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Flash Units for Canon

Overview of Flash Units Compatible with Canon's E-TTL II
by Gisle Hannemyr

1. Introduction

This note gives an overview of dedicated flash units compatible with Canon's E-TTL II that are made by Canon and selcted third-party manufacturers.

Disclaimer: I have not tested all the units listed in this note myself. The data have been copied from various sources, such as the manufacturer's web sites, 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.

For corrections, additional information, to share a review about one of these units, or just would like to comment, please use the comment section below (public) or the feedback form (private).

2. Canon Flash Equipment

In 1995, with the Canon EOS 50 (named ELAN II in the USA and EOS 55 in Japan) SLR camera, Canon introduced a new, sophisticated flash control system, known by the abbreviation E-TTL (Evaluative Trough The Lens). It replaced and obsoleted the earlier TTL and A-TTL systems.

Since 1995, E-TTL has been the foundation for Canon's dedicated flash control system, and all EOS bodies launched since 1995 (both film and digital) support E-TTL. EOS bodies that support E-TTL are called “Type A” in Canon's documentation (those that don't are called “Type B”).

Newer Canon DSLRs and Speedlites use a slightly improved version of the E-TTL system, called E-TTL II. E-TTL II is supported by all all Canon DSLRs except 1D, 1Ds, D30, D60, 10D and 300D). For the difference between E-TTL and E-TTL II, see this note. If you use an older E-TTL compatible Speedlite on a DSLR that supports E-TTL II, you will get the improvements that resides in the body.

This page only lists flash units compatible with the current generation of Canon digital cameras. If you are looking for a flash for a legacy body, please see our page about TTL-support and older cameras.

As far as I know, the built-in flashes on all current Canon DSLR models with a built-in flash have similar guide number and coverage.

The built-in flash has a guide number of 12 in manual mode (ISO 100, meters) and 11 in TTL mode. The coverage is roughly 27 mm on a DSLR with a sensor measuring 36x24 mm, and 17 mm on a DSLR with a sensor measuring 22.2x14.8 mm.

The x-sync speed on Canon DSLRs is either 1/180 (EOS 6D), 1/200 (lower end models) or 1/250 second (higher end models).

Canon's light-based E-TTL control system allow a master flash to wirelessly control compatible Speedlites with infrared or visble light. The master flash can either be a hot-shoe mounted Speedlite, or a Speedlite Transmitter. In addition the built-in flash of the Canon EOS 7D, 60D, 600D and 650D DSLRs can act as a masters for Canon dedicated flash units. The EOS 7D commander mode let the photographer use the on-camera flash to control up to three groups of off-camera Speedlites, the 650D let the photographer control two groups, while the EOS 60D and 600D commander mode only let the photographer control a single group. Each group may consist of up to three flash units.

Speedlite Transmitters

A Speedlite Transmitter is not a flash. It is a camera mounted master unit that let you control off-camera Speedlites wirelessly.

Canon produces two different Speedlite Transmitters. The ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter, which lets you control off-camera Speedlites wirelessly by use of IR light; The ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter, which lets you control off-camera Speedlites wirelessly by means of a 2.4 GHz radio signal.

In addition to the original units made by Canon, YongNuo makes an aftermarket version of the ST-E2 with the same model number (“ST-E2”). This unit is compatible with Canon's light-based wireless E-TTL, and is advertised as a direct replacement for the Canon ST-E2 Speedlight Transmitter.

The Canon ST-E2 measures 62 x 51 x 80 mm, and weighs 100 gram w/o. battery. The head is fixed. It uses one disposable 6 volt 2CR5 (lithium) battery and comes with a soft case. The price is around USD 225.

The YongNuo ST-E2 measures 63 x 63 x 82 mm, and weighs 115 gram w/o. batteries. It has a 135° swivel head. It uses two rechargeable AA NiMH batteries and comes without a case. The price is around USD 100.

The Canon ST-E2 measures 68 x 62 x 77 mm, and weighs 110 gram w/o. battery. The head is fixed. It uses two rechargeable AA NiMH batteries and comes with a soft case. The price is around USD 319.

Check availability:

The Canon ST-E2 can control the following Canon Speedlites: 420EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, 600EX-RT. It also works with third party flash units that has built-in support for wireless E-TTL control.

