I decided to pick this one up seeing a decent ebay deal going for a new one for £199
This should be the i-iso shoe version (I'll know when it turns up I didn't hear of any shoe changes for this model, the 52 model yes and the newer ones)
Having use the flash previously on Nikon I will say that right now if you want a decent flash with a bit of grunt in the power department that's pimped out with the full monty this is the one to go for. Not to knock the Sony flashes but so far the s/h prices have not dropped massively (they might over time with the now older shoe)
It's pretty pointless paying £150 for a s/h i-iso flash when you can get a brand new one for only a bit more.
I know some folks don't care for the Metz interface (it's push button logical though not as direct as the Sony flashes, ie the button functions change depending on what's on the LCD) it's not weather sealed and doesn't have the Sony swivel design but once you get over that there are a couple of massive advantages.
Now wishing to sound like a Metz salesman but there is one incredibly useful mode on this model the "A" mode or automatic this uses the on-board thyristor which completely bypasses the in camera flash TTL and shuts off when enough light is put out. Anyone who's been frustrated with exposures will know how handy this can be. I've not had huge issues to be fair, the A57 is fairly consistent, the A77 can be a bit hot at times (it's not been wildly off as bad as some reports but it's not quite as good as it should be or the A57) This overcomes any concerns about flash issues just on it's own, set the flash to A mode and fire and forget I used this on Nikon and the exposures were solid with the Metz. The only limitation is you can't use HSS so for outside work you'll need to use another mode
A few other things that draw me much more to Metz than Sony. Currently no Sony flash has an optical slave mode not even the newest offerings so if you mix and match flashes (I also have a 50 AF-1 and Yongnuo flash) then tough luck. Not so here all 3 will work just dandy with pre flash suppression using the onboard flash to fire them, that makes like a whole lot easier for some set ups. The 58 AF-2 is also fully compatible with the film bodies not that most would care, but I do.
You also have the audible beep when it's ready to fire (I missed this on the 50AF-1) again the lack of flash ready indicator in most viewfinder modes in the SLT cameras is an annoyance even more so is the lack of ability to set the camera to not fire unless the flash is ready, this is major grumble for me personally and you feel like a bit of a plank for standing there taking a shot with a flash and no flash firing (not ready) It can also act as a master flash controller, has the usual strobe, goes down to 1/256 power, has manual HSS mode too, the secondary flash is quite good (for some shots) and I've yet to have a Metz flash overhead on me.
Ok pitch over but seriously Sony you're asking for £350+ for a HVL-F60M (ok there is a cashback right now but it's still a £300 flash) that has no A Mode and has no optical slave mode either. The only slight downer is on Metz you have to screw it down no quick auto lock, but I can live with that.
I'll update the report once I get the unit but if you're deal hunting this is probably worth a look