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12 Best Canon Camera Flashes to Buy in 2022

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Today, we look specifically at flashguns for your Canon cameras. I will guide you through entry-level options towards the higher end of the Canon flashgun range. Looking at each flashgun’s essential features, I will highlight the best Canon camera flashes to buy!

As you develop your photography styles and techniques, you will need a flashgun in your kit bag. Flashguns are an essential piece of kit when working with subjects in low-light situations.

Canon flash with case

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What is a Camera Flash?

An external flash—commonly referred to as a flash unit or a flashgun—is an attachment that provides a burst of light and works in synchronization with your camera. You can connect the flash through the camera’s hot shoe or a cable. They can also connect wirelessly through infrared or radio frequencies.

Flash photography allows you to capture scenes in low-light situations. If you have a built-in flash, you may notice it produces flat light and doesn’t allow you complete control. An external flash changes this.

All external flashes allow you to swivel and tilt the flash head to let your light come from different directions. You can also change the power and zoom range of the flash for each photograph you take.

Black and white portrait taken with a camera flash in a studio

The Best Canon Camera Flashes

Here is a range of the best flash units for Canon cameras. I have broken each flash down, highlighting its size, weight, guide number (GN), rotation capabilities, and zoom range.

12. Canon Speedlite 270EX II (For SLR Cameras)

  • Size: 66x65x77mm
  • Weight: 155g
  • GN (m): 27
  • Tilt / Swivel: 0-90° / None
  • Zoom Range: 28mm or 50mm
  • Price: $

The Canon 270EX II flash head is almost like a glorified built-in flash. You would think that’s a bad thing, but the one extra feature we would all love from a built-in flash is to be able to place it somewhere else. The Canon 270EX II allows you to do this while also giving tilt functions.

This Canon flashgun is the most basic one for Canon cameras. It does not have any manual controls, and it just functions with TTL (through-the-lens) metering. This flash kit is handy for amateur photographers who want to place external flashes in different places around your shot. It has an impressive refresh rate of 3.9 seconds for a flash that only takes two AA batteries!

Pros:

  • Small and simple
  • Easy to use off-camera

Cons:

  • Not very powerful
  • No swivel features

Canon flashgun 270EX II for SLR Cameras

11. Canon Speedlight EL-100 (Entry-Level)

  • Size: 65x92x71mm
  • Weight: 190g
  • GN (m): 26
  • Tilt / Swivel: 0-90° / 150-180°
  • Zoom Range: 28 or 50mm (manual)
  • Price: $

The Canon EL-100 is a small flashgun that packs a punch. It is amazing how modern technology can produce the same power as the big flash guns from back in the day.

Because this is an entry-level flashgun, you miss out on critical features that allow you extra control. But you still get HSS (high-speed synch) capabilities and some form of zoom, even though it is pretty limited.

I recommend this flashgun for people who need a step up from their built-in flash but don’t need extra control features. It is also a great introductory external flash for someone who has a camera without a built-in flash.

Pros:

  • Small
  • Advanced flash modes

Cons:

  • Basic controls
  • No information screen

an image of a Canon EL-100 camera flash

10. Neewer TT560 (For Beginners)

  • Size: 55x75x190mm
  • Weight: 286g
  • GN (m): 38
  • Tilt / Swivel: 0-90° / 0-270°
  • Zoom Range: None
  • Price: $

The Neewer TT560 is an excellent option for a beginner in photography. I say this because you will struggle to find a better price for a similar flash kit. It should stay at a beginner’s level due to its reliability.

You will find that the flash works fairly evenly on your subject, but you may have slight vignetting on the outer areas of your photos. For that reason—and because there is no TTL exposure control—I suggest it’s best suited to introduce someone using a flash. If you are unsure if you will use a flash a lot, this option is light on the pocket and provides a good feel for this photographic technique.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Powerful for price

Cons:

  • No TTL metering
  • No zoom function

an image of a Neewer TT560 camera flash

9. Yongnuo YN650EX-RF (Wireless)

  • Size: 94x100x219mm
  • Weight: 540g
  • GN (m): 60
  • Tilt / Swivel: -7~90° / 180-180°
  • Zoom Range: 28-200mm (intermittent)
  • Price: $

The Yongnuo YN-650EX-RF is another cheap flash option with good power but lacks some needed features. When you compare this to the last flashgun, you can see that this flash has more features. Of course, you will pay a bit more for them. But again, the price is relatively low.

You get TTL or HSS capabilities and pretty good power output and zoom functions. Again, this would be good for a beginner or amateur photographer not looking to spend too much money.

