Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography

PhotoNotes Compatibility Lookup - Canon EOS 5D and Canon Speedlite 430EX II.

This page outlines compatibility information between the digital camera and flash unit that you specified. You can also look up more detailed specifications on the Canon Speedlite 430EX II if you like.

Don’t forget that you can also consult my article on EOS flash photography if you want any of the terms or concepts here explained or elucidated.

Basic compatibility.

This combination is wholly compatible.

You have an E-TTL II (type A) digital camera with an E-TTL flash unit. You also get full support for wireless E-TTL flash ratios and other advanced features.

Description of the Canon Speedlite 430EX II.

The Canon Speedlite 430EX II was introduced in 2008 and is still a current product in the lineup. It’s a standard hotshoe-mounted flash unit intended for general purpose applications.

The 430EX II is of medium size and weight, (though still fairly large compared to small consumer EOS cameras) yet packs a useful range of features. It includes manual controls, a back panel LCD screen and full wireless E-TTL slave capabilities. A small plastic stand is included for standalone wireless slave operation. Its main limitations are power output (the 580EX II is more powerful) and it lacks certain high-end features like strobe. Do not confuse this unit with the similarly named, but totally different and much older, Speedlite 430EZ or this unit's immediate predecessor, the 430EX. The mark II version of this flash adds a metal hotshoe, faster and quieter recycling, and menu control with DIGIC III and later cameras over the 430EX.

Automated flash metering.

The Canon EOS 5D supports E-TTL II flash metering but not TTL or A-TTL. It is a type A digital camera body.

The Canon Speedlite 430EX II supports TTL, E-TTL and E-TTL II flash metering.

In summary, this combination gives you E-TTL II automated flash metering. (it doesn’t give you plain E-TTL since E-TTL II is essentially a superset of E-TTL)

Guide number (power output).

The flash unit has a zooming flash head which can move internally to adjust for the lens focal length. Control over the zoom position is both manual and automatic. The zoom range is from 24-105 mm, with zoom detents (stops) at 24, 28, 35, 50, 70, 80 and 105mm. As this is a full-frame digital SLR you don’t need to worry about flash zoom compensation.

The unit’s guide number (provided in metres, not feet, for ISO 100) varies depending on the zoom head settings.

  • At 14mm (with the flip-down diffuser in place) the guide number is 11.
  • At 24mm the guide number is 25.
  • At 28mm the guide number is 27.
  • At 35mm the guide number is 31.
  • At 50mm the guide number is 34.
  • At 70mm the guide number is 37.
  • At 80mm the guide number is 40.
  • At 105mm the guide number is 43.
  • Flash head movement.

    The flash unit’s head can both tilt and swivel with a handy single catch to release the tilt and swivel motions (most tilt/swivel flash units have two catches). The head has a flip-out diffuser panel which can diffuse light up to a focal length of 14mm.

    Flash exposure compensation (FEC).

    The flash unit has flash exposure compensation (FEC) controls on the back panel. Note that these controls override any FEC settings on the camera body.

    Autofocus assist.

    The flash unit’s red autofocus assist light covers all nine autofocus points on the camera. The AF assist light has a range of 0.8-7 metres.

    Wireless E-TTL.

    This flash unit is capable of acting as a wireless E-TTL slave (being controlled by a wireless E-TTL master flash unit) when this camera is equipped with a master flash unit. However, since the flash unit is not capable of operating as a master, and since the camera is not capable of controlling an E-TTL slave unit without a master flash unit, this particular combination will not support wireless operation.

    Both camera and flash support wireless E-TTL wireless ratios, but you’ll need a wireless E-TTL master unit to make it work.

    Flash sync shutter speed (X sync) and FP (high speed sync) mode.

    The highest shutter speed of which the camera is capable while using flash (X sync), at least when it isn’t in FP mode, is 1/200 sec.

    Additionally this combination supports FP (high speed sync) mode. The flash unit also has a manual FP mode control.

    Flash exposure lock (FEL).

    This combination supports flash exposure lock (FEL), but the camera lacks a separate dedicated FEL button, so FEL must be set using the same button which sets auto-exposure lock (AE lock).

    Second curtain sync mode.

    The camera has a custom function to enable second-curtain sync and the flash unit supports second curtain sync, so this feature is available. The back-panel controls on the flash unit allow you to control second-curtain sync mode as well (and override any body setting).

    Manual metering and stroboscopic flash.

    Manual flash metering is supported by this flash unit, with a power range of 1 to 1/64. Unfortunately, this particular camera is not able to instruct the flash unit to go into manual mode, so this feature is not available to this camera/flash combination.

    Automatic digital white balance compensation.

    Digital white balance compensation refers the ability for a camera and flash unit to communicate power output and battery levels to each other in order to obtain a more accurate white balance for flash photography. Both the camera and flash unit support this feature, so it would be available to you.

    Flash unit custom function control.

    While the flash unit has custom functions, sadly this particular camera lacks the ability to control external flash unit features via a menu (the camera does not have a DIGIC III or later chip), so you can only control the flash unit’s custom functions from the flash body.


    Neither camera nor flash unit are weatherproofed.

    Other advanced features.

  • Modelling light is supported by this combination.
  • Flash exposure confirmation indicator on back panel.
  • Back panel LCD (liquid crystal display).
  • Backlight illumination for LCD.
  • Flash unit custom functions.

    These are the custom functions available on the flash unit itself, not on the camera body.

    0) Distance display (meters/feet)
    1) Auto power off (on/off)
    2) Modeling flash (on: DOF button, on: test button, on: both buttons, off)
    7) Test firing (1/32 power, full power)
    8) AF-assist beam (on/off)
    9) Auto-zoom for subframe digital cameras (on/off)
    10) Power-off in slave mode (60 min, 10 min)
    11) Power-off in slave mode cancel (8 hours/1 hour)
    14) LCD when shutter release pressed halfway (maximum range/aperture)

    Power and physical features.

  • Save Energy (SE) function, with a timeout value of 90 seconds.
  • Powered by four standard AA cells - alkaline, NiCad, NiMH.
  • Also compatible with lithium AA cells.
  • Metal flash foot.
  • Flash foot has a locking hotshoe.
  • Flash foot has a quick release mechanism.
  • Weight: 320g.
  • Size: 72x122x101mm.
  • Disclaimer.

    This page was generated automatically from a comparison database. There is no guarantee that this database and display code are entirely free from error. Please notify me using the feedback form at the bottom of this page if you notice any inaccuracies.

    Information was derived from a number of sources, including Canon news releases, the Canon Camera Museum and Dave’s Speedlites Comparison Table, the Canon Speedlite Reference Guide, Canon Flash Work and various manufacturer-supplied product manuals.

    This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but I cannot take responsibility for purchasing decisions you may make.


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