Flash for Canon – Speedlites with ETTL

A flash for Canon must be compatible with ETTL (II) for automatic exposure control. To get this you don’t have to buy a speedlite from Canon. Alternatives include flashes from Nissin, Yongnuo, Metz, Sunpak, Sigma or Vivitar, to name the main manufacturers.

Flashes for Canon with ETTL

Below are 2 lists of brands and models with approximate cost, power (guide number), wireless features and links to full specs and in-depth reviews to help selecting your Canon camera flash.

   Flash for Canon – Current ETTL Models
   Discontinued ETTL Speedlites (buy used)
   Recommended Flashes For Canon

Flash for Canon – Current ETTL Models

Which flash for Canon should you buy? There’s choice between the speedlites from Canon covering entry-level to professional use, but there are also great and sometimes really cheap alternatives. In the table below, click on the ‘specs’ link for detail information, or on ‘review’ for test results and evaluation.

Brand Model name Cost (USD)
Mar 2011
GN (spec / test)
m, 35mm, ISO 100
Wireless TTL More info
Canon 270EX 140 (e, a) 22 / ? no specs
Canon 270EX II 170 (e, a) 22 / ? slave specs, e, a) 24 / 27.9 slave specs, e, a) 31 / 34 slave specs, e, a) 36 / 39 slave + master specs, e, a) 22 / ? no specs
Nissin Di622 130 (e, a) 32 / ? no specs
Nissin Di622 Mark II 170 (e, a) 32 / 37 slave specs, review
Nissin Di866 280 (e, a) 40 / 41 slave + master specs, review
Nissin Di866 Mark II 350 (e, a) 40 / ? slave + master specs
Sigma EF-530 DG ST 120 (e, a) 31 / ? no specs
Sigma EF-530 DG Super 170 (e, a) 31 / ? slave + master specs
Sigma EF-610 DG ST 160 (e, a) 36 / ? no specs
Sigma EF-610 DG Super 250 (e, a) 36 / ? slave + master specs
Sunpak PZ42X 150 (e, a) 28 / 35.5 no specs
Sunpak RD-2000 60 (e, a) 20 / ? no specs
Vivitar DF-383 130 (e, a) ? / 35.5 no specs
Yongnuo YN465 65 (e, a) 33 / 27 no specs, review
Yongnuo YN467 80 (e, a) 33 / 20 no specs, review
Yongnuo YN468 95 (e, a) 33 / 20 no specs, review
Yongnuo YN565 180 (e, a) 39 / ? slave specs, review


Discontinued Flashes For Canon Digital

External flashes don’t get old and obsolete as quickly as camera bodies. In fact, they maintain their usefulness and value quite well over the years. Just note that Canon has modernized their ETTL (II) protocol over time and there are incompatibilities sometimes. In many (but not all) cases firmware updates can be made.

Brand Model name Cost (USD)
Mar 2011
GN (spec / test)
m, 35mm, ISO 100
Wireless TTL More info
Canon 220EX 80 (e, a) 22 / ? no specs
Canon 380EX 100 (e, a) 28 / ? no specs
Canon 420EX 150 (e, a) 31 / ? slave specs
Canon 430EX 200 (e, a) 31 / ? slave specs
Canon 550EX 250 (e, a) 36 / ? slave + master specs, e, a) 36 / ? slave + master specs
Sigma EF-500 DG ST 150 (e, a) 35 / ? no specs
Sigma EF-500 DG Super 180 (e, a) 35 / ? slave + master specs


Recommended Flashes For Canon

There are some cheap alternatives to Canon flash units on the market and there’s no necessity to buy from Canon. The recommendations below are based on value within a defined price range. In addition, speedlites are only recommended if also practically usable for off-camera flash with low-cost radio triggers like RF-602.

   Speedlite < $100
   Yongnuo 465, Yongnuo 468

   $100-$200 range
   Nissin Di622 Mark II, Yongnuo 565EX

   Canon 430EX II, Nissin Di866, Canon 430EX

   Nissin Di866-II, Metz 58 AF-1, Canon 580EX

   Above $400
   Canon 580EX II (Metz 58 AF-2)
The above tables don’t claim to be 100% complete, but they list the main alternatives to consider when buying a speedlite for Canon in August 2011. Pricing information is approximate.

Pls understand there can’t be any warranty for the accuracy of information provided here. Leave a comment or send an email to fransener (at) speedlights.net if you find any mistakes.

4 Responses to Flash for Canon – Speedlites with ETTL

  1. Max says:

    Hello fransener,
    thank you for this great site and nice reviews (keep them coming:)
    I’m buying 3rd flash (already I have 2 sunpak 383 which are great),
    and in the shorten list for the third are: Nissin Di622 Mark II (at 205$, it this getting expensive or what),
    Metz mecablitz 50 AF-1 (for 230$) or Canon 430EX II (at 284$). 90% of the time I will use it off camera. Can u please give me some friendly advice because you worked with all tree of them (guess 48af1 and 50af1 are almost the same). Thank you in advance.

    Best regards,

  2. Bhasin says:

    Please recomend a Yongnou flash compatible with Canon SX30 IS

  3. Ampuh says:

    I’am newbie on strobish,… would you help to to decided which one the best for master, and witch one for the slave..? (I use Canon 7D…)

  4. Reece says:

    Nice site. This has made my choice a lot easier to make. I’m still kind of unsure If I should get the Canon 430ExII or the Nissin Di866. I’m really leaning towards the Nissin because of the Commander mode and I wanna get into off camera flash photography. I probably won’t buy anymore flashes though until I master it but I think it would be better to get one that can act as a master unit if I could under $400.

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