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I bought the canon Speedlite 580ex about a year ago. It's compatible with all EOS Camera models produced by Canon.
The flash itself comes in a well padded box with ample packaging to prevent damage during transit. In the box you get the Speedlite Flash a mount for the flash to sit on. The flash is compatible with other wireless flashes so the can be synched together.
The flash is powered by 4 AA type batteries. I bought some high power rechargeable ones because the flash depending on its setting can really eat through batteries. There is also an external power source connector socket to connect to a mains power supply in the studio.
Synching the flash to another can be done with small switch on the rear of the flash with the setting master/slave.
Fitting the flash to my Canon was relatively easy with no problems. Tightening a small rotating disc on the rear secures the flash securely to the camera.
The flash itself has settings to adjust most of the usual flash features including the intensity and duration of the flash and can be set to strobe flash as well to produce images like the movement of a person running in the dark.
The head of the flash can be swivelled or tilted to provide a direct or indirect flash to create desired shots of light and shadow. The flash also has a catchlight for making peoples eyes sparkle in photographs and a diffuser filter that can pulled out and dropped down over the flash lens to provide a more diffused light as required.
The screen on the rear of the flash is easy to read and without really looking at the instruction booklet i was able to figure out the main settings of the Speedlite 580EX with no trouble at all.
Overall I'm very impressed with the Speedlite flash although it's quite expensive if you are a semi or pro photographer its well worth the money to create dramatic shots with your camera.