Customer Review

570 of 586 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low light focus, January 2, 2009
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This review is from: Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I use this external flash unit with my Canon Rebel xTi. The flash does a great job calculating the amount of light it needs to release to expose the photo, making grossly over exposed or underexposed photos a thing of the past. The ability to bounce the flash off of medium height white ceilings gives you great looking photos to the point where I now prefer using my flash instead of relying on high ISOs, fast lenses and low aperature numbers. Although flash photography is a tricky subject, the casual shooter can leave this flash in automatic mode and get wonderfully exposed photos. However, in my opinion, the BEST PART of this external flash is that it enables you to focus MUCH faster than the built in flash and this is reason alone to pick up the Speedlite 430EX II. Previously, when shooting in low light settings, the camera/lens would struggle to focus and the flash would emit several highly annoying test flashes. The Speedlite has no problem finding and focusing on your subject in low lit catering halls and dark rooms and it does so without the annoying test flashes. Great product!
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Comments

Tracked by 6 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 24 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 18, 2009 7:53:04 AM PDT
Chad says:
Great Review. Im new to photography but Arent the pre flashs you describe before the main flash designed for red eye reduction?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2009 7:51:00 PM PDT
S. Ueno says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2009 8:31:31 AM PDT
J. Clark says:
Sometimes pre-flashes are used for red-eye reduction, but what he's talking about is part of the focusing system. Both emit similar quick flashes, but in this case they're there to help the autofocus. The main difference, from an observer's point of view, is that these flashes happen when focusing, while the red-eye flashes happen just after the shutter button is pressed, and just before the picture is actually taken.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2010 9:08:41 PM PST
P. Johnson says:
It is called "AF ASSIST". The mini strobes set up the Auto Focus. Works great on my Rebel XS with a 50mm prime lens mounted. I can poke it at a completely dark room, get a great shot.

Posted on Mar 8, 2010 8:25:35 PM PST
What may not be clear to those who haven't used an external flash is the way you get the focus assistance. External flashes like the 430EX II, 580EX II and even my old 380EX, have a built in focus assist light. What this does is project dark red lines out from the lower portion of the flash unit which show up on your subject. This gives your camera something to focus on, even in pitch black. You can see this in a dark room, but many times it's not noticeable behind the camera. Subjects will notice a red flash of light, but nothing so bad as the little built in flash doing its twinkly thing. The other advantage of this type of focus assistance comes from the fact that these are lines, not just light that are being projected. This allows focus on surfaces that do not have enough contrast for regular focus to lock in.

For reasons I don't understand, many SLR's don't have a focus assist beam (my old Elan IIe had one built in, but my 7D does not). Without a focus assist beam, they use the built in flash to throw some light out there for focusing, witch is terribly annoying and seems very amateur to me.

I have the big brother 580EX II, but the two flashes have a lot in common. And just to be clear, the focus assist is a great feature to both of these flashes.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2010 11:08:37 AM PDT
don says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2010 8:42:40 AM PDT
Benjamin says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2010 12:21:53 PM PST
Julie Rudd says:
What is the difference between the 270EX, 380EX, 430EXII, and 580EXII? I currently do not have an external flash, and am looking for one to increase the picture quality in low light. I am not a professional, just taking pics of my kids, so I do not need a top of the line model. I own the Canon Rebel Xsi model. Which flash would you recommend to me? I'm a little overwhelmed by the choices, and consumer reports does not give review on external flashes.
Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2010 11:04:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2010 11:14:11 AM PST
Each successive model has slightly better features and a higher guide number (in essence, a more powerful flash unit).

- The 270EX is a basic unit with head-tilt capability (more below). It is a flash unit that has a little more power than the built-in flash.
- The 380EX, if I'm not wrong, is no longer in production, and has been replaced by the 430EX units.
- The 430EX II comes equipped with a more powerful flash, as well as a tilt-swivel head, which lets you point the flash sideways as well as upwards. This is useful because you can point the flash upwards at a low ceiling or sideways against a wall to bounce the light and get a much more natural, 'full' look to your pictures. This opens up many more creative options to experiment with lighting. Firing a flash directly at the subject often gives a washed-out, 'deer-in-the-headlights' look. The 430EX II also has a built-in auto-focus assist beam, which lets you focus in low light more accurately/quickly without the annoying pre-flashes that most built-in units have.
- The 580EX II builds on this by providing a more powerful unit with features that professionals are after: wireless flash initiation and master-flash unit capability (when you want to connect multiple flashes to fire simultaneously), to name a few.

I recently invested in the 430EX II on the premise that I want to expand the creative tools available when taking pictures, being a serious amateur, thus not requiring top-of-the-line products (580EX II). Depending on your budget, the 430EX II may be the best option for you as well.

Good luck with making your choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2011 6:44:23 PM PST
khan95osu says:
they can be for that, but they are also used for flash exposure metering.. the preflash lets the camera know how much light is getting to the subject from the flash (it will be different based on if its aimed straight, or bounced of a wall)... and via ETTL-II the camera will boost or cut the flash power to get a proper exposure.
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