Metz flashes have been renowned for years for the; Outstanding build quality and consistency.  The value and usability of their products for the commercial shooter; Excellent durability and power.  And now with some smarts and a little re-engineering the can easily be adapted to newer digitals with power and performance the Cobra heads can’t touch.  If you have one laying around, get smart and upgrade the package, don’t pitch it, I have answers. 

Introduced at the Photokina 1976, the 45 CT- and CL features mostly one thing photographers who earned a living wanted, needed and used.  Power. With a guide (GN) 148 based on film for 35mm full frame focal length is quite a lot for a battery powered strobe off the shelf but was a great performer on the slow film of the day. (ASA 25-50-100 came to mind).  

Other strobes did not come close without spending a lot more money. They still don’t. Others also did not have the head spread and width of the light.  Metz captured the whole bridal party pretty evenly, not just a hotspot of the Bride and Groom. 

Thus, a challenge, and in modernizing we addressed all the issues and found a gem...

The Pro Metz 45 series handle-mounts were the best for weddings and events but didn’t have a pro power supply to run them. They had a rocket but no fuel. And when they did offer a pro pack it cost more than the strobe.

Then the TTL era began which misleads more than it works.  We call the type of fuel, the battery power, the chemistry in the industry.  The battery power was insufficient for today's mega shooters who need high numbers to get good pictures.    Then NiMH replaced Ni-CDs, capacity improved and with the advent of super packs for various other fields we now can take advantage.

"Chimping", those who spend their time looking at every shot and running out of battery power when they need it the most.  If, for nothing good, they soon discover those smaller heads do miss all the people on the sides.  

The other problem with handle-mounts was wimping. Non-pro shooters are inherently lazy just like most of the next generation. And when strobes were smaller and lighter, and the ISO went up, they think a four-battery strobe can do what a pro level strobe can do. Not really, it’s more head size, refraction and shape of the head and capacity to create evenness.  It’s just not there in the cobra heads.

It's simple, more power in the past meant expensive heavy batteries.  My pack for my Metz 45 9.6 Volt 3800 MAH weighs less than 1.4 pounds and sits nicely on my hip.  And I have a ton of shots to use...1000.s

Now we are using NIMH in huge capacity and light weight.   In the future, when Safe lithium is OK, it is on the horizon, a few more years from now.  But now Lithium is banned on all airlines and FedEx, UPS, and USPS, way too tough to ship safely, still too dangerous to work with and there are bigly fines if you get caught. 

I retired from working closely within a battery store, if you saw all the Lithium stuff I have seen like phones, battery powered toys and just about anything else people brought in blown-up or fired up, you would show a little caution too.  Having to ship ground and delays and tougher handling does not work for me. 

And we have some wide-angle rigs using my perfection bracket and a pair of Metz 45’s, triggered by simple Yong-Nuo’s or Pocket Wizards. 

Whether you are lighting a hall room at events or outdoor fill flash with large groups is simple and those bridal parties of ten or more wide per side can get good even lighting.  
Hundreds used my Perfection bracket before all the plastic cheap plastic Chinese gadgets came out and now I use the bracket on dual 45’s.  Killer! 

Take two METZ 45’s x 148 guide @ ISO-100 = 296 or F16 at 20 feet wide.  Those numbers are verified with a Sekonic 358.  See the photos here.

I refurb, rebuild, redesign, re-engineer and manufacture power packs that are affordable to furnish the power these larger units require.  This entails rebuilding modules that transfers the power from the pack to the strobe.  

No more AA cells, Complete events and Weddings with confidence and power. The shot on the right shows the custom cables for my pack, the modules, and optional triggers.

Thus, we took the simplest and most affordable CT-1, for those doing pro work and with some smarts can be had for very little on the web.  Pawn shops too.

Do send me a list of what you have to work with, pictures help and let me figure it out. I have several options, on varying levels and some spare parts and resources.  I’ll quote you.

Another issue to think about before you tear one apart is compatibility with newer products.  I have a list of devices and the knowledge that cut the high voltage down for the synch ports.  

If your intent was as a stand or manual unit using into an umbrella, fine MANUAL mode works great. This is a stalwart true 150 guide power head with great color. Thus,  most are using them today on stands.  They make excellent portable location units for the budget minded shooter, no AC required and no cords for clients to trip over.  And we eliminate AA batteries.

