When many people think of Leica they think of rangefinders and natural light street photography – something for which they’d be forgiven. However, Leica, like any other system, is light reliant, and it has a history of flash units. With the advent of systems like the S and SL, that the requirements of a flash unit are stronger than ever and we know Leica has made significant efforts to push those systems. And in that effort they have made the Leica SF 60 Flash and the Leica SF C1 Remote.
[REVIEW: Leica TL2 Review | Less A Random Tool & More A Personal Statement]
As could be derived from the name, the TTL-supporting SF 60 flash unit has a guide number of 60 (at ISO 100), has a zoom reflector reflector card and a diffuser, tilts and swivels, can be used as master or slave, and can be synched up to 1/8000 of a second.
Leica has also included a front-facing LED unit which it says is adjustable in 9 steps and useful for video, and has a color LCD on the rear for easy control. The unit is also powered by 4 AA batteries and a separate power-pack can be bought to reduce recycle times and extend shooting life.
The Leica SF C1, on the other hand, is a full functioning flash controller which can control multiple flashes in up to 7 channels and 3 groups, and allows full control over the flash unit itself.
We had the chance to use an early pre-production model of this flash briefly this spring at WPPI and all in all it seems like a system worthy of the camera lines it’s meant for, which is the S, SL, M and also the Q and CL. There’s no official word on the TL2 but one assumes it would be fine.
Interestingly, the SF C1 remote has a microSD slot which is meant to allow for easy firmware updates to the flash, which is great and suggests Leica is working forward.
The SF 60 flash and SF C1 controller will be available later in June and for $595 and $350 respectively.
Leica Camera Announces Leica SF 60 Flash Unit and Leica SF C1 Remote Control Unit For On- and Off-Camera Flash Photography
Both compact and versatile, the new flash system allows for supreme quality light control in any situation.
June 4, 2018 – Leica Camera presents the new SF 60 flash unit and the SF C1 remote control unit as perfectly complementary additions to the Leica S, SL and M systems. The two units can also be used in combination with the Leica Q and the Leica CL. While the flash unit provides an extensive range of options for flash-photography in a compact form, the remote control unit enables off-camera flash with the SF 60, providing for endless creative opportunities.
Leica SF 60 Flash Unit
Despite its low weight of 10.8 ounces and a height of only 9.8 cm, the Leica SF 60 offers numerous professional functions. The Leica SF 60 is an extremely powerful and versatile mobile solution for all photographers who appreciate the advantages of excellent light-management in any situation, with impressive features such as TTL-flash, HSS (High-Speed Sync) to 1/8000s, a flash head with tilt and swivel function, a zoom reflector, an integrated diffuser and a reflector card, as well as master-slave capability, as well as an impressive guide number of 60 meters (at ISO 100).
The SF 60 also provides continuous LED light output, adjustable in nine steps, as a source of light for spontaneous video recording of subjects in low light. All settings can be conveniently made via two dials and the color LCD panel of the flash unit. The Leica SF 60 is powered by four AA cells. For longer shooting sessions, the unit can also be connected to a Power Pack as an external power supply, which, in addition to higher capacity, also enables even faster flash recycle times and simultaneous power supply to up to two SF 60 flash units. If required, other devices with USB charging ports, e.g. smartphones or tablets, can also be recharged from the Power Pack.
Leica SF C1 Remote Control Unit
The Leica SF C1 remote control unit adds a multitude of creative options. It is mounted on the hot shoe of the camera and enables wireless remote control of SF 60 flash units in the 2.4-GHz frequency band. The flash units can be organized in up to seven channels, each with three groups, and controlled either together or separately with the same or different settings. Photographers can use all functions of all the flash units, just as if they were mounted on the camera. This opens up countless options for professional lighting set-ups with system flash units.
As is the case with the Leica SF 60 flash unit, all settings can be viewed and easily changed on the clearly laid-out color LCD panel of the Leica SF C1 remote control unit. Alongside reserves sufficient for around 3,000 exposures from its two AAA cells, the future-proof SF C1 remote control unit also features a microSD card slot that allows the latest firmware updates to be uploaded to keep the unit at the cutting edge of technology.
Both units will be available worldwide in Leica Stores, Boutiques and Dealers later this month. The SF 60 Flash will retail for $595 and the SF C1 Remote Control will retail for $350.