I am wondering this same thing. I am in search of a flash now, and the dual head of the Metz is attractive for bounce flash. So, other than having a slightly higher guide number and two heads, what is the difference between these two flashes? Anyone?
Altho I have no direct experiance with either flash from what I gather from browsing the Metz and various retailers sites the only function that MAY be missing is 3D matrix balanced fill flash. The metz may even have that but I have no basis to be sure. The Metz units have a great reputation and are supposedly built like tanks (so very like Nikon in that regard) and have been designed to function with their current generation cameras in mind. Many at Nikonians prefer to remain true to the brandbut there are options in 3rd party equipment whose price makes them reasonable alternatives. Sorry I couldn't be more specific but I am still using an old, not older but old, Auto style 283 Vivitar flash that works well with both my F and the N70.
>the only function that MAY be missing is 3D matrix >balanced fill flash. The metz may even have that but I have >no basis to be sure. The Metz units have a great reputation >and are supposedly built like tanks (so very like Nikon in >that regard) and have been designed to function with their >current generation cameras in mind.
According to the 54MZ3 manual I got online from Metz, it is able to do TTL, and 3d matrix - except when you use the second smaller reflector.
It is a hard choice between the SB-28 or the Metz. The big selling point of the Metz for me is the dual flash head when using bounce flash.
Can it high speed synch with the F5, F100 and N90s up to 1/4000 of a second? Maybe it can? I only have Nikon Speedlights and I have never second-guessed my decision... What are we talking about in savings?
I've already had an SB-28, and have been very satisfied with the results I get. My main photography subject is portrait, and so far 99% of the results I get using Nikon's fill-flash are pretty excellent. However, two days ago I had the chance to buy a used Metz 54 MZ3 for US$ 225. Since I have 2 bodies, and thinking of giving a set of camera (body, lens, and speedlight) to my younger brother, I bought the Metz.
As others have said, the main attraction of the Metz is its dual flash head, although that mode would disactivate the 3D multisensor balance flash. Guide number is 174, about 14 more than the SB-28. For those having more than 1 camera system (Nikon + maybe Minolta, Canon, Pentax, whatever...), only by changing/buying new SCA "foot", you can use the Metz with those other systems. Also, the main flash head is larger than the SB, which should reduce hot-spots ? The Metz also sits higher than the SB28, making it less prone to red-eye.
The downside ? Well, there are a couple to mention. Metz 54 MZ3 is darn huge for a shoe-mount flash, a tad taller than the SB-28. Also, the wide angle diffuser only covers 20mm, compared to 18mm of the SB28. Also, less buttons on the rear LCD panels means that you need to do more fiddling to change settings. It also has audible "beep" for confirmation, which can be good, or annoying (it can be disabled, though).
Sorry, I can't yet say anything about the quality of the result, because I just tested it today (just 2 shots, and I still have about 24 exposures left on the film).
George Oei Madison, WI "Dude, you're getting a Nikkor !!!"
I own a Metz45CL4. Dual head gun. On my gun the secondary or fill flash head always fires at the same output. The strength of fill can only be controlled by using a diffuser clipped in front of it. Metz supplies a clip on one as standard. What I can tell you from my experiences, is the secondary flash does cast substantial shadows in the background. As a fill while using bounce it isn't too overwhelming on the subject itself for general work but for me, I'll only use it when my subject is nowhere near a wall etc, if I use it at all. Just beware of this. Secondary heads might seem like a great idea but do also have pitfalls.