Canon 430EX Speedlite Flash for Canon EOS SLR Cameras

Canon 430EX Speedlite Flash for Canon EOS SLR Cameras – Older Version – Product Description:

Canon 430EX Speedlite Flash for Canon EOS SLR Cameras
The Speedlite 430EX flash unit replaces the popular Speedlite 420EX. The Speedlite 430EX improves on many specifications of its predecessor and includes new features to maximize digital image quality when using a flash. These include automatic selection of camera white-balance settings and auto-adjustment of the zoom flash position to match the sensor size of the camera to which the unit is attached. The Speedlite 430EX has increased its guide number to 43 (m/ISO 100 at 105mm) and has approximately 40% faster recycling time than the Speedlite 420EX.

Product Features :

  • Replaces the Canon Speedlite 420EX Flash
  • Automatic selection of camera white-balance settings and auto-adjustment of zoom flash position to match camera’s sensor size
  • Flash head zoom covers the range 24mm to 105mm; integrated diffusion panel allows extends coverage to 14mm
  • Compatible with distance-linked E-TTL II system; supports other EOS cameras that do not support E-TTL II, when required
  • Flash head moves up from 0 to 90 degrees, left from 0 to 180 degrees, and right from 0 to 90 degrees

Canon 430EX Speedlite Flash for Canon EOS SLR Cameras – Review:


The 430 is plenty of flash for many photographers. and makes a nice walkaround flash, backup, or outstanding slave flash for someone who gets bitten by the photo bug in a serious way. The only current flash model that can compete is the Canon 580EX, which costs about a hundred bucks more. Forget the Sigma flash. The 580 is a much better unit (I’ll explain in a sec), but it is bigger, heavier, and again, more expensive. The 430 can do most of the important things a 580 can do that an amateur is likely to use, and then some.

Here are the important differences… The 430 is pretty powerful, but the 580 is much more powerful than the 430 (GN 58 vs GN 43 (meters)). That’s a lot of extra reach, or extra bounce capacity. Again though, the 430 is plenty strong in it’s own right. The 580 has a fun strobe feature that the 430 does not have. The 580 has much greater manual control than the 430, by virtue of being able to adjust it’s output in double the number of increments compared to a 430. The 580 has 14 custom functions, while the 430 has 6. The 580 has an easier to use function wheel than the 430’s “button wheel”. The 580 head can rotate 180 degrees in either direction, and be set to less than 90 degrees to the lens axis, while the 430 can only rotate to 180 degrees in one direction, and cannot dip below 90 degrees to the lens axis. The 580 can control other 580’s, and 430’s as slaves via it’s infrared optical control transmitter/reciever. The 580 covers all focus sensors on EOS cameras up to the 45 points used by the pro bodies. The 430 covers up to 9 sensors, which is fine until you get beyond the 5D body (the Rebel line, 10D, 20D, and 30D are fully covered). Both flashes include a pull out wide panel that will cover a lens as wide as 14mm on a full frame body, or as wide as 10mm on a 10,20,30D, or Rebel body, but the 580 also has a pull out “catchlight” panel designed to put sparkle in the subjects’ eyes when using the flash in bounce mode. There are a few more things, but that should cover the big ones.

OK, the 580 is the knockout champion, so why did I rate the 430 with 5 stars? Because it deserves them. Canon was wise enough to pack very good power, and a FULL feature set into the 430 without screwing the prospective buyer by leaving out one or two important features that would force them to spend the extra bucks on a 580. The 430 is built well, looks sweet, works like the fine instrument it is, and is significantly smaller than the 580. The fact is, I use the 430 as my preferred flash more often than not. A trip to the car races, a birthday party, general photo fun, family stuf, etc. It is more flash than most people will ever need, at a good price. For those times that I need more, or want to use multiple flash units, the 580 heavy artillery is brought out, and the 430 becomes a second unit under the control of the 580. Both units come with a clever little “foot” that allows you to position them on any flat surface, so you can set up your scene lighting without having to use tripods to hold your slave flash units.

If the photo bug bites you, you will end up owning both flash units. Get the 430 first. If you never get into serious multi flash setups, the 430 will serve you just fine. I you do, you will end up buying it anyway :).

By the way, someone complained about cycle time on the 430. That was nonsense. Either it was a defective unit, or the reviewer was on the cheap, and used alkaline batteries. All flash units are very current hungry when they recharge after a full blast of light. Alkaline batteries are not capable of delivering high current levels more than a few times when they are new. Internal resistance builds up, and they begin to deliver such small current rates that you could sing an entire opera between flashes (no matter what brand of flash). Always use a high current technology battery like NiMH in a flash unit. You can buy a set of four 2700 MAh rechargeable batteries at WalMart for about seven bucks, or buy a brick of 24 of them online for about a buck each, and get a good charger for cheap too. With the right batteries, your 430 will recover from a full power flash in less than 4 seconds (about 2.5 in real life), and for less than full power shots (fill flash, etc.), you can take several shots in one second. Alkaline batteries will work in a pinch, but that is the only time you should use them. Lithium is a good technology for flash units too, but is still rather expensive. Buy NiMH for now.



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