I have a Canon 50D and a Metz Mecablitz AF 58-1.

A few years back I used to work a lot with this combo, but it's been set aside for a few years.

I took it out, and changed the batteries of the flash to brand new ones. The flash doesn't test fire.

I put the flash in the hotshoe, powered up the camera and the flash, and I know the camera communicates with the flash because the flash knows my aperture and focal length etc.

I understand it's probably a flash bulb problem of some sort, I just wanted to know if anyone ever encountered the same problem, if I can take care of the problem myself, and what is the expected cost of repair in a shop.

The flash really works flawlessly except for, well, flashing.


2 Answers 2


How long is "a few years"? In the manual, there's a note that you should power on the flash every few months rather than just letting it sit:

Forming the flash capacitor
The flash capacitor built into the flash unit undergoes physical change if the unit is not switched on for a prolonged period. For this reason it is necessary to switch the unit on for approximately 10 minutes at least once every three months. The power supplied by the power source must be sufficient to cause the flash readiness indicator to light up no more than one minute after the flash unit is switched on.

See Are flashes really subject to a "use it or lose it" problem? for more on this (including this same quote, actually). Note that some other models need to be treated differently; for example, Sigma says "It is recommended that the flash be charged and fired several times a month, to maintain proper capacitor functioning."

It sounds to me that a problem related to this has developed. I'd send it in for service.

  • \$\begingroup\$ See also the Strobist's "How to Keep Your Old Flash From Exploding" article on why you don't leave a flash sitting around idle for long periods of time. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    May 29, 2016 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also Known as Conditioning the flash capacitor or voltage treatment - electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/277780/… \$\endgroup\$
    – dmkonlinux
    Oct 24, 2018 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's sort of hard not to notice when a lack of powering your flash has made the flash capacitor lose isolation: the resulting explosive pops when the capacitor repeatedly strikes through are quite unnerving. When the test button lights up, the principal flash capacitor should still be working. When the flash does not fire nevertheless, the bulb itself might be gone. Most other parts of the circuitry are less likely to turn in their resignation, but of course there are no guarantees. \$\endgroup\$
    – user95069
    Oct 3, 2020 at 16:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ About "what is the expected cost of repair in a shop." - probably much more than would be economical for MOST vintage flashguns. A normal camera mechanic likely does not have the training to safely service the internals of a flashgun. Also, flashguns are notoriously hard to dissassemble, likely due to a combination of the need to keep them compact and sturdy AND preventing them from being dismantled by accident, by the unskilled or by children - live internals of a flashgun can easily cause severe injury. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 4, 2020 at 4:41

Taking it in for service would be the best you can do letting the experts take care of business is the right thing to do.


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