Canon 430EX III RT

RF & IR Controlled Speedlite Flash

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Canon 430EX III RT

Canon 430EX III RT on included stand (13.9 oz./394 g) with 4-AA eneloop, 24-105mm zoom head with 14mm wide panel, catchlight card, 3.0 second measured recycle time, measured GN 22m/71' at 35mm, rated GN 43m/141' at 105mm, about $299). bigger. I got mine at Adorama; I'd also get it at B&H, at Amazon or at Crutchfield.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources, 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. Canon does not seal its boxes, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used flash. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.


February 2016   Canon Reviews   Canon Flash   Canon Lenses   All Reviews


Canon 430EX III RT

Rear, Canon 430EX III RT. bigger.


Introduction         top

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Intro   Compatibility   Specs   Performance

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The Canon 430EX III RT is Canon's best midsize flash ever.

The 430EX III is small, light, loaded with power, recycles immediately and works both as a radio or optical IR slave. It also works as a radio commander. The only thing it won't do is work as an optical commander; for that you need a 600 EX RT.

The 430EX III-RT includes an SCF-E2 tungsten color-conversion filter to match tungsten light and an SBA-E2 Sto-Fen omni-bounce/Gary Fong Lightsphere type diffuser.

The 430EX III RT has a backlit dot-matrix LCD, a new control dial and multi-camera sync shooting.

The only reason not to use the 430EX III RT is if it's too big; I usually use my Canon 320EX since it does the same thing (make light) and weighs less. Features are fine, but I just want the flash to fire when I take a picture. I don't use any of the remote features.



Loads of power.

Super-fast and silent recycling. You can just keep shooting and the 430EX III RT keeps blasting out the power with no waiting.

Built in infra-red autofocus illuminator.



New radio slave similar to the 600EX RT (but still no IR commander ability).

New included diffusion dome and tungsten filter (CTO) to balance flash color to indoor lighting. (not included with the old 430EX II.)

New built-in catchlight card.

New 4-way controller and rear control dial in the place of just two buttons on the old 430EX II. The new buttons are also much easier to press then the recessed buttons of the old 430EX II.



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

Won't work with the earliest 35mm EOS or FD cameras; use the older 430EX II with them.

There's no AUTO EXPOSURE OK light as on the older 430EX II, but in its place is a LINK light to let you know you're connected via radio.

The wide-area infrared illuminator is gone, leaving only the center IR AF illuminator. You can't use the side AF areas with the new IR AF illuminator, just the top/center/bottom column with a 50mm lens.


Extra Features

Flip-down diffuser panel for 14mm lenses on full-frame (9mm on APS-C).

RF and IR wireless modes.

Little foot included to sit in on a table.


Compatibility        top

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It works with all Canon DSLRs.

It also works on all other Type-A EOS cameras with the E-TTL or E-TTL II autoflash system.

I tried it on my 35mm Canon EOS 1V, and it works perfectly.

It only works in manual mode on older (Type B) Canon 35mm EOS cameras; for them use the older 430EX II.


Wireless IR Features

Used wirelessly with a camera that supports it, it gives TTL or manual exposure, flash exposure compensation, rear sync and repeating flash.


Wireless RF Features

To do anything useful a radio control system, you need a radio control system. Your camera and this flash alone can't do anything without at least one additional radio transmitter at the camera — unless you have a 1DX Mk II with a built-in RF transmitter.


Specifications         top

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Power (rated, ISO 100)

Rated power. See also actual measured power.

Zoom Setting
(APS-C equiv.)

105mm (65mm)


Manual Power Levels

Full to 1/128 in third stops.

It allows you to set any third stop, even between full and half.


Recycling Time (rated)

3.5 seconds with alkaline cells.

See also measured recycling time.


Full-Power Flashes (rated)

180 with alkaline cells.


Zoom Head

24-105mm with a 14mm flip-down diffuser.

Smart enough to recognize cropped digital cameras and set itself accordingly.



