Canon Speedlite 420EX Flashes

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Speedlite 420EX

It's fully E-TTL compatible, and reverts to standard TTL operation when used on older EOS bodies or the T90. The fully swiveling bounce head zooms automatically over a range of 24mm-105mm. Most impressively, its Wireless E-TTL compatibility permits it to function as a "slave" unit, triggered by a 550EX; ST-E2, or MR-14EX.

User Reviews (39)

Showing 1-10 of 39  
racermd   Casual [Dec 17, 2005]
Strength:

High output compared to built-in flashes. Better control of flash strength and direction. Helps most of the recent Canon SLR bodies auto-focus, even complete darkness. Doesn't look/feel bulky.

Weakness:

Powered only by 4x AA batteries - no option for external power or high-capacity battery packs. Battery door looks and feels flimsy.

Who should get one of these? Anyone with a recent Canon SLR body (digital or film) and needs just a bit more control or power than the built-in flash can provide. To be fair, the 430EX has replaced the 420EX, and bargains can be had on the older 550EX (with many more features). But there is no better bang-for-buck if you can find a 420EX. Therefore, it makes an excellent "starter" flash for those aspiring SLR shooters. If you can find one, buy it! I've typically avoided flash photography and have preferred natural-light shots whenever possible. However, it's impossible to avoid using a flash sometimes, and the 420 is a great way to get light onto a subject with more control than any built-in flash. I would up finding the last unit my local National Camera had in stock (a display unit) and picked it up for about $200 in October '05.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Available At:
rpcrowe   Expert [Sep 04, 2005]
Strength:

Consistant results Easy on batteries Light weight / small size Good fill flash capability Easy to use Fast recycle Hi-speed sync Not a bad price

Weakness:

None I don't try to use this beyond its capabilities. After all, it is a relatively small camera mounted flash - not a studio strobe or a powerful handle mounted flash.

Excellent little unit. Consistant results with both my 10D and my 350D. Great tilt and swivel capability. Easy on batteries. I purchased the unit instead of the 550ex (580ex was not available at the time) because of its weight and size. I frequently use fill-flash so I have the unit on my camera most of the time. It fits great on my 10D and doesn't overwhelm the tiny 350D. I love the results when I add the Sto-Fen diffuser. Even straight on - it doesn't cause my dog's eyes to glow (but, the built-in flash doesn't either)

Customer Service

N/A for this unit but, Canon Customer Service has been good to me.

Similar Products Used: Vivitar 283 & 285, Sunpak 120 and a multitude of other strobes over 40 or so years.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Photogzzz   Professional [Jan 01, 2005]
Strength:

Wireless, full E-TTL capabilities, powerful, accurate consistant exposures... "It's a Canon"

Weakness:

No manual mode, exposure compensation can only be accessed through the wireless transmission of a master flash or by a camera which incorperates flash exposure compensation in it. Sorry, Digital Rebel owners, you may want to look at the 550ex to access this missing and much used feature.

A couple of words on the Canon Speedlite 420ex..."WAY SWEET"! The 420ex was recently added to my system which includes the Speedlite 550ex and an EOS 10D. It was purchased primarily to use in a wireless flash set up for portraits. After doing some extensive research, "I'm convinced this was a good choice".The added expense of an additional 550ex pointed me in the direction of the 420ex, which was nearly 1/2 the cost. The Speedlite 420ex has worked flawlessly in concert with the 550ex. Both flash units are equiped with Sto-fen Omni Bounce diffusers. "These little fella's are extremley useful and reasonably priced". The best results hands down has been with the 420ex mounted on a light stand, shooting through a translucent umbrella with the (550ex)master flash set to the "OFF" position..."WOW"...good bye flat, unflattering lighting". The 550's exposure compensation set at (+1/2 stop) seems to be the magical formula for clean exposures. Some other cool features are the ability to set up high speed sync, flash exposure lock, flash exposure bracketing and of course flash exposure compensation as mentioned earlier. All information is communicated from the master(550ex) to the slave unit(420ex).Just turn on the 420ex, set the control switch to "slave" and you are on your way to some great, portable, consistant and reliable flash shots,..."Very Cool". In closing, I'd like to add that the Speedlight 420ex is a great stand alone flash for fully automatic E-TTL flash pictures. As a note of caution: It's important to ensure your camera body incorperates flash exposure compensation. This feature is "not" built into the 420ex and can only be accessed through your the camera body. If your camera body does "not" support this feature, you may want to consider the 550ex which offers this feature built into the flash. Either way you do have options. I often use the 420ex for candid shots around the house and at family gatherings with great results. This certainly saves the wear and tear on the 550. But in my opinion, the 420's true calling is definetly in the "slave unit wireless" arena, "There, it truley shines".

