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Canon Speedlite 420EX TTL

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
18 130251 Jul 11, 2007
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $192.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.11
9.11
8.7
CA420EXU_1_

Specifications:
Maximum Guide Number 138 (ISO 100, feet) at 105mm setting; G.N. 101 at 35mm setting
Approximately 1 / 2-stop less powerful than 550EX
Full E-TTL flash operation with "Type-A" bodies (EOS-1v, EOS-3, Elan 7 / 7E, Rebel 2000, Elan II/IIE, and Rebel G; EOS IX and IX Lite; and digital EOS D2000 and D30 bodies.)
E-TTL features include high-speed FP sync mode, and FE Lock (spot / partial flash metering)
Fully compatible as an affordable Wireless "slave" flash, with EOS-1v, EOS-3, Elan 7 / 7E, & D30
Taller than previous 380EX flash, but head is 30% smaller, and both width & depth are smaller
Powered by four AA-size batteries (alkaline, lithium, Ni-Cd, or Ni-MH)
Totally TTL-compatible with all "Type B" EOS cameras, and the manual-focus T90 SLR body.


 


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Alex Yang
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Registered: Jun 29, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 72
Review Date: Jul 11, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: easy to use, works perfectly with E-TTL II, cheap
Cons:
no manual controls, but you knew that going in.

I got an excellent deal for this on craigslist, and it has exceeded my expectations. I was using a 380ex for a while, but needed a swivel head. I exposes perfectly, and i was contemplating selling back the 580ex i just bought that is on the way. I need the manual controls though. For slave use, this is a great flash, if you can find one for a good price. recharge time is good, as long as you're not doing sports.

Jul 11, 2007
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marklarry28
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Registered: Aug 20, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 20
Review Date: Sep 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Meet all my needs
Cons:
none

I got an used 420Ex for a good deal. Henrys

Sep 5, 2006
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svx94
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Registered: Mar 25, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 657
Review Date: Aug 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Light, very functional - GREAT PRICE
Cons:
Not for this price. Some controls can be easier, which Canon fixed them all with the new 430EX.

I bought 420EX as my first flash, knowing it will be the slave unit once I got a 550/580EX. I rearly rate anything 10 out 10, but for what I've paid, (and I know what I will get by then), I think 9 is not fair for this little flash. Whenever I use one flash, I still prefer the 420ex. Now I got two of them.

It works as salve flash, it does exactly what it should, and worked very well for me.

It is hard to find new ones now, and I am lucky to get it from B&H while it is still available Smile



Aug 28, 2006
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arjini
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Registered: May 12, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 75
Review Date: Mar 3, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $150.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Much more powerful than the built in flash on 20D. Tilt, swivel, cheap. Not as flimsy as I imagined once attached to the camera. Quite a deal if you get one used.
Cons:
Battery door does indeed suck. No manual controls.

Only real dissapointment was that despite the fact that I didn't think I needed manual controls, the very first thing I wanted to do was manually fire the flash a few times. Although I've been photographing for coming on 10 years now, I've never done any flash photography, so when I finally got the hang of getting at least some control over the flash, I was really impressed at the power of it. For the discerning flash photographer I'm sure this is the bottom of the barel, but for someone like me who has only used available light, suddenly being able to light objects from 30 feet away is pretty neat!

Mar 3, 2006
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jgonzo
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Registered: Dec 17, 2005
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Price, acceptable speed, slave, movable reflector, stand, case
Cons:
Batterybox, missing 45-position at reflector



Dec 22, 2005
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abam
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Registered: Apr 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4201
Review Date: Sep 13, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: i can only speak from my own experience. the 420ex works great in a 550ex/420ex/ST-E2/softboxes setup. with the ability to set FEC in the camera with canon's A digital bodies, and the ST-E2's ability to set ratios, you still get quite a bit of control over your 420ex's output. people sometimes bemoan the lack of manual controls; in complicated lighting situations they might have a point, but pertaining to most users (one and two flash setups) i'd worry more about light forming techniques (placement, ambient light, white balance of all contributing light sources, softboxes/umbrellas/bounce cards) than the shortcomings of the 420ex itself. bounce capabilities are nice, works well with a sto-fen indoors (or gels to throw some color onto a background wall or scene behind the subject.
Cons:
no manual controls for as expensive as it is (at least 1/2, 1/4, and 1/8 power settings would have been neato), although many problems with the 420ex can be overcome now that FEC is included in all of canon's digital cameras (now that the 300d has been retired). this was still a 200+ euro flash (unfortunately i bought it just before the 430ex came out and the 420's price was discounted. at least i could cash in on the 50 euro rebate:)). for 200 euros, you can get alien bees. the canon flash prices are rather high for what you get. i recommend this flash only for those either needing a slave to complement their current flash setup, when a 550ex or 580ex are out of the question, or for the casual shooter that's looking to expand into fill flash.

reliable little slave flash in a wireless canon system. beefy enough for bounce flash indoors (smaller rooms). ok value, but consider the 550ex if you can swing it. (yes, the 580ex is out, but it's price isn't justified for non-professionals. the 550ex is more than enough for advanced enthusiasts).

happy shooting...abam


Sep 13, 2005
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Canalman
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Registered: Jul 24, 2005
Location: Panama
Posts: 6
Review Date: Aug 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $179.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: With the Rebel XT nothing, with the 20D very impressive nite shots..
Cons:
None for now....

