Comparison: Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II review (full version)

Found in: ReviewsSpeedlightsCanon
Jul 10 2009

Also read: Bullet point version of this article

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Canon Speedlite 430EX II

Releasing Speedlite 430EX II, Canon engineers took the same road as they did coming from Canon 580EX to 580EX II. The new features of Canon 430EX II are a subset of Canon 580EX II improvements, which means Canon 430EX and Canon 430EX II flashes are much more alike then their bigger counterparts are.

Canon Speedlite 430EX II features electronics similar to 580EX II, which results in the reduced recycling time and silent operation. Mark II is about 20% faster than original Canon 430EX. Being liked by many users, the silent recycling eliminates the "acoustic aid" that some photographers are used to. When Speedlite 430EX stops "whining", you know it's fully ready for the next shot. Make sure you're not going to miss that if you buy 430 EX II.

Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: front angle view Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: length
Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: side view, heads vertical Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: front view, heads set at 45 degrees
Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: LCD display Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: back view

Another significant improvement is the new foot that has a metal platform and a level lock. The new locking mechanism allows quick flash mounting and release. Some users don't like it whereas others do. We believe that overall the new lock is better, but if in the future Canon gives the release button a better tactile feel, it will improve ergonomics of the lock.

Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: mounting foot Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: lever lock

Most of the Canon cameras released during and after 2007 have Digic III and later processors. They support in-camera flash menus that allow you controlling flash function with your camera. This is much more convenient when it comes to custom functions. Flash display can only show function and it's value as digits. So, in case of Canon Speedlite 430EX, all you can do is to memorize the values of customs functions (or carry the manual around). Canon 430EX II, when used with a compatible camera, gives you the convenience of being able to read the descriptions of all custom functions and the meanings of all their values off camera display.

Here is the list of cameras that support in-camera flash menu (the list may not be complete):

  • PowerShot A560, A570 IS, A590 IS, A650 IS, A720 IS,
  • PowerShot G7, G9, SD750, SD800, SD850, SD900, SD 1000, S5 IS,
  • EOS XS/1000D, EOS XSi/450D, EOS 40D, EOS 1D Mark III, EOS 1Ds Mark III,
  • EOS 500D/Rebel T1i, EOS 50D and EOS 5D Mark II

Canon Speedlite 430EX II doesn't have a dedicated wireless mode switch. To turn the wireless slave mode on and off, you need to use the flash menu, which takes about 2 seconds to do. This is more critical for 580 series then for the 430 ones, but make sure this is not an issue for you.

Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: dedicated wireless mode switch

Another step forward for Canon 430EX II is the extra custom functions and additional values to some of the functions. Below are the custom functions for both units.

Canon Speedlite 430EX custom functions:

C.Fn-01 Auto Power Off activation
0 ON
C.Fn-02 Slave unit's auto power off time
0 Auto power off after 60 min.
1 Auto power off after 10 min.
C.Fn-03 Auto zoom for image size
0 Enable
1 Disable
C.Fn-04 AF-assist bean OFF
0 Disabled
1 Enabled
C.Fn-05 Modeling flash
0 Enabled
1 Disabled
C.Fn-06 LCD panel display when shutter button pressed halfway
0 Display maximum flash range. (Displays up to max. 18m/60 ft)
1 Display apertured.

Canon Speedlite 430EX II custom functions:

C.Fn-00 Distance indicator display
0 Meters (m)
1 Feet (ft)
C.Fn-01 Auto power off
0 Enabled
1 Disabled
C.Fn-02 Modeling flash
0 Enabled (Depth-of-filed preview button)
1 Enabled (Testing firing button)
2 Enabled (with both buttons)
3 Disabled
C.Fn-07 Test firing with autoflash
0 1/32
1 full output
C.Fn-08 AF-assist beam firing
0 Enabled
1 Disabled
C.Fn-09 Auto zoom for sensor size
0 Enabled
1 Disabled
C.Fn-10 Slave auto power off timer
0 60 minutes
1 10 minutes
C.Fn-11 Slave auto power off cancel
0 Within 8 hours
1 Within 1 hour
C.Fn-14 Flash range/aperture info
0 Maximum distance
1 Aperture display

The inluded flash stand is given a fresher look, but the difference is minor.

Canon Speedlite 430EX vs. Canon Speedlite 430EX II: stands

Thus, unless you really need the dedicated wireless mode switch or the price difference becomes significant, Canon Speedlite 430EX II is a better choice.

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.