One of the most popular DSLR accessories available, the Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash, is the upgraded version of the 430EX. It comes with higher functionality, power, and style at a fair price and size. It aims at vibrant photography and lands in the middle of Canon’s range of Speedlites.
This flashgun adds an extra flash to your Canon DSLR, which is useful in situations when the built-in flash falls short of desired effects. It also provides significantly better light, helps to prevent red-eye, and cut down on shadows. Flashguns are more powerful and have better durability and performance than built-in pop-up flashes, and Canon uses high-quality techniques to incorporate more features in this moderately sized flash.
Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash Key Features:
- 20% faster and silent recycle time
- New metal mounting foot with redesigned connection pins
- New quick release and locking mechanism
- Manual mode settings in 1/3 stop increments
- All flash settings can be controlled through the camera menu system when used with compatible EOS cameras or Powershot G series cameras
The 430EX II is a fairly advanced model currently being used by many semi-professional and professional Canon photographers. The following in-depth review of this model reveals its pros and cons and will help you decide if this flashgun is right for you.
Unlike the latest Speedlite model which has a dial for exposure settings, the 430EX II control buttons are located at the back of its body and are found in + and – form. These buttons can be tricky to use and you may have to press them several times or rather hard to make them function.
Batteries and Power
The battery life of the 430EX II is excellent, and the recycling time is perfect. Its power covers a 43m range (141 feet) which is sufficient for many types of photography. One issue photographers may face is an absence of range when diffusing or bouncing light, as objects at greater distances lack coverage. The battery compartment is easy to open and includes instructions on inserting the batteries. If you’re carrying around a lot of camera accessories and batteries, a well-designed backpack might come in handy.
This Speedlite model is considerably lighter and easier to handle than its more advanced siblings. Though not weather-sealed, it still proves to be an excellent choice because of its light weight.
This flashgun has a tilt/swivel range of 270 degrees which is adequate for standard photography unless you want to do close-up or macro work. It comes with a built-in wide-angle diffuser which allows coverage for wide-angle lenses down to 14mm. Though the 430EX II doesn’t come with a bounce card for diffusing light, it’s not always necessary to have one and whether or not you need it is up to you.
Guide numbers determine the maximum distance where the object should stand to get covered by this flashgun. The guide number of the 430EX II is 141 feet. You can use this formula to calculate the proper distance of your subject for your desired settings:
Guide number / aperture at ISO 100 = Distance
For example, to shoot at f/8, we would divide the guide number by the aperture to determine the distance: 141 feet / f/8 = 17.6 feet. Therefore, if you’re shooting at f/8, the object or subject shouldn’t be farther than 17.6 feet away. This poses a limitation of the 430EX II as the upgraded versions have higher guide numbers, allowing photographers to shoot at greater distances.
Modes and Custom Features
One of the best features of this flashgun is Canon’s E-TTL II flash exposure metering system. This is found in automatic mode and is quite good at providing an accurate white balance to fight off the usual lighting problems. It also features manual power and can be set to have different power outputs such as ½ power, ¼ power, etc. Nine custom functions are provided and can be assigned to various useful shortcuts.
This version of Speedlite can be used as a wireless slave in combination with a master flash unit or wireless transmitter. Keep in mind these will work only within the infrared (IR) beam range.
How Does It Compare?
Since the 430EX II stands in the middle of the manufacturer’s range of flashguns, it’s necessary to compare its essential features with an upgraded model – the Speedlite 580EX II.
|The Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash||The Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash|
|Guide Number||141 feet (43m)||190 feet (58m)|
|Coverage||24-105mm, 14mm||24-105mm, 14mm|
|Tilt / Swivel||Yes, 270 degree||Yes, 360 degree|
|Recycle||3 sec.||3/6 sec.|
|AF Assist||Up to 9 pts||Up to 45 pts|
|TTL||E-TTL II||E-TTL II|
After comparing this flash with its successor in the series, it becomes clear that the latter gives more features to its customers – like a broader range for capturing images and higher recycling and tilting abilities – though at the cost of a higher price. If you’re on a tight budget and are a first-time flashgun purchaser, then this flashgun is an excellent choice for you.