0º to 90º up.

No downward bounce.

-180º left to to +90º right horizontal.


AF Illuminator

Yes, infra-red.


Wireless IR Control

Optical IR transmission system.

Works as a slave only.

4 channels (1, 2, 3 and 4).

3 IDs (A, B or C).


Wireless RF Control

2.4 GHz.



Dot matrix.

Green LED backlight.

Can be set to orange in P.Fn-02 on the flash.



2.78 x 4.48 x 3.87 inches, WHD.

70.5 x 113.8 x 98.2 millimeters, WHD.



Measured 13.915 oz. (394.5 g) with 4-AA eneloop.

Rated 10.41 oz. (295g) empty.



Canon 430EX III RT

Bottom, Canon 430EX III RT. bigger.

Made in Taiwan.



08 July 2015, 12:04 AM NYC time.


Promised for

September 2015.




Two cases: a nice padded one for the flash, and a little sack for the filter and diffuser.

Little table stand.

SCF-E2 Tungsten Color-Conversion Filter.

SBA-E2 diffuser.

Manual on CD-ROM.

Canon 430EX III RT Canon 430EX III Case
430EX III box. bigger.
430EX III case. bigger.


SBA-E2 bounce diffuser SCF-E2 Color Filter



July 2015 ~ February 2016: $299.


Performance         top

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Actual measured power at ISO 100. See also rated power.

Zoom Setting
on full-frame
(on APS-C)

14mm panel (9 mm)
35 (40-⅓)
24mm (15mm)
35mm (21mm)
71 (80-⅓)
50mm (30mm)
105mm (65mm)
105 (110-⅙)

As has been typical from Japan for at least 40 years, actual power is about a stop less than rated.


Recycling Time

3.0 seconds at full power. It usually recycles instantly in TTL mode; only if you draw full or half power will you have to wait at all.

The ready light is ON only 1.7 seconds after a full-power dump; at 1.7 seconds you've got most of the charge needed for nearly full power on your next shot — but it takes 3 seconds for the CHARGE bar graph to go away and a compete recycle.

At half-power, it takes only 1 second for the ready light and only 2.5 seconds for a full recycle after the bar graph goes away.

At quarter-power or less, the ready light never goes off and you don't see the CHARGE bar on the LCD.

These are actual measured recycling times with fresh AA eneloop cells.


The RED flash bolt LED lights when you've got most of a charge. You can shoot again at nearly full power the instant the red LED lights.

If it takes more than a couple of seconds to recycle, you'll also see a CHARGE indicator with a progress bar on the LCD letting you know how long until a complete 100% recycle.

There's also a "Quick Flash" feature where, if your batteries are weak and don't just recycle immediately, that the flash can fire at lower power before it reaches full power. Oddly Canon shows this as a green ready light. The green ready light means not quite charged, while the red one means charged.



The 430EX III is very easy to use. Canon has designed it well; it's much better than the old 430EX II.

The 430EX III buttons are much easier to press than they were on the old 430EX II, and the new 4-way controller with surrounding dial is worlds ahead of the two buttons of old model.

It's much faster and easier to set flash exposure compensation than it was on the older 430EX II.

Even though none of the controls glow or are lit, it's easy to find everything by feel. You'll know what's where after using it just a few minutes.

There is a green LED backlight for the LCD that turns on as you use the controls; there is no separate LIGHT ON button. Oddly even a camera's light-the-screen button does not light the screen of the 430EX III. I cover how to set the LCD to light in orange at Usage.

Since it's completely silent as it recycles, there's a CHARGE bar graph if it takes more than a couple of seconds to let you know the recycle charge state.

The battery door is tough and easy to use, but the battery polarity drawing is a little silver sticker that's only moderately visible in good light and won't be visible in the dark. It does not have huge black-and-white battery graphics on the outside or inside the battery chambers as I prefer.

It has a good lock on the locking foot; a very advanced, solid and easy to use design.