Got mine to use with the Rebel XT, was dissapointed after I took some nite indoor shots, all pictures came out dark or too dark, like I dont use much nite shots I didnt pay too much of attention to quality until I decided to upgrade my camera to a 20D, I was going to get the 580 but made a test shot with 20D and the 420, same place same lightning almost same everything, camera was at same settings as Rebel XT, when I took the first shot and WOW! what a surprise, all pictures came out perfect, dont know what happened here, I am no expert,but photos came out impressive.

Aug 6, 2005
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Rhys
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Registered: May 5, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3578
Review Date: Jun 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: That which it does, it does very well. I found the af assist to be helpful, the flash delivers just the right amount of power without overflashing the subject. The XT flash underflashes but this delivers the right amount when mounted on my XT
Cons:
The battery door is flimsy, awkward to open and I cannot imagine it'll be very long before it snaps off.

I bought this to replace the built-in XT flash and to use solely for portraits. Thus far it's an excellent performer and I have no regrets. I'm amazed at how fast it will recharge.

Jun 27, 2005
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sino408
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Registered: Dec 30, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 903
Review Date: Mar 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $179.95 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, slave for 550EX+ flashes, swivel, tilt, zooms
Cons:
No manual override for distance, prolematic for any camera with a multiplication factor or lens that can't communicate zoom distance with camera. Only 90 swivel to the right. Can't use partial flash

Great deal for beginning photographers who want a more powerful flash than the native flash. Priced at almost half of the Canon 550EX, this flash is quite a bargain. Not recomended for pros (but you pros all know that already Wink

Good points include zooming based on lens, tilt from 0 to 90, left swivel from 0 (directly in front) to 180 (directly behind) and right swivel from 0 to 90 (directly to your right). Also infrared metering in lowlight.

The lack of manual override is really bothersome if you don't have a lens that can communicate zoom distance with your canon (the flash automatically sets itself back to 24mm). This is also bad for cameras with multiplication factors since whatever coverage it indicates on the flash is always wider than the actual composition - you are essentially wasting light when flashing. The unit also cannot function unless fully charged, so no partial flashes.




Mar 2, 2005
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atlantagreg
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Registered: Apr 26, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Nov 27, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $229.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Reasonable price. Good features (swivel, etc). Decent coverage.
Cons:
AF assist light is not bright enough, causing some focusing problems.

Well I won't repeat everything else that's already been said by others on this. I use the 420EX on a Canon 10D, and for the most part in the short time I've had it, I like it.

There is ONE quirk, however, to be aware of. Especially if you're also a 10D user. The 10D usually uses it's pop-up flash as an AF assist light, giving out a "strobe" as the assist, locking focus, and then taking the shot. With the 420 attached it of course, can't do that, and relies on the built-in AF assist the 420 has, which is MUCH weaker.

So long as room lighting is fairly decent and the subject is pretty close it's fine to finetune the focus, but I have found that when this is not the case, the 420's AF assist will fire, and the camera will give a confirmation beep as though focus is locked on correctly, when it is not. It gives a false-positive lock, giving you a blurry photo as a result. It would have been better if Canon had incorporated a much stronger AF light on this flash unit, or, used a laser focus light similar to what Sony uses on it's cameras which works very well.

With the exception of this one quirk however, everything else is fine. It's worth adding this to your collection as you will soon discover that "bounce flash" effects are much better than using direct built-in camera flashes.

Greg


Nov 27, 2004
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jtmcz777
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Registered: Sep 25, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 3
Review Date: Sep 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $230.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Swivel and bounce, price, lightweight, uses all 7 focus points of the 10D and 300D
Cons:
Limited settings, Canon should have paid more attention to the design of the battery door



Sep 25, 2004
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Sneakyracer
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Registered: Mar 24, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2498
Review Date: Jul 18, 2004 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: Price, Size (small), Power (very good)
Cons:
VERY slow to recycle, rather flimsy/awkward battery door, and again slow from shot to shot.

I shoot events professionally from time to time and i get really anoyed waiting for the flash to fully recycle. Other than that its a good flash but i do miss the Nikon SB28 i had (when i used a fuji s2) which is similar in size but a tad more powerfull and MUCH more versatile since it can be manualy set at any power level right on the flash and also has a PC sync terminal! Something BOTH of Canons Flashes lack, yes even the 550ex doesnt have it.

