Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI review

    It doesn’t take lengthy to understand that bouncing the output of a flashgun off a ceiling or wall can successfully enhance the dimensions of the sunshine supply, due to this fact making a softer, extra pure trying lighting method. Nonetheless, newcomers particularly would possibly discover it laborious to play the angles, and to evaluate the very best diploma of bounce to present the optimum impact. Canon’s revolutionary new Speedlite boasts synthetic intelligence, which it harnesses to regulate a motorized tilt and swivel head, thereby delivering an automated bounce facility. 


    • Head bodily strikes round routinely underneath its personal energy
    • Totally automated and semi-automatic bounce modes
    • Calculates the optimum bounce angle

    Like most different mid-range flashguns, the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI has a motorized zoom head that routinely tracks the focal size of the lens getting used. As with most up-to-date Canon flashguns, it could additionally routinely detect whether or not the digital camera you’re utilizing is a full-frame or APS-C format mannequin, taking this into consideration when routinely adjusting the zoom setting. However its essential declare to fame is that it additionally has a motorized tilt and swivel operate, so the pinnacle bodily strikes round routinely underneath its personal energy. It could actually tilt upwards past the vertical, via a 120-degree arc, and swivel a full 180 levels to each the left and the appropriate. 


    Bounce: zero to 120 levels

    Swivel (left/proper): 180 / 180 levels

    Zoom vary: 24-105mm (auto) 

    Flash publicity compensation: +/-3EV

    Guide energy settings: 1/1 to 1/128

    Dimensions (W x H x D):  75 x 130 x 105mm 

    Weight (excl batts): 385g 

    There are absolutely automated and semi-automatic bounce modes on provide, by way of a small change on the rear of the flashgun. In full auto AI Bounce mode, the Speedlite fires a pre-flash pulse on the topic, then tilts vertically upwards and fires a second pre-flash pulse on the ceiling. It then calculates the optimum bounce angle, primarily based on the gap to the topic and the gap to the ceiling. Should you swap between portrait and panorama orientation, you possibly can reposition the flash head by making use of a double light-press to the digital camera’s shutter button. This depends on orientation sensors constructed into the flashgun fairly than the digital camera, so every part works correctly even when you’re utilizing the flashgun off-camera. 

    However what when you’d fairly bounce the flash off a white wall as an alternative? This may be notably helpful if the ceiling may be very excessive or has, for instance, a pure wooden fairly than painted white end. You would possibly even want to fireplace your flash at a big reflector panel which you can place independently. That is the place the semi-automatic AI Bounce mode comes into play. It lets you manually level the flash head in your required course after which press the ‘Angle Set’ button on the facet of the pinnacle. This locks the place into the flashguns reminiscence. Once more, you possibly can change between portrait and panorama orientation and apply a double faucet of the shutter button to take care of the identical bounce angle, the pinnacle tilting and swivelling as vital. In addition to absolutely automated and semi-automatic modes, the choice change has a zero-degrees possibility for direct flash with no bounce or swivel.

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    Construct high quality and dealing with

    • Contains a conventional management panel
    • Zoom operate of the pinnacle comparatively restricted 
    • Programmable stroboscopic flash mode lacking

    Whereas the AI bounce facility is revolutionary, the 470EX-AI is sort of standard in different methods. It has a conventional management panel primarily based on buttons, a rotary dial and mono LCD show. The appear and feel is sort of dated, in contrast with some latest Metz flashguns which have touchscreens. The zoom operate of the pinnacle is comparatively restricted in contrast with equally priced flashguns, rated at 24-105mm in full-frame phrases, fairly than the now extra typical 24-200mm. There’s additionally no pull-out reflector card within the head, which is normally featured on mid-range flashguns. Most equally priced flashguns have a programmable stroboscopic flash mode, which once more is absent.

    The 470EX-AI has a reasonably beneficiant most energy ranking of Gn 47

    Extra surprisingly, the 470EX-AI lacks the RF (Radio Frequency) communication of Canon’s 430EX III-RT and 600EX-RT (each the unique and Mark II editions). For wi-fi off-camera flash, it could due to this fact solely function by way of an optical hyperlink, and solely as a slave, not a grasp. You due to this fact can’t slot the flashgun into your digital camera’s hotshoe and use it to wirelessly management one other flashgun in slave mode. It additionally lacks the weather-seals of Canon’s significantly extra highly effective, top-flight skilled 600EX-RT II flashgun.

    On the plus facet, the 470EX-AI has a reasonably beneficiant most energy ranking of Gn 47 (Information quantity at ISO 100/metres). Provided equipment embody a diffusion dome, stand and padded comfortable case, all of that are of excellent high quality. 

    The newest tech usually comes with backwards compatibility points and this flashgun isn’t any exception. Totally automated AI Bounce mode is unavailable when utilizing cameras launched earlier than the second half of 2014, together with the EOS Rebel T5 / 1200D, EOS Rebel SL1 / 100D, EOS Rebel T5i / 700D, EOS 70D, EOS 6D, EOS 5D Mk III and EOS-1D X. When taking pictures with these in addition to the newer EOS Rebel T6 / 1300D and mirrorless EOS M3, EOS M5 and EOS M6, you possibly can solely use AI bounce in semi-automatic mode.  


    • TTL flash metering is normally correct and constant
    • Recycling after a flash is silent and fairly swift
    • Battery life is about two-thirds that of the 430EX II-RT

    As its Gn ranking would suggest, most output is a bit more highly effective than from the 430EX III-RT, however weaker than from the 600EX II-RT. TTL (By way of The Lens) flash metering is normally correct and constant, each for direct flash and when utilizing the flashgun in bounce mode.    

    Recycling after a flash is silent and fairly swift. The truth is, recycling is nearly instantaneous at energy settings of between 1/128 and 1/four. At half-power and full-power settings, recycling instances are 1.1 and a pair of.three seconds with NiMH batteries, or 1.three and four.2 with alkaline batteries. Battery life is about two-thirds that of the 430EX II-RT, starting from round 115 to 800 photographs on a set of 4 alkaline cells, relying on output energy and the way a lot you employ the motorized bounce/swivel and zoom capabilities. Canon claims that, in observe, battery life is about equal when utilizing each flashguns in bounce mode, because the 470EX-AI reduces the quantity of trial and error.


    In some methods, the 470EX-AI is a very revolutionary flashgun. It’s notably helpful for newcomers who’re nervous about how you can set the angle of the pinnacle manually for efficient bounce flash. Nonetheless, pointing the flash at a wall or ceiling isn’t precisely a tough factor to do, and also you don’t usually must set the angle very exactly. It could actually really be faster to set the bounce angle manually, contemplating that the flashgun wants to fireplace a pre-flash pulse on the topic, then swivel in the direction of the ceiling and hearth a second pre-flash pulse, after which work out its bounce angle, each time you undertake a brand new taking pictures place. 

    One other sticking level is the worth, particularly in areas the place the 470EX-AI prices greater than Canon’s range-topping, pro-grade 600EX-II RT. The latter is way more highly effective and complicated, contains full RF wi-fi communication and has higher construct high quality together with weather-seals.    

    Finally, as intelligent because the 470EX-AI is, newcomers who’re tempted by its AI bounce facility would possibly really feel a bit odd spending significantly extra on a flashgun than they did on their entry-level Canon DSLR and package lens mixture.

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