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Most Liked Positive Review
I was planning on buying Canon's Speedlite 430EX II for myself as a post Christmas present. To my surprise and delight I received it as a gift. It worked flawlessly through the holiday...Read complete review
I was planning on buying Canon's Speedlite 430EX II for myself as a post Christmas present. To my surprise and delight I received it as a gift. It worked flawlessly through the holiday season. The resulting images where significantly better than shots taken with the built-in flash. The Speedlite 430EX II was able easily fill the room/area with sufficient light to produce some impressive shots. I even feel that the built in assisted metering of the flash allow more successful shots: Fully in focus on the intended target, richer colors, excellent lighting. I take lots of photos - Christmas morning with kids results in nearly 200+ photos in less than 1.5 hours. I had typically used the camera's built in flash on my Digital Rebel and I often found that after about 5 or 6 quick successive pictures the built-in xenon flash would overheat/overloaded and takes astronomically long to cooldown. This external flash held up extremely well and was able to keep up with my shooting and I did not need to replace the batteries at all. The Speedlite 430EX II offers all the features that I find useful. The one thing is that it can not act as a master when using more than one flash but to me that is just fine. When/if I get around to requiring a second flash this unit with still be perfect. The size is great and fits perfectly in my camera bag - a Lowepro SlingShot 200 AW. The 580EX II is just a tad to big to fit nicely and felt a bit awkward on my camera. I think the Speedlite 430EX II is a perfect fit for me.
Most Liked Negative Review
For an $100 difference, it's so worth getting the 550. If it weren't for one particular problem (which I explain below), I'd say just get the 430 (unless you need to be...Read complete review
For an $100 difference, it's so worth getting the 550. If it weren't for one particular problem (which I explain below), I'd say just get the 430 (unless you need to be in massive rooms and need the full power of the 550). Anyway, because of the problem, I absolutely recommend getting the 550. The entire purpose of having an external flash is to have the control to bounce it diagonally backwards at the white walls and ceilings so that you get a diffused light coming from that desired diagonal angle. But the 430 doesn't go backwards to the right, it only goes backwards to the left! You have to either rotate it straight back or to the right. Neither of which are useful for creating that desired modeling along the face. Straight back gives you head-on lighting and to the right doesn't really reach the subject if you're not right up against it. And if it does reach the subject, then you're getting very intense side-lighting, which is a very specific effect that shouldn't be the only option. In addition to the backwards to the right problem, there's more about the rotation problem--there are not many options as to where to point it, just a few, and that feels so limiting when trying to shoot an event and bounce the flash at the correct spot--whereas the 550 has many nuanced options. I regret not getting the 550.
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Reviewed by 36 customers
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Comments about Canon Speedlite 430 EX II:
Bought the flash about a month ago. So far has been very positive as a general flash. Lacks certain features, cannot be used as a master flash, only as a slave, no PC socket, makes it more difficult to use off camera, without additional accessories, and No support for HV external battery packs. Does have some good manual features such as power ratios, although would have preferred to have 1/2 settings instead of â..." setting, exposure compensation (+-) 2 stops. Auto settings get good results and custom setting on flash are good. Unit is quiet, recycles fairly fast with rechargeable batteries and easy to use once you learn how to use. Since I am not using this flash for professional reasons, the few features it lacks, was not important enough for me to buy the more expensive 600ex. For what I use it for, it meets my needs.
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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)
Great general flash
from San Diego, CA
This is a wonderful all around flash. I carry this flash around with me all the time as it works great in most situations where I suddenly find myself needing the help of a flash. For the price point, it's the flash I have for general use.
plenty for me
I have used the 430 EX for a few years now, and have never found myself in a situation where I would need the much more expensive 580 or 600. I only use this indoors when shooting portraits, and even with my 135mm, I get plenty of light from this flash. The recycle rate works just fine, and this unit really stretches battery life. If you cannot justify spending the extra money for the larger flash, then don't. It is likely this will cover most of your wants and needs. In addition, the size makes for stuffing it in your day bag much easier and practical.
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
Good place to buy
About Me Photo Enthusiast
(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)
Good basic flash
from Northern Ca
Bought this as my first flash unit, not knowing a lot about flashes but knowing I probably wouldn't be happy with a generic off-brand unit. For a first go-round, I've been pretty happy with this flash. It does exactly as advertised and while the bigger ones may have more power and more features, I find this one gets everything done that I can reasonably expect. The controls, like most Canon controls, take a little time to learn. Once there though, it's pretty literal. Pretty much set it to ETTL and your camera will control it just fine. I've started using it for High School Football games and this is where I immediately found it's shortcomings... The unit just doesn't have quite enough power to be used at the distances I'm pushing it to. It also uses battery power at an exorbitant rate when pushed to it's maximum. I also found that it does not have provisions to use an external power supply which I find to be very disappointing. I'm forced to use batteries the entire time... Another piece I find missing for the heavier use is the ability to run a sync cord. All functions must be done either through the hot shoe or wirelessly. If I want to move the flash off camera, even incrementally, it must be done wirelessly. While the average person taking photos likely would not worry so much about what I cite as shortcomings, I wish I would have known ahead of time. Understandably, there is no list of what it doesn't have or do - one must compare and contrast ad nauseum in order to discover it all. Again, over-all this is a great little flash. I've just worked into heavier needs and this one is going to demote to a slave function...
(37 of 38 customers found this review helpful)
For the love of light
By Still miss my Ftb
from Milwaukee, WI
I discovered years ago that in order to improve my pictures, artificial lighting was essential, Most shots do not turn out as you envision them without the proper lighting. You can achieve excellent lighting in a studio atmosphere but when taking shots on the fly indoors/outdoors the natural light in a scene doesn't always cut it. The 430 EX II is easy to use for a beginner and has the features someone with more experience would like. It has great bounce capabilities at shorter ranges and it is quiet. It doesn't flash multiple times like some units to set the exposure. I find those types extremely annoying. And if you ever want to upgrade your lighting system or use it in a studio it makes a great slave unit. Nice unit for the price.
(12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)
Cant believe I lived without it this long.
from Republic Mo
This is way past simple in ETTL mode. Makes pictures perfect at even 1/30 sec at ISO 200 hand held to freeze action of water droplets. Rapid fire keeps up also. Have not tried other features yet but WOW.
from Houston, Texas
About Me Casual Photographer
(12 of 41 customers found this review helpful)
Not powerful enough for bounce flash.
from Scarsdale NY
With my new 5D Mark III, I still have to go to ASA 800 or above to get acceptable bounce flash result in the 10 to 15 foot distance range. Controls are overly complex and except in direct flash with no defuser this flash is simply under powered. I will exchange for a more powerful flash from either Cannon or third party equipment.
Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend
(52 of 52 customers found this review helpful)
Easy to Use Flash
from Hopewell Junction, NY
I looked at several flash units before making my purchase. I got the T3i 3 months ago, and was looking for an external flash for pictures at night. I looked at the smaller units but wanted more range. I'm not a professional photographer, just a person who takes lots of pictures of my family and friends. This flash has good range, can be used as a slave and adds life to pictures. It was so easy to set up off the camera in remote fashion. I learned to use the remote funtion from the manual and it was really easy .. especially since it was the first time I've ever used more than one flash at once .. I can now zoom, it has a built in light diffuser, it turns to bounce light and will get you good pictures. For a starter like me, you can't go wrong. It's pricey, but I would recommend this flash.
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