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Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2

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Reviews Views Date of last review
23 77240 Jul 1, 2010
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $188.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.80
6.93
8.4
st-e2

Specifications:
Wireless Canon 550 EX flash controller
Indoor transmission range of approximately 40 to 50 feet
Outdoor transmission range of approximately 26 to 33 feet
1,500-transmission battery life
Turns off after 90-second idle


 


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Manuel Barrera
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Registered: Sep 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 27
Review Date: Jul 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: light weight, when you need it comes in handy
Cons:
I am sure it has some, I guess it could be cheaper

I have had this little gadget for about 4 years, do not use it often but when I do it is worth the money I paid for it. In small venues when one can get a bounce the flash units can placed almost any where, for portraits and easy way to control the ratios. When I stick a 50mm it gets that focus fast, 50mm f/1.4 hunts in low light. I read the reviews and decided to comment as I saw one person who gave it a six and does not even own it. I gave it a ten but it is more deserving of a 9 because of the price.

Jul 1, 2010
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sass
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Registered: Aug 22, 2005
Location: Denmark
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 22, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: No wires any more, small size, low weight, most adjustment can be made from camera
Cons:
Flimsy builtquality, expensive battery-type, low reach of the light, no manual settings, no second curtain.

I've been using mine for about a year. The good thing is, that you don't have to use wires anymore, the ST-E2 is quite small on the camera compared to using a flash, and you have easy access to the functions it provides.
The reach of the light to the flashes is not impressive. Inside you have a 12 meters reach (35feet) and outside its limited to 8 meters (25 feet) in an 80 degree angle in front of your lens. This is limiting, especially if you want the flashes behind you. I haven't tried the full potential of the reach inside, but outside I would say the reach is much smaller than its announced in the manual. I've had difficulties to make a 3 meter reach outside.
The lower front of mine was lost the first day I used it, don't know how it happened, since it was on the camera all the time. I don't like the battery-type that is used in the ST-E2. Its way to expensive, why not use power from the camera or AA-batteries, which the flashes uses anyway.
The adjustment on the back, where you can balance several flashes in different groups works quite well, along with the highspeed sync. I do miss second curtain-sync, don't know why they didn't put that feature in there. I also miss the ability to do manual settings on the trigger, perhaps it can be done setting the flashes to manual.
If I had to do this again, I would have a serious look at pocket wizards instead, the radio-signal is way more powerful than the red light this one sends out has. The new ones does feature e-TTL, and there should be some chineese on the way also, which should offer the same.


Nov 22, 2009
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tommyleong
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Registered: Feb 27, 2007
Location: Singapore
Posts: 145
Review Date: Sep 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: small and light, Great add-on AF beam , (beam is wide n bright ) , Great range even in outdoor.( 30ft)
Cons:
No Manual Flash, no second curtain, no flash compensation,cant adjust zoom of slave flash, uses expensive and uncommon CR2 battery. CAnt see the adjustments in the dark.

Very small and tidy package for an add-on AF beam. Very useful for those pub and disco shoots. Where space can be tight.
Your flash can be mounted on an overhead beam and you are triggering them as you go.

No issue with built quality, but its not bomb-proof.

Its soooo light, you dont need to screw it down. I don't even bother with the "lock" pin. You must knock into someone to get it off.

Great range even in outdoor provided the slave is FACING it.



Lots of missing features. Very simple like 2nd curtain. ( cant be done with the body either ) No manual flash option. ( Manual flash is an option on 580EX )

No flash compensation dial. I like the quick dial on the 580EX. Not a biggie since most bodies can do flash compensation.





Sep 6, 2009
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OkeyPlus
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Registered: Jul 11, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 38
Review Date: May 27, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: No more cords
Cons:
Flimsy mount, bulky construction, obscure battery, no second curtain

I see the ST-E2 as a necessary evil if you want to have off-camera ETTL flash without shelling out for PocketWizards. It works, at least for the scenarios it was designed to, but don't expect too much magic out of it.

As far as what annoys me about it, here are some things:

* It's bulky - I really think it could be shrunk quite a bit if Canon wanted to update the design

* The mount doesn't feel secure - it's just a pin that comes down. I would've preferred a tighter locking mechanism, like the screw ring on a flash or the lever on the OC-E3 cord. I shoot on the move, and I just don't feel comfortable shoving the camera in my bag or letting it dangle around too much with this thing on

* THERE IS NO SECOND CURTAIN SYNC. For me this is a real failure. I love the "shake and bake" style, letting the shutter drag and then crystalizing the subject right before it closes. In my opinion, most flash shots are either not affected or benefited by using second curtain. Looks like with Canon my options for this remain keeping the flash on-camera, or using the OC-E3 cord, which is intended for a bracket (yuck) and is too short and clumsy for holding the camera in one hand and flash in the other (or having someone else hold the flash, putting it on a stand...you get the idea)

* On-camera flash exposure compensation goes from -2 to +2 EV. On the flash, I can adjust it from -3 to +3. Why???

