Which Speedlite is the right Canon flash for you ?

Canon flash for your EOS camera

Which is the right Canon flash for me?

One of the common questions I am asked at my photo workshops is Which is the right Canon flash for me? With five models of flash available with a range of flash power outputs and functions the choice can be confusing. I’ll make choosing a Canon flash for your EOS camera simple.

Speedlite 90EX

Canon flash - Speedlite 90EX

Speedlite 90EX

  • Power / GN 9m @ ISO 100
  • Range at ISO 400 and f/5.6 = 3.2 metres
  • Bounce flash: NO
  • Swivel: NO
  • Master: YES
  • Slave: NO
  • Batteries: 2 x AAA
 

The baby of the Canon flash range. The Speedlite 90EX is ideally partnered with the mirror-less EOS M but it also has a trick up it’s sleeve that makes it handy for full-frame EOS cameras too; it can be a master to control other off-camera flashes. The low power output of this flash is the achilles heel, most built-in flashes on EOS cameras are more powerful than this Canon flash.

Unless you need a low powered master to control other Speedlites indoors then I would give the Speedlite 90EX a miss and go further up the Canon flash range

 

Speedlite 270EX II

Canon flash - Speedlite 270EX II

Speedlite 270EX II

  • Power / GN 27m @ ISO 100
  • Range at ISO 400 and f/5.6 = 9.6 metres
  • Bounce flash: YES
  • Swivel: NO
  • Master: NO
  • Slave: YES
  • Batteries: 2 x AA
 

A simple flash with limited controls and more than double the power of most built-in flashes this is a good compact flash to add to your camera bag. The flash head can be tilted up for bounce flash and adjusted to give wide and telephoto coverage. The Speedlite 270EX II also can be set as a slave flash for simple off-camera flash photography. It makes an ideal partner for the EOS 600D, EOS 650D, EOS 700D, EOS 60D & EOS 70D cameras which have the easy wireless flash feature.

A good compact sized flash with a real boost in power over the built-in flash. The Speedlite 270EX II is an ideal first Canon flash, and an excellent pocket-sized flash for a full-frame camera like the EOS 6D

Speedlite 320EX

Canon flash - Speedlite 320EX

Speedlite 320EX

  • Power /GN 32m @ ISO 100
  • Range at ISO 400 and f/5.6 = 11.4 metres
  • Bounce flash: YES
  • Swivel: YES
  • Master: NO
  • Slave: YES
  • Batteries: 4 x AA
 

The Speedlite 320EX is a capable flash that uniquely has a built-in LED video light to make it useful for movie making. However the video light is not that powerful, and the flash is only marginally more powerful than the Speedlite 270EX II. The swivel allows the flash head to be aimed at the subject and the flash body – where the receiver is to be angled back at the camera where the master flash is. The flash also includes a built-in infra red remote release to fire the shutter.

The clever Speedlite 320EX is an interesting blend of video and photography but like most hybrids it fails to excel in either area. As a stills photographer I want more power; as a video shooter I want more power. If your needs are modest and this is going to be a first step in to off-camera flash using the built-in Speedlite transmitter on your camera then go for it, but you’ll be wishing you bought the 430EX II pretty soon

Speedlite 430EX II

Canon flash - Speedlite 430EX II

Speedlite 430EX II

  • Power / GN 43m @ ISO 100
  • Range at ISO 400 and f/5.6 = 15.4 metres
  • Bounce flash: YES
  • Swivel: YES
  • Master: NO
  • Slave: YES
  • Batteries: 4 x AA
 

If you need a flash and think there’s a chance you will want to use it off-camera then the Speedlite 430EX II is the one to go for. Only a little less powerful than the flagship model the Speedlite 430EX II is feature packed and also works as a great off-camera slave. Ideal if you have a camera with a built-in Speedlite transmitter

Speedlite 600EX-RT

Canon flash - Speedlite 600EX-RT

Speedlite 600EX-RT

  • Power / GN 60m @ ISO 100
  • Range at ISO 400 and f/5.6 = 21.4 metres
  • Bounce flash: YES
  • Swivel: YES
  • Master: YES (optical or radio wireless system)
  • Slave: YES (optical or radio wireless system)
  • Batteries: 4 x AA
 

The most expensive and most powerful flash with the most features. The Speedlite 600EX-RT is also weather sealed and can be used with an external battery pack to speed up recycling times and the number of flashes from a single charge. If this is your first serious flash – well done, you’ll be needing the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT next

Hey you missed the Speedlite 580EX II !

The Speedlite 580EX II is now discontinued, even though there might be some stock still in dealers. It is the predecessor of the Speedlite 600EX-RT and offered much the same functionality except for the radio wireless transmission features.

Canon flash - Speedlite 580EX II

Speedlite 580EX II

  • Power / GN 58m @ ISO 100
  • Range at ISO 400 and f/5.6 = 20.7 metres
  • Bounce flash: YES
  • Swivel: YES
  • Master: YES
  • Slave: YES
  • Batteries: 4 x AA
 

More Canon flash & Speedlite articles

 

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag