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Canon and Nikon Small Flash Comparison
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Janaury 2013    Nikon Reviews   Canon Reviews

 

Introduction

More so than most comparison tables, for these little flashes, this table pretty much tells it all. Enjoy!

 

Actual measured values (unless otherwise stated)

 
Anno
2009-
1996-2009
2012-
2006-
Battery
2 - AA
4 - AA
2 - AAA
2 - AA
Weight, with alkaline cells
6.8 oz.
194 g
8.8 oz.
250 g
2.6 oz.
73g
6.2 oz.
177 g
Bounce
Up only
None
None
Up only
Ergonomics
Superb
Excellent
poor
Superb
Coverage, full-frame
28mm
28mm
24mm
28mm
Zoom head
Yes, one 50mm setting
No
No
No
Wake-up time*
2 s
0.75 s
never wakes up
immediate
Recycle time**
3.9 s
2.3 s
6 s
2.6s
Measured Power, ISO 100, m/ft
20.4/67 (28mm)
25.9/85 (50mm)
19.2/63
19.5/64
Rated Power, ISO 100, m/ft
22/72 (28mm)
27/89 (50mm)
22/72
9/30
21/69
Rated number of flashes at full power, alkaline cells
100
250
100
140
AF Assist beam
No***
Yes
No***
No
AF Assist range, m/ft
4m/13'
(3.5m/12' sides)
5m/16'
none
AF Assist coverage
All sensors
Center
None
Flyback transformer
Silent
Audible
Silent
Silent
Test flash button
No
Yes
No
No
Exposure OK light
No
Yes, bright green
No
No, shown by lack of blinking of ready light or finder bolt
Manual Exposure
Yes, set in camera menus
No.
Possibly set in camera menus
Yes, set in camera menus
High-speed FP Sync
Yes
Yes
No
Exposure gibberish
E-TTL II, E-TTL
E-TTL, TTL
E-TTL, TTL
i-TTL
Works with
All Canon DSLRs
All Canon AF cameras (EOS) since 1987, film and digital, T90.
All Canon AF cameras (EOS) since 1987, film and digital, T90.
Newer Nikon iTTL DSLRs; the F6.
Doesn't work with
TTL Autoflash EOS cameras (older film EOS), or FD.
D1, D70, older DSLRs and older film cameras.
Made in
China
Japan
Tiawan
China
Build quality
Tough
OK
very good
Tough
Foot
Metal
Plastic
Plastic
Metal
Shoe lock
Metal pin
Metal pin
Metal pin
Metal pin
Case
Unpadded drawstring pouch, included
"Soft pouch," included.
"Soft pouch," included.
Zippered, padded case, included.
Price, 5/2010 USA
n/a
Price, 01/2013 USA

* time to be ready again after 10 minutes of lying idle. In other words, after you've left the camera alone for ten minutes and it has gone to sleep, how long does it take the flash to be ready again when you tap the shutter to wake up the camera?

** with freshly charged Sanyo Eneloop HR-3UTG Ni-MH cells.

*** No separate illuminator, but will fire the flash repeatedly to focus, which is way too annoying to use around people or animals.

 

Recommendations

For Nikon, get the SB-400.

For Canon, I find the older 220EX far superior because 1.) the older 220EX is always ready to shoot, while the newer 270EX often takes two seconds to charge back up after the camera has sat idle for a few minutes (this misses shots), and 2.) the older 220EX has a real AF illuminator LED, while the newer 270EX instead actually fires the flash itself in people's faces if the camera needs more light to focus.

 

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May 2010