Canon 430EX ii Speedlite Review

Canon 430EX ii Review

This item has been discontinued and has been replaced by the Canon 430EX iii-RT Speedlite

Canon 430EX II Speedlite - front view
Canon 430EX II Speedlite


The Canon 430EX ii was introduced in 2008 and fast became a popular speedlite due to its mid-range price tag, compact size yet powerful flash (only half a stop less than the flagship Canon 600EX ii-RT or the discontinued Canon 580EX II). Apart from not having radio wireless transmission it has pretty much all the functions that most professional photographers will need including E-TTL II, high speed sync and a very decent multi point infra-red focus assist beam for use in low light (inside churches for example).

Guide Price

No longer in production although great bargains can often be found on ebay. Expect to pay around £60 / US$80 for a second-hand Canon 430EX II in good condition.


The Canon Speedlite 430EX II is compatible with all Canon EOS digital SLR cameras allowing full E-TTL / E-TTL II auto exposure control. This speedlite utilises the Canon EX optical wireless system. However, it cannot be used as a master unit to control other speedlites. It can only be used on-camera or as a wireless slave. It can be triggered by numerous other optical wireless masters including the Canon 580EX II, Canon 600EX -RT, Canon 600EX ii-RT and the dedicated Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter. At a push you can also control it using a Canon camera’s pop-up flash (obviously only if the camera has one).

The Canon Speedlite 430EX ii is also compatible with some third party speedlites made by Yongnuo and Godox. See Yongnuo’s & Godox’s range of speedlites for more details.

Canon Speedlite 430EXII - front view
Canon Speedlite 430EX II

Canon 430EX II Specification


Maximum Guide Number 43m @ 105mm & ISO 100
Comparative Guide Number 31m @ 35mm & ISO 100
[43m@105mm, 40m@80mm, 37m@70mm, 34m@50mm, 31m@35mm, 27m@28mm, 25m@24mm, 11m@14mm]

The Canon 430EX ii has the same power output as the newer Canon 430EX iii-RT. When compared to the top-of-the-range Canon 600EX ii-RT the smaller compact 430EX ii is about half a stop less powerful at 35mm (GN31m vs GN34m @ 35mm & ISO 100). At 105mm the difference seems to increase to around a 2/3 stop difference. Not a lot when you think you can pick up an excellent second-hand Canon 430EX ii in good condition for around £60 / US$80.

Zoom Head

Zoom head: Yes
Focal length coverage: Auto, 24-105mm
Coverage with flip-down diffuser: 14mm
Auto zoom for sensor size: Yes
Flash bounce card: No – one of the few flashes not to have one, so remember to bring your own if required

Canon 430EX ii speedlite - view of control panel
Canon Speedlite 430EX II

Flash Head Tilt & Swivel

Up: 45, 60, 75 and 90°
Down: No
Left: 60, 75, 90, 120, 150 and 180°
Right: 60, 75, 90

Manual Exposure

Manual / output settings: Yes – 1/1- 1/64
Manual steps: 1/3 stop intervals

ETTL Exposure

Canon ETTL with flash exposure compensation (FEC), flash exposure lock (FE lock).
No flash exposure bracketing (FEB) 

Wireless Communication

Radio Wireless (RF)
None. There is no in-built radio wireless communication. If you want to add radio wireless functionality to this flash you could try the Yongnuo 622C-TX transmitter and Yongnuo 622C receiver (Yongnuo 622C radio system) or just add a Yongnuo YNE3-RX receiver (when used with Canon’s RT radio system) or a Godox X1R-C receiver (when used with Godox X radio system). The three previous methods allow full transmission of E-TTL II information as well as manual info. If you only want a very basic radio trigger for the flash in manual mode you could consider a pair of Neewer F-16 transceivers.

Optical Wireless
Canon’s EX optical pulse wireless system (visible and infra-red light)
Line-of-sight communication. 
Transmitter maximum range approximately: Indoors: 12-15m, Outdoors: 8-10m
No. of groups: 3 (A, B & C)
No. of channels: 4
Master/Slave: Can only act as a slave unit. Cannot be used as a master.

Auto-Focus (AF) Assist 

AF-assist beam: Yes
Number of AF points supported: 1 to 9
AF-assist beam type: Infra-red light pattern projection
Beam range: 0.7-10m at centre, 0.7 to 5m at periphery

Other Features

High speed sync (HSS): Yes
Second-curtain flash sync: Yes
Modelling flash: Yes (fired with camera’s depth-of-field preview button)
Multi (stroboscopic) flash: No. The 430EX II doesn’t have the stroboscopic flash feature when used alone, but it does support the feature when used in slave mode with a master that has the feature. 
Colour temperature info communication: Yes
Remote shutter release: No
Custom function: 9
Flash settings from camera menus (with compatible cameras only): Yes
Optical slave capability (S1, S2): No
PC terminal: No
USB socket for firmware updates: No

Batteries & Recycling Time

Battery: 4 x AA batteries (alkaline or rechargeable Ni-MH. Lithium not recommended)
Recycling time: Approx. 0.1 to 3.0 seconds
Number of flashes (approx): 200-1400 with AA alkaline batteries
Flash duration:
Flash Colour temperature: 5600K tbc
External power supply: No

Build Quality

Dust and water resistant: No
Mounting foot material: Metal foot plate with clamp type lock.
Size: 72 x 122 x 101mm (2.8 x 4.8 x 4.0″)
Weight: 320g/11.3oz (excluding batteries) (4xAA batteries adds 100g)

Included Accessories

  • Soft case
  • Mini stand

Compatible accessories: 

Canon 430EX II Manual

Canon 430EX II manual download pdf format
Canon 430EX II Manual pdf format (opens external link to Canon official website)

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Page last checked & updated on 27 January 2021