An affordable Speedlite transmitter for Canon.

I don’t usually do sales blurbs, but I have been using the little Canon EOS 90EX for a few days and I think there may be some interested in its potential for macro photography.

Many others may have the same problem I do. My older model EOS T2i and 5D MkII do not have flash with integrated wireless Speedlite transmitter capabilities. The solution for many has been to been to buy after-market wireless transmitters, which do not all provide the same type of control as Canon’s system, or if they do, they also come at some expense. Others use Speedlite models 580 EX, 580 EXII and the macro flashes (Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX and Ring Lite MR-14EX) to act as master flashes, or they purchase the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2. There is a less will known option, made by Canon, that will provide most of the same functions for only $60.00 US.

Remember the Canon EOS M? Released in 2012, it was Canon’s first mirrorless system camera. It did not fare well in initial reviews, but it did leave us with an EOS compatible compact flash, the Speedlite 90 EX, which is listed as:

A compact, high performance flash that delivers superbly lit everyday shots such as portraits and indoor scenes plus creative lighting effects. The ideal companion for the EOS M.

  • Slim, pocketable design
  • Shoot superbly lit portraits and indoor scenes
  • High power in a compact body
  • Explore creative lighting effects
  • Quick, discreet and fully automatic flash shooting
  • Powered by readily available AAA batteries”

Ignoring the usual exaggerations, the kicker line here is “Explore creative lighting effects“. That is Canon-speak for master wireless flash control. The blurb continues…

The Speedlite 90EX opens up countless creative lighting opportunities, thanks to its built-in Wireless master function. As a master flash unit it can wirelessly trigger up to three groups of other flashes, which have a built-in slave function such as the Speedlite 270EX II, from up to 7 meters away indoors.”

Through the camera menu with ETTL II you can also control hi-speed sync., metering modes (evaluative or average), 4 channels, add flash exposure compensation and adjust group A:B flash ratios. On Manual you can also control the output power level of each group, which is great for macro photographers. This means the 270 EXII, 430 EXII, and the 580 EXII can be controlled wirelessly through the camera menu.

So if you miss the benefits of master flash control, and are not yet ready to dish-out for a newer EOS camera, then consider the Speedlite 90EX. Today Canon’s US list price is 9.99but still only .49 at B&H!

(Images from Canon website)

This entry was posted in Canon, Equipment, Flash, macro, Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .


  1. Sean McCann 23 December, 2014 at 6:54 AM #

    My friend Mike has been using the YongNuo YN-622 ETTL transmitters in a rig very similar to my Monster Macro Rig. From what I have seen, ETTL is a bit tricky at macro distances, especially for exposing bit a subject and a background. For just the subject, on spot metering, it should work very well.
    For myself, I am more comfortable with using manual flash, but I may be changing my field gear up sometime to include a small light stand. I think a small light stand with 2 independently movable flashes would be really powerful in that you could use a bare flash for the background, and rotate the 2nd flash with a snoot to graze the subject. For the key light on the subject, a diffused flash on the camera could be used.

    • Adrian 23 December, 2014 at 7:05 AM #

      I shoot macro flash mostly on manual now, but the ETTL is still used successfully by many. I’ve toyed with multiflash set-ups for more studio like effects as well, but have yet to take it to the field. Maybe next season!

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