Flash is going through a renaissance; developments in recent years show just how far it’s come. Previously, photographers were limited by cumbersome power requirements. Nowadays, a studio is wherever they want it to be without the need for a generator – from the beach to the jungle, and everywhere in between.
Battery life has drastically increased, wireless TLL technology has become mainstream, and mixing and matching brands’ wireless control triggers and flashes is common practice for professionals. Competition is also healthy. The industry’s exploration of light through flash is more exciting than ever before, but despite for some, flash raises red flags.
“Up to now, flash has been almost exclusively reserved for photographers who’ve mastered the art over many years, but we see it as an essential part in taking your photography to the next level. Customer observations have identified an underlying ‘fear’ about using flash, either through a lack of confidence to achieve their desired outcome or being disappointed with the results from an in-built flash or a cheap flash gun they had bought,” says Roger Machin, product manager at Canon SA.
According to him, Canon has attempted to tackle just that with the launch of its revolutionary Speedlite 470EX-AI, which features world-first AI Bounce technology, earlier this year. “With the Speedlite 470EX-AI we wanted to democratise flash and provide photographers with the confidence to focus more on the shooting subject in question, and less on how to achieve the desired results. Through the introduction of this world-first AI Bounce technology, our ambition is that more photographers, both enthusiasts and seasoned professionals, will start to experiment, grow their confidence and develop their style with flash so that the market can continue to mature,” he says.
Machin believes that Speedlite 470EX-AI is the future of flash. It is the first flash in the world to be equipped with AI Bounce – a new Auto Intelligent (AI) function that takes the fuss and uncertainty out of flash photography. This revolutionary new technology intelligently calculates and maneuvers the flash head position automatically to create optimum lighting for outstanding images.
This unprecedented innovation uses a test flash to calculate the perfect angle for natural, flattering illumination, whilst automatically moving the motorised flash head into the optimum position for perfect lighting.
The full-auto mode carefully manipulates the flash head for every new shot, eliminating unwanted shooting complications. It also removes the time needed to evaluate the shot and reposition the flash head manually.
For those with greater experience in flash photography, the semi-auto mode allows the user to set the bounce flash angle for different shooting scenarios. The Speedlite 470EX-AI then automatically adjusts the flash head for different camera orientations. This pioneering technology enhances the opportunity for photographers to be creative with their lighting, whilst achieving consistency in every shot. This is crucial for portrait photographers who regularly alternate between landscape and portrait.
Even the most spontaneous moments can be captured with natural looking lighting, as the Speedlite 470EX-AI recharges rapidly and silently in 5.5 seconds to full power with 4 AA/LR6 batteries, or 3.5 seconds with rechargeable NiMH batteries. This is first-class when swiftly capturing consecutive shots, such as during weddings or parties. The Speedlite 470EX-AI features a high-speed sync function, which enables the flash to be fired several times in rapid succession and thus uses a higher shutter speed than normally possible. This is particularly useful for action shots, or to create a darkened or blurred background for stand-out images.
By rotating the flash head 180 degrees left and right, plus 120 degrees upwards, the AI Bounce flash function enables photographers to adapt to different environments and remove unwanted shadows. The bounce adaptor can be clipped onto the Speedlite 470EX-AI to deliver softer illumination, allowing for much more radiant portrait shots. With this level of control over the flash, photographers can focus on capturing high-quality, well-lit imagery that consistently delivers unrivaled results.
With 19 custom functions, the Speedlite 470EX-AI offers complete creative control as the photographer can personalise the settings in pursuance of capturing beautiful and unique shots. The wireless optical receiver function allows the flash to be used at distances of up to 10m away from the camera. With a built in Speedlite transmitter function or Speedlite with Optical transmitter, further creative capturing is enabled via experimenting with varying lighting scenarios. This is perfect for photographers aiming to develop and create their own lighting style. The dot-matrix LCD panel provides an intuitive interface, guiding photographers to easily navigate the flash settings and select how diffused or concentrated the light is via priority settings. To achieve maximum flash output, shortcut buttons and a control wheel provide fast access to settings, delivering a creative fall-off effect and an even distribution of light across the whole image.
“With this innovation, using flash does not have to be intimidating. Photographers can really get creative and feel confident about exploring the use of flash. From photo enthusiasts learning how to use flash, to professionals looking for straightforward shooting, the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI is the new must-have for photographers,” concludes Machin.