Category: Canon Speedlite Lineup

Canon’s dSLR accessory flash brand is called Speedlite (not to be confused with Nikon’s Speedlights). These powerful and sophisticated flashes, with the 580EX II as the flagship model, are filled with features that provide virtually any flash capabilities you’ll need short of moving to external studio lighting. For instance, the ability of multiple flashes to integrate as “master” and “slave” units (where one flash causes others to fire wirelessly) means you can set up virtual, portable studiolike lighting almost anywhere. And the power of the flashes has increased to the point that the bulky, heavy third-party flashes that so commonly burdened the traditional wedding photographer are virtually obsolete. Furthermore, flash recycle times are vastly improved from what they used to be and, as batteries have also improved, there’s less need for external battery power sources, as well.

While the name “Speedlite” is a branded term, the specific model number refers directly to the flash’s guide number, which is the measurement of the flash’s power; higher guide numbers mean a more powerful flash. A guide number tells you how well your flash will be able to illuminate a given area at maximum flash-to-subject distance (typically measured in meters).

For example, Canon’s 580EX II has a maximum guide number of 58 meters at a 105mm focal length setting and the 430EX has a guide number of 43. Internally, the guide number is a calculation made by the flash’s on-board computer using the aperture and distance (measured by the infrared meter on the flash). That calculation then applies to the flash’s settings for firing at the correct intensity.

Canon currently offers three Speedlite external flashes for digital cameras: the Speedlite 580EX II, 430EX, and 270EX.

Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX

Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX

The Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX is actually two separate, swiveling flashes separated laterally from one another for increased depth and variety in lighting your close-up subject with a controller unit that attaches to your camera’s hot shoe (shown in 8-18). This unit gives you more flexibility than the ring-type light for macro photography, although the [...]

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Macro ring lite MR-14EX

Macro ring lite MR-14EX

The Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX is a specialty macro flash light that provides flash illumination for macro photography. This model is a traditional macro ring light (as shown in figure 8-17). Its ring contains two lights, but you cannot separate them from the ring configuration. The device consists of a controller unit that attaches to [...]

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Speedlite 580EX II

Speedlite 580EX II

Canon’s latest-generation and flagship flash, the 580EX II, is a highly capable flash that can be used with any of the Canon dSLRs. However, it has been optimized to take full advantage of the EOS-1D Mark III camera’s capabilities, as well as to match the camera’s functionality and durability (other Canon flashes were somewhat of [...]

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Speedlite 430EX

Speedlite 430EX

Replacing the 420EX, Canon’s 430EX (see 8-7) is a more affordable (by about $100) flash than the 580EX II and is designed as a great companion with many of the mid-range dSLR models — most of which feature an internal flash as well. It is also smaller and lighter than the 580EX II. If you [...]

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Speedlite 270EX

Speedlite 270EX

The most affordable and lightweight Speedlite (about $100 less than the 430EX), the 270EX only operates automatically. If you are at the point where your pop-up flash just isn’t enough but you don’t need or care about having lots of technical control over an external flash, this is a great option — a very inexpensive [...]

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