Flash for my 20D - now or wait?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by test1, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    after moving from EOS 3 to 20D 3+ years ago and noticing that my old SunPak
    flash was incompatible with new camera I didn't bother with buying new flash.
    Now I'm pondering the idea of finally buying portable flash (I have also couple
    Multiblitz strobes but they are not substitute for the purpose) and one thing is
    holding me back.

    Speedlite 430EX (this is one I'm thinking about) is already few years old and so
    is flash technology introduced with digital EOS bodies. Considering that in 2-3
    years I'd also like to upgrade 20D to some full-frame camera if they fall under
    1500 eur, is there high risk that I'll have to upgrade flash again. In other
    words do you think it's reasonable to expect that in 2-3 years Canon will make
    430EX obsolete and incompatible with new cameras? Are there some new flash
    technology/units coming within a year?

    P.S.: photography is just a hobby for me so I have to restrict the budget as
    much as necessary to pay my bills therefore upgrading every few years isn't
    really an option for me.


  2. Get the 580EX to be compatible with the larger sensor arrays in the 5D or Mark III series. I believe the 430EX is better suited to the your 20D now though.
  3. No one knows what Canon will do with flash technology re making present units obsolete. If it were me, I'd just get the 430EX. Or get an old auto thyristor unit that is already "obsolete". They work fine on the EOS digitals and there is no risk.
  4. In the same situation, I went the 580EX route (now upgraded to all 580EX II's) - no regrets.
  5. The main upgrades are to E-TTL algorithms, and this is found in the camera body. So the
    430EX will work fine with the latest E-TTL algorithms. I'm afraid flash technology evolves
    much slower than DSLR CMOS technology. The main benefit of the 580EX II is the weather
    sealing, higher GN, master wireless status and AF assist to match the AF array on the 1D
  6. Every EX-series flash model ever made, from the very first 380EX around 1995 to the present, is compatible with every EOS body, film or digital, from the start of the whole EOS family in the late 1980s to the present. By "compatible" I mean that the unit fires properly and works with whatever flash metering system the body uses (E-TTL or E-TTL II for most bodies since the mid-1990s, and TTL for the rest). Not all combinations of body and flash provide full support for AF assist beams, for instance, and older flash units/bodies don't include support for newer features like white balance information, auto zoom position compensation for crop-sensor bodies, wireless multiple-flash configurations, or setting flash functions from the camera body's menu system.
    If you want to put the flash on your camera and have it fire when you tell it to, using the body's flash metering system to adjust flash output, the 430EX will be fine (as will other EX-series flash units). If you want to use manual power settings, which the 430EX supports, that will work, too. I'd be very surprised if it doesn't work with whatever full-frame bodies Canon introduces 2-3 years from now. Ditto for 5 years from now. There may be some bells and whistles that those bodies support but the 430EX doesn't, but I'd expect every feature you see listed in the 430EX literature to work properly with those bodies.
  7. Interesting to hear about E-TTL (not II) - my old SunPak PZ4000 is E-TTL (or so I believe) and still works fine on my EOS 3, but it wouldn't even fire on 20D. That's my main concern - tomorrow comes EOS 5D Mk N in my price range but won't with 430EX. Or is it different story with Canon and third-party flashes where older Canon are compatible with new bodies (not new flash compatible with old bodies) while older third-party flashes becoming incompatible?

    I don't need power of 580EX, neither master capability, and it's outside of my price range.
  8. I'd guess your Sunpak is just plain TTL compatible.

  9. Are you sure it's E-TTL and not just TTL? The EOS 3 supports both, so it would work on that body either way, but every even remotely recent EOS DSLR (anything since roughly 2000) supports only E-TTL (or E-TTL II, the only differences between the two being in the body, not in the flash). A number of third-party EOS-dedicated flash units these days support E-TTL, but that's a relatively recent thing; before DSLRs became widespread consumer items, very few third-party flash units supported E-TTL.
    A quick Google search for sunpak pz4000 didn't turn up any definitive information (most of the hits are online stores and the like), but I did spot a couple of references either to this flash supporting only TTL or to this flash having compatibility problems with DSLRs.
  10. Ok, this makes me to feel a bit easier - at least looks like when new technology introduced then directly predcessing is still supporting. Then one part of the decision is done :)

    Thanks a lot for your help guys!
  11. The Sunpak flash is TTL only. It does not have ETTL capability. While it is true that every Canon flash can handle every preceding Canon flash metering system, you still have some risk. Look what happened to all the EZ flashes that became obsolete once ETTL was introduced (and Canon did not build the old, Canon TTL into the new digital bodies). The idea that you can buy a flash and have it compatible with all future cameras is probably not practical. As I mentioned above, if you really want to have a flash that can probably be used (if not with all the new bells and whistles and total integration) for a long time, get one that has an auto thyristor capability along with whatever is current for the camera you have. Auto thyristor isn't dependent upon the camera body. It is old technology. But it works with everything from your EOS 3 to a 20D to a 5D, and probably with any other camera models coming down the line. Some of the higher end Metz flashes have both, and can be purchased used. The 580EX II has both (the Metz auto thyristor is more integrated and sophisticated).
  12. G`day, I have a sunpak bz2400 works ok on 20d, same woth 1/2 dozen other flashes incl, Metz toshiba canon 300tl`s, all have a sensor on front for correct exposure. but work best old ways set `f` and iso on flash to match the camera and use the guides.

    The EX`s are fully ettl and work best for simplicity. I took a set of multi blitz on a job yeaterday and cramped for room, used 580ex2 and a 430EX as slave instead. the 430EX is very capable with `m` as well and there is no problem with it FF, it covers enough focus poibts, only 1 stop short of 580 just a amaller norrower strobe.:)

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