The Metz will now with the pack consistently turn good numbers with a Pocket Wizard or other flash trigger with an umbrella or other light modifier since they have a bigger head.   With a guide number 148 at ISO 100, that’s about as powerful as many of the smaller cheaper hyped up Chinese studio lights on AC, about 170 @ 320 watt seconds. (more like 120)


MECAMAT 45-20 AND 45-43 IN 
The Metz 45 CT-1 older series (High Voltage) is more useful in Manual mode if you can find this part called a 45-20.  Using the Wein or Vello Safe Synch allows this all powerful flash to be used on Digital (newer) cameras safely.   The other option is you are safe if the CT-1 serial numbers over 534,000.    READ MORE - SEE BELOW 

NOTE:   Metz has produced a number of different versions of the Mecamat for different models of the METZ 45 strobe. Mecamat can ONLY be used with the model they were designed for.    THE High Voltage CT-1 can only use the 45-20  Serial number under 534,000.   

Low Voltage   CT-1 can only use the 45-43  making sure your serial number on the hood is higher than 534,000. They are not interchangeable. 



1)    In Automatic mode it extends the number of usable Apertures to nine instead of five

2)    In Manual mode it allows manual power setting in full stops from 1 to 1/64 instead of full power only

3)    It has a spot meter option

4)    4)  The CT-1 flash came onto the market it represented a lot more power than most flashes available at that time and even today.  

5)    It had a large head, great light distribution, and in full manual settings took care of slow film better than anything else.  It effectively extends its usefulness to the present day. 

6)    And with the Mecamat it can handle almost anything with the additional variables it performs.

7)    In the mode for micro shooting off a stand this is an incredible setup,  Because you will be in manual settings anyway.

8)    7) Standard F stop in Auto Mode simply turn dial, goes to next f-stop. This was at the lowest possible settings, not intended to be a technical shot it is for showing versatility of the units using just a dial. Nothing changed in camera and the flash only has five stops, with the Mecamat that opens to nine more.

In the auto-mode you have 2 options, a green one and a red one... There is a switch with which you can select what indicator you are using.... If you set the red indicator to f/8 or f/16 and have the switch to green, you'll probably get overexposed pictures... But if the other way around (green on scale, red on switch), you'll get underexposed pictures... Mind you, you also have to set the switch at the back of the mecamat to the right side 


#14  On top is the left right switch. It activates either the extended automatic dial on the left side or the manual dial on the right side. A white indicator shows which side is activated. 

#15  Below in the middle is the flash ready lamp which replicates the flash ready status from the main unit. 

#16  Below the flash ready lamp is a red led which lights up shortly if there was sufficient light.

#17  Adjuster for angle of the sensor. At the bottom of the housing is a screw dial that allows to adjust the angle of the Mecamat upwards or downwards, in order to point the sensor when using the spot metering mode. 

#18  The unit will point downwards by using the adjuster and is designed for and perfectly suitable for Macro work, when the subject is very near to the camera.  The little red button on the hot shoe can be used to trigger the flash for a test shot. (#18 Grey in photo)

The front can be tilted to the side and the hole then acts as a visor so that you see where the Sensor is aiming. In the back a plastic part can be pushed out to be used for aiming with the visor.  You can see it in the next picture at the left side near the bottom of the case in its pushed in state. The sensor itself can be turned with its black plastic rim and then pulled out to give a spot metering effect.

NOTE:  On the right side is a dial that looks very similar to the one on top of the flash itself. When the Mecamat is attached the dial on top of the flash is without function and it does not matter how it is set. 

The inner dial is used to select the ISO. The outer dial can be set from Manual full power to 1/64 power. For each stop the table indicates the flash duration time between 1/300 to 1/16000 of a second. The upper part matches apertures with distance for the chosen setting.
The highest ISO setting is only 400 but that does not matter as it is anyway only for informational purposes. A good shooter shooting digital will get the right power setting by test shots and can ignore the ISO setting completely.

On the left side is a second similar dial and a switch. The switch can be selected to activate a “green” or a “red" mode. Each mode represents 5 automatic apertures can be selected by turning the big dial. 

