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Canon announces Speedlite 580EX  
Thursday, August 19, 2004 | by Rob Galbraith

Canon today has announced the Speedlite 580EX, a replacement for their flagship 550EX flash unit that debuted in 1997.

Changes in the Speedlite 580EX include:

  • Reduced recycling time. The full-power recycling time has been reduced by 25%, says a Canon press release

  • A higher guide number at the telephoto end of the flash head's zoom range. The 580EX has a maximum guide number of 58/191 at ISO 100 in meters/feet (at the 105mm zoom setting)

  • Redesigned control layout. The back of the flash includes a control dial and set button similar to the EOS 20D

  • A head that zooms to cover the field of view of the lens. This alone isn't new. The 580EX's ability to take into account the sensor size of the digital camera to which its attached when zooming, however, is a first for a Canon flash (and uncommon across other camera brands as well). This capability applies only when the camera is the EOS 20D or the EOS-1D Mark II. The latter camera will require a firmware update that has been announced, but  its release date has not been set. With earlier digital SLR models from Canon, the 580EX's head will zoom to provide coverage for the focal length as if it were attached to a 35mm film camera, ie the flash coverage will be wider than the field of view of the lens, except with the EOS-1Ds. This is the same behaviour as the 550EX and other Canon flash units

  • In addition to a drop-down wide panel for lens coverage to 14mm, a small, white catchlight card allows for some of the light from the flash to be directed forward when the flash is oriented up for bounce flash photography

  • The 580EX flash head swivels 180 degrees in both directions, not just in one direction, like the 550EX

  • The flash is also smaller than the 550EX, and can communicate colour information to the camera for, says Canon, more accurate colour when using the AWB and Flash WB settings of the EOS 20D. One thing missing in the revamp of Canon's top-end flash is the addition of a PC sync outlet (the 550EX lacks this feature as well)

The Speedlite 580EX is expected to ship in October 2004 at an estimated selling price of US$479 in the US. More information on the 580EX is in press releases from Canon USA and Canon Canada.


Canon Speedlite 580EX

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