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14 27374 1/15/2007
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Keywords: Canon Speedlite Tilt Swivel LCD Master Slave HSS


Registered: January 2007
Posts: 3
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by CharlesH
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

Pros: Powerful, up to 5 photos per second, take photos (w/ autofocus) in complete darkness, bounce flash can be directed any direction
Cons: When using continuous shooting mode batteries must be very well charged, or the unit can "hang" the camera for several seconds, causing you to lose the shot.

This flash unit is amazing! Combined w/ EOS 20D (or similar camera) can produce beautiful photos.

The 580 EX supports using autofocus in total darkness. It has a red autofocus assist light and then gives a series of quick flashes until the camera locks in focus.

With fully charged batteries (rechargeable batteries recommended), when mounted on a 20D, this unit enables taking 4 to 5 images per second using direct flash illumination of a subject 5 feet away (f/5.6, 66mm lens). Can take 3 to 4 images per second using bounce flash off of an 8-foot high white ceiling (same conditions). You can do this in total darkness if you like.

The flash head can be directed in almost any direction to bounce the lighting off of any available surface or object. This gives a much nicer, more professional look to photos, than anything done with direct flash illumination. Photos using bounce flash have a warm pleasing appearance that can make photos attractive even when they are bad photos! The flash is powerful enough that even aiming the unit in a horizontal direction directly behind the camera and only bouncing off of peoples facing and the ceiling behind is enough to illuminate a subject 10 to 15 feet in front of the camera.

A unit like this is the only way to use on camera flash and still take professional looking photos. It can make the difference between having a really nice camera and taking really nice indoor or nighttime photos. If you need to use flash, want a professional look and can afford it, the 580EX is worth every penny.

Two warnings:
1) When the batteries in the flash unit start running down, while using continuous shooting mode, the camera will fire off one or more shots and then "hang" with a VERY LONG exposure, waiting for the unit to recharge and flash. When taking photos of a one-time event, this may cause you to completely miss the event. If you are photographing one-time events (weddings, graduations, sports), and NEED to get the shot, either make sure your batteries are well charged, or do not use continuous shooting mode. "New" alkaline batteries may not have enough juice to support very many strings of continuous shooting mode.

2) Bounce flashes off of the ceiling, particularly within 10 feet of the subject, can produce a reflective sheen on some peoples hair, making parts of their hair look gray or white. It may give the appearance of a funky hair job where only patches of it have been grayed. Check your photos in real time and consider using a wall or other reflecting surface if this is a problem.

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 6
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by element66
Review Date: 1/14/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $380.00| Rating: 9 


Bought this mid last year and this is my first hot shoe flash. The 580 is very powerful and its recycle time is quite good. The flash is well made and solid with the exception of the battery's door... I always fear that I might break it the next time I open it.

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 16
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by thomiz
Review Date: 1/10/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

Pros: The best flash in the Canon system
Cons: price

I first tried the Sigma EF-500 DG Super, I bougt two for the price of one 580EX, but in master/slave mode it did not give the correct exposure mounted on my 20D. So I returned it.

I later bought one 580EX, one 420EX and one used 550EX and with this setup the master/slave exposure is just perfect. This flash is the best build of the lot, most powerful and has the best user interface, it is everything you can ask for in a shoe mount flash. Quality costs.

Registered: January 2007
Posts: 17
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by adobo
Review Date: 1/7/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Powerful, Workhorse
Cons: Expensive on my country, Makes your body a bit too heavy to carry

Of course if you are using the Canon system then this is the flash to get..

But what I am concerned of right now is that they might be updating this anytime soon (I don't know the release cycle for accessories)..

You'll like the 430EX.. but You'll LOVE the 580EX..

Well, if you're reading this because you are trying to decide which one to get? I say invest on this baby.. It's powerful enough that you won't need to upgrade anytime soon Smile

*Plus given the fact that you can use it as a master or a slave! You'll still be using this in the years to come.. Definitely a keeper...

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 8
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by PsiBurn
Review Date: 1/6/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

Pros: powerful, versatility, loaded w/ controls, easy to use [at first]
Cons: can get heavy, eats up batteries, difficult to fully master, quite pricey

There was no question that I needed an external flash, and it was no question that it was the 580EX that I would get my hands on.

What surprised me the most was just how versatile this unit was; the more I thought about it, the more I realized how addicting flash photography could get when using the 580EX. I was at a conference and got some amazing shots in a pitch dark room using the 580EX. It produced excellent colors and looked much like natural lighting when I bounced it.

What also surprised me was the alarming rate at how it ate up batteries (alkaline however) to a point where the refresh rate got excruciatingly slow and how heavy it can be, to a point where it can get painful (I used it with a 30D and a 17-55 2.8 IS).

This is something that I am certain to grow into; the learning curve does seem steep, but that will just make it more fun for me. Hopefully, my arm won't fall off in the process...

