. :)

    For me, I'll probably continue by replacing my soundbar with a Panorama 2 (couldn't afford it when I built my home cinema setup), and then adding A7's (no, not the cameras ;)) to each room. You never can have enough quality speakers.

    As somebody who knows this stuff much better than I do, what do you think of their lower tier products?
     
  8. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    Before I begin, keep in mind my ear doesn't handle anything but perfect audio reproduction as acceptable! I really am an audio NUT!

    They really are a company of 2 halves, at least over the last 10 years they have become that. Of course they still have the super high end £££££'s speakers, which rival ANYTHING on the planet for quality, however they realised they had to tap the more average customer to survive as not many people can afford 801's!

    As such their lower tier products really are not the same, and are actually only manufactured under license, not by B&W themselves and in my mind I feel dilute the B&W name. I personally think they should have made a new brand name for these products (by all means openly associated with B&W), but kept the B&W for the hand built and individually precision tuned super high end speakers.
    Using their superior knowledge they have created a range of audio devices, like the MM-1 and Zeplin etc which to the average listener do sound GREAT, and are good bits of kit, but, in a number of cases you can probably get a similar or even better sound from the right competitors product for less money if you do your research. OK, the visual design is also probably a bit more special, but really you are just paying for the name B&W. In many respects they are the 'Apple' of the speaker/hi-fi market. I am an 'Apple Boy' and so as such am not totally adverse to paying more than maybe I need to, to get that classy design - but in the case of B&W I am yet to find one of their lower end products which is clearly a step above the rest in the same price range - as such I don't own any B&W kit at the moment.

    They have done the same thing with car stereos - for a long time they have had a partnership with Jaguar (until 2012), by the end you paid only £1200 for B&W in your Jag as it is only a design they have allowed their name to be put to... It used to be a £6000 extra when they did it properly!!
    B&W now charge only £2000 to put their system in a Maserati - so again at this price it's not going to be their proper stuff manufactured by them.
    B&O do similar with Audi - I have the £7000 option in my A6, but in the A4 they offer a B&O 'licensed' system for only £600 (which many 'normal' people say is not as good as the Audi system!). Of course they don't tell you this in the brochure!

    As of now I live in a flat, so my hi-fi system = none (I get my kicks in the car!) or I would annoy the neighbours. We are buying a house next year, at which point I will then be planning my B&W setup... A mortgage extension may be required - but it will be worth it!

    The other thing people often forget is aside from buying a decent bit of kit, you need to set it up individually for each installation. So getting the right speaker position in the room (and of course correct stand for them), setting the EQ to fit the audio profile of the room etc. Even a £200 hi-fi can go from sounding horrendous to 'OK' with speaker positioning and proper EQ. I've seen 1 or 2 B&W systems where the installation hasn't been done right (as in they didn't employ a professional to do it) and it kills me!
    You can of course then get into the right amps, cables and music sources - no point having a decent speaker if you don't feed it right!

    In short, if you want a well designed quality product, which looks good, you don't mind paying a bit more for it, and you like to say "I've got a B&W Hi-Fi" then the lower end stuff is perfect! There is nothing wrong with the lower end stuff they sell at all, but for me, and I am in the minority of people, it has to be their high end stuff!
     
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  9. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Yep, that description sounds exactly like me. Except maybe the "you like to say I've got a B&W HiFi" - nobody I know even remotely knows what B&W is.

    As for the quality compared to the competition in the same price range - I did compare quite long before buying into the MM-1's. Honestly, I wasn't able to find better speakers at that price. The Harmon Kardon GLA-55 sounded like crap, and everything else either came with a huge woofer that totally threw the balance of the sound away or was just too shabby looking to put beneath my Apple Thunderbolt display.

    Their Zeppelin is a different story. I haven't heard the updated "Air" version yet, but I was not a fan of the sound from the original Zeppelin at all. It's interesting just how different to the MM-1 they sound despite using some similar driver units. The MM-1 sound cripsy clear in the high tones with the nice, warm B&W sound signature in the mids. At the low end, they lack just a tiny little bit, but that's a trade off with which I can live. The Zeppelin, on the other hand, just sounds muddy, even to my not trained ears. They sound too warm and aren't balanced very well imho.

    But apart from the Zeppelin, I liked most B&W products I tried so far. The P5 again have that nice, warm B&W signature sound, and while they don't resolve as crispy as the MM-1's, they're good enough for my mobile audio needs. The P3, on the other hand, sound a little too thin for my taste. Didn't have a chance to try the C5 and P7 yet.

    Also, while all their low end products might not be produced by themselves, they are indeed developed by B&W, and you can hear that. Except maybe their car systems, don't have experience with those. Although I have to say that 2000 pounds sounds far too cheap for a (good) B&W car HiFi.

    So I agree that B&W indeed builds products which are sub-par. But compared with competitors in their price range, at least I found them to be adequate and not overpriced. The comparison with Apple might be right, though - Apple also charges more, but if you are challenged to find a product which is better overall for a similar price, you won't be able to (usually). And Apple also had some shabby products, like their iPod HiFi or the older Time Capsule.

    I also agree that it's horrible when such sound systems aren't placed right. And that not only applies for high-end systems - even cheap-ish 5.1 systems just hurt my ears when they're placed and configured wrong, while they can in theory produce a nice sound for movies.

    So, I'm kinda glad I'm not that audiophile now. I don't need one more part of my life which eats all my money for breakfast. So I'll continue to be overly happy with my audio equipment and buy more when I can. Oh, my Yamaha YAS-71 screams to be replaced by the Panorama 2 ... :)
     
  10. José De Bardi

    José De Bardi Assistant in Virtue

    Aug 31, 2013
    Dorset, UK
    José
    Haha!

    The MM-1 are nice for sure. As you say, anything with a B&W label is still designed by them so is gonna be pretty good!

    The Panorama2 though, while probably having the best sound reproduction quality of similar price sound bars, isn't the best at producing a surround sound immersive experience, and by some margin compared to say the Yamaha YSP-4300. Depends what you want it for though, if it's purely for watching movies I'd steer towards the Yamaha, if it's for music/TV the B&W... Pretty sure I know which way you are going though!
    I've been trying to decide which sound bar to get recently (and so listened to a few recently including the Panorama2 and YSP-4300). I like the look of the Samsung HW-H750 as it has a valve amp and I have a Samsung TV so the HDMI Anynet+ stuff will all hook up, but I've not heard it yet and it's half the price of the afore mentioned options so not sure how it will sound!

    Being an audiophile is a great hardship in life it has to be said! But equally, being able to appreciate the finer qualities in a piece of music you might never have heard on a lesser system is also pretty cool as I do love music!

    Anyway - WAAAAAAY off topic now - you'd best post some more pics with your new flash!
     
  11. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    Austria
    Before I buy anything, I compare it with the competition anyway. But you won't get proper surround from just a single speaker in front of you. Besides, the B&W PV1D is probably the best looking subwoofer out there. ;) One problem might be that the Panorama 2 is so big it actually would block a little bit of my TV screen.

    The HDMI connection features - I wouldn't value them too high. Just get a Logitech Harmony Ultimate or something similar, it'll do much more for you.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot this thread is about a flash. I'll continue adding samples in the coming days. :)