AF Illuminators

By default, the 430EX III uses unacceptably annoying multiple random bursts of flash to help it focus in the dark.

You have to set a menu item to use the discrete infrared illuminator instead.

There is only one central IR AF illuminator. With a 50mm lens on full frame it lights the center column of AF sensors from top to bottom.



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.


Compared         top

Intro   Compatibility   Specs   Performance

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Compared to the 600EX-RT (2015-)

The 600EX-RT is a bigger, more powerful and more complicated flash.

The 600EX RT can work as an optical trigger (transmitter), while the 430EX III RT only works as an optical slave.

The 600EX RT is a Godsend for wedding pros who use it as part of a radio-controlled multi-flash system, but it's way too much flash to put on top of your camera if all you're doing is using it on-camera.


Compared to the 430EX II (2008-2015)

The 430EX II is a marvelous flash with near-instant and silent recycling and loads of power and features. It has the same power and recycling speed.

It lacks radio control and a catchlight card, as do all the 320/420/430 flashes except for the newest 430EX III RT.

The 430EX II is just as good once you get it set up, just with sloppier controls and no radio control or catchlight card. You can get the old 430EX II at Adorama, at Amazon or at B&H for $100 less than this new 430EX III RT.

If you don't need radio control and can use a business card and rubber band as pros have been doing for decades as a catchlight card, the previous 430EX II is also a great flash, just harder to set.


Compared to the original 430EX (2005-2008)

The original 430EX looks the same as the Mk II, but has different charging circuitry that leads to slightly longer recycling times. It has a plastic foot with an older-style locking system.

The original 430EX also radiates more RF noise that's more likely to interfere with radio triggers, but for use as an optical slave, has a dedicated SLAVE switch instead of needing to piddle in menus as you now do with the 430EX III.

Since one of the best things about the 430EX II and III are their ultra-fast recycling, I wouldn't bother with the original 430EX unless you prefer a real switch to get into slave mode.


Compared to the 420EX (2000-2005)

The old Canon 420EX has essentially the same power, size, IR wireless ability, zoom range, power and features of the other 430 models.

The 420EX has even simpler controls, no rear LCD, no catchlight panel, no 14mm diffuser panel and recycles a bit more slowly than the original 430EX, which is a lot slower than the 430EX III.

The 420EX is even easier to set up for wireless IR use, with dedicated push buttons to set wireless channel and to set group.

The 420EX is a screaming bargain at about $50 used, and a great choice if you want easy wireless setup and don't care about ultrafast recycling. My 420EX recycles in 4.8 seconds at full power.


Compared to the 320EX (2011-today)

The Canon 320EX is smaller and simpler than the 430 Mk III, and works as well for action and fill flash.

For general use where I'm not shooting a wedding, news, sports or portraits all day, I use my Canon 320EX because it's less to carry and does the same thing.

The small 320EX has almost as much power (which makes no difference in actual shooting unless you're very far away), but has no infra-red AF illuminator, so it will have to fire the flash to focus in the dark. All the others have infra-red AF illuminators, which lets you focus in the dark without annoying people.

The 320 EX has a simpler manual zoom head (makes no difference except for a little less power with longer lenses) and no catchlight or 14mm panels.

The 320EX has a unique built-in remote shutter release for use with some Canon cameras.

For general fill use, I prefer the smaller size of the 320EX. It has plenty of power and ultrafast recycling.


Usage         top

Intro   Compatibility   Specs   Performance

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See also Canon's 430EX III user's manual.


Power Switch

The LOCK position ignores all the rear buttons



If it's asleep on your camera, tap either the shutter, the flash bolt button or turn it off and then back on to wake it up. It will ignore all its other buttons while sleeping.

If it's asleep off the camera, press the flash bolt button or turn it off and then back on to wake it up. It will ignore all its other buttons while sleeping.


