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Canon Speedlite 380EX Flashes

4.19/5 (26 Reviews)


Product Description

Originally introduced with the EOS 50/50E, the 380EX features a maximum guide number of 38/125 (ISO-100, m/ft), six-position auto zoom head for coupling from 24 to 105mm and a variety of sophisticated creative controls. The Canon Speedlite 380EX brings the technology of flash photography to a new level. It is the first shoe-mount flash unit to incorporate Canon's exclusive E-TTL pre-stored evaluative auto flash control.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (26 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Morgan Welk a Professional from Madison

Date Reviewed: July 18, 2003

Strengths:    Automation. Point and shoot simplicity. Automatically adjusts (when not broken, like mine) reflection zoom, intensity, and is compatible with my elan. Quick cycles. Good used price. Modern, although discontinued. Excellent improvement over opo-up flash. Battery efficiency is good for a flash of this output good.

Weaknesses:    Automation. Point and shoot simplicity.
Automatically adjusts (maybe I shouldn't have gotten it fixed). Noisy capacitor makes screeching sound during first second of cycle, before sounding like a normal flash recharging for the last one or two. I'm waiting for the capacitor to need replacement next. However, since I've never used this exact model or any other Canon Speedlight, it is possible that this is normal. Battery cover remains attached when open, yet feels considerably more flimsy than that on the SunPak 444's I use on my Nikon FE2 bodies. For some reason the aux light fires even when I cf the camera's to stay off during AF. This is a major glitch, as I do stealth night photography, the surprise of which is ruined by the bright red LED on the flash. The hotshoe adaptor cable, necessary for ambient flash techniques, is another $50. The current pro models are all capable of revieving up to 1/500 sec synced pulses via rf, and up to 5 flashes can slave off one transmitter. Use of different color gels can produce a stunning effect with enough flashes, saving steps, avoiding multiple exposures, subject mov'nt, none of this is possible with this flash, as it only has one connection from camera. Hub is neccesary to achieve multiple flash points using this model.


Bottom Line:   
Bought this unit during Maxwell St. Days on State Street in Madison, WI. Couldn't believe it for only $70! When I picked it up, they told me the zoom was broken. Upon taking the light head apart (after discharging the capacitor), I found that I was able to move the worm drive to different reflection lengths. However, if I move the drive anywhere but middle (50), it just moves right back to that point after turning power on. Hmm... Getting it fixed locally, estimated at $25 for a new bounce-mode sensor (default bounce reflection length is 50). That was just the parts labor is $40.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

Price Paid:    $72.00

Purchased At:   Street Fair

Similar Products Used:   Sunpak 444, other SP's, various Vivitar models.

Type of photography:   Other


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by gauteng a Intermediate from Moscow

Date Reviewed: July 28, 2002

Strengths:    Guide Number ( relative to the built in flash)
Bounce capability
E-TTL Flash and accurate metering


Weaknesses:    Slow recycle times on alkaline batteries

Bottom Line:   
This flash when used on my Elan IIE surpassed my expectations. It generates great color balance indoors in bounced and non-bounced modes. It also does fill flash outdoors very nicely. Have only had perfectly exposed flash shots so far on about 10 rolls of film. If you're still using the built in flash on the Elan you are missing out.

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Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $160.00

Purchased At:   e-Bay

Similar Products Used:   Nikon SB-24

Type of photography:   People


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Petakompo Hermes a Expert from USA

Date Reviewed: August 15, 2001

Strengths:    Nice clean packaging

Weaknesses:    fully automated, no manual settings, slow cycle

Bottom Line:   
This is just another flash thats gonna cover you for general purpose work, its nothing too special if you want the truth, i think you can get yourself the sunpack 383 super which is better and more powerfull and cost about half the price, but the color of this canons light its pretty nice, even though its fully automated flash after working with you or i should say getting to know the flash its a quite simple operation, this thing doesn't even have a pc socket lol what was i thinking when i paid $140 for this flash i don't know, go buy yourself a nice flash for $140

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Price Paid:    $140.00

Similar Products Used:   sunpak 383, 555

Type of photography:   People


Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Mark Feipel a Intermediate from Indiana

Date Reviewed: August 13, 2001

Strengths:    Ease of use
Cheap
E-TTL
Bounce
Works with Powershot Pro70


Weaknesses:    Not powerfull enough
No manual controls


Bottom Line:   
I bought the flash for my ElanII, never got it to give good exposures, always underexposed.

I replaced it with a 550EX and have completely solved the problem on the ElanII.

