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Canon Speedlite 430EX II

Canon Speedlite 430EX II

Are you considering a Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash? You want to know if it's any good, now that the "upgrade" 430EX III-RT has been added to the extensive line-up of Canon Speedlites. Now you have the 430EX, the 430EX II and the 430EX III-RT.

The Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash is still capable of giving you great lighting and performance because of its bounce/tilt capabilities, quick recycling times, manual settings, and high power output. It's 20% faster recycling time than the original 430EX, has a more durable metal mounting foot, and and much better user interface experience.

With that said, the 430EX II has fallen out of favor significantly with the release of the 3rd version, the radio transmission/optical trigger capable 430EX III-RT. Look for a future review on the 430EX III soon, but for now. browse just a few of the highly positive reviews on Amazon.

The 430EX  flashes are Canon's mid-range shoe mount flash, the little brother of the 580EX-II and the bigger brother of the 270EX II. Sometimes it's tough being the middle child. In this case the 430EX II shines on its own. Many consider it to be the best Canon Speedlite because of the features and its smaller price tag.   

It is a Top Seller on Amazon for a lot of reasons. 

Best seller Amazon mini banner

 Canon designed it to give full support with the entire range of Canon-made DSLR and "G" series cameras. The Speedlite 430EX II is smaller than the Canon 580EX II and is larger than the Canon 320EX. Similar to how Sears and other companies often offers a Good, Better and Best version.

This would be the Canon Speedlite that is in the better category. It's so loaded with useful and practical features and an affordable price, that many photographers consider it be the standout in the Canon Speedlite line.

It is an improved version, but not a quantum leap in functionality over the original Canon 430EX, perhaps a similar improvement as the Canon Speedlite 580EX II is over the Speedlite 580EX.

It's guide number is 141 (at ISO 100 of course). Compared to it's big brother the 580EX II, that's only about 1 f-stop less power. It weighs in at about 3/4 of a pound whereas the 580EX II weighs about 1 pound.

The biggest advantage of the 430EX II is the price. The investment is only about half as much to get this speedlite versus the 580EX II. Many photographers are happy to pay only half the price and lose out on a little power and a few super-advanced features that they may not use anyway.

Powering the Canon Speedlite 430EX-II

The 430EX II does not have a jack for an external power source (plug in to AC current or large external battery).  It would be totally inadequate to use this speedlite to photography a sports league or a wedding.

Fresh alkaline batteries are a must if you are shooting a significant number of photos or need a real quick recycle time.  Using a high ISO setting helps reduce power consumption dramatically.

For professional shooters, the Speedlite 580EX II comes with a jack for external power, a big plus for super fast recycling or long photo shoots. 

The Canon Speedlite 430EX II has all of the features for using it as a master or as a slave in multiple flash set-ups.  Manual setting and remote, wireless functions are all explained in the 40 page manual that comes with the flash.

The 430EX II swivels 180 degrees to the left and 90 degrees to the right and tilts up 90 degrees as well.  It has a convenient, slide-out, wide-angle diffuser built into the head.

Canon 430Ex II Mounting Lever

I am surprised that it took shoe-mount flash manufacturers so long to come up with a better mounting system. The lever on the Canon 430EX II is a smart design improvement.

Photo of LCD screen and controls on back of Canon 430EX II Flash

As a side note, I confess that in addition to being a Canon Camera Geek, I am also a Amazon Geek as well. I spend a lot of time reading reviews on camera review web sites, particularly Amazon.

This is true for camera equipment as well as many purchase I make and the reviews of the

Canon Speedlite 430EX II on Amazon

are extremely high. Reviews of any product, whether they are Canon Camera reviews or reviews of other camera accessories written by buyers of the product are very valuable. I am a big fan of Amazon because of their excellent customer service reputation.

It is easy to get caught up in the technical comparisons of cameras, lenses and other accessories. Remember to pay attention to the practical comparisons of the features that matter most to you.

Whatever you do, whatever Canon camera accessories you buy, make sure to have fun with your camera. Life is supposed to be enjoyable. Have a blast and be playful with your photography!

At this point in time, if someone held a gun to my head and forced me choose just one Canon flash unit to have, it would be the Canon speedlite 430EX III-RT.

I really do like my mini Canon Speedlite 270EX II and I like the power of my Canon 580EX, but the 430EX II is a nice compromise and you can get them cheaply. It has plenty of power, is loaded with features and practical functionality and is a comfortable size too.

Keep on shooting your Canon!


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Author Bruce Lovelace
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Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Join the tribe of followers on YouTube. Visit the Canon Geek FaceBook Page. Bruce also runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.

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Back view of Speedlite 430EX-II flashBack view of 430EX-II

Shoe-mounted Canon 430EX-II SpeedliteShoe Mount

See the current ratings of the 430EX II on Amazon

This page may contain affiliate links that pay me a small commission. There is no cost to you. Review the affiliate statement at the very bottom of this page if you want more information.


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