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Canon Speedlite 580EX II

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56 160763 Dec 28, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $430.69
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.46
7.65
9.1
580exii

Specifications:
Further development of Canon's flagship Speedlite has led to the production of the 580 EX II. This is the premier Speedlite for all photographers, including professionals. Newly designed to match with the EOS-1D Mark III in terms of improved dust- and water-resistance, body strength, and the ability to control flash functions and settings from the camera menu (EOS-1D Mark III only). Other features include improved communication reliability through its direct contacts, and recycling time is both 20% shorter than the 580EX and is completely inaudible.


Approx. 20% faster recycling time compared to 580EX

Superior build quality, including a metal foot for higher rigidity

Max. Guide No. 58 at 105mm setting (GN 190, feet)

Auto conversion of flash coverage with compatible digital SLR cameras

White Balance info communicated instantly to compatible digital SLR cameras

Full swivel, 180° in either direction

AF-assist beam, compatible with all AiAF points on every EOS SLR

Dust- and water- resistance to match the EOS-1D Mark III


 


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marxzed
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Registered: Dec 8, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 74
Review Date: Jan 17, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros:
Cons:

Addendum to previous review.

After much complaining that I did about the wireless flash control interface on the new unit... OK I'm a klutz. just required a lighter more deft touch than I was using, once in master mode a quick "jab" at the wireless flash button is all that's needed to pull up the ratio and group edit functions ranter than a solid press+hold button.




Jan 17, 2008
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brown_dog
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Registered: Dec 2, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 455
Review Date: Jan 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $345.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Built like a brick. Recycle time. Locking, quick-release hot-shoe clip.
Cons:
None that I have found.

I upgraded from the Sigma EF500 Super...which is a pretty decent flash.

The 580EX II is a great flash. Very powerful, solid construction (compared to the Sigma), and I love the locking, quick-release hot-shoe clip. Works great on my 40D.


Jan 15, 2008
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marxzed
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Registered: Dec 8, 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 74
Review Date: Jan 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: New locking foot design, return of the Sync cable port, much improved battery door, faster recycling, "non slip" body material. oh yeh - and it looks much nicer than earlier models too :)
Cons:
Menu, particularly for wireless multi flash control.

First of all just to clear up a misunderstanding that some other reviewers seem to have regarding the difference between ETTL (I) and ETTL II and claiming that this flash is "not ETTL II compatible": ETTL (I) and ETTL II is purely an "in camera" thing, as such any Canon flash that is ETTL (I) compatible is, ipso facto, ETTL II compatible and Vice Versa.
The flash neither knows nor cares if it's mounted on an ETTL I or II body only that the camera IS or IS NOT ETTL.
Cameras that are ETTL II compatible use communications with compatible lenses to get the focus distance (i.e. the distance to the subject) and then fine tune its flash power calculation based on that, the flash it's self plays no part in that calculation and is simply triggered & cut off according to an ETTL II compatible body's calculation.

Anyway - back to the review - Bought this to replace a failed 550EX, needed a new flash ASAP and could not afford the time to search for and bid on ebay for a used 550EX. Although this means I payed more than double the cost of a used 550EX I'm happy with the money spent and this will now be my primary flash for on camera work except for wireless flash control (see below).

The locking foot design is a long over due "upgrade". I've never felt secure (pun intended) with the old "twist top" locking design, the new lever and lock system is rock solid, in several weeks of use I've not had this slip or slide or become monetarily disconnected like I've had with earlier models.

The metal foot looks like it will make the design more rugged, though understandably some reviewers here and elsewhere have worried about this putting strain on the body causing a broken flash to be unrepairable or more expensive to repair. My guess is the second, I unscrewed and pulled the bottom part off and judging by the design the base (last plastic assembly unit) would probably tear away from the foot assembly if given enough force. Fortunately this should be "field repairable" as it's still part of the low voltage area and judicious use of suitable glue and careful handling (or gaffa tape + flash bracket + off camera cable) should get you through until you can get the base and the foot replaced by a canon workshop. I don't know if this design might put more force on the camera's flash mount but my guess is yes and we might see the camera's flash guide rails getting bent out of shape in a mishap but I can't see it ripping the flash mount off the camera.

The tilt/rotate mechanism is huge improvement over the 550EX- apart from full 360 rotation and single button tilt/rotate it actually, thankfully, needs the release button depressed to drop it in to the "close up" position - on the 550EX it could and did "droop" down making mounting a flash extender (i.e. better beemer) or soft box problematic, as the flash extender would then miss-aim below the subject (using 400mm or longer lens the better beemer would drop and only fill the bottom half of the frame) and a soft box would drop enough to interfere with the autofocus assist light. Thankfully on the 580EX II I've not had that happen at all, it stays solidly locked in the "level" position.

