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Canon 270EX II
Speedlite Flash (2011-today)
© 2014 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Compatibility   Specs   Performance

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Canon 270EX II

Canon 270EX II (7.2 oz./203g with 2-AA eneloop cells, 4.3 second measured recycle time, ISO 100 measured guide number 17 meters/56 feet at 28mm setting, 28mm/50mm zoom head, about $170 new or about $120 used if you know How to Win at eBay).

My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links to approved sources, especially these links directly to it at Adorama, directly to it at Amazon or to it used at eBay (How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get anything through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you take the chance of buying elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

February 2014   Canon Reviews   Canon Flash   Canon Lenses   All Reviews


Canon 270EX II

Rear, Canon 270EX II.


Introduction         top

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B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio
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Intro   Compatibility   Specs   Performance

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The Canon 270EX II flash is Canon's current small flash. It's small, light and works well if you don't mind a slightly long recycle time, but I prefer my older Canon 220EX because it recycles twice as fast, has a real infra-red AF illuminator and even has a little more measured power, for half the price used if you know How to Win at eBay. I'd like to love the 270EX II, but my old 220EX is so much better.

The 270EX II is the same as the previous 270EX with the addition of a SLAVE function and a remote transmitter to trigger camera shutters. Both of these 270s add a bounce head but remove the AF illuminator and half the batteries from the earlier 220EX.

Flash exposure is controlled by the camera. Different flashes will give the same results, with the only difference being if they have enough power and if they are ready to shoot fast enough.



Slide power switch.

Vertical bounce.



Slow recycling because it only uses two AA cells.



No infra-red AF illuminator; attempts to fire the main flash instead if it gets dark.

No built-in bounce card.

Vertical bounce, but no side-to-side swing.

No "A" mode for use with ancient non-TTL cameras.

Only works on DSLRs and newer 35mm EOS cameras; won't work on older 35mm cameras using the original TTL flash system.


Extra Features

Wireless slave control; comes with a little foot to let it sit on a table.

Works as a remote control to fire your camera.

Two position manual zoom head; doesn't do much.


Compatibility        top

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It only works on Canon DSLRs and newer 35mm EOS SLRs that use the E-TTL or E-TTL II systems.

It won't work on older EOS 35mm cameras that use the original TTL flash system. For these, use the Canon 220EX instead.

See more at Canon.



It works only as a slave controlled by a built-in or on-camera flash that can serve as a Master.


Specifications         top

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Power (rated, ISO 100)

Zoom Setting
(APS-C equiv.)

28mm (18mm)
50mm (32mm)


Recycling Time (rated)

3.9 seconds with alkaline cells.


Full-Power Flashes (rated)

100 with alkaline cells.


Exposure, Sync and Trick Modes


Manual power, High Speed Sync (HSS) and Rear Sync are set in a camera menu.

No A and no conventional TTL modes for use with older cameras.


Zoom Head

28mm (18mm on APS-C) or 50mm (32mm on APS-C) coverage as you push or pull the flash head.



0º to 90º up.

No downward bounce.

No horizontal bounce.


AF Illuminator


Canon fires the flash itself with several blinding pops to help autofocus, but that doesn't count.


Wireless Control

Optical transmission system.

Works as slave only.

Fixed at Group A.

Responds to all channels (1, 2, 3 or 4) at once.



2.6 x 2.6 x 3.0 inches, WHD.

65.8 x 65.2 x 77 millimeters, WHD.



7.155 oz. (202.9g) actual measured with 2-AA eneloop cells. Alkaline weigh the same, lithium cells weigh less.

Canon specifies 5.5 oz. (155g) empty.



07 February 2011.



MADE IN CHINA: flash, stand and case.



Canon 270EX II case

Sack, Canon 270EX II.


Nylon draw-string sack.

Tiny table stand foot; don't try to use it for the bigger flashes.



February 2014: about $170 new or about $120 used if you know How to Win at eBay.

April 2011: $169.

Canon 270EX II box

Box, Canon 270EX II.


Performance         top

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It's got plenty of power for daylight fill, but it usually has to run at about full power most of the time so recycling time is unacceptably long.


Power (actual measured at ISO 100)

Guide Number

While much better than nothing, it's not that strong and won't have that much range for daylight fill-flash.

Since it will usually be working at close to maximum power, you'll usually have long recycle times for most photos.


Manual Power

Presuming you can set this in your camera, it can dial-down to 1/64. Remember to press SET in your camera's menu system or it won't stick.



4.3 seconds from full power measured with freshly charged eneloop cells.

4.5 seconds from full power measured with eneloop cells at 70% charge.

This is unacceptable today. I've missed shots waiting for it to recycle.

Recycling is silent.