Jul 18, 2004
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EricT
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Registered: Dec 12, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 617
Review Date: Dec 15, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $170.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Swivel and tilt head for bounce flash.
Cons:
No manual adjustments.

A great flash for the price. I bought this one rather than the less-expensive Canon flashes because it is the least expensive unit they make that allows tilt and swivel of the flash head. I've had no problems with range, even where I was shooting some kids doing a play in a gym from about 100 feet away.

Recycle time was noticably quicker on this unit when I switched to rechargable NiMH batteries.

If you don't want to spend $300+ on the 550EX, this is really the only good option from Canon. My next flash may be the Sigma 500 DG Super, which has 550EX functionality at a 420EX price, but there are some compatibility concerns that need to be investigated.


Dec 15, 2003
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Gochugogi
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Registered: Jun 25, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 9557
Review Date: Jul 24, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $175.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Small, light & powerful The only flash with AF assist that covers all 7 of AF sensors of the 10D or Elan 7
Cons:
I wish it had manual zoom of the flash head

The 420EX is a simple yet powerful flash: GN 138.6 feet at ISO 100 (42m), 24-105mm auto zoom head, near-infrared AF assist light, bounce and swivel, modeling light (slave mode only), flash exposure confirmation light (finally!), wireless ability, E-TTL, TTL, second-curtain sync, FE Lock (flash exposure lock), flash exposure compensation and FP Flash (high speed sync). You won't notice many of these features as the control panel is rather barren: on-off switch, ready light, FP Flash switch, slave switch, channel selector and zoom position scale. There are no manual controls or LCD. FE Lock, flash exposure compensation, modeling flash, and second-curtain sync are controlled from the camera. And, yes, the Elan 7E or 10D has a full complement of E-TTL flash controls onboard. If you have a camera without such controls, e.g., Rebel 2000, you can still use the the 420EX in automatic mode, but cannot access all the special features.

The 420EX is surprisingly small and light (300 g) for such a powerful flash. I no longer think twice about keeping a flash in my camera bag while traveling. I power it with four AA lithiums to keep weight as low as possible.

Focusing in the dark is quick and discreet thanks to the near-infrared AF assist light. With the 420EX mounted, low light AF is vastly improved: the Elan 7E or 10D will AF a blank wall in total darkness from over 30 feet away. You can disable the flash and use only the AF assist light with a Custom Function. The 420EX is the only flash that works with all 7 of the Elan 7 or 10D AF sensors. The 220EX, 380EX, 430EZ and Sigma EF-500 Super only cover the center AF sensor. The 550EX and ST-E2 only work with the 5 horizontal AF sensors. Thus, as far as low light AF is concerned, the 420EX is the best flash for the Elan 7E or 10D.

My only beef with this flash is the flimsy battery door. My old 420EZ and 430EZ both had metal hinges. Canon designed a cheapo plastic hinge for the 420EZ. Subsequently, take care when changing batteries, especially in cold climates. Fortunately, you may increase the 420EX's recycle time considerably over alkaline and lithium batteries by using rechargeable Ni-MH or Ni-Cad batteries.

If you shoot weddings or sports, or need manual control, get the 550EX instead. Why? First, unlike the 430EZ, 540EZ and 550EX, you can't use Canon's external power pack and will run out of power after about 200 flashes. For most folks, the 420EX is more flash than they'll ever need. Plus, there is a gotcha with the 550EX: in low light only the 5 horizontal sensors of the 10D Elan 7E work with the 550EX's AF assist beam. The 550EX beam pattern is optimized for the 45 sensor AF arrays of the EOS 3, 1V and 1D. The upper and lower sensors of Elan 7or 10D have trouble with the horizontal beam pattern.

The 420EX is a near perfect balance of simplicity, power and features in a petite package you won't mind carrying anywhere.


Jul 24, 2003
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osti
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Registered: Jan 30, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 58
Review Date: Jun 2, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: easy to use
Cons:
none

I have been using this flash for about three months and this is really a good flash. Some manual controls would be nice tho. I've had no problems with red eye and all but eliminated the problem that I had with the pop up flash on camera.

Jun 2, 2003
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cmdoc
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Registered: Mar 12, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 310
Review Date: Jun 2, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $225.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Easy to use (especially for beginners), far-reaching, smaller than the 550EX
Cons:
No manual controls

This was the first dedicated flash that I purchased. I used it immediately for a 50th wedding anniversary/family reunion and didn't have any problems. But after using it for a couple of months I came across situations where I wish it had manual controls. Using my D60, most of the time I set the camera to 'P' or 'M' to use with this flash. It doesn't do as well in 'Av' or 'A' mode.

Jun 2, 2003
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Canon Speedlite 420EX TTL

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
18 130251 Jul 11, 2007
Recommended By Average Price
94% of reviewers $192.92
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.11
9.11
8.7
CA420EXU_1_


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