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Awesome master for wireless flash on the Canon 6D!
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. :)
WHY I BOUGHT THIS:
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!