Customer Service

none required

Similar Products Used: Canon Speedlite 550ex
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
jesusdelallata   Intermediate [Oct 29, 2004]
Strength:

Great Value Works perfect with all 7 focus points Looks great on the camera

This is a terrific flash. I've used it on my Rebel Ti and on my Elan 7n at I'm always happy with the results. For those of you that only use the built-in flash, you need one of these. You'll be amazed with the difference. I've used it in various lighting situation, including almost complete darkness, and the photos come out perfect. Don't think too hard...go get one. You won't regret it.

Customer Service

none needed

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Stephen Louw   Intermediate [Apr 03, 2004]
Strength:

Ettl works well with EOS 30 Well priced

Weakness:

Battery cover poorly designed

Great with EOS 30 (ELan 7). Works with 7 focussing points. I use it mostly for fill-flash in nature photography and with a -1 compensation it works very well indeed. Size-weight about right.

Customer Service

Not needed

Similar Products Used: Sunpack
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
Ryan   Intermediate [Jan 11, 2004]
Strength:

Bright flash, and compact. Works very well with canon's 7 autofocus point cameras. Tilts and swivels so that you can bounce the light in nearly any direction. Excellent exposure and no red eye, almost every time, and no harsh shadows thanks to bouncing.

Weakness:

I know this has been said in 1000 other reviews, but the plastic hinge on the battery door really is very cheap and flimsy. I have fairly low standards for build quality, but this is lower than that. Just avoid changing batteries in really cold weather. Price: This is the reason I have gone without a good flash for the past 5 years, I used to consider $170 for a light source outrageous, especially since a flash was already included in my elan 7e and rebel 2000 right? Wrong, but price still may deter many. No wireless transmitter. Can function as a wireless slave however. must buy wireless transmitter which costs nearly as much as 420ex or 550ex to get a master transmitter.

Do not underestimate the power of this unit to improve your photography. I've been heavily into photography for the past 5 years (at least as much as my budget will allow) but this was the first external flash I have owned. First things first: If you are a 10d, elan 7, rebel 2000/ti user or use any other canon camera with the seven point autofocus, this camera is for you. The more expensive 540ex actually does not work as well with the autofocus on these cameras, because it is optimized for the 45 point autofocus of the eos 3/1v. That said, the Near IR assist works wonders on your 7 point autofocus system. I have no problem focusing with a slow f5.6 lens in my darkroom or basement dark wall 30 feet away. Moving on to operation, you will find that this flash is extremely easy to use, but lacks the manual control of the 550ex. One of the things that amazed me most about this flash is that redeye is completely gone, even in head on shots where the flash is not bounced. Bouncing the flash delivers excellently exposed results when used with an eTTl compatable camera (have not tried with canon's older non eTTl's). Overall I would say that this flash is powerful enough for most of my needs, it's guide number is 138ft with 100asa, about a half stop dimmer than the 550ex. What amazed me was that I could bounce the flash off of the wall behind me, yes point the flash backwards, and still get enough exposure. One handy feature this flash has, is that once you have taken a picture a green light will light up to tell you if you were close enough to your subject to get a proper exposure. This confirmation that your flash exposure is correct is invaluable in my mind.