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 12
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by garys
Review Date: 1/1/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: adjustable head, good power, is easily set as master or slave
Cons: cost, fairly large

I have found the unit reliable and exposure is great when using direct flash. However, I must overexpose somewhat (usually 1/2 to one stop) for bounce or when using a diffuser. Everytime I remove the battery housing cover I am afraid I am going to break it, but so far I haven't.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 8
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by Zinger
Review Date: 12/23/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $370.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Power, flexibility, control, speed
Cons: A bit pricey, dainty battery door hinge

You really do get what you pay for with this flashgun.

Incredible flexibility, fantastic power, spot on metering, versatile swivel/bounce head, *very* small flash duration (perfect for "bullet through the apple"-type shots).....the list goes on and on.

Yes, it is expensive. But to my knowledge, there isn't another flash available that can do everything this one can.

Very, very highly recommended.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 4
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by jcctx
Review Date: 12/22/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $389.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: powerful
Cons: heavy

This seems like a great flash but the one time I've used it for a family party all shots were about two stops too dark. Hopefully it's just me and not getting it setup correctly.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 6
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by dennisc
Review Date: 12/15/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $450.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Good performance and powerful
Cons: big, heavy and expensive

This flash is big, heavy and expensive. So why did I buy it?

When it comes down to selling pictures that demand artificial lighting on the move, there's no substitute for this unit that I know of (at the time of writing).

This flash is powerful, very good lighting control and best of all, it is a capable master unit. It has no problems controlling my 430EX and 420EX to give me the exact lighting output that I need.

The controls are easily accesible and easily changed using the rear dial. This is a big advantage compared to the tiny push buttons on the 430EX (which I find a real pain to access).

I though long and hard about buying this unit, in fact one of the hardest buying decisions ever but when I got it, it was worth every penny paid for it.

Let me put it down in a simple way, there are some pictures out there that can never be taken without the 580EX!
And let me add this in, you won't know the capabilities that existed until you have experienced using the 580EX.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 21
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by mebailey
Review Date: 12/14/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $359.00| Rating: 10 


Its a great flash if you need one. It is powerful and recycles quickly. It does ingest batteries fairly rapidly if its really dim out (so bring extras). The tilt/swivel head is tremendous and I use the intergral white card quite abit. I use the slave control feature alot and find it indispensible. Overall an excellent unit.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 17
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by cjbowlsby
Review Date: 11/21/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $459.99| Rating: 9 

Pros: Power, flexibility, ETTL is reliable and intuitive interface, FAST recycle time.
Cons: battery door feels kind of cheap, expensive

If you need a flash on a Canon camera, and can afford it. This is the one to get. I often use it to act as a master for other 580s, 550s or 430s.

The ETTLII is very reliable on my 20d and xti.

Really, the only issue I have with it is the price. I could get a sigma with very similar power & recycle times, for about half the cost, but I don't feel the metering and remote flash capabilites are quite as reliable.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 7
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by dreamlogic
Review Date: 11/20/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: recharges very quickly, easy to tilt/swivel
Cons: would prefer a lever mount like the nikon

usage: almost always bounced, usually with a stofen diffuser

Other than the slightly annoying twist mounting system, this flash works really well. Recharge time is almost never an issue, even with a diffuser attached. Tilting and swiveling the head is quick and easy and I can always get the angle I want.

Exposure seems to be accurate, but I try to keep the flash power within a few stops of the natural lighting and tweak final exposure in RAW. I've heard the exposure can be a bit finicky, but haven't noticed it myself.

There is a built in bounce card, but I recommend using a stofen omni-bounce or other diffuser so you can bounce off walls or in portrait mode without worrying about the orientation of the bounce card.

The battery door hinge sticks and is probably going to break soon, but it looks like the cover is designed to function even after the hinge is broken.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 12
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by ddesimoni
Review Date: 11/18/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 

Pros: quick recycle
Cons: a little bit complicated


get a good shoot using the ETT-L seems to be hit and miss, most of the time I use a strobo and bounce the flash from a wall or ceiling.

At times, I get tired of using the ETT-L and opt for manual setting.

This is the only device I haven't truly mastered

Registered: May 2006
Posts: 62
Canon 580EX Speedlite review by gadgetguy
Review Date: 11/15/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 9 

Pros: quick recycle time, powerful output, serves as master/slave in Canon wireless flash system
Cons: tends to underexpose at times

Canon's flagship flash is the best one I've ever had. Recycle times can almost keep up with the 20D'd 5fps (rpovided you don't push it too hard).

Controls are perfectly laid out and intuitive (except for the multiple flash mode which I still don't get). Most exposures are spot on, but can sometimes tend to underexpose.

Construction quality is kinda "plastick-y" and finish is easily scuffed.


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