Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI

Smarter than the av­er­age flash­gun

Digital Camera World - - CONTENTS -

With an ar­ti­fi­cially in­tel­li­gent bounce and zoom head, just how smart is this flash­gun?

We’ve all seen flash­guns with clever heads. Smart fea­tures like TTL metering have been around for years. But Canon’s lat­est flash raises the bar, op­ti­mis­ing flash light­ing with mo­torised bounce and swivel func­tions con­trolled by ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

In auto mode, the 470EX-AI looks and feels a bit like an ex­tra from a sci-fi movie. It plays all the an­gles, with the abil­ity to move its own head through 120 de­grees of ver­ti­cal ro­ta­tion and a full 180 de­grees to the left or right. It feels al­most alive.

So how does it work? In fully au­to­matic AI Bounce mode, the Speedlite fires a pre-flash pulse at the sub­ject, then tilts ver­ti­cally up­wards and fires a se­cond pre-flash pulse at the ceil­ing. It then cal­cu­lates the op­ti­mum bounce an­gle.

Nat­u­rally, some of us pre­fer to be in con­trol. For ex­am­ple, you might like to bounce the flash off a white wall rather than a ceil­ing. For this, the 470EX-AI of­fers a semi-au­to­matic AI Bounce mode, in which you man­u­ally point the flash head in your de­sired di­rec­tion and press the An­gle Set but­ton. There’s also a zero-de­grees op­tion for di­rect flash with no bounce or swivel.

One dis­ap­point­ment is that AI Bounce mode is un­avail­able with cam­eras launched be­fore the se­cond half of 2014, in­clud­ing the 1200D, 100D, 700D, 70D, 6D, 5D Mk III and 1D X. When you shoot with these bod­ies, you can only use the semi-au­to­matic mode.

Per­for­mance

Max­i­mum out­put is a lit­tle more pow­er­ful than from the 430EX III-RT, but weaker than from the 600EX II-RT. Re­cy­cling af­ter a flash is both silent and pretty swift, and TTL metering is usu­ally ac­cu­rate and con­sis­tent. Bat­tery life is about two-thirds that of the 430EX II-RT, rang­ing from around 115 to 800 shots on a set of four al­ka­line cells. Matthew Richards

22 334 The 24-105mm zoom head in­cludes a widean­gle dif­fuser, but no pull-out re­flec­tor card. A three-way ‘AI.B’ switch above the LCD screen of­fers zero de­grees, semi-au­to­matic and au­to­matic modes.

11The head has 120 de­grees of ver­ti­cal ro­ta­tion, and 180 de­grees swivel.

41The AI.B but­ton on the con­trol panel ini­ti­ates AI Bounce po­si­tion­ing.

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