Customer Service

My mom dropped my A70 which broke the lens. Canon was very nice and replaced the lens component free of charge under normal warranty.

Similar Products Used: All my EOS equiptment: Elan 7e, Rebel 2000, EF 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 II, EF 75-300mm f4-5.6 III, EF 50mm f1.8 II. Other canon Equiptment: A70, Canonet G-III
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Dave   Intermediate [Jan 08, 2004]
Strength:

Swivel head (2 point motion) E-TTL feature Auto zoom Quick sync for flash exposure FE lock for unique shots Full power flash option AF assist spots, uses both horizontal and vertical red lines for AF assist Very easy to use for quick shots without the fuss Long (138'+)/short range flash

Weakness:

Slave mode limited to Canon only dedicated senders (other flashes can’t trigger this) No 45 degree lock for head up/down motion Not a true 360 rotate head (160 degree rotate left - good, 90 degree rotate right – leaves a 90 degree position unusable)

After using this flash, the Speedlite 420ex is an excellent upgrade over other 3rd party flashes. The E-TTL system is a unique thing to these flashes and allows even more accurate modes of exposure, without this feature you end up fumbling with guides and wasting time. At first I was worried with the "auto" part of the flash, as in the fully auto-zoom feature and no manual control what so ever. The flash appears to coexist with the type of lens you have depending if the flash communicates correctly to the body. On my EOS D300(rebel) I have a 28-200mm Canon lens and it tracks the flash zoom with the lens zoom. You basically need at least a 24-105mm zoom lens to take full effect with this flash using this observation. I am not able to test a 28-70mm lens (to see if it maxes at 70mm for the flash zoom) since I don’t have one. Each picture is expose checked by the flash. There is a light on the back letting you know if the exposure was good or not (granted the user doesn’t look at the histogram on review if they have a digital camera) Overall this is an impressive flash that amazes me with the automation used. The flash seems to expose images correctly and the AF assist lamps cover all 7 focus points on the EOS cameras.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
rezasutopo   Casual [Dec 28, 2003]
Strength:

very good in overall value

Weakness:

see my review

I used 420ex with my canon eos 300d (digital rebel). It produced a very good pictures. But sometimes the picture went underexposed if i took a white object, like peoples with white shirts. Since my camera doesn't have a flash exposure compensation, i often used an FE lock to correct this problem, but it sometimes get overexposed. And the method is very time consuming (cause i took pictures of a very mobile people, i couldn't tell them to wait, and sometimes the pre-flash from FE lock tricked them that the pictures had been taken) I need an opinion for my problem. Thank you p.s : sorry for my bad english language.

Similar Products Used: never use similar product like this
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
  Professional [Sep 04, 2003]
Strength:

It can do the same as the faboulous EX 550 for half the price and size! Its pure joy to work with and you get stunning results truly recomandablebyt my favorite is stil the good old Vivitar 283/285

Weakness:

see above

I Think This is one of the best flash you can get fot the EOS system at all,a new 55o ex is too bulky,a 380 ex is also ok,in other words you get lot of flash for the money though whether youre a pro or amateur. The electronic auto switch is noisy and a bummer as well as the on/off auto system.Otherwise i dont really have any complain about this,except i sometimes miss a manual function!maybe it comes in the new 650 Ex??

Customer Service

none

Similar Products Used: Vivitar sunpaks nikon as others
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Available At:
jeepin   Intermediate [Sep 04, 2003]
Strength:

Packs a good punch. Able to bounce and swivel.

Weakness:

No LCD screen, but it's not really needed

Was looking for a cheaper alternative to the 550ex. The 420 was about 1/2 as much. It has plenty of power to light up almost anything. I looked at other brands, but decided to stick with the Canon to ensure full compatability with my cameras. Overall a good buy. Haven't used the built in flash since.

Similar Products Used: 0
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 39  
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