* Can't adjust flash zoom

* Can't switch the flash from ETTL to Manual

Here my gripe is not only with this transmitter, but with the entire Canon flash system. I was reading Joe McNally's book The Hot Shoe Diaries, and I got really jealous of all the control that Nikon flash system lets you do with their transmitter or master flash - like switching the flash from CLS (Nikon's ETTL) to manual, adjusting flash zoom, and pretty much every other setting - all without touching the slave flash. To be honest, I feel a little cheated after spending all this money on Canon's flash system and still feeling so limited.


May 27, 2009
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Phil UKNet
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Registered: Oct 20, 2007
Location: Thailand
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Dedicated, thus retains E-TTL/E-TTL II functionality. The battery-powered system is totally portable so you can use it in the middle of a field. The ratio control is a convenient way to adjust lighting.
Cons:
This is just one component off an off-camera lighting system and if you buy everything separately it starts to get expensive. It is low powered compared to studio lighting, and batteries run out.

I bought my ST-E2 when I started to get interested in off-camera lighting. I then needed to buy a lightstand, bracket and umbrella for my 550EX ... which was expensive. Had I continued down this path, I would then have needed to buy another Canon flash unit, another lightstand, etc etc. Buying all this stuff separately is not cheap.

I bought an entire budget studio lighting kit for less than I paid for the ST-E2 alone. The kit has three strobes, three light stands, two diffusing umbrellas, and all the accessories you need. It's not as portable (because it needs mains power) and I no longer have E-TTL, so getting the exposure right is a bit trickier but no big deal.

It was a cheap kit but it works very well and puts out a lot more light than the Canon dedicated system.

There are still occasions when I am shooting outside that I can find a use for the ST-E2, but for portrait work and product shots indoors, a cheap studio lighting kit was better and cheaper for me.

I bought the ST-E2 on a whim without thinking ahead long term as to what I wanted to achieve. If I had given it more thought, I wouldn't have bothered.

It is by no means a bad product but for what I wanted, a budget studio lighting kit gave me the best option for the best price.

http://phil.uk.net/photography/canon_ST-E2_speedlite_transmitter.html



May 4, 2009
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freetime101
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Registered: May 11, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 343
Review Date: Oct 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Cheap in comparison to pocket wizards. Fairly reliable (I have not had mine fail yet). Can be used as a focus assist if metering manually. Gets the flash off camera!
Cons:
Odd battery - expensive and hard to find. Big, looks dated. No 2nd curtain sync. If using as a focus assist (no strobe) manual metering must be used as the camera still thinks theres a strobe attached and meters accordingly. Only operates two channels. Must keep line of sight (at least a bounce) with strobe. Pretty fragile looking body.

It gets the flash off camera whilst maintaining full ETTL, though I rarely use ETTL it is a nice feature to have when set-up speed is an issue. This is why I bought it and it meets my expectations, though canon should really update it...
Although a line of sight must be maintained with the strobes a bounced signal also works so this is rarely an issue (and could be solved with radio poppers). It would be better if the unit ran off AA batteries for convenience. My main gripes are the lack of second curtain sync and when using the ST-E2 as a focus assist only the camera still thinks a strobe is attached and so under exposes the shot.
All in all though I knew what I was buying and am pleased with the product - I'll definatley be in line for the ST-E3 though if it ever comes out. In my opinion the ST-E3 needs to run on AA batteries (or even AAA), have 2nd curtain sync, operate 3 groups, be smaller and more robust and most importantly, let the camera know when no strobe is attached!


Oct 18, 2008
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Andre Goli
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Registered: Feb 20, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 1819
Review Date: Oct 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size, options, durability and efficacity
Cons:
Why is it not included in the camera !!!!!

I got that little thing for two years now.. Pretty happy with the duration of the battery (two years), except it would have been better with rechargeable standard batteries, since mine stopped working in the middle of a session and haven't any in stock since it is a very special battery....
Only pick on the hardware... that little red thing in the front just keep falling, have to glue it....
Canon, why it is not included with your camera... shame on you....
But overall, just judging it.. it is very efficient with your flashes... Lots of channels...


Oct 4, 2008
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sivrajbm
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Registered: Mar 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 3289
Review Date: Jun 26, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $169.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Makes complex flash setups easy. Provides focus assist in low light. Can be used on camera while flash is on bracket.
Cons:
None really

Makes complex flash setups easy. Provides focus assist in low light. Can be used on camera while flash is on bracket. A very worthwhile gadget very useful...

Jun 26, 2008
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jamato8
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Registered: Dec 23, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2189
Review Date: Jul 31, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Allows for field work that I could have never accomplished in the past.
Cons:
90 percent of the time it is accurate but not the other 10.

I have used this over the years having aquired it when first on the market and it has proved, most of the time, to be reliable and of great help in the field. I have used it in my visual anthropology and natural history photography with great success.

Jul 31, 2007
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Nigel Parry
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Registered: Sep 4, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Small, works very well in low light, simple, easy to change ratios quickly with two flashes
Cons:
Not reliable in bright light, only line of sight in normal light, worst of all no 2nd curtain synch

Nice gizmo which I use mainly for getting a 580ex off camera without cords which tangle with everything else. In low light the communication with the flash is flawless as the IR control bounces pretty much wherever the flash is.

