Canon Speedlite 220EX Flash Review

Canon Speedlite 220EX Flash Review
Note: The Canon Speedlite 220EX Flash has been replaced by the Canon Speedlite 270EX Flash.

Update: The Canon Speedlite 220EX Flash has been replaced by the Canon 270EX II Speedlite Flash.

The 220EX is small, inexpensive and cute, but you should buy the Canon 430EX II Speedlite Flash or the Canon 580EX II Speedlite Flash instead.

The Canon Speedlite 220EX Flash does not tilt, does not swivel, is not powerful, is not compatible with Canon's wireless remote system, has almost no settings available, provides only limited AF assistance, has no manual mode, covers only 28mm or longer focal lengths (FOVCF included) and does not zoom. I'm sure I could go on, but ... if you are going to buy a flash, you probably want to step up to a full-featured model as I recommended in the first paragraph.

That said, this flash does have some purpose. If your built-in flash is not powerful enough, this one might give you the extra umph you need. If your camera does not have a built-in flash, this one might provide just the light you need (but if your camera does not have a built-in flash, you are probably serious enough about your images to want one of the more functional flashes).

What does the Canon Speedlite 220EX Flash do well? It provides nice near-on-axis fill light for those images that need a little help. This may be when shooting outdoors in sunlight or indoors with overhead lighting. Some fill flash will help eliminate the harsh shadows in these circumstances.

While this flash is nearly twice as powerful as a built-in flash (a definite benefit), using an on-camera flash for the main light of an image is best avoided. This technique is usually not going to get you great image quality. If catching the moment is all that matters to you, go for it.

While off-camera use of the 220EX is possible, it requires a Canon Off Camera Shoe Cord OC-E3 or a 3rd party adapter of some type. However, because of its low power, I suggest that the 220EX is not likely the right flash to base your remote system on.

Shown below are the Canon Speedlite 580EX II (left) and the much smaller 220EX. The 220EX is mounted on a flash stand from a 580EX - this is not included in the 220EX box. Since the 220EX is not wireless remote compatible, there is no need for a stand (unless you are taking a comparison photo of it).

Canon Speedlite 220EX II compared to the 580EX II

Canon Speedlite 220EX II compared to the 580EX II - Back View

Canon Speedlite 220EX II compared to the 580EX II - Side View

Be sure to read at least the Canon 430EX II Speedlite Flash Review before determining that the 220EX is for you.

If you've made it this far, the good news is that the Canon Speedlite 220EX Flash does not cost much, does not take up much room in your case (or your pocket) and will not weight you down.

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