Pros:

  • Zoom function
  • Cheaper than others of similar ability

Cons:

  • Hard to function with other external flashes

an image of a Yongnuo camera flash

8. Canon Macro Ring Lite MR-14EX II

  • Size: 130x112x25mm
  • Weight: 455g
  • GN (m): 14
  • Tilt / Swivel: None
  • Zoom Range: None
  • Price: $$

This is Canon’s macro ring light that you can use primarily for macro photography. Ring lights are great fun and provide the most even light possible for macro shots. The ring light attaches to the front of your lens, giving light 360° around the lens.

A great feature of the ring light is that you can choose to use either side of the light. That means you have more control to make lighting choices than most ring flashes offer. Of course, you have to be careful because the ring flash provides a pretty noticeable reflection when photographing reflective surfaces.

Pros:

  • LED modeling lamp
  • Independently variable flash tubes for left and right

Cons:

  • Made for close-up shots rather than at a distance
  • It only fits specific lenses

Canon ring light on a Canon DSLR camera

7. Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-26EX-RT

  • Size: 69x112x90
  • Weight: 570g
  • GN (m): 26
  • Tilt / Swivel: None
  • Zoom Range: None
  • Price: $$$

The Canon Macro Twin Lite is a fantastic example of how well specialist equipment develops in photography. This setup provides a complete rig for your macro lens that is fully adjustable. So whether you want to use a single light in one direction or two lights operating from either side, this has you covered.

A flash like this benefits a photographer working in archives or museums who constantly need to take detailed macro images. It is an expensive piece of kit, so it is only for specialist photographers who use it daily.

Pros:

  • Powerful and adaptable
  • Maximum control over power and direction of light for macro

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • It only fits specific lenses

Canon macro twin flash ona DSLR camera

6. Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT (Great Value)

  • Size: 71x114x98mm
  • Weight: 295g
  • GN (m): 43
  • Tilt / Swivel: 0-90° / 150-180°
  • Zoom Range: 24-105mm
  • Price: $$

The Canon 430EX is the go-to Canon flash for getting bang for your buck. It has a wide range of advanced functions and a significant zoom range. This makes it the perfect option if you are a well-rehearsed photographer looking to get an external flash for the first time.

One of my favorite features is how quickly this flash can reload. Even on the flash’s highest output, you get a refresh speed of around two and a half seconds. The only issue is that you cannot use it to trigger other Canon Speedlite that only have infrared sensors.

Pros:

  • Small and powerful
  • Simple controls with an easy interface

Cons:

  • It has to be the master flash in RF (radio frequency) mode

Canon 430EX III-RT Speedlite

5. Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI (Advanced Technology)

  • Size: 75x130x105mm
  • Weight: 385g
  • GN (m): 47
  • Tilt / Swivel: 0-120° / 180-180°
  • Zoom Range: 24-105mm
  • Price: $$

The Canon 470EX introduces artificial intelligence into Canon’s range of flashguns. Canon is very excited about this groundbreaking new technology where they claim it is the first-ever flash with AI-bounce technology.

The AI is interesting because it features a motorized head that adjusts itself according to the distance between the subject, camera, and the ceiling for the bounce. That means you can change your positioning while shooting, and the flash automatically adjusts itself for perfect lighting!

Pros:

  • AI capabilities
  • Easy for beginners

Cons:

  • Expensive for beginners
  • Full features are only available with Canon cameras from 2014 and onwards

Canon 470EX-AI Speedlite

4. Hahnel Modus 600RT II (Best Value)

  • Size: 64x76x190mm
  • Weight: 430g
  • GN (m): 60
  • Tilt / Swivel: -7-90° / 180-180°
  • Zoom Range: 20-200mm
  • Price: $$

If you’re looking to get the best possible value for money, you won’t find it in the Canon range. The Hahnel Modus 600RT is packed with great features and is only a fraction of the price of other products similar to this flash kit.

Looking at its specifications, the Modus 600RT doesn’t just keep up with its competition but surpasses them on many different points. It takes a Li-ion battery, which means replacing the battery can be expensive.

But, this also means it has an impressive refresh rate that won’t have you waiting around. And, it is probably cheaper than constantly buying AA batteries.

One point to consider is that its weather sealing and build quality isn’t as refined as bigger brand products.

Pros:

  • Great value for your money
  • Fast refresh speed

Cons:

  • Expensive battery if you want to get a spare
  • Not fully weatherproof

Hahnel Modus 600RT II flash

3. Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT (Top Range)

  • Size: 79x143x123mm
  • Weight: 435g
  • GN (m): 60
  • Tilt / Swivel: -7-90° / 180-180°
  • Zoom Range: 20-200mm
  • Price: $$

The Canon Speedlite 600EX is a top-of-the-range flashgun for Canon cameras. This flash will work just as well as an on- or off-camera flash, providing you complete control and reliability even in the toughest of situations. It allows you to even shoot remotely up to 30 meters away!

