Canon will introduce a new flagship model in its EX Speedlite range: the Canon
Speedlite 580EX. Now Canon's most powerful flash unit, the Speedlite 580EX has
a guide number of 58 (m/ISO 100 at 105mm) and an adjustable angle of coverage
suitable for wide lenses to 14mm.
Replacing the popular Canon Speedlite 550EX, the Speedlite 580EX improves on
many specifications of its predecessor, and includes new features to improve
digital EOS SLR flash results. These include transfer of colour temperature
data to optimise the white balance compensation, and auto-adjustment of the
zoom flash position to best compliment the sensor size of the camera to which
the unit is attached.
Circuitry modifications improve on the Speedlite 550EX recycle times by approximately
25%. An ultra-bright 3-LED configuration focus assist-beam has been designed
to be compatible with all focus points within the frame of all EOS AF systems,
including the new EOS 20D 9-point AF. The unit has improved exposure stability,
with a tolerance of just ±0.3 stops.
New features for full control
An intuitive and ergonomic interface includes a new select dial for fast and
direct control over settings such as flash exposure compensation. A bounce lock
release button provides immediate control over the bounce head angle. Fourteen
custom functions can be pre-set for fast access to commonly used settings. Despite
high power and short recycling times, the unit is small and lightweight. A new
left-right 180 degrees bounce allows either left or right vertical camera orientation
and a retractable catch light reflector is built-in for portrait photography.
The Speedlite 580EX is a key component of the integrated flash system for both
analogue and digital SLR cameras, and is fully compatible with the distance
linked E-TTL II system found on recent EOS cameras. It serves as a wireless
master to compatible slave units (with up to four channels and three slave groups),
or as a slave to other Speedlites or transmitters such as the ST-E2.
White balance compensation
Slight variations in a flash guns voltage and brightness can destabilise
white balance in respective frames during continuous shooting. The Speedlite
580EX compensates for this by transmitting colour temperature information from
the flash to the camera. The camera then uses this information to optimise the
white balance setting for each individual image. This function works with the
camera set to Auto WB or Flash Mode.
Matching sensor size
When mounted to the latest EOS digital cameras such as the EOS-1D Mark II or
EOS 20D cameras, the Speedlite 580EX receives sensor size information (full
frame, APS-C or APS-H) from the camera. The flashs zoom position automatically
adjusts accordingly, thus optimising flash coverage and reducing the amount
of charge required per shot. The Speedlite 580EX distributes a consistent, even
spread of light throughout the entire zoom range.
Fully featured for full control
Features include first and second curtain flash synchronisation, flash exposure
bracketing (FEB), exposure compensation (±3 stops in 1/3 stop increments)
and manual adjustment of flash output (22 levels).
New battery pack
Developed with working professional photographers in mind, the new external
compact battery pack CPE3 improves flash recycle times significantly and
increases to approximately 432 the number of firings before batteries need to
be replaced. The pack takes optional rapid-change magazines that can be loaded
with eight AA-size batteries prior to a shoot to ensure fast, smooth transitions
from one battery set to the next important in critical shooting situations
or to keep up momentum in studio environments. The CPE3 battery pack is
also compatible with the Speedlite 550EX, MR-14EX and MT-24EX.
New L bracket
A new optional Speedlite Bracket SB-E1 allows the flash unit to be mounted to
one side of the camera. Designed specifically for press and wedding photographers,
it removes the harsh unnatural shadows that can appear to one side of the subject
when shooting in portrait orientation with camera-mounted flash. Flash batteries
are replaceable without removing the unit from the bracket.