•   The “red” mode allows lower apertures. •   The “green” mode allows higher apertures. •   The two modes overlap and one in the middle resulting in a total of 9 selectable apertures. •    For ISO 100 the apertures range from 2.8 to 45. The scale also shows the maximum distance for each aperture. •    Someone mentioned well it only goes to ISO 400.  Duh!  With a flash as powerful as the 45 who cares, I want as low an ISO as I can use for massive clean files.  

The ISO settings dial is just there to mechanically align the values printed on the dial. If higher ISO values are set in the camera simple adjust the aperture by the number of stops necessary.  Each doubling of the ISO means one stop, simple, a third grader can math that one out.



The big boy on the right is a dual setup with my Perfection bracket, two Metz 45’s, and a power controller with 3800 dual 9.6 volt batteries in NIMH in tandem for the two ports on the pack. 

 It is powerful and allows many modes for bounce flash, single or dual wide flash,110 degree super wide coverage for Weddings and events.  

I also use Mary Ann with an umbrella, low settings for portraits, and the second head a bounce for background.  

 Few other units on the market can do this.   About a 10th, the price of the Profoto and similar rigs... especially at the beach.

 OK, my sense of humor sometimes runs away from me. I call her Mary Ann.  She works all day, all night, and now Mary Ann, down by the seaside sifting the song goes.  

Mounted on one of my sand poles ( see DIY section) she shoots great shots on back-lighted beach settings, and sundown work with large groups such as beach weddings and corporate cookouts popular here in Florida.  And they all want shots with the skyline lit on the background after the sun goes down.             

No problem, that is if they are all standing and not passed out from alcohol.  When the wedding parties are six to ten per side and you really need wide coverage, I simple move each head 10 degrees off center.   

At weddings or events I also use it in one head bounce, one head direct with diffusion, cool results and again one Metz is powerful, two is incredible. That is a guide of about 300G hit on max.  


SYNCH VOLTAGE IS A RED FLAG **You have to manually check the voltage on your unit. You are forewarned that, all Metz, Canon, Nikon products and others are voltage and amperage sensitive and nothing any of them builds or sells is inexpensive either as a replacement or repair.  

Thus, older CT-1 are units stronger than bulls with higher synch if their serial numbers are under 534,000.  They have a high voltage synch rate.  Those units below 534,000 we have no hesitation using them on lightstands, with the dual mounts with a transceiver or on my beach rigs using my Mary Ann.  

For the under 534,000 simply use a WEIN Safe -Synch voltage regulator available at B&H or Transceivers that are rated at 200V.



The Wein Safe-Sync Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe regulates and reduces the flash sync voltage of the flash from up to 400V to less than 6V. This is especially important for current automated SLRs or digital cameras when used with older flashes or lighting systems.

This model mounts directly to a camera’s hot shoe, great because it allows the unique synch cord we use with the Metz to plug right in the front. and provides a hot shoe on top and a PC female flash connection on the side.  Y

You can have a flash connected to the hot shoe and a flash being triggered by the PC female connection-and unlike so many other offerings of this type, both will fire simultaneously from the same signal. The exception to this rule pertains when using 1 or 2 flashes that are already under 5V sync voltage. In this case, the flash or flashes will not fire.

** If the number is higher than 534,000, no problem the 500,000 indicates low-synch voltage and I will gladly shoot with Nikons, Canons, and Sony’s off the hotshoe or synch made today.  Now you have two choices with the Vello at B&H

There are three versions of the Metz clip. (Battery Holders) Look inside the handle. You see three pins but your module only has two contacts.  NOTE: Thus, eliminating all BS and those who say it doesn’t matter, it does.   I once said stupid never needs an intro to the web.   I work on these things and as usual misinformation is prevalent on the web

For me the modules serve one purpose, remember this is an improvement process, not how to rebuild the mess the old way.  Modules are best used...disassembled and rebuilt into a power cord, pack models otherwise useless.  

The modules all come from overseas, the true Metz Alkali from Germany about $28.00 for one, the TYPE three very underpowered with NiCads and/dead, are expensive.  The knockoffs made by SONIA BRAND from Karnataka, India are about three for 25.00 dollars.  Every five of the cheapie’s I use, I throw one away, poor fit, won’t lock in the handle, thin plastic.  Just like China.

The first module is the older-welded cells factory issued NiCad pack.  If it is welded, not soldered.  Soldered batteries are homemade refills and never hit true capacity.  Also look for corrosion.


