LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., Aug 19, 2004 - The long awaited evolution in Canon's Speedlite family of EOS system flashes is here. The Speedlite 580EX flash takes its place as Canon's new flagship Speedlite, replacing the popular Speedlite 550EX model. A more powerful flash with a maximum guide number of 58/191 at ISO 100 in meters/feet (at 105mm focal length), faster recycling, more consistent color and enhanced controls are among the improvements that all photographers, especially those who shoot digital, will find useful.
"We designed the Speedlite 580EX flash from the ground up specifically to maximize digital photography," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ). " This new flash takes the best features from existing models and adds functionality that enhances digital photography. We now offer a Speedlite that yields great performance with a more comfortable and easy to use interface, in a smaller and lighter package thanits predecessors."
E-TTL II Compatibility
The Speedlite 580EX flash is compatible with Canon's E-TTL II (Evaluative Through The Lens) auto exposure technology. When combined with a compatible Canon camera, E-TTL II utilizes subject distance and other information that automatically modifies flash power, resulting in accurate flash exposure regardless of subject size, reflectance, or photographic composition. This is great news for photographers that shoot high contrast or reflective subjects, like those encountered in wedding photography. Photographers can now capture every detail from the black of tuxedoes to the white of wide smiles and wedding dresses.
The Speedlite 580EX flash is compatible with all film and digital EOS cameras as well as G-series and Pro-1 PowerShot digital cameras. The flash includes two features especially for digital photography. EOS 20D and EOS-1D Mark II** digital SLR users will especially appreciate the Speedlite 580EX flash's ability to auto-compensate for the size of the CMOS sensor, and zoom the flash head automatically to match the effective focal length conversion. This feature allows the Speedlite 580EX flash to maximize the efficiency of its light distribution and produce more flashes from a set of batteries. When used with the EOS 20D or 1D Mark II** digital SLR cameras, the flash and camera communicate to make fine adjustments to auto white balance by electronically monitoring the charge level of the batteries and the duration of each flash burst, resulting in consistently accurate color for every shot.
Speed, Power and Flexibility
Smaller, lighter, faster and more powerful than its predecessor, the Speedlite 550EX flash, Canon has further enhanced the new model by reducing the full-power recycling time by about 25 percent, while increasing the maximum Guide Number power rating by about 50 percent. These improvements are possible because of flash head optimization, circuit resistance reductions and changes in circuit design.
The new flash unit provides photographers with intuitive controls. Mimicking the style found on Canon's line of popular EOS Digital SLRs, the 580EX model's new control dial, SET button and a high-speed sync / shutter curtain synchronization button put all major functions at the fingertips of the photographer.
The Speedlite 580EX Flash features an AF-assist beam, which is now better matched to the different focusing point arrangements of various EOS SLRs, compared to earlier models. The unit includes a swiveling flash head that turns a full 180 degrees in both directions, while a single release lock controls tilt and swivel adjustments. A wide-angle diffuser found on the Speedlite 580EX flash covers focal lengths as short as 14mm. The flash also features a new catchlight reflector for optimal lighting quality during bounce-flash photography. The Speedlite 580EX flash features a total of 14 Custom Functions that provide maximum control over various flash functions such as recycling with external power and auto-zooming to match sensor size.
New Accessories and EOS System Compatibility
To accompany the new Speedlite 580EX flash, Canon is offering a new external power pack called the Compact Battery Pack CP-E3. This battery pack reduces full power recycling time from about six to 1.7 seconds and increases the number of full-power flashes per charge from approximately 100 to 432. The Speedlite 580EX flash is also fully compatible with the E-TTL/E-TTL II Wireless Autoflash system and can be used as an on-camera controller or an off-camera remote flash.
Pricing and Availability
Canon's new Speedlite 580EX flash and Compact Battery Pack CP-E3 will be available in October for estimated selling prices of $479* and $220*, respectively.