The ST-E3-RT can control the following Canon Speedlite: 600EX-RT.

The ST-E2 works fine indoors in moderate sized rooms. Outdoors you need direct line-of-sight between the ST-E2 and the remote Speedlites, and you may still experience areliability problems in bright sunlight. For reliable operation outdoors, a radio transmitter such as the Canon ST-E3-RT or third party radio triggers is recommended.

E-TTL and E-TTL II Compatible Flash Units

Below are a set of tables that gives an overview over E-TTL and E-TTL II compatible flash units manufactured by Canon and selected third-party manufacturers.

For an ever wider selection of E-TTL and E-TTL II compatible flash units, use the DPanswers Flash finder to search our entire database.

You can see a more detailed description by clicking on the name of the flash. Most of the colums should be self-explanatory. The column “WL” summarizes built-in wireless modes: The character “m” means wireless E-TTL II master, “r” means wireless E-TTL II remote, “sf” means plain slave, and “sd” means digital slave (ignoring pre-flash).

E-TTL units manufactured by Canon:

ModelCoverageGNWLPrice
Canon 220EX28mm22  [USD 120]
Canon 270EX28, 50mm22  [USD 144]
Canon 270EX II28, 50mm22 USD 170
Canon 320EX24-50mm24 USD 250
Canon 380EX24-105mm28  [USD 160]
Canon 420EX24-105mm31 [USD 200]
Canon 430EX14, 24-105mm31 [USD 250]
Canon 430EX II14, 24-105mm31 USD 280
Canon 550EX17, 24-105mm36m/r [USD 350]
Canon 580EX14, 24-105mm36m/r [USD 380]
Canon 580EX II14, 24-105mm36m/r USD 445
Canon 600EX-RT14, 20-200mm36m/r USD 629
Canon MR-14EX Macro21mm14 USD 494
Canon MT-24EX Macro21mm22 USD 699

E-TTL compatible units manufactured by Metz, Nissin, Sigma, Sunpak and YongNuo:

ModelCoverageGNWLPrice
Metz 15 MS-1 Macro35mm15r,sf,sd USD 400
Metz 24 AF-135mm24  USD 90
Metz 28 AF-324, 35, 85mm22  [USD 110]
Metz 36 AF-428-85mm24  [USD 112]
Metz 36 AF-528-85mm24  USD 112
Metz 44 AF-112, 24-105mm27 USD 200
Metz 44 AF-412, 24-105mm28  USD 200
Metz 48 AF-112, 24-105mm29r,sf [USD 225]
Metz 50 AF-112, 24-105mm29r,sf USD 230
Metz 54 AF-120, 24-105mm31  USD 405
Metz 54 MZ-420, 24-105mm31  USD 400
Metz 58 AF-118, 24-105mm32m/r,sf [USD 405]
Metz 58 AF-212, 24-105mm32m/r,sd USD 400
Metz 76 MZ-520, 24-105mm45  USD 875
Nissin Di2835mm20  USD 80
Nissin Di46616, 24-105mm22sf,sd USD 139
Nissin Di62220, 28-105mm26sd  [USD 150]
Nissin Di622 II16, 24-105mm26r,sf,sd USD 160
Nissin Di86618, 24-105mm40m/r,sf,sd [USD 329]
Nissin Di866 II18, 24-105mm40m/r,sf,sd USD 349
Sigma EF-500 DG ST17, 28-105mm29  [USD 150]
Sigma EF-500 DG Super17, 28-105mm29m/r,sf [USD 219]
Sigma EF-530 DG ST17, 24-105mm31  [USD 150]
Sigma EF-530 DG Super17, 24-105mm31m/r,sf [USD 219]
Sigma EF-610 DG ST17, 24-105mm36  USD 165
Sigma EF-610 DG Super17, 24-105mm36m/r,sf USD 255
Sigma EM-140 DG Macro14 USD 379
Sunpak PZ40X24-80mm20  USD 70
Sunpak PZ42X20, 24-105mm28  USD 149
Sunpak RD-200035mm20  USD 62
YongNuo YN-460-RX35mm33r,sf,sd USD 110
YongNuo YN-46535mm33  USD 66
YongNuo YN-467 II24-85mm33sf,sd [USD 75]
YongNuo YN-468 II18, 24-85mm33sf,sd USD 91
YongNuo YN-560EX15, 24-105mm39r,sf,sd USD 110
YongNuo YN-565EX15, 24-105mm39r,sf,sd USD 175
YongNuo YN-568EX15, 24-105mm39r,sf,sd USD 182

