Mecablitz 52 AF-1 is world’s first touchscreen hotshoe flash

German manufacturer Metz have now brought the touchy-feely experience to flashguns with the Mecablitz 52 AF-1.

Metz mecablitz 52 AF-1 touchscreen flashgun

More and more cameras these days have a touchscreen interface, from the Nikon Coolpix S800C to the Samsung Galaxy Camera. German manufacturer Metz have now brought the touchy-feely experience to flashguns with the Mecablitz 52 AF-1.

The 52 AF-1’s control panel is back-illuminated and will cleverly rotate 90° if you turn your camera from landscape to portrait orientation. The touchscreen is just another way to adjust your settings — so don’t expect a full-blown version of Android and Angry Birds just yet — but the unit has a competent feature set including TTL, high speed sync, full manual mode, an optical slave cell and metal hotshoe foot.

Metz mecablitz 52 AF-1 touchscreen flashgun

The tilty-swivelly flash head can zoom electronically from 24-105mm, or widen up to 12mm with the flip-out diffuser panel; plus there is a built-in reflector card to bring out catchlights in the eyes of your subjects. The metric guide number is 52, with a recycle time of 3.5 seconds. While there is no external battery connector to speed this up, you do get a mini-USB port for future firmware updates.

Metz mecablitz 52 AF-1

The Metz 52 AF-1 will be available in dedicated models for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and Four Thirds (Olympus, Panasonic and Leica) at an estimated price point of €250. For more information, visit Metz’s web site.

So, are touchscreen speedlights a good idea? Would you buy one, or are you waiting to Apple to bring out theirs? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

David Selby
Based in the West Midlands, UK, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a statistics PhD student.
  • its adorable

  • So Adorable

  • Lawliet

    Should be tried&testet in every day use…if Metz used the additional real estate to streamline operation that might speed things up, esp. when used in commander mode.
    Return of the simple slave cell? Convenient in conjunction with Canons RT and the 600EX-RTs set to manual or auto, E-TTL with that many independent flashes would have its caveats anyway.

  • mooboy

    I think it’s stupid. Touchscreens make sense on things like smartphones, where buttons would take up screen real estate when doing other activities like surfing Web. Also make sense on cameras where have screen anyway – but only as an addition to buttons. Would you like it if all aperture and control settings, including shutter, were only available from a touchscreen (hint, try your smart phone for taking photos Fon an ergonomics point of view)

    Touchscreen on a flash… Give me nice simple buttons every time. Good luck adjusting one of these when inside an Apollo softbox etc.

    • Lawliet

      Wheels&Buttons make sense if they are linked to a specific function, as aperture or shutter. You know exactly what they do all the time.
      But look at a 580EX – what button presses do you need to change the number of groups, or their power. How do you activate a 430EXs independent slave mode? Context dependent controls should be a thing of the past.
      Also for flashes in difficult to access locations: why would you want to adjust them on the flash anyway? Thats what remote control is for. Imagine climbing up a ladder to access a monoblock when AIR remote or studio does the same thing, the latter with some additional nice features as bonus.

  • No external power source? Any cheap chinese speedlight has this.

    Is it TTL wireless, or just slave dumb mode?

    • Lawliet

      According to spec sheet TTL-commander&remote as well as both preflash supressing and simple slave mode.

  • matt

    I see, sadly, that they’ve re-used the awful slippery un-grippable hotshoe locking wheel that was on the 50AF. I was hoping they’d go back to the perfect many-toothed locking wheel on the 48AF.

  • Frank

    We can surly see that the German has copied the LCD screen from the Japanese.
    Then they forgot to put in color LCD, PC Syn Socket, HV Port and Auto Sensor.

    When Metz has the Nissin Di866 in R&D to studies, most photo-engineers are no longer working & have retired or passed away.

    Metz 54MZ has auto sensor
    Metz 58AF-1 has auto sensor
    Metz 58AF-2 has auto sensor
    Metz 52AF-1 has none

    Who cares about the USB port.
    It’s not like you are going to need the firmware ungraded every three years if you are still using your old equipment.

    I guess Metz has not tested this flash’s touch screen in the extreme cold & hot weathers? In the cold without the external battery pack, your flash is dead.

    My Sony A99 sucks in both temps.