This flash unit also provides the broadest zoom range for a Canon camera. Of course, it still takes standard AA batteries, but it also has a socket to attach an external power supply. I recommend getting rechargeable AA batteries to help save you from a constant resupply of AA batteries.

Pros:

  • Powerful and reliable performance
  • Great weatherproof capabilities

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Outdated interface

Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlite

2. Profoto A10 (Studio Flash)

  • Size: 17x165x108mm
  • Weight: 560g
  • GN (m): Not specified
  • Tilt / Swivel: 0-90° / 180-180°
  • Zoom Range: 32-105mm
  • Price: $$$

The Profoto A10 is described as a “studio on-camera flash” rather than a flashgun. This is no surprise as Protofoto is known to produce some of the best studio lights in the business. The A10’s unique circular flash head places it apart from other flashguns on the market.

I enjoy the intuitive interface featured on the A10. It makes it extremely easy to use and helpful when shooting high-pressure situations. Its fast refresh rate also lends itself to shooting in time-conscious environments.

Pros:

  • High refresh rate
  • Rechargeable battery

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not as powerful as cheaper options

Profoto A10 camera flash

1. Canon Speedlite EL-1

  • Size: 84x149x136mm
  • Weight: 687g
  • GN (m): 60
  • Tilt / Swivel: -7-120° / 180-180°
  • Zoom Range: 24-200mm
  • Price: $$$

The Canon Speedlite EL-1 is for professional photographers who don’t want to sacrifice quality when shooting time-conscious subjects. You can tell Canon thinks highly of their newest creation as it is the first flash unit to feature the red ring usually found on their top series of lenses.

It is also the first flashgun to feature a rechargeable Li-ion battery. This means it can hold more power and is easier to handle on a day-to-day basis.

The golden feature in this flash is its refresh rate. Even at full power, it only takes up to 0.9 seconds till it’s good to go again! That makes the EL-1 the perfect flashgun for sports photographers or action photographers.

Pros:

  • Super-quick refresh rate
  • Rechargeable battery

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Buttons can be hard to use in the dark

Canon EL-1 Speedlite as the best canon camera flash

Functions of an External Flash

Here are the main features of camera flashes to consider when buying one.

Through the Lens (TTL) Metering

TTL metering is a system that flash units use to achieve an accurate exposure. It is similar to a camera’s automatic mode, where the flash will change its intensity according to the camera’s exposure settings.

It will use the camera’s metering system to base its exposure settings and calculate the distance to your subject. TTL is a handy feature to have when photographing multiple subjects in a short space of time. It is beneficial for event photography.

Zoom

Some flashguns will have a zoom feature that allows the flash to compensate according to your lens’s focal length. This calculation will improve the efficiency between the flashes power and the light that falls on your subject.

The flashgun will change its internal structure to allow this to happen. The beam will narrow or widen according to the distance, making the light more effective and efficient.

Radio Frequency (RF)

Good flashguns will usually have a master and slave mode where they connect with the camera, and each other, to provide wireless synchronization. The top flashguns will use radio frequencies, providing a more flexible sync than infrared synchronizations.

Unlike infrared, RF allows you to position your flashgun behind objects or further away. Flashguns that use infrared will have to be close and viewable by your camera or the master flash.

High-Speed Sync (HSS)

Top flashguns will have an HSS mode that allows you to shoot with faster shutter speeds. It usually comes with reduced power, but this mode enables you to shoot faster-moving subjects or in the daytime with greater ease.

If you have ever shot with a flashgun before, you may have come across an image where a section of the image is entirely black. That is due to your shutter being faster than the flash’s ability. HSS allows you to push the shutter speed further than expected.

Guide Number (GN)

You can work out the power of a flash by looking at its guide number. This mathematical equation is applied to each flash and gives you an idea of how powerful the light is.

The GN calculates the aperture you should use for a subject ten feet away when shooting at an ISO of 100. It is the industry-standard test for different flashes, but you can use the GN equation to determine the correct exposure accurately.

A portrait of a man standing against a fence taken on location with a flash

Conclusion

After looking at our list, you can see the best Canon camera flashes for certain levels of photographers. You will also notice that the features vary from flash control to battery life. Make sure you think about the environments where you will use your flash, as this will help dictate which one is the best for you.

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