TTL metering is spot-on in practically any scenario, and illumination across the entire frame is excellent. The recycling speed after a full-power flash is the quickest in the group at just 2.8 seconds. And while the SB700 is rated at a modest Gn 37, in our tests the maximum power actually matches most of the other flashguns in the group. Slightly larger than the Metz 52 AF-1, this flashgun has a beefier maximum power rating of Gn 58. It includes many of the same useful, Nikon-friendly features, like options for DX- or FX-format motorised zoom, regular TTL or TTL-BL flash metering, and fully dedicated wireless master and slave functions. Worthwhile extras that are omitted from the Metz 52 AF-1 include a socket for an optional external power pack, a secondary sub-flash tube (as featured on the Nissin Di866 Mk II), a programmable strobe flash mode, and an increased manual power range that descends to 1/256th rather than 1/128th of maximum power.
Unlike the Metz 52, the 58 has a conventional LCD information panel. Controls are spartan, comprising just four pushbuttons on the rear. However, these are context-sensitive, as labelled on the LCD screen, which makes navigating the comprehensive menu system reasonably rapid and intuitive.
TTL exposure accuracy is very consistent, although slight underexposure is the norm. It’s a lot closer to the ideal than with the Metz 52 AF-1, and illumination across the entire frame is more even. Recycling speed after a full-power flash is a little tardy at 5.5 seconds, but the maximum tested output is Gn 44, matching the Nikon SB-910 and Nissin Di700 as the most powerful in the group.