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I have already taken some great photographs with my Canon EOS 300D and 420EX flash gun - the unit will generally support all EOS cameras - but as always it was a bit tricky at first. I always think that using a new flash aparatus is always takes abit of getting use to. That is where the digital camera has one of its main advantages: you can have a few goes until you get it right by checking it in the view finder.
As far as Flash guns go there are a few cheaper options out there than Canon's own brand of flashgun but you can never be sure that they will be fully compatible with Canon's electronic through-the-lens flash metering. However, despite the price I have been more than pleased with the results so far from this Flash gun.
A good feature of this flash unit is that the flash head can both tilt and swivel so you can point it to a white ceiling for example and get a good diffused lighting effect. In this way you also avoid the stark 'headlight' effect that might make your subjects look like something out of a scene from the Blair Witch Project. By bouncing the flash in any direction you can completely eliminate red-eye and give a natural soft lighting to an environment. This flash unit does nevertheless come with a built-in red autofocus assist light, with a range of 0.8-7 metres. The AF assist covers all seven focus points of my EOS300D. It should be fine to use full on flash direct at the subject if you are using a lens with a long focal length. This worked well with my Canon EF 90-300mm. One possible drawback of this unit is the complete lack of manual override controls, but everything seems to be automatic these days.
If you really want to be ambitious you can also link up the Speedlight 420EX to other Canon flashes for multiple flash lighting effects and the 420EX also comes with its own stand for off camera use.
I would only recommend such an item if you're a real enthusiast. Most EOS cameras already have a small flash head attached which is often sufficient enough for most tasks. But if you are the type of person who demands 100% quality from your photographs then I would highly recommend this flash gun, especially for EOS users.
Camera Flash: Hot-shoe clip-on flash
Dimensions (WxDxH): 7.1 cm x 9.9 cm x 12.2 cm
Guide Number (m / ISO 100): 42 Lens Coverage: 24mm - 105mm
Supported Exposure Control: FP Flash, TTL, E-TTL
Colour Temperature: Daylight
Zoom: Automatic, manual
Features: AF illuminator, flash +/- compensation, wireless off-camera control, modelling flash capability, flash exposure bracketing
Required Battery: 4 x battery - AA type
Carrying Case: Soft case
Weight: 300 g
The Speedlite 420EX is sure to appeal to EOS users everywhere with its combination of power, features and affordability. It is fully E-TTL-compatible, and reverts to standard TTL operation when used on older EOS bodies or the T90. The fully swiveling bounce head zooms automatically over a range of 24mm-105mm. Most impressively, 420EX' wireless E-TTL compatibility permits it to function as a "slave" unit, triggered by a 550EX; ST-E2, or MR-14EX. Any number of 420EX and 550EX Speedlites can be combined as "slave" units.