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107 of 112 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2013
I purchased the Canon 90EX for one reason, to wirelessly trigger my off-camera Canon 430EX II flashes. At the time of ordering this little guy, there weren't any reviews specifically concerning the 90EX's master functions or compatibility with the new Canon 6D, so I though I would contribute to the group. Hopefully you find this review helpful. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.

Let's get started!

Is the Canon 90EX any good? The answer is, "YES!!!!" The 90EX is an awesome alternative to everything else out there that will wirelessly trigger your flashes. Here is quick glimpse at what's good and not-so-good...

* Wireless Slave Groups - You can fire with A:B and A:B C groupings. You can have multiple flashes in each group creating an infinite number of lighting varieties.
* Manual Adjust - flash settings can be manually adjusted from on-camera. From 1/1 all the way down to 1/128 on the 430EX II's.
* E-TTL II - Works' perfectly. Also, E-TTL ratios are very handy for quick setups. From 8:1 to 1:1 to 1:8 in half stop increments.
* HSS - High Speed Sync works up to 1/4000 (that's the highest shutter setting on the 6D). HSS can be set from in camera when shooting in master mode with flashes that are capable of shooting in HSS. When shooting with just the 90EX and no external flashes, HSS is not available. You'll only be able to shoot up to you max sync speed (1/180 on the 6D).
* Curtains - both 1st and 2nd curtain work. 2nd curtain is not an option in wireless mode though.
* Easy to Use - The unit has one button, a battery door, an LED light, and a hotshoe lock....that's it. All controls are run from in the camera menu.
* Small - Very compact! This would make a good travel flash for those using DSLR's that lack that feature, like the 6D or any of the 5D's.
* Wake Up! - If your flashes fall asleep into powersave mode, just half press the shutter and the 90EX will send a signal to wake them up.
* Secure Signal - this can fire on one of four channels. This way you can shoot with other photographers around and not have to worry about them firing your speedlites.
* During wireless shooting mode, the 90EX will not fire as a full flash. It only fires to send the signal.

* Plastic Foot - wish it was metal.
* Wireless Range - The specs say to set your off camera flashes at a maximum of 16 ft indoors and 23 ft outdoors. (Page 16 in the manual) It's not nearly as good as my PocketWizards were, but I knew this before buying. It's infrared technology, not radio frequency. However, I'm not Joe McNally, so it meets my needs.
* Battery Life - expect 100 full power flashes or 400 quarter power flashes or 800 at one eighth power or etc... When using as a wireless master, it will last a heck of lot longer because it is not firing a full flash. You can also turn off the 90EX flash by setting it to Manual. It still flashes, but will not show up in the image.
* Recycle Time - 0.1-5.5 seconds depending on your power setting. Don't worry about recycle time if you are just using it as a master.

* Save the planet - pick up a set of rechargeable AAA Eneloop batteries. IMHO, these batteries are the best.
* Sensor - Make sure your external flash's IR sensor is facing the camera. Keep in mind that IR can bounce off walls too.
* Line of Sight - Make sure there are no obstacles in between the camera and your flash. This will create signal interference. I use my flashes inside of brollies (umbrella softboxes). The signal has no problem communicating through the umbrella material.
* Powersave - There is a battery saving "auto off" feature that is bound to turn your 90EX OFF unexpectedly. Pressing the shutter does not wake-up the 90EX when it is OFF. This feature can be disabled in the camera's flash menu under custom functions. I recommend you disable this feature and save yourself that moment of frustration in front of a client. :)

I recently upgraded my Canon 7D and 50D to a set of Canon 6D's and to my surprise, my trusty PocketWizards (FlexTT5's, MiniTT1 and AC3 Zone Controller) became unusable. The firmware upgrade that would fix this has been parked on the horizon for months. I was looking for a solution, and thought I'd give this cute little 90EX a shot. No regrets! It meets my needs and does a lot more than expected.

Thanks for taking the time to read this quick review. I hope it helps you make your decision. Should you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below. Cheers!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2013
I bought the 90EX as a Master for my Canon T2i and Canon 430EXII flash. Wow, it works incredibly well! I use my 430EXII flash mounted on an umbrella at various angles as a slave flash, and the 90EX has had a 100% success rate in triggering my 430EXII, without having direct line of site indoors.