Infrared Autofocus Illuminator

Unless you set this in P.Fn-05 (SUB MENU > P.Fn > SEL/SET > 5 AF > SET/SEL > 1), the flash will fire many random flashes when you try to autofocus in dim light. This is OK if you're shooting where there are no people, but absolutely awful if there are people around.

You must set P.Fn-05 to 1 from its default of 0 for the flash to use its superior infrared illuminator instead of the idiotic random bright flashes.


LCD backlight color

It's green, but set P.Fn-02 (SUB MENU > P.Fn > SEL/SET > 2 SET/SEL > 1. Orange) to make it orange.



If you're getting it very hot it may slow down recycling a little before it warns you.

You should be able to fire 32 full-power dumps at the same time before you get any temperature warnings. That's a lot; I've never gotten any of these; you won't be shooting at full power unless you're in manual mode.

If you shoot too hard and hot, your LCD will turn red and the 430 EX Mk III will slow its recycle speed to about 8 seconds to try to let it cool down.

If it gets even hotter it will flash the LCD in red and slow recycling to 25 seconds.


Wireless Control

See Canon's 430EX III user's manual.


Recommendations         top

Intro   Compatibility   Specs   Performance

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This 430EX III RT flash is for hard-core outdoor fill flash, sports and portrait work.

I prefer the smaller and simpler 320EX flash; this larger flash works a little more quickly and has a little more power, which means a little more range in daylight, but I don't want to carry it around my neck all day. For most DSLR use the 320EX is more than enough.

If you want more than the 320 and don't mind carrying it, by all means this 430EX III is the new state-of-the-art in midsize shoe mount flashes.

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 without ads, my biggest source of support for this free website is when you use any of these links to approved sources, especially these links to it at Adorama, at B&H, at Amazon or at Crutchfield (or the previous 430EX II at Adorama, at Amazon or at B&H) 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!



More Information         top

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Canon's 430EX III user's manual.


Canon USA's 430EX III RT press release:

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 8, 2015 – Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the new Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT external flash unit featuring – for the first time in the Canon 430EX series – radio-controlled wireless flash shooting capabilities1 designed to make creative light control more manageable and versatile for photographers of all levels. This third generation Speedlite is a perfect primary flash unit for amateur and advanced amateur photographers looking to create beautiful portraits with Canon digital cameras such as the EOS Rebel T6i, as well as professional photographers looking for a small and lightweight secondary flash.

"Canon is proud to offer outstanding photographic accessories that help enhance a photographer's overall creative experience when shooting with our EOS DSLR cameras," said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. "The new Speedlite 430EX III-RT provides photographers with a very responsive flash unit having new wireless capabilities that enable users to create more professional lighting effects than if they were to rely on their camera's pop-up flash alone."

Featuring enhanced functionality and operability over its predecessor (the Canon Speedlite 430EX II), the new Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT features wireless flash shooting via optical or radio transmission (similar to the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT but slave function only), now with shorter recycling time and quicker firing. This multi-functional flash unit makes more advanced flash shooting easy for any photographer with its intuitive, user-friendly operation, abundant bounce and swivel shooting functions and advanced features including a maximum Guide Number of 43/141 at ISO 100 in meters/feet, auto zooming from 24-105mm, Hi-Speed Sync and Second-curtain Sync. In addition, the Speedlite 430EX III-RT has been reduced in size and weight compared to its predecessor.

Featuring another first for the 430EX series of flash units, the Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT also includes an SCF-E2 Color Filter which helps balance color temperature when shooting in incandescent lighting, an SBA-E2 Bounce Adapter that helps soften light while helping suppress shadows, a built-in Catchlight panel, illuminated dot-matrix LCD, new control dial, light distribution options, multi-camera sync shooting, and remote shutter release. Enhanced functions include broader bounce angle range and flash exposure compensation via the new control dial. Also included are two cases - one for the flash and one for the filter and adapter.

Pricing and Availability

The new Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT flash is scheduled to be available in September 2015 for an estimated retail price of $299.99*


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09 Feb 2016; 08 July 2015