I am still hesitating between a specific commander only (SU-800 or Debao) or a third party flash like the Metz 52 AF.

My question concerns only the command of my Nikon SB-R200 flashes (today I have 2, later can be 3 or 4) with the Metz flash(es) as I now the SU-800 commander does the job but I would perhaps like to have a classic cobra flash for other purposes.

With Metz flashes (mainly the 52AF, other experiences are welcome) is the commander mode "master" enable the command for Nikon SB-R200?

Alternatively I think this is not compatible with the Nikon CLS system but it seems the IR command does not necessarily need the CLS system.


1 Answer 1


I don't have a Metz 52, but in the Manual for the Nikon version, on page 167 it begins with an English description of its use with Nikon Advanced Wireless Lighting mode (AWL is the wireless optical control component of the Nikon CLS).

Some Metz flashes with AWL (like AF-54) can only be a remote slave AWL flash, but the AF-52 also describes that it also has the Master controller feature (to also replace the SU-800, if on the camera hot shoe). Sure, its AWL mode should be SB-200 compatible. It will be greatly more powerful, with a 50mm lens, its 1/16 power roughly compares to SB-200 full power.

The user manual should answer all of your questions about what it will do.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This was my feeling as well when I read the manual you linked. However as the manual does not mentions CLS and someone from a shop told me only nikons flashes can control SB-R-200. That confused me and that's why I ask question for people who really did experiment it. \$\endgroup\$
    – рüффп
    Mar 3, 2018 at 18:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ As per your answer, you mention that this kind of flashes can replace the SU-800 (or its Chinese equivalent Debao); I would be curious to see if there are real differences between the Metz flash and the SU-800 except the economy of the size. If the differences are not huge I would probably go for the Metz and buy a Debao (it's only 80$) if I really need to be compact. \$\endgroup\$
    – рüффп
    Mar 3, 2018 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ AWL implies CLS, AWL is just one feature of CLS. CLS is the name of the Nikon flash system in digital cameras (not sure of first D1, but D2 and later were explicitly called CLS). Means Creative Lighting System, just a name meaning Nikon flash. D1 and D2 cameras were TTL-D, but D2X and later were iTTL, and so in todays cameras, CLS means both iTTL and AWL (the lower endl NIkon models don't support AWL though). AWL is the commander system, using infrared and Group and Channel, etc.The manual description says AF-52 is fully compatible with AWL \$\endgroup\$
    – WayneF
    Mar 3, 2018 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ The best vendor descriptions of gear is B&H. Read their description of the AF-52: bhphotovideo.com/c/product/895939-REG/… which clearly says: "The 52 AF-1 is designed to fully support a Nikon camera's i-TTL system. It can be operated as a TTL slave unit that can be controlled by the camera's own built-in commander mode or as a master itself." And "Fully compatible with Nikon cameras". That's what AWL means. \$\endgroup\$
    – WayneF
    Mar 3, 2018 at 20:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ The SU-800 does have the switch in the battery compartment to switch between "Closeup" and "Commander" mode. Page 58 of the R1C1 manual. Guessing the AF-52 likely does not have it? Commander seems to add more options that closeup has no use for. The only comments I've heard about it is that it's just cosmetic or convenience, not a necessary function. Closeup might specify ratio 1:2, where Commander would specify A +0 EV, B +1 EV. We should be able to do that in our head. \$\endgroup\$
    – WayneF
    Mar 4, 2018 at 1:19

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