I also like that it uses AAA batteries rather than 2CR5 like the Canon ST-E2. It comes with a little soft pouch (see my photos above that I uploaded), I would have liked a harder pouch, but it's fine.

The flash is also very small, which I really like. I was shocked how tiny this is (see my uploaded photos above). On the back of the flash (see photos above), there is a power button, a battery cover, and a lock for the flash shoe area. No other buttons, as it's controlled through the camera menu which I like very much.

Overall, I highly recommend the Canon 90EX as an economical Master for wireless flash if your camera is able to control the flash through the menu system.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
This flash was introduced recently for the mirror less EOS M compact line of cameras Canon started in late 2012.
However, the flash works with all other Canon cameras with a hotshoe. With pre EX series flash cameras, you lose some critical capabilities for correct exposure, like ETTL, or the II version thereof.

However, with cameras with exterior speedlite control (please look up your cameras manual) you gain the ability to control off camera flashes through optical (using light/from flash as opposed to radio, like cell phones) signals. This is the least expensive solution from Canon for this off camera flash control from a compatible camera. Only the Canon 7D (and 60D) have built-in flashes that do this and none the full frame cameras even have built-in flashes. This tiny flash can control several off camera flashes in separate groups A, B, C and vary the ratio of light the groups throw out all using ETTL II within its limited 15~20 ft range!

Also helps focus assist cameras in low light levels using light bursts, though this can be turned off. Just don't expect it to light up group photos outdoors outside its range. At best, use it as a fill flash on its own outdoors.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 28, 2013
The 90EX was designed for the EOS M kit, but works on any E-TTL capable camera. I bought the 90EX to serve as the missing "popup" for my 6D and trigger off-shoe E-TTL Speedlites.

The Guide Number of 30 ft/9m at ISO 100 means the 90EX has power output similar to a popup flash. So what's the 90EX good for? As a flash, it works great for close fill-in flash, snapshots or macro when used on an off-shoe cord. It is not not powerful enough for group shots. With Sanyo Eneloop AAA batteries, recycle is about 2 seconds at full power. I haven't tried alkaline batteries but reviewers report alkaline recycling takes twice as long as rechargeable batteries.

The unique feature of the 90EX is the wireless E-TTL master function: triggers slaves with auto or manual modes controlled from the camera flash menu. In this regard it's better than the dedicated ST-E2 master: brighter and more reliable trigger, controls 3 slave groups rather than only two and is useful as a flash when not performing master duties. The 90EX uses light pulses to trigger so line of sight to slaves is required. Swivel the slave body so the sensor faces towards the 90EX. Reflective surfaces indoors (e.g., white walls) will often carry the trigger pulse even if faced the wrong way. However, outdoors they will not trigger without direct line-of-sight.

Other than an on-off switch, there are no external controls. To set options, use the flash menu on 2007 and newer EOS cameras. On my 6D, everything is operational except for FEB and high speed sync. However, high speed sync is available in master mode (trigger mode). Flash exposure compensation can be set with external camera controls, the QCS or flash menu.

What I like best about the 90EX is it's so small and light I can keep it in my bag all the time. My larger Speedlite gets left behind if I'm not positive I need it. All in all a wonderful petite flash for snapshots, close fill and as an E-TTL controller.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2013
I am a beginner at the DSLR thing, only been playing a few days with my new camera setup and I assumed getting a decent flash would be beneficial. I have a Cannon 60D body and this does as far as I can tell little in terms of better quality than the standard flash in the body. That being said it has a number of other benefits:

-Has its own batteries (AAA) and doesn't drain body pack like using normal flash.
-Can use a cheap diffuser attachment for better results for certain shots.
-Apparently this does some fancy stuff later on for sequencing and flashing to time external additional flashes.
-Great size, easy snap on/off.