The second, type is simply an unfilled empty holder you fill, with ALKALI only, not rechargeable batteries, it is designed to work with the ground and PIN A which is in a different location from the Ni-Cad/NiMH pack

The third version is the newer Ni-MH offered by B&H and more current, marked New.   BUT when new, when? How long has it been current on their shelves?  NiMh and Lithium both have shelf lives.  These old NEW marked will die if older tha a year.  Which is why I have an expensive 1500 dollar load tester on my bench next to the Voltage meters.  Most likely it is what they call  “Old new inventory”  Pass if you are smart.   Waste of money.

I can convert all of these holders to a battery pack cable module by rebuilding the unit and we’ll save you about sixty dollars.



The Metz Ni-Cad modules were great for film, today they are useless. They had a 50 - shot capacity, were OK in the days of film weddings when you carried two packs, barely made it and only shot 120 pictures.

 However, do not pitch them.  They might, if not killed by age and neglect be re-buildable for a real power pack module and cable and save you big bucks.  

Also, there is an old Quantum Cable I modify and also one by PC- Cords sometimes found on eBay. See picture.  I can make a module from any of the Sonia aftermarket modules.  Some of these modules are old, very old and made of components that click together and then a couple screws lock things together.  

But when dismantling them, they snap apart sometimes into more pieces than you thought you wanted to have. The term brittle and weak comes to mind. 

In some cases, the contacts will have to be resized and re-soldered to work. If not, that popping sound might be a meltdown and the smell will be the first indication as the plastic melts and you just ruined it, I use heat sinks and certain techniques like MEK integration gluing,  and plastic welding.  


MANY MODELS LOOK THE SAME BUT... These are preferred for Upgrading




First,  we talk about light and why the Metz is so good.  The METZ fits right in, if you understand how to control light, Thats how many pros shoot.  The A mode was the first and is still my favorite.  I have missed a lot using TTL.  

An aperture is dialed in on the settings dial, and a photo cell regulates the necessary light output according to the selected aperture.  Simple and pro-preferred by the pros because they are controlling the situation and there is no conflict between camera and flash.  The so-called solution of TTL is a joke.  

It’s on the camera and loved by many because they really don’t know lighting and it sells to those too lazy to learn the art of lighting and want the camera to do all the work.  I don’t blame you, if you paid too much for a light tight box and your shots need more time in Photoshop than you need too.

The hardest thing teaching newbies in this business (not a hobbyist, someone who has to put the food on the table) is that it is similar to carpentry and other skill sets where the objective is the final product and not what size or brand of hammer you used.  I had a small dent taken out of a door on my car and I never asked the body shop the magic question.  “Nice work what brand of sandpaper did you use, was that a DeVilbis sprayer you blended with?

Set the camera for the ambient lighting, some of us just use F8 or F11 at 125th of a sec.  Why? It’s probably in the center of your zooms best sharpness and detail.  Then use the flash in Automatic and set for the indicated F-stop.   Done that simple:  Result:  More flashes, less waste and better light distribution on subject.

The really big deal about the 45s though is the range of accessories which greatly enhance their versatility. Especially the external Mecamat sensor if you can find one makes your 45 a small studio strobe, allowing you to dial in several more automatic apertures and manually regulating the output between full power and 1/64.  The even better good news is that good units can be found for under 100.00 especially the simple 45 CT-1 models. 

The CT and CL -1 operates in A mode and Manual mode with thanks to YONG-NUO bringing back those modes to shooters (any Strobist) who didn’t have a clue about light.  ITT-l and other alphabet letters really taught you nothing about light and I still in the lab I see lousy work even though the shooter had a Nikon 850, a 5000-series flash and the latest and greatest lens.

The advantage of learning to use the A mode and manual settings are faster shooting, quicker flash recovery, control of the light, and does a better job working in manual situations is critical to Wedding and event shooter who work in the dark locations like old churches and halls. 

TTL does not, It was made for amateurs and to sell cameras.  The only thing the hottest and greatest new model does is lower your bank account. If I had a nickel for every “professional” who didn’t know anything about light and asked me some really basic questions that clued me into that fact, I would be rich.  