Today this flash is used with my Powershot Pro70. Funny on the Pro70 it seems to give out too much light. I put a Lumiquest 80/20 bounce diffuser and it exposes right on.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   2-5 years

Price Paid:    $137.00

Purchased At:   Tri State Camera

Similar Products Used:   550EX, Metz 45,60, Vivitar 283

Type of photography:   People


Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Mr Aji a Professional from Trivandrum, India

Date Reviewed: August 9, 2001

Strengths:    - High-speed flash sync.
- 2nd shutter sync.


Weaknesses:    380EX badly underexp.:
- For backlit subj. or light b/ground.
- For subj. w/ high contrast (eg. very dark person
wearing white shirt + pants, or vice versa).
- For subj. w/ any light source seen in the viewfinder.
These occurs when Elan IIE camera is set @ exp. compen.
to 0.0 + flash exp. compen. to 0.0.


Bottom Line:   
My Canon 380EX flash w/ Canon Elan IIE camera
fitted w/ Canon EF 28-105/3.5-4.5 USM lens has
ruined all my flash shots until I decided to
create my "custom function No.12" as detailed below:

380EX Flash Problems:
---------------------
380EX flash badly underexp.:
- For backlit subj. or light b/ground.
- For subj. w/ high contrast (eg. very dark person
wearing white shirt + pants, or vice versa).
- For subj. w/ any light source seen in the
viewfinder.
NOTE: Elan IIE is set @ exp. compen. to 0.0 and
flash exp. compen. to 0.0.
Canon designers didn't add a custom function to
switch off the auto. flash output reduction
option as given in EOS A2E/1N/3/IV cameras.

Problem Rectified By:
---------------------

| |
| X | Hotshoe of
| | Elan IIE
| 1 2 | camera
| 3 4 |

- Stuck two layers of paper tape strips to cover
signal contacts 1, 2 + 3 ONLY. Signal contact 4
is NOT covered.
- Signal contact 4 is flash ready + auto.
switches on the 380EX flash after auto-off
(after 90sec. of non-use), when shutter button
is pressed half-way.
- E-TTL LED will not light + 380EX is set @ full
manual output (GN 28/m @ 35mm).
- When 380EX flash is in bounce position, it
auto. sets to 50mm.
- Use flash for indoor shoots only. Set Elan IIE
camera to M (Manual) mode w/ shutter speed
manually set @ 1/60sec. + aper. according to
the table below:

GN 28/m @ 35mm (380EX Flash)

m | 1.2| 1.7| 2.5| 3.5| 5 | 7 | 10 | 14 | 20
-----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----|----
50| 16 | 11 | 8 | 5.6| 4 | 2.8| 2 | 1.4| 1
100| 22 | 16 | 11 | 8 | 5.6| 4 | 2.8| 2 | 1.4
200| 32 | 22 | 16 | 11 | 8 | 5.6| 4 | 2.8| 2
400| 45 | 32 | 22 | 16 | 11 | 8 | 5.6| 4 | 2.8
800| 64 | 45 | 32 | 22 | 16 | 11 | 8 | 5.6| 4

- For user's convenience, stick the above table on
380EX flash head w/ clear cellophene tape over
it as protection too.
- Example for use: if u are using ISO100 film,
focus on the subj. + read off the dist. (in
metres) from the lens dist. scale. If yr subj.
is 6.0m away, then set manually yr aper. to f/4
(not f/5.6 which is effective up to 5.0m ONLY).
Aim + recompose + shoot your pict. w/ 380EX
flash switched on + ready light on.
- Picture Result: Excellent pict. quality
regardless of focal length used (ie. for my
lens 35 to 105mm).
- Battery life: alkal-mang.: 260 shots @ full
manual. Never ever use NiCad or NiMH batteries
(even though recommended by Canon) as it ruins
electronic circuits by pumping large amt of
current into it. Use carbon-zinc, zinc-chrolide
or alkal-mang. + yr 380EX flash will last yr
life-time.
- For outdoor shots do NOT use 380EX flash, use
ONLY partial metering on Elan IIE camera for
best exp. results in P, Tv, Av and M modes.

Conclusion:
-----------
This is how I "added" my Custom Function No.12"
on my Elan IIE camera to switch off the auto.
flash output reduction to give excellent flash
pict. regardless of focal length used. (ie. for
my lens 35 to 105mm).

Pl feel free to contact me if u require any
further info. at: Mr Aji, "saip@lycos.com".


Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Purchased At:   Texas, USA

Similar Products Used:   Canon 277T Flash

Type of photography:   People



Reviews 1 - 5 (26 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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