In today's digital age, bulky hand-held flashes like the venerable Metz 402 and the latter 60CT series have largely gone out of fashion.

The main problem with these Metz was the rechargeable lead-acid battery. They were costly, needed maintenance and didn't last very long. Replacing one of these today is close to $100. As you can imagine, it's hardly cost effective. For that amount, one can purchase a modern "speedlite" that comes with all the bells and whistles.

However, all is not lost. Battery technology has come a long way since the 80s. NiMH with superior performance have largely replaced NiCads. Even lead acid is more advanced.

But one may ask: "Why bother".

The simple answer is COST.

If one were to shoot outdoors where Mains Power is unavailable, the only option is a battery powered studio strobe. Even a cheap unit cost more than $100. Considering the fact that one needs at least 3 units in hand for any shoots, indoors or outdoors, it's not difficult to see how cost can escalate. Unless one is making a living from photography, it's hard to justify the expenditure.

This is where vintage flashes like the Metz 60CT series come into play. They are ideal substitutes for photographers on a budget. With a Guide Number of 60, it is more powerful than a 100 Ws studio strobe. The 60CT4, in particular, is my favourite. The flash output is adjustable in manual mode, which makes it invaluable.

Fortunately, good working units can be found on eBay for a fraction of what they used to cost. With some minor modifications, they can be put back into service.

Here are some of the modifications that I did with my vintage strobes which may prove helpful to others.

 Metz 402 / 60 CT series - modifying the power pack for modern day batteries