The Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash has long been a mainstay for Canon macro photographers, especially those using the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x macro lens. However, it has not been without some issues (such as poor durability, bulkiness and lack of diffusion) so it is good to hear that a replacement is now on the market. Just what makes the new Canon Macro Twin-Lite MT-26EX-RT an improvement over the earlier version? Here’s a comparison table that I’ve pulled together from Canon sources.†
|Dimensions||Control unit: Approx. 74 x 125.9 x 97.4|
Flash head unit: Approx. 62 x 56 x 49
|Control unit: Approx. 69.5 x 112.5 x 90.0mm
Flash head unit: 62.3 x 55.8 x 49.1
|Head Adjustment from standard||Vertical: 45° up and down. Horizontal: 60° in and 30° out.||Vertical: 45° up and down. Horizontal: 60° in and 30° out.|
(with both tubes firing at full power)
|72 ft / 22 m, at ISO 100||85.3 ft/26 m at ISO 100|
|Manual Power||1/1 to 1/64 in 1 stop increments||1/1 to 1/512 in 1/3 stop increments|
|Manual Flash Speed||"1/1400 or shorter" (from manual) estimated 1/34000||1/1300 - 1/67000 sec|
|Recycle time to full charge after full discharge|
|7 sec.||5 sec.|
|Modeling lamp||Incandescent. 20 second duration||LED. 5 brightness increments for 20 to 60 seconds.|
|Ratio control||8:1 ~ 1:8||8:1 ~ 1:8|
|Wireless spec's||Optical. Master flash for up to 4 groups||Optical/Radio. Master flash for up to 5 groups/15 units.|
|LCD panel||Backlight with 1 brightness level.||5 different brightness levels. Green or orange backlight.|
|Weight without batteries||.9 lbs/ 404 g||1.25 lbs / 570 g|
Canon also mentions the following improvements to the control unit :
“A new selection dial, set and function buttons, plus backlit operation buttons provide more intuitive operation, while new locking mechanisms help ensure continued, error-free use. The Macro Twin Lite MT-26EX-RT’s metal mounting foot also features a new locking pin and a one-touch lever for secure attachment and speedy detachment that helps prevent dust from interfering with the electric contacts. Finally, a new lock release lever has been added to the battery cover to help ensure the power stays on.”
My observations on the new flash:
While I have not had the opportunity to use the MT-26EX-RT, I do have some observations about this new macro twin flash release. The improvements are appreciated: faster recharge time, more manual discharge settings, a smaller control unit, and improved modeling/focus lights. But is this enough to justify purchasing it if you are already an owner of the older model? Some aspects of the flash are still inadequate.
- The first disappointment is that the flash heads are still corded. I was expecting something more like Nikon’s wireless macro flash system to be in the new release.
- The new diffusers are a nod to complaints that many have had with the old twin flash, which forced most users to develop their own home-made diffusers. Surely they could have come up with something better than clip-on diffusers that do little to enlarge the light source?
- Another complaint about the old model was that for many purposes (i.e. with using low magnifications or long macro lenses) the flashes were mounted too close to the lens, leading many users to develop their own risers. Canon could have added plastic risers to make the flash unit more adaptable without adding greatly to the cost.
Considering the cost and the relatively limited improvements, it is doubtful if the new MT-26EX-RT flash is worth trading up to if you are the owner of a working model of the old MT-24EX flash. Those considering purchasing this flash should perhaps wait until more in-depth reviews are available and to see if there are any reliability issues.
Have you used this flash, or do you have any further information to add? Comments always appreciated.
†For more information:
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