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Products >> All Products In Focus: The Basics of External Flash Photography- Part1

Which Canon Speedlite Flash to Choose?

Canon's Speedlite series offers various types of external flashes that can fit the subject and purpose of your shoot. The type of flash is clearly identifiable not only by the guide number, which indicates the amount of light emitted, but also by differences such as size and whether it can perform bounce flash. Here is how to select an external flash that suits your own shooting style. (Reported by: Teppei Kohno)

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT, Speedlite 430EX III-RT, Speedlite 270EX II


Main features of Speedlites

Canon's external flashes are categorised into three types—large, medium, small—which differ by the amount of light emitted. The flagship model, Speedlite 600EX II-RT, is large and provides strong lighting; the Speedlite 430EX III-RT is a mid-range model that is compact yet provides just-enough lighting; and the Speedlite 270EX II is an entry-level model that is compact, lightweight, and provides a smaller amount of light. While there is no flash that combines all the desired qualities into a single unit, each type has different advantages to offer. Select a flash unit based on what you prioritize.


Speedlite 600EX II-RT ,Speedlite 430EX III-RT,Speedlite 270EX II


Flagship model with strong lighting

Speedlite 600EX II-RT

Speedlite 600EX II-RT

Recommended for users who:

- Want to use the flash from a distance, such as when shooting sports events or events happening onstage.
- Want to take portrait photos with a defocused background, even when shooting outdoors on a fine day.
- Want to use the flash continuously during continuous shooting.


Shot with Speedlite 600EX II-RT

EOS 760D/ EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 55mm (88mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/5.6, 1/1000 sec)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto/ Speedlite 600EX II-RT

The most appealing features of the Speedlite 600EX II-RT are its ability to provide lighting from a distance, and to emit light continuously. In the sample photo, we used high-speed sync for continuous shooting, which required intense light. This flash is invaluable when shooting sports events or events on stage where the subject is at a distance. It is also generally great for portrait photography, especially for creating background bokeh.


High-functionality mid-range model

Speedlite 430EX III-RT

Speedlite 430EX III-RT

Recommended for users who:

- Want to take beautiful shots of still objects, flowers or food on a table.
- Most often use a lens whose focal length range is no broader than wide-angle to medium telephoto.
- Want to use strong lighting, but yet also keep equipment as light as possible.


Shot with Speedlite 430EX III-RT

EOS 760D/ EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 43mm (69mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/8, 1/160 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto/ Speedlite 430EX III-RT

Users who mostly shoot with a standard zoom lens will not need a flash as strong as the Speedlite 600EX II-RT. As the sample photo shows, the light produced by the Speedlite 430EX III-RT is sufficient for achieving beautiful photos when the photographer is up close to the subject, such as for tabletop photography or food photography. This flash is also ideal for photographers who want their equipment to be as lightweight as possible.


Compact and lightweight entry-level model

Speedlite 270EX II

Speedlite 270EX II

Recommended for users who:

- Are using an external flash for the first time.
- Will be using the flash for street photography around town.
- Prefer equipment to be as compact and portable as possible.


Shot with Speedlite 270EX II

EOS 760D/ EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM/ FL: 55mm (88mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/5.6, 1/60 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto/ Speedlite 270EX II

The appeal of the compact and lightweight Speedlite 270EX II is that it can easily fit in the pocket of your camera bag, making it easy to carry around for use. This flash is useful in scenes with low light such as in the sample photo, where we photographed an ornament in a dark storefront. Although this flash cannot match the Speedlite 600EX II-RT or Speedlite 430EX III-RT in terms of the light intensity and lighting angle, it is compact enough for you to be able to carry it around every day, so you don’t miss any photo opportunities.


For more tips and tutorials on Speedlites, check out the following:
In Focus: The Basics of External Flash Photography
In Focus: Speedlite


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Teppei Kohno

Teppei Kohno

Born in Tokyo in 1976, Kohno graduated with a Social Work degree from the Department of Sociology of Meiji Gakuin University, and apprenticed with photographer Masato Terauchi. He contributed to the first issue of photography magazine PHaT PHOTO and became an independent photographer after that, in 2003. The author of many books, Kohno not only shoots all sorts of commercial photographs, but also writes prolifically for camera and other magazines.