If you've been interested in taking more portraits but been put off by the difficulty of using a flash effectively, your worries might be over.
Canon has just unveiled its 470EX-AI flash that uses AI to determine the ideal bounce for each shot.
Yes, you read that correctly - the flash will figure out how to bounce light most effectively all on its own.
I had a chance to talk to the folks at Canon yesterday at WPPI in Las Vegas, and even got to see this thing in action. It's really cool, to say the least. You can see it in action in the video below by Canon:
According to Canon, the 470EX-AI simplifies and streamlines your techniques because this speelight is the first in the world with an Auto Intelligent bounce feature.
In other words, it can "select and maintain the ideal bounce flash angle and settings, automatically swiveling the flash head into place to help easily create gorgeous lighting effects."
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It's easy to use, too.
Just set the flash to AI.B Full Auto mode by using the switch on the flash to set it to the "F" position as shown above. Then position yourself to take the shot, and press the AI.B button (the blue button shown below).
At that point, the flash fires twice - once to measure how far away your subject is and again to determine the distance from the flash to the ceiling. The flash then computes the ideal bounce angle for the photo.
As you can see in the graphic above, as you move around and change the distance to the subject and the ceiling, the flash will automatically recalculate the bounce angle that's needed. Cool huh?
It'll even adjust its orientation for vertical or horizontal shooting. You just have to tap the shutter button twice to tell the flash to make the adjustment.
Of course, Canon built in manual functionality as well. You can set the bounce angle yourself by simply pressing the Angle Set button on the flash when you're in Semi-Auto mode. You can see the difference between direct flash and bounce flash in the images below:
But don't think that this is all this speedlight has to offer...
It's got a guide number of 47, optical receiver transmission, an infrared AF assist mode, flash coverage from 24mm to 105mm, and an upward tilt of 120-degrees and +/- 180-degree rotation.
It also sports a metal locking foot and compatibility with E-TTL/E-TTL II.
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So, this isn't some fancy gimmick that Canon rolled out for WPPI.
Instead, it's a highly capable flash that could really make a difference for beginner and enthusiast photographers that up to this point haven't used a flash because they weren't sure how. And with the features listed above, it has everything a pro would want in a speedlight as well.
It is worth noting that this flash must be used with a compatible camera from the list above and that the ceiling must be no more than 23 feet away and must be a flat, neutral color.
Nonetheless, this could be a game-changing device for beginner and enthusiast photographers.
The Canon 470EX-AI flash will be available in April for $399.