You still have auto focus but still retaining full image control.  You simply let the flash do the thinking instead of the camera.  Any TTL-X or pre-flash integration slows down shooting.  Let's face truth the truth.  TTL in any manufacturers camera had its roots in making the amateur better, the pro who knows what he is doing prefers the control.


I re-designed a whole new system of battery packs based on the availability of newer battery, charger components and found a decent source.  But and after you use one, and you see the difference in flash distribution, coverage, technique and power, you will become a convert.  Not to mention reliability, and longevity.  Oh I forgot to mention cost.

Most of the projects I work on and offer come with decades of experience, and a strong effort to be completely safe. Many of the strobes, flashes and other devices using capacitors to build and release energy are dangerous in more ways than one. 

 •  I check the serial number of the strobe.  READ ON and you will FIND OUT WHY.  Power, we test them on the 7.4 side and then the 9.6 side.  Check slides and controls and look for corrosion.

•  We create a module for the side showing the best results. Since the design allowed both NiMH and Alkali voltages, we may use different input speeds. 

•  We manufacture a Black Box and charger combo with the desired MAH which can vary from 2000 to 4000 MAH and run the 9.6 side.

•   We determine if the setup is best for single or dual use.  The beauty of this set up is with two high-power black boxes and their dual ports you can mix and match both setups. 

•  The modules are then fitted with Quantum coiled cables, not the kind rotting all over the market. I modify and convert the module and we test and test.   


The 45 CT-1 gave you a choice of five apertures after selecting the ISO and the inner Dial on top was used to select ISO of your film.  The outer transparent wheel could be turned to one of five aperture positions or Manual.  The scale below the transparent wheel showed the selectable apertures and maximum distance for your selected aperture. 

 The 45 CT-1 has so much power with my new packs that you rarely need it in normal situations. Faster recycling, better working distance, and burst modes.   Better power for bounce lighting, and you can bounce from the ceiling or a side wall. The 45 had the power to do it easily and the automation, and swivel ability to do it perfect out of the box.  

 “Mo’ Power Dude -  I shoot in manual when using flash and let the flash do the thinking. With a thousand full power flashes and as many as three thousand, power is not a problem for me. With the camera preset in manual and the strobe in auto me controlling the exposure, my job is now simpler.  Ambient lighting changes jut change the speed dial as long as the camera supports synch.  Say 125th to 250th if it is supported.

 The good side today is the METZ strobes are available in numbers, dirt cheap and simple to operate in M or A mode which most pros use and understand and the new power conversions I am working on, are simple and inexpensive.  

I’m using and redoing all of their battery modules to make modules that have superior power, reinforced in places and are inexpensive and look like they belong, not an add-on hack job glued or velcro’ed to the outside.

The honesty of the web and eBay has always been dubious.  Look out for cheap 45’s on XXXXXXXX Camera on eBay, some of their 45’s should have been trashed.  They piece them out.  Cheap prices and most were trashy, one customer I worked with received three till they had one that worked.

Carefully read the bottom of this article almost all the used stuff I just saw on eBay which I check frequently was bad news. You don’t buy these odd pieces marked...”Did not test, or needs new battery etc, just pass and look elsewhere”.  

Beware of those ads using factory pictures, not the actual unit.  Beware of ads claiming could not be tested. Pass on any items sold as parts only, avoid, no one repairs them anymore. 

The circular sliders if left in a bad environment like at the seashore, salt air, are prone to corrosion and wear, and the hot circuits shorted in many simply due to age.  

If you use third party wireless triggers with multiple flash units in manual mode or automatic mode,  the 45’s start to make sense.  Automatic mode has its pitfalls, so the flash should have a wide manual range. Clearly the Metz, late low voltage 45 CT-1 with the fitting Mecamat is a hidden treasure.  Most of the transmitter receivers can handle HV models.

Adapters cannot be used to solve that problem. Therefore, your 45 CT can only be used in simple auto flash mode and/or with manual settings and you would be a heck of a better photographer as it will force you to taking command instead of letting the flash and camera battle it out and get it wrong. 

For it the camera must be set in manual mode on the same F-stop and ISO as used on flash unit (set on A mode).  The 45 CT-1 is the smallest and simplest of the entire METZ fleet, with the easiest components to find and put together into a very supportive and viable unit.  All the others get complex and so do their components.  I design simple reliable and powerful, I'm not interested in the useless stuff.  


