Thursday, June 14, 2012

REVIEW! ~ Canon Speedlite 320ex

Good afternoon and welcome to the next ravimi blog post! Today I will be doing something special, not because I'm reviewing a special product (but it is special in some ways) but because I do not write many reviews on my site, unless requested (like this one).
Anyways, today I will be talking about one of Canons latest products: the Canon Speedlite 320ex. I've owned this for about 2 months now; therefore, I will only be able to give a review based off my knowledge and experience of 2 months. I would like to think my reviews as being a little unique; I personally am not a person that looks at a product and talks about the negative aspects of it (unless it's really obviously bad) but I focus on the good, and reinforce those good aspects and how they serve to your advantage. So lets get down to business!

The 320ex is a part of the Speedlite series that consists of the 220, 270 (II), 320 (yours truly), 380,420, 430, 550, 580, and 600. When I bought this flash one of the main things that caught my attention was the on-flash shutter button (shown in the picture below).

Courtesy of Google images

This flash was the very first of the canon ex series to have this accessory, which is one of its special aspects. I use it pretty often when I use the flash and it has helped a lot because now I can stay with the flash and move it where needed without having to go back to the camera to take the picture (to use this the flash has to be pointing towards the camera when pressing the button and then you have 5 seconds, or so, to move the flash back into position. The furthest I got with the flash was about 20ft and I still had the ability to use the shutter button.
Another special thing about this camera is that it has an LED light source (as shown in the image below).

Courtesy of Google images (the red arrow was my little edit)
This LED light serves for the video mode of the camera and is used during video shoots in dark locations. This was the first Flash to carry this capability when I bought it about 2 months ago. The LED is useful but it is also not very powerful because it is small; therefore, it cannot carry a large LED power source that projects a lot of light. The light does work when the subject is about 3-5ft away in total darkness, but that is the limit if you want to maintain the subject visible.

This flash has been very helpful when I needed it. It serves great as a bounce flash (using surfaces to reflect the light off) and is great as a slave flash. It cannot be used as a Master flash from my current knowledge but for a flash that is not to expensive relative to it's siblings it is a great purchase. The battery life is great: I shot about 200 pictures with full power and it always kept up to my needs (which was 1 picture every 5-15 seconds) and there was enough power left that I was able to use it for half of  another event without having to change batteries (uses 4 AA batteries). The 320ex also has a telephoto mode where the head piece (where the bulb is located) can extend about half an inch forward; this allows for images to be taken from about 5-10ft further than the normal position.

Some issues:
The only issues I had were personal preferences:
1) Lack of diffuser card (the little white card that can be popped onto the front of the bulb)
2) Cannot control the strength of the flash when in slave mode. (If someone knows how please do let me know and I will update this review.)
3) nothing, that's it, not too many complaints.

As my first Flash, I am very pleased with this product. It is very useful and inspires me to continue learning more on how to use it. I very much recommend this light as a first flash for all the reasons I talked about and because I have very little complaints for it. It is very light (weight) and easy to manipulate. If this is NOT your first flash and you own 1 or more flashes that have "slave" capabilities then I recommend buying a different flash that has "master" capabilities (ability to control "slave" flashes) I would recommend the 430ex from what I have read and seen from other users, but as a first time flash I highly recommend the 320ex.

This information is straight from the canon website and I'm sure will be of interest to those who are are interested in the specifics of the 320ex Speedlite.

On-camera, E-TTL II/E-TTL autoflash Speedlite
Compatible Cameras
Type-A EOS cameras (E-TTL II/E-TTL autoflash)
Guide Number 
Flash CoverageISO 100 (m)ISO 100 (ft.)
Normal (24mm)2478.7
Tele (50mm)32105
Flash Coverage
EF lens: 24mm/50mm

EF-S lens: 15mm/31.3mm

Manual switching
Number of Flashes
Approx. 180 - 1000 flashes, with fresh AA-size alkaline batteries
Recycling Time
1) Normal flash: Approx. 0.1 - 2.3 sec.

2) Quick flash: Approx. 0.1 - 1.8 sec.
Flash Range
Normal Flash
Guide No. (ISO 100)Aperture Value
24 (Normal)56.1 ft.39.4 ft.28.2 ft.19.7 ft.17.1 ft.
32 (Tele)75.1 ft.52.5 ft.37.4 ft.26.2 ft.18.7 ft.

Quick Flash

Guide No. (ISO 100)Aperture Value
13.8 (Normal)32.5 ft.22.6 ft.16.1 ft.11.2 ft.8.2 ft.
18.4 (Tele)43.0 ft.30.2 ft.21.7 ft.15.1 ft.10.8 ft.

High-speed sync (at 1/250 sec.)

Guide No. (ISO 100)Aperture Value
13.8 (Normal)28.2 ft.19.7 ft.14.1 ft.9.8 ft.6.9 ft.
18.4 (Tele)37.4 ft.26.2 ft.18.7 ft.13.1 ft.9.5 ft.
AF Assist Beam
Intermittent flash firing system

Effective range:

1) At center: Approx. 13.1 ft./4m

2) Periphery: Approx. 11.5 ft./3.5m

3) LED light: Approx. 13.1 ft/4 m

*Compatible with model EOS 5D Mark II and later. Available via firmware update for: EOS-1Ds Mark III, EOS-1D Mark III, EOS 40D, EOS 50D, and EOS Rebel XS.
Custom Functions
1) C.Fn-01: Auto power off (Enabled/Disabled)

2) C.Fn-06: Quick flash w/continuous shot (Disabled/ Enabled)

3) C.Fn-10: Slave auto power off timer (60 minutes/10 minutes)

4) C.Fn-11: Slave auto power off cancel (Within 8 hours/ Within 1 hour)
Back to Top
Power Source
1) Four size-AA/LR6 alkaline batteries are used. Ni-MH or lithium batteries can also be used.

2) This Speedlite is equipped with a power-saving function that turns off the power after 90 seconds if no operations are made.
External Power Source
External power supply accessories cannot be used.
Approx. 2.8 x 4.5 x 3.1 in./70.0 x 115.0 x 78.4mm
9.7 oz. / 275g

I hope this review served it's purpose and that you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, comments, or answers please write them in the comments below so others cans see them. Feel free to email me at anytime about my photography and remember to SUBSCRIBE!

Keep on Snappin',

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