Flash Units for Canon
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.
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.
Canon DSLRs and flash
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.
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.
- Canon ST-E2: Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, B&H, eBay.
- YongNuo ST-E2: eBay.
- Canon ST-E3-RT: Adorama, Amazon USA, B&H, eBay.
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:
|Canon 220EX||28mm||22||[USD 120]|
|Canon 270EX||28, 50mm||22||[USD 144]|
|Canon 270EX II||28, 50mm||22||r||USD 170|
|Canon 320EX||24-50mm||24||r||USD 250|
|Canon 380EX||24-105mm||28||[USD 160]|
|Canon 420EX||24-105mm||31||r||[USD 200]|
|Canon 430EX||14, 24-105mm||31||r||[USD 250]|
|Canon 430EX II||14, 24-105mm||31||r||USD 280|
|Canon 550EX||17, 24-105mm||36||m/r||[USD 350]|
|Canon 580EX||14, 24-105mm||36||m/r||[USD 380]|
|Canon 580EX II||14, 24-105mm||36||m/r||USD 445|
|Canon 600EX-RT||14, 20-200mm||36||m/r||USD 629|
|Canon MR-14EX Macro||21mm||14||m||USD 494|
|Canon MT-24EX Macro||21mm||22||m||USD 699|
E-TTL compatible units manufactured by Metz, Nissin, Sigma, Sunpak and YongNuo:
|Metz 15 MS-1 Macro||35mm||15||r,sf,sd||USD 400|
|Metz 24 AF-1||35mm||24||USD 90|
|Metz 28 AF-3||24, 35, 85mm||22||[USD 110]|
|Metz 36 AF-4||28-85mm||24||[USD 112]|
|Metz 36 AF-5||28-85mm||24||USD 112|
|Metz 44 AF-1||12, 24-105mm||27||r||USD 200|
|Metz 44 AF-4||12, 24-105mm||28||USD 200|
|Metz 48 AF-1||12, 24-105mm||29||r,sf||[USD 225]|
|Metz 50 AF-1||12, 24-105mm||29||r,sf||USD 230|
|Metz 54 AF-1||20, 24-105mm||31||USD 405|
|Metz 54 MZ-4||20, 24-105mm||31||USD 400|
|Metz 58 AF-1||18, 24-105mm||32||m/r,sf||[USD 405]|
|Metz 58 AF-2||12, 24-105mm||32||m/r,sd||USD 400|
|Metz 76 MZ-5||20, 24-105mm||45||USD 875|
|Nissin Di28||35mm||20||USD 80|
|Nissin Di466||16, 24-105mm||22||sf,sd||USD 139|
|Nissin Di622||20, 28-105mm||26||sd||[USD 150]|
|Nissin Di622 II||16, 24-105mm||26||r,sf,sd||USD 160|
|Nissin Di866||18, 24-105mm||40||m/r,sf,sd||[USD 329]|
|Nissin Di866 II||18, 24-105mm||40||m/r,sf,sd||USD 349|
|Sigma EF-500 DG ST||17, 28-105mm||29||[USD 150]|
|Sigma EF-500 DG Super||17, 28-105mm||29||m/r,sf||[USD 219]|
|Sigma EF-530 DG ST||17, 24-105mm||31||[USD 150]|
|Sigma EF-530 DG Super||17, 24-105mm||31||m/r,sf||[USD 219]|
|Sigma EF-610 DG ST||17, 24-105mm||36||USD 165|
|Sigma EF-610 DG Super||17, 24-105mm||36||m/r,sf||USD 255|
|Sigma EM-140 DG Macro||14||m||USD 379|
|Sunpak PZ40X||24-80mm||20||USD 70|
|Sunpak PZ42X||20, 24-105mm||28||USD 149|
|Sunpak RD-2000||35mm||20||USD 62|
|YongNuo YN-460-RX||35mm||33||r,sf,sd||USD 110|
|YongNuo YN-465||35mm||33||USD 66|
|YongNuo YN-467 II||24-85mm||33||sf,sd||[USD 75]|
|YongNuo YN-468 II||18, 24-85mm||33||sf,sd||USD 91|
|YongNuo YN-560EX||15, 24-105mm||39||r,sf,sd||USD 110|
|YongNuo YN-565EX||15, 24-105mm||39||r,sf,sd||USD 175|
|YongNuo YN-568EX||15, 24-105mm||39||r,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).