38 years in production, and had a reputation with professionals for ruggedness, reliability, and most important delivering great light.  Because...  The CT flash offers 5 automatic apertures with an ISO range is limited from ISO 25 to ISO 400, and with the power it has more than enough. The measuring range of the flash metering cell is fixed and which apertures can be selected depend on the set ISO value.   The most common Digital  is 200 ASA OR DIN       200 =  4 / 5.6 / 8 / 11 / 16 

It has more than enough Fill in flash in daylight on the other hand works quite well.  Think Beach model and wedding shots with back lighting With ISO 100 or 200 you can use apertures from 4 to 16 which should cater for most shooting situations shooting into sunlight for the halo shots. And not spending 3000 dollars for the Profoto unit, this is far more economical.

The flash itself does only have two manual settings:  Manual which is full power and Winder which is 1/64 power.  On auto you have the best selection.


THE MECAMAT  (45-20 or 45-43)  
Is easily available on the used market and allows seven manual settings from full power to 1/64. That makes the Metz 45 CT-1 with Mecamat quite useful for any full manual set up. To use the Mecamat the flash should be set to manual mode.  The Mecamat also expands the number of usable apertures in automatic mode to a total of 9. 

The later model above serial number 534000 can be triggered with any third party wireless trigger and can be included in a wireless trigger manual set up nicely.  For earlier models the same caution as for cameras will need to be exercised.  The WEIN

Personally,  I was never a fan of the Metz original rechargeable power packs. They did not offer large capacity, had a long loading time and were a pain to maintain.  They sucked and if not used died.  You would need to discharge and re-charge on a frequent basis to maintain the capacity of the pack.  Also,  those packs were Ni-Cads. Low capacity compared to today and prone to memory effect.  Ni-CADS if not used all the time simply died.  Also rechargeable Ni-Cads are preferred by some builders for specific use...under specific unique conditions.

My packs are made for me with High-quality NiMH.  High power, good components, and easily replaceable.



 Reason One:  
The major discouragement for me with the 50/60/70 series is, that their batteries they ONLY work with the rechargeable set sold by METZ.   There are few other options that work unless you want to go broke with Quantum’s.  The T3 Batteries from them sell for $550 plus dollars and a used one at ADORAMA cost $249.00.

They probably allowed $150.00 on trade so you lose 400.00 dollars the minute you buy a new one.  Batteries are different in resale value and more is a hell of a lot less when it’s your dollars. 

  Reason Two:
I have converted one of the Green and Black modules to work on my Black Box 6 Plus series because it failed (9.6) but they are tricky.  The Green with black tops can be upgraded and you are talking about 75 to 100 dollars, but caution there are a few tricks to rebuilding them involving a "pepi" switch and cutoffs and a solder gun and plumbing experience will not cut it.  You have been informed, only one location that I know of knows how to do it properly. 

   Reason Three:
Also recently (2017-2018) I have been looking at those units and their cables on eBay and other locations, as I’m selling the upgrades faster than I can find them.  The deal killer is the cables connecting the head and the camera unit series are degaussing, unwinding shorting and cracking.   

I spent two days fixing one only to have the other end split open a week later. Thats taught me, after fixing cables for forty - five years what to stay away from and there are no parts period... available.

Any break in the cable means the rest of the cable will be affected.  Sometimes on the Chinese units as shown, I have to replace the entire cable on both ends, and they are only a five strand.  The Metz cables have eleven strands and teeny - tiny Santa Elves must do the soldering.  Read the small print to the right.

Again, there are no parts, no replacements, no service center.   To those who look to eBay, this is just some of the useless scrap that's is being offered on eBay, the age of the cables is apparent and damaged, and the seller acknowledges that which means if it dies or fries he warned you. 

 For the 45CT-1 Low or High Synch, new cables versions are available, some I might have extras in stock and just requires a phone call.   Like I said many times, today the 45CT-1 late version or a pristine M76-5 are good buys. I also mod those for Cameras with no synch but have a hot-shoe.

It is basically impossible to repair because of the way the communication is setup even trying to just make a manual box out of it.   Now the connections to your camera cannot exceed three volts or you can fry the motherboards and the exposed ground the copper winding when it is exposed could allow the synch power as high as 320 volts to leak to your beloved camera.

 If you have a cord (s) and want it tested send it to me, I’ll check it out.