I have also used this to control two Speedlites (580ex, 430ex) and it worked well, especially as you can quickly change the ratios.

The one major flaw (are you listening Canon?) is that there does not seem to be any way of using this this and getting 2nd curtain synch.


May 17, 2007
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porchrat
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Registered: Sep 25, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $189.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Is great when it works, totally accurate ttl with the 5D and 580, allows just the right amount of flash via flash ex compensation dial or through underexposing ambient.
Cons:
Can't depend on, really frustrating. Canon costumer support claims they know of no issues with it although most people I talk to have problems with it, especially in sunlight.

For about the same price as a Pocket Wizard transmitter it would be nice if it could be trusted to work.

Sep 25, 2006
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joeyseager
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Registered: Sep 19, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 67
Review Date: Mar 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Does exactly what it's supposed to - one of those accessories you discover and then couldn't do without. Makes multi-flash setups easy and studio-style lighting possible with your existing speedlights. Can be used for focus assist in dim light without putting subject off by firing bright white flash.
Cons:
Controls only group A and B but the Speedlight 580EX controls group C too. Battery very expensive but I don't know if it lasts well - it hasn't run out yet!

Yes you could use a 580EX to control your off-camera units but I prefer this little device which is much lighter on the camera, and when I'm using multiple flash units I rarely want one of them firing from the camera position - so it's much cheaper to buy an ST-E2 transmitter than yet another flash unit. The transmitter can stay on the camera and doubles nicely as a focus assist lamp which operates much more unobtrusively than the built-in system of my 350D which fires the main tube of the pop-up flash unit - and my subject thinks I've taken the picture and wanders off!

This is a great device that I wouldn't be without. Its coverage is usually not a problem indoors where the infra-red bounces off light walls but it's always worth checking that the system is going to work - there's a check button which fires the group A flashes and then the group B flashes so you can see it's all going to work.

Highly recommended.


Mar 1, 2006
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go4it
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Registered: Sep 2, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 746
Review Date: Feb 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $189.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Amazing piece of "can't live with out it" equipment! Light weight, sensitive and HIGHLY portable. It ROCKS!
Cons:
Batteries are a little expensive. And it only works with Canon EOS "Type A" cameras. Someone needs to "unify" an incredible photo flash accessory such as this!!!!!!!!!

Simply does everything it was promised to do - - and more. No distance problems, no "bounce" problems. It's the dead-solid perfect way to do wireless multiple flash if you're a Canon EOS "A" owner.

Works best indoors but outdoors is no problem as long as you work within the proper range.

Works PERFECTLY with our 10D or 20D - - and, as a bonus - with our G3 PowerShot too!

If you have EOS "Type A" cameras with Canon "EX" flash units and do a lot of flash photography - especially multiple lighting set-ups - this should be in your arsenal or you've missed the boat.

AWESOME for remote-mounted fill-flash outdoors!!!

Impossible to over-compliment the ST-E2.


Feb 4, 2005
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BlueEyesPhoto
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Registered: Jan 25, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 461
Review Date: Feb 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Allows me to place my flashguns off camera, which I use considerably when doing plants and botanical shots.
Cons:
No battery indicator, doesn't give me the "1,500" fires it claims, I on average get roughly 300-500.

A great addition to anyone using Canon's 420, 550, or 580 flashes. I've used this from fashion shots, to botanical and childrens portraits.

Feb 2, 2005
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mbohunsky
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Registered: Dec 30, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 3668
Review Date: Jan 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $180.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Lets you make complex Speedlite setups in a breeze. Focuses in zero light. Battery seems to last forever.
Cons:
Expensive, looks dated, doesn't always trip flash.

I bought my ST-E2 from B&H in July. It was very cool to have your flash off-camera, for a while. After some time it lost the appeal and I sold it to a fellow member on this forum.

I would not hessitate at all to recommend the ST-E2 for anyone that takes a lot of multiple camera photos and does not wish to have a strobe on-camera. If you have a strobe on your camera, the ST-E2 becomes pretty useless as you can use the strobe as a master to trip the slaves.

One very cool feature is that you need not use it to trip off your strobes. You can set it in the hot shoe and the IR beam will help you autofocus in zero light. Very neat.

If you frequently use multiple strobes, I would look into Pocket Wizard as its radio is sure to work in places where the ST-E2 does not.

Still a good product but for a little more you can get a used strobe and have just as versitile a setup.


Jan 30, 2005
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Paratima
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Registered: Mar 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2109
Review Date: Oct 28, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $125.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Free of that blasted off-camera cord!
Cons:
Range less than radio units

Bought mine from a fellow FMer. Much of my flash shooting, with a 550EX and a 420EX, and soon to include a 580EX, is done without a flash on-body. Using the off-camera shoe cord limits you to a couple of feet. (Think of light stands being pulled over.) With the ST-E2, you have room to roam. Simple to use. Highly recommended unless you need the extra range provided by something like Pocket Wizard.

Oct 28, 2004
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Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
23 77240 Jul 1, 2010
Recommended By Average Price
96% of reviewers $188.00
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
7.80
6.93
8.4
st-e2


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