Canon 430ex II Vs 600ex-RT

Canon 430EX II versus 600EX RT.  Which one is the best Canon Speedlite Flash option for you?

One of the most common questions I get asked when someone is looking to buy a Canon Speedlite flash for the first time is whether they need the 600 EX RT or its baby brother the 430EX II.The first thing I ask them is what they are using the flash for because their answer to this question alone will usually determine which flash is best for them.

If you are buying an external flash for the first time what are you using it for? There are many answers to this question so I will go through the most popular.

1. I will be using it for general indoor flash photography because my built-in flash is to weak and does not provide very flattering light – This reason leads me to recommend the 430EX II which has more than enough power to handle most social photography including family photos, parties, gatherings etc and also allows the photographer to bounce the light off ceilings for more flattering results.

2. I am a wedding photographer and I need flash to fill in shadows on peoples faces in bright sunny conditions and as my main light source in dimly lit wedding chapels or receptions – This is a “no-brainer” and will require the more powerful 600EX RT. Its extra power enables it to be more effective in bright sunny conditions especially when photographing large groups of people with wide angle lenses as well as providing extra power for bouncing off high ceilings in chapels and receptions. Its faster recycling time and excellent build quality also make it the perfect choice for professionals as well as its ability to be taken off camera and triggered with another 600EX RT or the ST-E3 which uses radio waves (30 metre range anywhere) instead of infrared (5 metre range line of sight)

3. I am a portrait photographer and I want use flash outdoors but cannot afford expensive professional flash equipment and also do not want the added size and weight of those systems. – This again is a job for the more powerful 600EX RT which when combined with another 600EX RT or the ST-E3 radio trigger provides an uninterrupted range of 30 metres and allows the use of flash features including ETTL, flash exposure compensation, flash ratio control and High Speed Sync.

The 600ex’s extra power will also come in handy when using flash modifiers such as umbrellas and softboxes.

In the end you can play it safe and just purchase the 600EX RT which is Canons top of the line flash and will provide you with years of service and will not let you down. The 430 EX II is however considerably cheaper than the 600EX RT which if you are only using it occasionally for social gatherings or as a backup will do just about everything the 600EX RT can do and can also be triggered off camera with the pop up flash on Canons mid to top end range of crop sensor DSLRs.

Just remember when using either of these flashes to use only HIGH QUALITY ALKALINE BATTERIES OR ENELOOP RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES and never leave your batteries in the flash when storing it. Never use Heavy Duty batteries because they are for low drain appliances such as radios and remote controls, not for high drain appliances like flashes.

Visit Canon’s website to see all of their Speedlights side by side.

Canon Speedlites on Cameras Direct