Note that if you use guide numbers (GNs) for doing comparisons, 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. For zoom head flashes, the tables above show the GN with the zoom head set to 35 mm coverage (24x35 mm sensor size), ISO 100, meters. In the full list of specifications for each flash, I try to list the GN for three different settings of the zoom head (35mm, 50mm, and maximum).

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19 responses:

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Nissin Di622 for Canon

This week I have received three of these from Warehouse Express who are providing really good after sales service.

Unfortunately, I cannot get any of the three units to function satisfactorily. One fails to fire when in Slave mode. Another will not fire in Tv or Av. None will provide a vibrant exposure in E-TTL, always underexposing.

I have this morning bought another 580 EX Mk2. Works brilliantly as a Slave in E-TTL. You get what you pay for.

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Great information!

I just bought a Canon SX30 and am looking for a decent amateur flash unit for it. So much false advertising out there. They say "E-TTL II" compatible. They mean put your E-TTL II camera in manual mode and it will work. Not good! Fully supports E-TTL II is better. Or a picture of the bottom of the unit with 4/5 little pins on it means it has a chance. I'm looking at a Phoenix Smartflash 92C for Canon.

It says TTL E-TTL E-TTLII Automatic Fully Dedicated For Canon EOS so I hope it's got a chance of being idiot friendly for me. :)

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The Phoenix SF 92C is a rebranded Tumax DSL986AFZ. It is in tagged as E-TTL II compatible in the DPanswers flash database.

I have not tested it with any of Canon's compact digicams. I've tried it on a Canon DSLR (EOS 300D) and on that body it works as advertised (i.e. it gives the Canon version will give you E-TTL II exposure control). Note that this it is a very basic flash. There are no manual settings and no fancy modes.

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I have a metz 50 mz-5 flash. I want to use it on a EOS digital SLR Canon 7d. I know it will require an adapter sca from Metz to make it work. Can you tell me the right sca for this camera.

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There is no SCA adapter that will make the Metz 50 MZ-5 support E-TTL II. The only way to use this flash with the Canon EOS 7D is to fit the generic SCA 301 and use it as a manual or non-TTL auto flash.

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Compatible flash for Canon 600D

Hi, I need to find a fully compatible third party on camera TTL flash for my Canon 600D. 600D has E-TTL II. Please advice.
Thanks

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Adrian,
higher up on this page there is a long list of E-TTL II compatible third party flash units. All the third party units listed will give you E-TTL II exposure control with the Canon EOS 600D. They will also, in varying degree, give you some of the other features you'll find on a top of the line Canon E-TTL II Speedlite, such as the Canon 580EX II.

However, you state that the flash must be “fully compatible”. If you by that mean the flash must support every single feature of Canon's quite extensive flash system, such as the ability to be wireless master, off-camera HSS and the exotic “multi” mode, then I know of no third party flash that comply. The one that comes closest is probably the Nissin Di866 II, but it is missing out on HSS when used as a wireless master.

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EOS 600D

"The EOS 7D commander mode let the photographer use the on-camera flash to control up to three groups of off-camera Speedlites, while the EOS 60D and 600D commander mode only let the photographer control a single group."

Hi,

I have and EOS 600D camera and would like to understand what is meant by the above statement. How many slaves are in a single group of off-camera speedlites?

Regards,

Thia

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@CynThia,
According to Canon, each group may consist of up to three flash units.

The remotes are passive, and I've no idea what happens if you assign more than three units to a group, but I suspect that it will still work – but perhaps with less accurate exposure control.

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YN ST-E2 works on 600D?

I´m testing a YN ST-E2 on mi Canon 600D, and doesnt work. I checked Amazon, and in the description of the product, doesnt mention (in compatibility) the Canon 600D.