So I would still say not the worst purchase I've made so far for camera accessories.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2013
The little Canon EOS M 18.0 MP Compact Systems Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF-M18-55mm IS STM Lens is a great camera, but it lacks a flash. When I saw this compact flash was available it was a no brainer addition to the little dSLR. I've had this flash for several months now, although I rarely need it, the few times I have needed flash this little speedlite has saved my life (or at least my shot). The quality seems fine, and the little bag the flash comes in fits nicely in my camera bag and protects the flash from excess scratches. I purchased a 4 pack of rechargeable AAA batts, and I can usually go a couple weeks with minimal use before changing batts.
If you have an EOS M what are you waiting for?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2013
I bought the 90EX partly because I have several Canon Camera's and flashes, however this particular one is to sit on my Canon G15. The 430EX series are too heavy for that tiny camera and makes it go lopsided and dont get me started on the larger 580 series.

This little device is a flash and a wireless transmitter. For size comparisons, its about the size of your palm without your fingers attached. It is very simple to use, just a on-off button (no test button) thats it. Its limited in power, in fact this little bugger seems to fire at reasonably full power at every shot. Recycle time is < 1.5 seconds with a fresh set of AAA batteries.

On the Canon G15, it seems to work pretty well. Its not as powerful as the 430EX but its not why i bought it. Yes, its more powerful than the onboard flash on the G15, but its also quite a bit more versatile. Apart from the killer wireless transmitter feature (and yes it would trigger as a slave with a wireless flash trigger system like the pocket wizard clones but will fire at full power, which is not much in reality). I find that the flash will easily over expose if the subject is too close, it doesnt seem to adjust power like the 430EXii would do for the same scene.

Comparing it to the ST-E2 triggers, this one does have the added benefit of the flash built in, however it is not as easy to setup since you have to dwell into the camera settings to make any changes, which on the ST-E2 are far easier to do with buttons on the backside.

In the end its a great flash, but not a first flash. Good if you need a light flash for the Canon G series or the EOS-M series or to hide a tiny flash in a radio wireless setup. I'd suggest the 320EX as a step up to this flash, though the 430EXii would be my go-to choice.

I havent yet tested it on my Canon 40D, 30D and Rebel XS but I am going to assume it will work. I will test it later.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2013
I have a few Canons, a Rebel XS, a 7D and a G12

I thought this flash would be a nice addition to my kit, a better flash than the built in flashes on my cameras and because it is a master I can fire an off camera flash whilst using the 90EX for fill light on less than full power.

I was wrong, this little flash is a great flash upgrade for the Rebel XS and the G12 but used as a master to trigger a remote flash, the 90EX does not actually fire itself apart from the optical communication, it doesn't provide any fill light for the exposure. When used as a master it is a controller ONLY.

From that perspective it is less useful than the built in flash on the 7D which although not as powerful as the 90EX, does actually flash when it is also controlling remote flashes.

This flash only gets 3/5 from me for that reason alone. I see no logical reason whatsoever for Canon to design it this way when used as a master.
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on September 10, 2014
Maybe I purchased this for the wrong reason. If so, hopefully this review will help others looking for the same thing.

I purchased this a Rebel XS and T3i. I was hoping to use mainly on the XS as a flash that could keep up with 2-5 burst action photos (continuous shots). However, I was wrong. It, similarly to the built -in pop-up flash, takes time to recharge. This flash takes longer however. It seemingly emits about the same or maybe a touch more light than the built in, but doesn't stand out so much I'd carry it for steady use. It just does not fit my need. Thankfully, I also ordered the "Newer TT5560." I ordered it to fulfill a flash lighting need, but found it actually will handle the continuous burst of 2-5. It seems that it may do up to 12, but would probably then need to sit and cool before you could use again. I think I'm going to return the 90EX and get a second TT5560. Oh yeah, it was actually cheaper than the 90EX. I believe that the 90EX is for Canon cameras that do not have built in flashes.

For a flash, it works well as long as you have 2-3+ seconds between each shot.
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on March 15, 2014
It is unbelievable that Canon has the top models with no pop-up flash. It helps a lot when you need just a little extra light, a fill-in flash or as master flash.
It is light, very little, you can carry it even in your pocket. It has no controls at all, you have to control it through your camera. It is not as powerfull as a pop-upflash but it is enough for me. It work with 2 AAA batteries.
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