Product Type: Canon flashlights
Newest Review: ... really bother you. The truth is that the light from this isn't any better than any flash gun, but there are some neat features that ... more
Put on a Hotshoe
Canon Speedlite 580EX II
Member Name: Zmugzy
Canon Speedlite 580EX II
Date: 18/08/08, updated on 24/03/10 (730 review reads)
Advantages: Sophisticated Flash Technology
Disadvantages: Perhaps too sophisticated for many
The 580EX II is Canon's top-of-the-line, professional grade external flash and it is packed with features. Accessory flashes are one of the most important pieces of equipment in a photographer's tool bag. As is often the case it is not so easy using a flash gun at first and this particular model might be a bit of a challenge for those who are new to flash photography. Using a new flash apparatus always takes a bit of getting use to. That is where the digital camera has one of its main advantages over earlier film cameras: you can have a few goes until you get it right by checking it in the view finder and if the images look trashy you can just delete them.
The Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash is slightly larger than the previous models in the series and heavier at 375g. But I found the unit overall not to much of a strain to use and quite comfortable in the hand - the flash body has a nicer textured feel to it. Overall I really like the solid build quality of the 580EX II.
Compared to the earlier lenses, it has a reshaped structure and the IR wireless slave sensor is in a different place. The new power switch design now allows for rotation instead of sliding. The AF assist beam emitter is also reconfigured so that it has a small round hole containing the Auto and Manual External metering sensor. The AF Assist Beam is a very useful feature as it improves the autofocus in low light conditions. This aligns the beam to the focal point and projects itself as a red IR spot on the subject. Something which I've never seen before is a white catchlight reflector. This is situated just above the diffuser panel. This is a semi-rigid piece of white plastic that you can pul out so as to create a catchlight in your subject's eyes when using the flash in a vertical bounce position. This little device really does make a difference. The catchlight throws much more natural looking light onto your subject.
The flash has a metal foot that is attached to a plastic mount inside the flash. This metal should reduce the wear and tear of repeatedly mounting and dismounting the lens from the camera. Although I've not put it to the test the flash is also dust and water resistant. By using just one button, the Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash rotates 180 degrees to both sides as well as 90 degrees upward and 7 degrees downward. One feature that might appeal to some is that the unit can be used as a wireless E-TTL master when paired up with other Speedlite Flashes. This means that you can essentially use it in conjunction with other flashes.
I have taken some decent photographs using this flash with my Canon EOS 300D - the unit will generally support all EOS cameras. One major improvement I found with this Flash compared with results from cheaper apparatus was the lack of over exposure with backlit subjects. Overall I found this flash to be much more reliable.
According to the manufacturers the 580EX II recycles about 20% faster than the 580EX. It takes 4 normal AA batteries and the flash is ready to use straight away. I have found alkaline batteries to be the most efficient and longer lasting. I can usually get about fifty shots out of one set of batteries, you might get more depending on what settings you use. The really fast recycle time is a major plus factor with this unit. What is also apparent is the quiet battery recharging phase that always takes place after you've taken a picture. There is no whining noise as the batteries recharge. It is important to mention though that the flash is noisy on occasion because it comprises a zoom flash head that makes a bit if a buzz every time you use it.
In conclusion I would say this is a petty advanced flash unit that gives excellent results. It might be a bit too confusing if you're as beginner and it's not exactly on the cheap side. However, for those wanting to move up a grade, this flash should light up the way.
Product Description: Canon Speedlite 580EX - hot-shoe clip-on flash
Camera Flash: Hot-shoe clip-on flash
Dimensions (WxDxH): 7.5 cm x 11.4 cm x 13.4 cm
Guide Number (m / ISO 100): 58
Lens Coverage: 24mm - 105mm
Supported Exposure Control: FP Flash, TTL, E-TTL, E-TTL II
Zoom: Automatic, manual
Features: AF illuminator, illuminated LCD display, flash +/- compensation, wireless off-camera control, modelling flash capability, flash exposure bracketing
Required Battery: 4 x battery - AA type
Carrying Case: Soft case
On Amazon the flash is priced at £265.00
Summary: Canon Flash for advanced users.
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