And a thousand thank you's Canon for FINALLY fixing that truly awful battery door, lord only know how many times I slightly knocked the door on one of my 550EX's and had the batteries fly out and on to the ground. OK so I ended up fixing that, first with some gaffa tape and then finally with a velcro patch and tab but that old design should never have been let live past it's first incarnation let alone for the many years that it did survive.

Nice to see the return of the sync port to Canon flashes, just in time for me to start playing with some PocketWizards, OK so I modded my 550's with an external sync but I'm happy to see that i didn't need to burn my warranty by doing it on a brand new flash. Much thanks for that one. (By the way, I've read on some forums saying this is only an "out sync" errr nope works fine for me for triggering the unit)
Also despite Canon claiming that it's only compatible with the "CP" AA powered compact external battery packs... nope, happy to report that it also works absolutely fine using any of my large C Cell powered external "Transistor Pack E"'s


Used on my D60 (ETTL (I)) exposure seems identical to the 550EX - that is to say it seems to over expose by +1/2 to +2/3 so I still need to dial it out with FEC.

On my 20D & 40D (ETTL II) it seems to under expose ever so slightly compared to the 550EX in darker shots, this doesn't phase me as I always thought the 550EX slightly over exposed on my ETTL II bodies and used to have FEC set to - 1/3 now I just leave it at 0 and sometimes push it to +1/3 for shots with darker backgrounds.

My one and only negative is that the wireless multiflash control menu is now too convoluted and difficult to use in the field. I've sat down and spent several hours trying to get it to be second nature and just given up. This is the only time now I use one of my 550EX's on camera as the multiflash master as its interface, while not perfect, is at least quickly and easily accessible.

All in all a solid unit worth the price just for the improved foot, the sync cable and battery door design.




Jan 5, 2008
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jayceooi
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Registered: Jul 23, 2007
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 14
Review Date: Dec 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $428.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Powerful, quick recycle, build quality
Cons:
Heavy on 400D

It is heavy with 400D. However, it does performing very well. I use it with WhaleTail Flash Diffuser (clone). The result is great.
Check out photo samples taken during Christmas Caroling.
17-55 IS, 580EX II with 400D


Dec 30, 2007
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7591
Review Date: Nov 16, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $385.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Exposure, easy to use, build, power, creative possibilities
Cons:
Expensive, no omnibouncer included

Coming from a Nikon SB-800 I was a little worried about this flash. Mainly because it got some confusing reviews. Turns out I am really happy with it.

When using P or M mode on my 5D the flash is almost always spot on with it's exposure. Unless there is a large dark or light subject in the frame. But then it's easy to adjust flash exposure by turning the dial wheel (I love this design, it's simple and quick). Only negative thing about using P mode (the dummy mode) is that you can't change the given aperture and shutterspeed values yourself. You really have to use M mode for that. Av or Tv mode the flash is only to be used as a fill-in. Works like a charm, especially outside. High speed sync also makes it possible to flash at very short shutterspeeds when using the flash outside (naturally at the cost of range / power).

Flashpower is great. Using M mode 400ISO, f/8, 1/200 I can get a properly exposed dark room (in the evening) with a 35L lens. Lots of creative possibillties in Multi Mode and when using second curtain sync.

Build quality is super. Good sturdy construction. It feels and looks well made. I also love the battery door and hot shoe locking mechanism. Both can be operated with one hand. Too bad an omnibouncer isn't included in the package. You'll have to buy that seperately.

A really good flash that's easy to use. A bit on the expensive side though, compared to what Nikon or 3rd party manufacturers (for Canon) offer.










Nov 16, 2007
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Y_vdm
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Registered: May 20, 2005
Location: Belgium
Posts: 1303
Review Date: Oct 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: build like a tank, battery door, almost no noise when charging, integration with 40d, trustable
Cons:

I first used a Sigma DG500 Super, because the price. The battery door is a nightmare and the exposition almost never good. Reading a lot of posts on the net I doubted about my technical capabilities Smile

Fist of all : shooting ETTL you have to avoid, as I did, to recompose after focus on the central focus point...

Now that I need flash power, I have to find something better and I decided to go to the Canon 580EX II over Metz for the integration in the menu system of the Canon 40d (my old 20d now becomes backup camera)

Wow ... it's really another world. Evrything works fine and thanks to Canon I'm really happy. The FEL is also a good feature.

Good reviews about technicals aspects on those sites :

http://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/infobank/flash/flash_exposure_lock_and_compensation.do

http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

http://super.nova.org/DPR/Canon/Exposure/



Oct 29, 2007
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mbailey
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Registered: Apr 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 333
Review Date: Oct 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid Build, Weather-proofing, quick recycle, great white balance, accurate exposure, almost silent.
Cons:
No master-slave switch. Poor manual.

