Canon Flash Models
Table of Contents
This note lists dedicated flash units for Canon's E-TTL II system that are made by Canon.
Disclaimer: I have not tested all the units discussed in this note myself. The data have been copied from various sources, such as Canon's web site, private communications, manuals, discussion forums, and other sources. I've included it here “as is”. The information may not be complete or correct, and corrections are welcome.
How to read the tables
- Model is the model designation you'll find for the unit on the manufacturer's homepage. For dedicated third party units, any part of he model designation that signifies system dedication has been removed.
- Coverage is given in focal lengths (f) for an FX-sized sensor.
- GN (guide number) is given in meters, for ISO 100. For guide numbers in feet, multiply by 3.3. To convert to a different sensor speed, multiply the ISO 100 GN with the square root of the ISO ratio. For flashes with a zoom head, the guide number is listed for with the zoom set to 35mm, 50mm and maximum zoom (assuming an FX-sized sensor).
- WL indicates if the flash is capable of wireless operation. The letters “m” and/or “r” in this column indicates whether the unit can be used as a wireless master and/or remote unit. The letter “s” in this column indicates if the flash has a built in plain optical slave function.
- Cost is what you may expect to pay. Prices are collected from the web pages of leading retailers at irregular itervals. Prices goes up and down all the time, so only treat this column as a rough guideline.
If you are use GNs for doing comparisons, note that the guide number you'll find in most manufacturer's literature is for the zoom head at its maximum setting (e.g. f=105mm). This makes it difficult to make direct power comparisons with flash units from other manufacturers, who may list use another zoom setting as reference for GNs. I try to list the GN for three different settings of the zoom head (35mm, 50mm, and maximum), with a “centre weighted” light pattern.
The tabulated summaries only lists some of the features of each flash. If you want to know all the technical details and features, please see Canon's specification sheets.
2. Canon Dedicated Flash Models
|Model||Coverage||GN (ISO 100/meter)||WL||Cost||Notes|
|EOS 7D bi||27mm||12||-||12||m/-||-||(4)|
|270EX||28, 50mm||22||27||27||-/-||USD 150||(6)|
|430EX||14, 24-105mm||31||34||43||-/r||USD 250||(9)|
|430EX2||14, 24-105mm||31||34||43||-/r||USD 330|
|550EX||17, 24-105mm||36||42||55||m/r||USD 350||(10)|
|580EX||14, 24-105mm||36||42||58||m/r||USD 380||(11)|
|580EX2||14, 24-105mm||36||42||58||m/r||USD 410||(12)|
For more detailed specifications, see the Canon' website.
- Dedicated transmitter for E-TTL wireless flash system.
- Macro ring flash.
- Macro twin flash.
- EOS 7D built-in pop-up flash. GN in E-TTL II mode. As far as I know, the built-in flash on all current Canon models have similar GN and coverage.
- No tilt or swivel. Discontinued 2009.
- No swivel.
- No swivel. Discontinued 2001.
- Discontinued 2005.
- Discontinued 2008.
- Discontinued 2005.
- Discontinued 2007.
- Non-TTL auto. PC socket.
If you plan mixing Canon Speedlites with third party flash using plain optical slave triggers, see notes on compatibility.
Canon's older zoom head flashes 380EX, 420EX, 550EX do not take the sensor size into account when zooming. This is not a problem with Canon compact cameras because their interface seamlessly convert actual focal lengths to 135 film FOV – but it wastes power when used on a digital camera with a sensor smaller then the 135-format negative by zooming out too wide. Canon's newer E-TTL II Speedlites compensate for this.
The initial batches of the Canon 580EX (mk I) were faulty. These Speedlites would compensate for sensor size for normal and tele lenses, but would give severe vignetting if used with wide angle lenses (below f=24mm) on a body with a small (1.6x crop) sensor. Canon silently corrected this problem some time in 2005, but has still to acknowledge the problem publicly. According to this thread at DPReview, Canon UK has started replacing or repairing faulty units under guarantee, while service centers in other locations may still not acknowledge the problem. If you are planning to buy a used 580EX to use with a camera with a non-FX sensor (e.g. EOS 1000D, 500D, 50D), you should be careful if the serial numbers on the 580EX starts with 0 or 1, and test the unit for this problem prior to purchase to avoid being stuck with a broken unit.
3. Review Site Link Farm
- FredMiranda.com: User reviews
- Photo-Tips-Online.com: Reviews
- The-Digital-Picture.com: Flash and Lighting Accessory Reviews