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Canon Speedlite 420EX

Flash for Canon digital SLRs, PowerShot G6, and PowerShot Pro 1

Item # 280420EX

Perfect lighting is essential to getting the perfect shot.

Perfect lighting is essential to getting the perfect shot.

Discontinued item

Item # 280420EX

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About the Canon Speedlite 420EX

Dave Bar
Perfect lighting is essential to getting the perfect shot. The Speedlite 420EX provides the versatility and power for more professional-looking flash photography with compatible Canon cameras, including the EOS Digital Rebel and EOS 20D digital SLR models.

Perfect lighting is essential to getting the perfect shot. The Speedlite 420EX provides the versatility and power for more professional-looking flash photography with compatible Canon cameras, including the EOS Digital Rebel and EOS 20D digital SLR models.

Simple to use, yet sophisticated, the fully automatic 420EX's "Evaluative Through-The-Lens" (E-TTL) exposure control works together with your Canon camera to provide the right illumination for your photos every time. All of the necessary connections are made by mounting the flash to your camera's accessory shoe.

The 420EX's flash head can be tilted and swiveled to place just the right amount of light where you want it. Bounced from walls or ceilings, reflected light can provide softer illumination with less glare and fewer shadows. And the powerful 420EX puts more light at your disposal, too. Take low-light shots from far greater distances than your camera's built-in flash will allow.

The 420EX can also be used off-camera as part of a wireless multiple-flash photography system. Using Canon's Speedlite 580EX as the "master" unit, unlimited numbers of 420EX's can be trigged wirelessly to create dramatic lighting effects.

Note: For use only with compatible Canon cameras. Requires 4 "AA" batteries (not included).


Product highlights:

  • E-TTL flash exposure control
  • E-TTL II for compatible Canon EOS cameras and EF series lenses
  • flash head can be tilted and swiveled
  • flash head zooms automatically over a range of 24mm-105mm
  • wireless E-TTL flash operation as a "slave" unit
  • autofocus assist beam
  • maximum guide number (ISO 100) 138 ft./42m (at 105mm setting)
  • stand and soft case included
  • compatible with EOS Digital Rebel, EOS 20D, Canon PowerShot G6, and Canon PowerShot Pro 1
  • weight: 10.6 oz. (without batteries)
  • 2-7/8"W x 4-7/8"H x 2-11/16"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # 4590A009AA

What's in the box:

  • 420EX Electronic flash
  • Vinyl case
  • Stand
  • Instructions (English)
  • Instructions (French)
  • Warranty sheet

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More details on the Canon Speedlite 420EX

Mark G.

Product Research



Shoe Mount: The 420EX flash mounts to the intelligent shoe on the top of the camera. Flash trigger, exposure setting, and focal length (zoom) setting are transferred to the flash via the intelligent shoe.

E-TTL/TTL Autoflash: The 580EX is compatible with E-TTL II (Evaluative-Through The Lens), E-TTL, and TTL (Through The Lens) metering modes. The proper mode is set automatically depending on the camera used.

  • E-TTL II-Evaluative flash metering with preflash reading and lens distance information
  • E-TTL-Evaluative flash metering with preflash reading
  • TTL-Off the film metering for real time flash metering

AF (Auto Focus)-Assist Beam: If the focal point lacks sufficient light or contrast, the 420EX's AF-Assist Beam will fire automatically to help the camera focus. The AF-Assist beam is effective from 0.7-7 meters (2.3-23 ft).

Flash Coverage: The flash head automatically zooms to provide adequate flash coverage for the lens focal length in use. The focal length setting is indicated by a row of LEDs on the back of the flash (24mm to 105mm).

Bounce Flash: When the flash is aimed directly at the subject, a harsh shadow may appear behind the subject. Using the vertical and horizontal adjustments on the flash to bounce the flash off the ceiling or wall can reduce or eliminate the shadow for a more natural looking picture.

Variable angle: The firing direction of the flash is adjustable. The vertical angle ranges from 0° (straight forward) to 90° (straight up) and the horizontal angle ranges from 180° (backward), turning clockwise around to 0° (forward) and on to 90° (firing to the right).

SE (Save Energy) Mode: If the flash isn't used (or adjusted) for 90 seconds the power is automatically turned off.

Pilot Lamp/Button: The pilot lamp/button lights when the flash is ready to fire. Depressing the lamp/button fires a test flash.

Flash Exposure Confirmation: If the correct flash exposure has been obtained, the flash exposure confirmation lamp lights (in green) for about three seconds after the flash fires.

High Speed Sync: When the flash mode is set to High Speed Sync, the flash can synchronize with shutter speeds faster than the camera's fastest sync speed.

Fill Flash: Even in daylight the flash can be used for fill light to soften harsh shadows or illuminate a dark, backlit subject.

Second-Curtain Sync: Using a slow shutter speed and second-curtain sync, a light trail is created following a moving object. The flash fires just before the shutter closes.

Wireless Multi-Flash: When used with a 580EX "master" flash, any number of 420EXs can be triggered wirelessly. In this wireless mode, the flash coverage is automatically set to 24mm. The 420EX has four wireless channel options and must be set the the same channel as the master. There are three group settings for sequential flashing (when used with a compatible camera).

Wired Multi-Flash: Up to four Canon Speedlite series flashes can be used in a wired multi-flash system. The wired flash system is used with film cameras only.

Stand: The included stand will hold the flash on a table or shelf. There is also a threaded insert on the bottom of the stand so it can be tripod mounted.

Batteries: The 420EX flash uses 4 AA batteries. Alkaline, lithium, or nickel metal hydride (rechargeable) are recommended. Canon's testing with alkaline batteries yields a recycle time of 0.1-7.5 seconds and a flash count of 200-1400 (depending on flash settings).


  • Guide number: 23m-42m (at ISO 100)
  • Flash Range: 0.7-24.2 meters (2.3 to 79.4 feet)
  • Recycle Time: 0.1-7.5 seconds
  • Flash Duration: 1.2 milliseconds or less (with normal flash)
  • Weight: 10.6 oz. (without batteries)


Because the flash angle is hinged for up/down adjustment and pivots for left/right adjustment, all three dimensions vary as follows:

  • Width: 2.844" to 4.139"
  • Height: 4.806" to 6.314"
  • Depth: 2.638" to 4.289"

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