Works very well as long as you understand how to operate Canon flashes (and the manual is very little help). Having the master-slave control in the menu is a little harder to manage than the 580EX. Those nits aside, it's an excellent flash gun and a significant improvement over the 580EX.

Oct 25, 2007
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HungV
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Registered: Oct 31, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 67
Review Date: Oct 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $440.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Well build, metal foot, weather resistant.
Cons:
Under exposure (bad batch).

I am using this flash on Canon EOS 30D. First one I bought it at Pro Photo Supply in Portland Oregon, took it home to test. This one is under exposure from one to two stop, I went back to their store and had the sell man checked and tested by him with two different one that included another brand new and demo. The result were the same. He admitted it is way under exposure. I returned the flash.

Second store is Shutter Bug, this one is a little bit better (one stop under exposure), I also tried 430EX in store to compare, believe it or not the 430EX is brighter but WB cannot compare to 580EX II.

Third store is Best Buy. This one is dead on everything and worth every penny. I used it for my brother’s wedding on October 06th, 2007.

Canon might have a bad batch to me.

Depend on your skill and how you use and utilize all of it functions. Over all, it is a great flash.


Oct 24, 2007
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Derek Sequeira
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Registered: Sep 5, 2007
Location: India
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $525.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Good quality build. Weatherproof features. Metal contacts. Bright LCD.
Cons:
Under exposed images.

I have not used the 580 EX II extensively and so cannot list much, though I have noticed the weatherproof rubbers provided all around; definitely a very good feature.

On the couple of occasions that I've used the flash, I have got under exposed images and had to compensate by 2 to 3 stops to get satisfactory exposures. Has anyone faced this problem? Will be glad to hear from them.

Canon India though has been prompt in replying to my mail on this issue and have asked me to send my 5D & the 580 EX II to them for checks; but before I do would appreciate some feedback on this issue... Thanks


Sep 5, 2007
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Luisifer
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Registered: Jul 20, 2007
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 75
Review Date: Sep 2, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $660.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: silent, build quality, !!!lever lock!!!, battery door
Cons:
none cons after two months of using

It's simply superb that I think over the second one.

Sep 2, 2007
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jlg84
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Registered: Jul 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 136
Review Date: Aug 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Excellent controls, solid, very flexible, silent
Cons:
Price

I bought this flash with my 5D in Beijing a few weeks ago, and just took it with me to Cambodia for its first real outing. I had never traveled with a flash before, since I figured the built-in flash would suffice on my old 20D, but now that I use the 5D I felt it would be useful. Sure enough, the results are miles better than with the built-in, and even better by far than with my old 380EX that I used to rely on. The ability to do flash compensation was very welcome, as was the multiple swivel ability. Too bad it costs so much, but when you pay for it and the camera together, it's easy not to notice...

Aug 23, 2007
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mlavander
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Registered: Dec 11, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 701
Review Date: Aug 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Power, battery life, wireless communication
Cons:
Master/Slave switch is gone?

Picked up a 580EXII along with a 430EX to use with my current 580EX. I prefer the master/slave switch on my 580EX over the EXII menu functions to get the wireless rolling. I guess having fewer switches to weatherproof might be a motivator in the design change.

Works great with the other flshes so far. No missed shots.


Aug 23, 2007
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Vic Jay Ojeda
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Registered: Aug 14, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $450.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: weather sealing the thing most likely to electrocute us! new locking shoe design is very nice. much improved battery door. custom function access on the Mark III.
Cons:
500 bucks?!?!? why are we still using AA batteries? why does the case not accommodate a stofen box, or have a belt loop? that stuff and....ME WANT MORE POWER!!!

Well done, but not perfect. exposure seems very good most of the time. i love the way it seals the shoe of a mark III, and the new flash cord. it's nice to get detailed custom function settings, and overall exposure setting through the Mark III speedlite menu.

The most impressive thing to me so far is it's MINIMUM exposure control in E-TTL II, meaning it's ability to properly expose a subject within 4 feet, AT ISO 1000, WITH A 50 1.2L WIDE OPEN! now that's just crazy! Nice feature when you take portrait outside, and suddenly a big nasty storm is about to dump on you! hmmm, reschedule before my clien has two-a-day practices next week, or get it done in the near darkness of the coming monsoon? Five minutes, and this flash for fill is all i need!

now for what makes me scratch my head: AA batteries? i don't even like AA lithium batteries. i have plenty of AA NiMh's, but they are useless to change on the fly. a 511A slot, with optional AA adapter (BG-E3 anyone?) would make me uber happy! one pleasant side effect of a 511A might be the ability to get potato masher power out of it. hmmm, Could be a L series flash!

why do they give it such a useless case. i can't do a thing with it! make it slightly longer, maybe a battery pocket, and a belt clip (swivel cell phone style) or kill it altogether. a fill tube wouldn't be bad either.