Anyone, please, tell me if its possible use the YN ST-E2 on my camera. Thanks a lot.

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Canon EOS 650D with old 577G

What is the best way to adapt the Canon Speedlite 577G (wireless) to work with Canon EOS 650D. Manual mode will be fine.

Cheers
IanR

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Wireless Canon Speedlite 557G

@Ian R.,
The Canon Speedlite 577G is a powerful hammerhead flash originally designed to work with Canon's legacy FD-system.

However, the flash has a pc-socket on the side of its head (see photo on page 31 of the manual). While there is no mention of the use of this socket in the manual, you should be able to trigger the flash in manual mode by connecting the 577G to a suitable radio trigger by means of this socket.

Any radio trigger with a suitable cord should work. However, if you want specific recommendations, I suggest you look at the Cactus V5 because the basic kit comes with a pc-cable that should plug right into the Speedlite 577G pc sync. socket. Another good low-cost radio trigger that should work is the YongNuo RF-603C, but then you will need to buy an additional pc-male-to-pc-male sync. cord, since the required cord is not usually part of the kit.

No matter what brand of trigger you buy, you will need a pair. One in the camera's hot-shoe to act as TX, and another connected to the 577G to act as RX.

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Need clarification

Ok, please make it more clear for me, because I'm a real beginner with wireless.

If I have 600D, can I trigger 3 flashes with it?

Can I have three 'r' rated flashes like 430EX-II , Di622-II and YN-560EX all have them all triggered with my pop-up flash at the same time?

Will I have TTL metering, or only in manual mode? Will I be able to divide flash power from camera menu?

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Canon EOS 600D wireless control

@Ike,
Yes, the Canon EOS 600D pop-up can be used to trigger three remote flashes at the same time, with TTL metering.

However, with the 600D, you will not be able to divide flash power, as it only supports a single group. You need the Canon EOS 7D to control three groups.

Hope this helps.

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YongNuo YN-622C

Thanx, that's what I needed to know.

BTW, have you tried YN-622 triggers? I hear they add a three group manual flash control from the camera menu, and it supposedly work for all Canon EOS cameras from 2007 and on (starting from 450D, 40D, 1000D). It could be an interesting gadget if it's true. Here's a review: http://www.photography-forum.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=166553&d=1354520761.

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Canon 600D wireless flash

Hi, I have a Canon 600d, 430exII and a 320EX, can the 600D act as master to trigger both flash while off camera? or if I put 430exii on camera and fire 320ex as slave or vise-versa?

Thanks

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Looking for inexpensive third-party bounce+swivel E-TTL compatible for Canon G15

It seems that it is almost impossible to find any specific information on third-party Canon compatible flashes with respect to anything that isn't a Canon DSLR. But I need exactly such information, so if anyone can, please help.

Basically I want to buy a Canon G15 _and_ also something that isn't going to break the bank, but which has bounce & swivel capability and also E-TTL (II?) compatibility with the G15. Is there any such a thing? If so, who makes it? I don't want to pay any more than necessary, and preferably under $200 – or even under $100 if possible. Unfortunately none of the third-party flash manufacturers ever seem to mention any members of the Canon G series so how can I know if what I plan to buy will even actually work? (I absolutely require that E-TTL auto-exposure must work for whatever I buy to use with the G15.)

P.S. I have been through this same kind of grief before, trying to find an inexpensive dedicated TTL flash for the Nikon P7000/P7100 models. It's all the same in that case too… the info on compatability is almost impossible to find. Howeverm there are various disturbing rumors about all the things that – for subtle and unknown reasons – won't actually work.

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FLASH for 7D and 7D mkII

Lost my 430EX Canon flash coming home from Greece. Have no idea what happened to it.

I was thinking of the YONGNUO YN-568EX II TTL Flash Speedlite For Canon EOS 6D EOS 7D but would like your advice. In your table the MKII model is not mentioned. Anyway the price seems great.

Any other suggestions?

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Question: 6D - is the transmitter still required for the 600 EX-RT when flash is off camera?

I have the 6D which has wireless functionality, so I am wondering if I still require a transmitter or cable to use the flash off camera, or if it can connect and communicate off camera completely via the built in wireless functionality of the 6D?

Thank you

AY

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