If you’re serious about your macro work, a powerful means of illuminating your subject can make a big difference to your shots. When shooting up-close, lighting your subject with a traditional flashgun mounted to your camera’s hotshoe port, or your camera’s pop-up flash can cast an unpleasant lens shadow, but using a ringflash, like the Metz 15 MS-1 Wireless Digital Macro, will eliminate this problem, allowing you to attach the light source directly to the front of your lens and giving the subject full light coverage.
The Metz 15 MS-1 is compatible with Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Samsung and Sony D-SLRs, and their respective TTL metering systems. Its Guide Number of 15 is similar to a pop-up flash, but it’s still able to throw out an impressive amount of light for something powered only by 2xAAA batteries.
Instead of the traditional semi-circle flashtubes in a ringflash, the 15 MS-1 utilises two standard flashbulbs on either side of the unit and output is controlled via a dot-matrix display on the top-plate, offering an overall power range from 1/1 to 1/32. It also gives the option to split the power ratio individually between the two bulbs for added control.
The kit comes packed with an attachable bounce diffuser ring, which snaps over the front of the unit, reflecting the light inwards by around 20º for softer light and closer shooting.
The ringflash sits on the front of your lens via the lens filter thread. Included in the box are three different sizes of adaptor ring (52, 55 & 58mm) that snap snugly onto the back of the flash unit (additional 62, 67, 72mm adaptors are also available). Once the suitable adaptor for your lens has been attached, the unit can then be screwed on ready for shooting. As the system is wireless, it can be remotely fired without the need for attaching cables – as long as your camera has either an integrated flash unit or accessory flashgun acting as a master. Failing this, a physical connection can be established instead using a PC sync-cable (though this isn’t included).
At £249.99, it comes in around the lower end of the ring flash market, making it a very affordable option.
The Metz is not just for macro work, it can also be used within many other aspects of photography. Its lighting style works brilliantly for portrait shots, too, though it should be noted that, as it uses two single flashbulbs rather than the more traditional curved flashtubes, you won’t be able to achieve the same iconic halo-like catchlights that are produced by other ringflashes.
A big bonus with the Metz 15 MS-1 is the flexibility of being able to shoot wirelessly. This means that you’ll have the added freedom of shooting off-camera without the added expense of having to buy wireless triggers or sync-cables, for even more great lighting effects. Plus it’s compatible with a wide range of camera makes, so very few people will be left out. All this makes the Metz 15 MS-1 Wireless Digital Macro flash an incredibly versatile piece of kit for photographers.
- Street Price: £249.99 (As of July 2016)
- Guide Number: 15
- (50ft at ISO 100)
- Recycle Time: 0.3-5secs
- Colour Temp: 5600ºK
- Slave Mode: Yes
- Power Source: 2xAAA batteries
- Adapter Rings: 52, 55, 58mm included (additional 62, 67, 72mm available)
- Extras: Bouncer disc diffuser, pop-up flash clip, belt pouch
- Visit: www.intro2020.co.uk
This review was first published in the October 2011 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.