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Canon EOS 5D II + Speedlite 430EX compatibility

Alberto Dall'Oglio , Sep 22, 2010; 06:23 a.m.

Hi, I own a Canon Speedlite 430EX and I used it with my Canon EOS 3 film camera. Now I purchased a Canon EOS 5D II camera and I'm wondering if the Speedlite 430EX is fully compatible with this new camera: in particular can I take advantages of the ETTL II technology or should I move to the 430EX II version? I ask this because I've noticed two strange things: first I have not the full control of the flash funcions via the camera LCD menu (some options are fixed and not selectable); second if I shoot with the 430EX and the EF 24-105 zoom lens I cannot see the distance information on the rear LCD flash display.
Thank you if you will share your knownledge and experience.


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Robin Sibson , Sep 22, 2010; 06:35 a.m.

I use a 550EX quite happily with my 5DII. The only limitation on a FF body is that most detailed flash controls have to be set on the flash itself, and cannot be set from the body. I assume the same will apply to any of the early EX flashes. E-TTL II is a body capability not a flash capability, so if you camera body supports E-TTL II (and the 5DII does, of course) then that's what you wil get with any EX flash.

On a 1.6-factor body the situation is a bit different because flashes of the 550EX vintage (not sure about the 430EX) don't understand about smaller sensor sizes and on auto zoom will set the head to what any particular focal length requires for FF. That's always "safe" but does not make full use of the available light.

Christian Rafael , Sep 22, 2010; 06:36 a.m.

the 430 ex is compatible but you need to control it via its own lcd, the version II lets you control it via the 5D2 lcd. IMHO i find it better to control them on the flash lcd rather than the cameras. much faster, and more intuitive. well maybe thats just me

Zac Williams , Sep 22, 2010; 09:23 a.m.

I use a 430EX with my 5D II. The only serious limitation that I'm aware of is I do not believe the flash can be set for second-curtain sync otherwise functionality is pretty much the same as with the 430EX II. With the newer models of body-controllable speedlights it is possible to access second curtain sync.

James (Jim) Johnson , Sep 22, 2010; 10:38 a.m.

I use a 420EX on my EOS3, 7e & 50D.

Inside the front cover of the 420EX's User's manual it lists what features the flash provides with either the Type A or Type B EOS Cameras. And will also show which EOS bodies are which at the time the flashes manual was printed.
My 50D was not in production when the 420EX was, but somewhere in the Cameras User's manual will tell you if your EOS is a Type A or B.
My 50D is a Type A, and in the 420EX's manual has separate chapters for Type A and Type B cameras. Only pages 9 to 30 and 39 to 53 apply to my Type A Cameras.

I recently had to "break out" the User's manuals to refresh myself. It had been awhile since I had done any indoor flash work, and I too was wondering if my ancient 420EX would be compatible, and what features I could use with my 50D.

All three of my EOS bodies are Type A, so I expect your 5D II is also.

It may take a little "in-depth" study of both the Cameras manual as well as the flashes manual to gain full advantage of all their features and CFn settings. It did for me!

Alberto Dall'Oglio , Sep 22, 2010; 11:00 a.m.

Thank you guys!
Zac: why don't you think the flash can be set for 2nd curtain sync? On the flash body there is a specific button to do this... I agree that the selectable items in the camera menu are limited.

James (Jim) Johnson , Sep 22, 2010; 11:16 a.m.

I did set my 50D & 420EX to 2nd curtain sync (in the 50D's menu's) for a few shots just last week (in experiementation). So I expect your 430EX and 5DII would also.

Dr Kevin Mills , Sep 22, 2010; 11:33 a.m.

Nope it doesn't, it's greyed out. Bummer.

M. P. , Sep 22, 2010; 05:21 p.m.

I had a Canon 580 EX 1 and it did not work so well on my 5D2. When I upgraded to the 580EX II I was able to control flash from camera and it seems to wqork a llot better. The 580 EXI was constantly under exposing the shots I never figured out why.

Puppy Face , Sep 22, 2010; 05:30 p.m.

I use a "vintage" 430EX with my 5DII and it works perfectly. True, not all functions are accessible via on-board camera menus. However, you can set them on the flash so no biggie. The feature I use most--FEC--works with camera controls so I'm a happy camper. I don't think it's worthwhile to upgrade to the the 430EXII unless your 430EX breaks or you decide you need 2 units.

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