Home | Reviews | Flash and Lighting | Flashes | Canon

Canon Speedlite 550EX Flashes

4.5 star rating
                      4.5 / 5 (52 Reviews)
MSRP : $525.00

  • DedicationDedicated
    Guide Number180 @ ISO 100 (105mm.)
    Flashe TypeRegular Flash
    Zoom Range24 - 105 mm.
    Mount TypeHot Shoe Mount
    BounceWith Bounce
    Min. Recycle Time0.1 Seconds
    Power Source4 x AA Batteries
    TTL MeteringWith TTL Metering
    Weight14.2 oz.
    Product ID21033317

Product Description

Speedlite 550EX is the main component of a new flash system designed together with the EOS-3 SLR camera. It provides full compatibility with the new area AF technology employed by the EOS-3 and refined E-TTL autoflash for improved performance. Other main features include a maximum Guide Number of 180 (ISO 100, ft.), an AF-assist beam which links to the EOS-3's 45-point area AF, FP Flash (high speed sync), FE lock (a flash version of AE lock), and FEB (Flash Exposure Bracketing). The Speedlite 550EX also incorporates a built-in wireless transmitter, which can control other Speedlite 550EX units set up as slave units.

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 5 (52 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Don Brandt a Intermediate

Date Reviewed: July 7, 2009

Strengths:    Great control and power! Reasonably price now!

Weaknesses:    Large & Heavy.

Bottom Line:   
I am an intermediate camera user. When I bought my Canon Rebel XS, the built in flash was useless. I noticed that with the proper daylight lighting my photos were great. But if I did not have proper lighting my photos were horrible. Bought Canon 550EX Speedlite flash and read instruction book thoroughly. Wow has this helped my photography. But you must read the instructions. I recommend this flash to anyone with my skills or lesser. I have been in the printing industry for 35 years so I have an extremely good eye for quality photos. It is a little large and heavy but is more than powerful for my purposes. Great manual control. Can be purchased quite reasonably now.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   6-10 years

Price Paid:    $195.00

Purchased At:   Ebay

Similar Products Used:   Canon 380EX Speedlite.

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by John a Professional

Date Reviewed: December 12, 2007

Weaknesses:    Power

Bottom Line:   
Used flash and was underexposing pictures, not enough power. I sold it for a loss to get rid of it, I will stay with my Nissin 6000AF and manually set the power as it has been a work horse for thousands of shots without a letdown. I would not recommend the flash.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $314.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Type of photography:   Sports

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Photogzzz a Professional

Date Reviewed: November 11, 2004

Strengths:    Powerful, accurate, wireless capabilities

Weaknesses:    Expensive, but well worth it

Bottom Line:   
The speedlite 550 ex has delivered great results thus far. I use it in tandum with an EOS 10D and the Sto-fen Omni Bounce which delivers great results. Although I have shot for professionally years, this is my first experience with TTL or ETTL. The old tried and true way of hand held meters, flash to suject distance and balancing the flash with the ambient light was the way I learned and practiced the craft with my medium format equipment."This is a useful skill to know"..."Although one can get quite speedy with the process, One "CANNOT" keep up with the speed and accuracy of the 550 ex". So far the 550 ex is nailing the balance dead on. Of course it took the normal process of getting to know the unit and the camera it's attatched to..."Oh, and reading the manual was a great help". But all kidding aside, I have found the flash to be an invaluble tool. Another very cool aspect of the 550 ex is the ability to function as a master unit in a wireless, multi flash set up. It's seamless to achieve studio type lighting anywhere with another 550 ex, 420 ex or the ST-E2 transmitter."No more nasty cords"....."Free at last, free at last" For those of us old guys practicing the art of photographic expression....PROGRESS IS GOOD, IT IS OUR FRIEND!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   21+ years

Price Paid:    $314.00

Purchased At:   17th Street Photo

Similar Products Used:   Vivitar, Sunpac

Type of photography:   Other

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Michael J Hoffman a Expert

Date Reviewed: April 24, 2004

Strengths:    Enough juice for a large room
Total user control if needed
Works as advertised in auto mode
Perfect flash exposures every time

Weaknesses:    Expensive (but worth every penny)
Large (but with a purpose)

Bottom Line:   
This product delivers on its promise. When used in conjunction with any Canon camera which supports E-TTL flash metering, flash photography is as easy as point and shoot. Exposures are perfectly balanced between flash and ambient light. The flash works equally well with or without a diffuser. The flash can - and mine has - provide perfect exposures in nearly complete darkness. I photographed a colleague's retirement dinner at which a slide show of his life and times was presented. The only two sources of light were my flash and the projection screen. I arranged my compositions to include my fried and the screen which was about 25 feet to his left and my right. The IR AF assist beam locked focus perfectly every time, and every exposure was perfectly balanced casting the guest of honor in soft light and allowing the ambient light from the projection screen to be exposed perfectly. I bounced the flash off a low, white drop-ceiling. I also had a Sto-Fen OmniBounce diffuser attached. The photographs were perfectly exposed. This flash works well with both digital and film bodies supporting E-TTL; the 10D/550EX combo seems to work best with flash exposure compensation set to -1/2 for general flash photography. I know how to get balanced flash exposures manually and did for years with a Vivitar 285 and the Canon 420EZ. This flash achieves the same results, just completely effortlessly.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   B&H

Similar Products Used:   Canon 420EZ
Vivitar 285HV

Type of photography:   People

Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Ward a Professional

Date Reviewed: October 29, 2003

Strengths:    Easy to use

Weaknesses:    No bounce card within the flash as with the Nikons
Infrared slave sensor instead of an optical slave (I wish it had an option for both)
When used with the quantum turbo, the power cord goes to the front and gets in the way of the infrared sensor - quantum could redesign the cord.
Expensive for what I feel you get out of this flash.

Bottom Line:   
After many years shooting Nikon, I switched to Canon for their 1ds. I must say I do like their cameras after getting use to the new system, however, I beleive their flashes have alot to be desired. I have found that the flash doesn't always hit on the right exposure in ETTL, something you can live with if you know how to adjust. I have also decided that the build quality is not as good as the Nikon flashes. I plan on buying a Quantum t2d as a result of my experience with this flash.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   11-20 years

Price Paid:    $330.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   Canon 420ex
Nikon SB-26, SB-28dx
Sunpak 611 handle mount
Vivitar 283, 285

Type of photography:   People

Reviews 1 - 5 (52 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Speedlite 550EX doesn't turn on

I have changed batteries in my Speedlite 550EX but when I mount it on my Canon 20D it doesn't turn on. Please help! Problem solved. Corrosion in the battery compartment.Read More »

Canon Speedlite 550EX

Is it possible to use the Canon 550EX speedlite with the Canon Rebel XTI Digital Camera?Read More »

Canon Speedlite 550EX HELP?

OK, so I'm an idiot ??? But how do I adjust the Canon Speedlite 550EX to get as LITTLE flash out of it as possible?Read More »

Read More »

Holiday Gift Guide 2013

Check out our holiday gift suggestions for these categories!

See All Holiday Gift Guide coverage - Click Here »


PhotographyReview Videos