Ravi Dhingra’s Review of Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI

Category: Product Reviews | 24 October 2018

New products, new models are launched almost every day, most of these are either result of remodelling of the existing range or some improvements in the previous ones. A technical breakthrough is not very common, to come up with something innovative and unique decides the future of technology. The innovation opens up avenues for advancement and improvements and further opens doors for more innovations.

There are various models of speedlites available for the photographers, some are dedicated ones manufactured and marketed by camera companies and some are sold by third party vendors. Most of these camera flashes are identical in nature, these are “kind of standardised” and offer default features.

The new Canon 470EX-AI can easily be called a revolutionary product which is breaking barriers. A true innovation which will change the way speedlites are designed and used. AI stands for Auto Intelligent and is actually intelligent enough to make flash photography extremely simple even for amateurs.

Photograph below is taken without flash in extremely low light situation resulting in noise.

Camera EOS M50 , Lens: EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM, 45mm, f6.3, 1/16sec, ISO 6400

Direct flash whether in-built on the camera or external speedlite though light up the subject but cause unpleasant shadows.

Bouncing the light either using white ceiling or white walls using external flash is widely used by photographers to evenly light the subject. Using bounce flash is complicated, need experience and expertise. Canon 470EX-AI, world’s first flash with an AI Bounce function, has made this process extremely simple, press of a button on the speedlite invokes the intelligence and makes flash photography a cakewalk.

Besides working as a normal external flash with all controls typically present, setting it on F(Full)-AI.B mode totally changes the way this speedlite acts. After composing the scene in the frame and pressing AI.B button, the speedlite performs a few operations- measuring camera/subject, and subject/ceiling distance, the flash head swivels in multiple directions to formulate the ideal bounce flash angle and automatically sets for optimum flash output for bouncing the light, no more unpleasant shadows. While changing the orientation of camera from horizontal to vertical or other way round, pressing shutter release button twice realigns the flash direction and gives the exact same result.

When the subject-camera distance is changed, pressing the AI.B button will repeat the process and recalculate the ideal angle for bouncing the light and optimum output.

In AI.B Semi-auto mode, photographer can set their own bounce angle settings and the flash can automatically maintain its angle even when there is a change between horizontal and vertical camera orientation. By pressing the shutter button twice the flash head automatically moves into the preset angle and position.

In the photographs below the mode chosen is S, Semi Automatic and the flash head is pointed towards wall on the side, once on left side and next on right side. The flash head automatically rotates towards the set angle when camera orientation is changed from horizontal to vertical. With the light bouncing off the wall on side, there is a nice play of light and shadow on the face.

When it is difficult to autofocus on the subject in low-light or when contrast is low during viewfinder shooting, the infrared AF-assist beam built into the flash is automatically emitted to help in autofocus. With this flash mounted on the camera, focusing in low light conditions will no longer an issue. All these photographs have been clicked in low light and there was no issue in focussing on the subject whatsoever.

As mentioned before, the M (Manual) mode will make the speedlite like any other normal external flash, the flash head can set in the desired angle manually irrespective of camera orientation. It is only in S (Semi) and F(Full) Auto Intelligent Bounce mode the speedlite takes control of the situation and sets the angles according to the distance between subject/camera and subject/ceiling.

Canon 470EX-AI is meant for both professional photographers who are seeking more automation as well as for amateurs who are clueless about flash photography. The speedlite is most suited for covering events, clicking portraits and even products where the subject get evenly lit with nice soft bounced light.

All the Portraits above are taken with the mirrorless camera from Canon:

EOS M50 , Lens: EF-M15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

Model: Arnav Dhingra

Click here to read the original review