Aug 15, 2007
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D Landin
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Registered: Mar 5, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 64
Review Date: Jun 23, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: I also own the 580Ex, 430EX and a Quantum T5D Flash. The Quantum is to big to use in the field as a hot-shoe mounted flash and after shooting a wedding for 8 hours that thing gets heavy.. I opted out for the 580EX initially and loved it in the field. I just picked up a 580EX II for another body and used it for a wedding this past weekend. I shot about 500 images and the batteries were still chagring very well and yes.... it did seem faster than the 580 EX. Construction of the 580 EX II is much better than on the 580 EX and the 580 EX II is slightly shorter over all.
Cons:
Although I have only used the 580 EX II on one professional shoot.... I have to ECHO the first post to this thread.. I used the 580 EX on my 5D and the 580EX II on my 30D. Almost all of the images shot using the 580EX on the 30D blew out the mid tones and failed to highlight the black jackets of the wedding party. However, on the 5D using the 580EX the exposures were dead on........ So , is it a flash problem? or a camera metering (technology) issue between the 5D and the 30D? I have another shoot this weekend and plan on swapping the flashes to see if the results are repeatable or not..... but for now, and for the sake of my last client, I wish I had gone with the 580EX for my second field body rather than jumping onto the bandwagon for the latest in technology! Like some of the other have said.... I dont like the new wireless functionality of the delayed push button to activate the wireless, I would rather have a dedicated switch and buttons like on the 430ex model and my Quantum....



Jun 23, 2007
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GAPR
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Registered: Dec 3, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 14, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Great lock mechanism, nice battery door, silent, weather sealing
Cons:
No automatic setting, flash only works through ETTL, overexposes fair/white skin tones by 1 - 2 stops if mixed with black

I owned the 550 when I had digital cameras, and found the exposure and color to be way off with digital photography.

Then I bought the 580 EX and was extremly impressed with the exposure, the ease of use, and the color reproduction. I was only disappointed in the fact it did not have independent automatic (auto thyristor) settings on the flash and of course that battery door most people loved to not like very much.

I then bought the 580 EXII in anticipation of the corrections mentioned. The build quality was the best I have seen yet on a Canon flash, in fact of many different vendors flashes that I have used in the last 20 years in photography . Unfortunately, that is where it stopped.

When I went to photograph subjects (in particular people) using the Canon 30D, I was extremely disappointed in how the flash overexposed white/fair skinned people, and to boot the color was off. My blacks were exposed as a dark navy blue in fill light outdoors. I was not impressed to say the least. After paying that amount of money, I expected the quality to be at least as good as the the 580 EX, with independent automatic flash control.

Normally, I would have returned the unit for another one to test as it is possible that I could have received a faulty flash. But, alas, I did not. Why?

For $100 less, I can buy the Metz 58 AF-1 Digital Flash, and I get; 1) all the features of the Canon 580EXII 2) a little more juice, 3) TTL, ETTL, ETTLII, 4) automatic flash control, 5) a built in secondary flash unit, and 6) I can download software upgrades to the flash through a built-in USB port from the internet.

The downside aspect of this flash is that it is a little more menu driven then the Canon 580 EXII, so it will take a little more getting used to. However, I must admit, given all the additional major features of the Metz unit, the menu driven aspect will quickly disappear once I get used to it.

Bearing the possibility it was a faulty unit (or perhaps better suited for the newer Digic III Canon Cameras, which still should have been perfectly backwards compatible), I was completely disappointed. I was even more disappointed in Canon on this particular flash once I saw the six additional features of what Metz had to offer with a 25% savings in price. These were the reasons I did not give the Canon 580 EXII a second chance.

My advice, buy some excellent used 580 EX, or give the Metz 58 AF-1 Digital a shot. Once I receive it, I may submit a post. I will do it under the Canon one if there is no Metz section available.


Jun 14, 2007
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sumocomputers
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Registered: May 8, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $430.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Battery door, lock mechanism, silent operation, weather sealing, performance.
Cons:
Still uses AA batteries. How about a Canon rechargeable battery? On/Off Switch (liked the old one better).

I had the first 580EX, and loved it. I love the 580EX II even more. I am not a guru with all the settings, but most of the changes are welcome improvements to an already great flash.

I am not sure if the recycle time is really 20% better, but the silent operation is very nice.

Very minor, but I liked the old on/off switch better. It was up/down, the new one is sort of like the power switch on the 20D/30D camera body. The new one is probably designed that way because of the weather sealing.

I would still love to use some Canon rechargeable batteries (like the kind that you must use with your camera) rather than AA. Looks like that day will not come, probably because there are different batteries for different cameras, although it wouldn't bother me.


Jun 7, 2007
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Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
56 160763 Dec 28, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $430.69
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.46
7.65
9.1
580exii


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