Standby Mode

It goes to sleep after about 90 seconds.

It wakes when you tap your camera's shutter.

After 10 minutes of sleep, it will be ready to shoot after about two seconds of recycling.



The power switch is very good, but watch out: if you just move it one click, you'll only be at the middle SLAVE setting instead of ON or OFF.

The ready light is in the middle of the flash, not quite on the back near the switch as we'd expect it.


No AF Illuminator

There is no infra-red AF illuminator.

Instead, Canon will fire the blinding flash itself if it has to to see in the dark to focus.

Canon 270EX II

Bottom, Canon 270EX II.


Compared         top

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The tiny 90EX is a big loser. It has little power and takes too long to recycle, and never wakes up from sleep.

The 220EX is superior: much faster recycling with a real infra-red AF illuminator and even more power. It's what I use. Even with twice as many batteries, the higher performance 220EX weighs only 1.7 oz. (50g) more than this 270 EX II and holds the flash tube higher to eliminate red-eye. I never use bounce, so I don't miss it in my 220EX.

The older 270EX (non-II, made 2009-2011) is the same, minus the wireless slave and camera remote control features. I can do without these.

The Canon 430EX II is much larger, with more power, almost instantaneous recycling and side-to-side bounce. If you want to carry more weight, the 430EX II is a much better flash.


Usage         top

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Canon 270EX II

Canon 270EX II.

Basic TTL Shooting

Just slide it on, flip the lock switch to the right, turn it on, and shoot.

Everything is handled automatically.

If the flash is too dark or too light, you can change this with your camera's exposure compensation.


Zoom Head

The zoom head doesn't really do anything. Pull it out at 50mm and longer (32mm and longer on APS-C cameras), and leave it in at wider settings.

Pull the zoom head out to lift it for bounce flash.


Modeling Light

Turn this off in your camera's flash menu.

If you don't, it may fire blinding bursts of light unexpectedly when you press your camera's depth-of-field preview button.


Wireless Flash

If I want remote flash, I use inexpensive professional studio strobes, not these expensive little battery powered gizmos.

Even if you ever figure out how to use wireless strobes, they don't really have the power you want, and even if they did, it's nearly impossible to figure out how to get them positioned as you want them. A $400 set of studio strobes complete with umbrellas and stands is the way to go if you're setting up for portraits.

If you do want to fiddle with wireless strobes, you set everything (like repeating strobe or flash ratios or repeating flash) on the master flash on your camera, and all the slaves follow those commands. You can force any given slave to manual at the slave flash.


Remote Camera Control

This flash can also work as a remote control.

Set the camera to the remote control ready setting (little remote control icon), and then point the flash at the camera and press the button on the left side of the flash. The camera goes off 2 seconds later.


Recommendations         top

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I prefer my Canon 220EX which sells for half the price used.

This 270EX II adds some features I'll never use like bounce and wireless control, but falls short on what matters, which is being able to focus in the dark without blinding my friends and recycling fast enough for me not to miss my photos.

Use eneloop rechargeable batteries. They don't run down when you don't use them, and are loaded with power for fast recycling even if you haven't used your flash in months.

If you've found all the time, effort and expense I put into researching and sharing all this, my biggest source of support is when you use any of these links to approved sources, especially these links directly to it at Adorama, directly to it at Amazon or to it used at eBay (How to Win at eBay), when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get anything through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you take the chance of buying elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

Thanks for your support!



More Information         top

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Canon USA's 270EX II page.

Canon 270EX II Users Manual, original PDF in English, French and Spanish.


Canon's PR announcement of 07 February 2011:

The new Canon Speedlite 270EX II, the successor to the recently introduced 270EX Speedlite of 2009, is a compact, lightweight external flash option for Canon EOS cameras including select Canon PowerShot models.

Ideal for use with the new EOS Rebel T3, the new Speedlite 270EX II uses only two AA batteries and enables bounce flash shooting with four position steps from 0 degrees to 90 degrees. Like Canon’s high-end Speedlite flash models, the 270EX II allows users to control flash functions and input settings using the camera’s LCD monitor.

The flash also features a quick-lock mechanism and a metal mounting foot for secure and easy attachment and reliable contact. In addition to the features of 270EX model, the Speedlite 270EX II adds a remote firing function similar to that of the Speedlite 320EX. Both new Speedlites can also be used as slave flash units in E-TTL wireless autoflash configurations with other E-TTL compatible EOS and PowerShot cameras. Canon’s Speedlite 270EX II is the new compact and versatile lighting tool for photographers empowering them with multiple light options, compact-size and portability.


Price and availability

The Canon Speedlite 270EX II is scheduled to be delivered to U.S. dealers in the beginning of April 2011 for an estimated retail price of $169.99.


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February 2014