Canon 580EX ii Speedlite Review

Canon 580EX ii Review

This item has been discontinued and has effectively been replaced by the Canon 600EX ii-RT Speedlite

Canon Speedlite 580EX II - front view
Canon Speedlite 580EX ii


The Canon 580EX ii was introduced in 2007 and was Canon’s flagship model until it was replaced by the 600EX-RT in 2012 (now replaced by the 600EX ii-RT in 2016). It is still a superb professional flash only differing from the 600EX ii-RT in not having radio wireless or the slightly longer 200mm zoom focal length. However in does have the optical wireless communication system (light pulses requiring line-of-sight) and you can often pick up a second-hand bargain on ebay since so many photographers are upgrading to radio wireless. If you don’t need radio wireless then this is an excellent buy. If you need radio wireless then you can easily use third party devices (see info in the wireless communication section below). It’s also weather resistant.

Guide Price

No longer in production although great bargains can often be found on ebay. In good condition expect to pay around £85 / US$95.


The Canon Speedlite 580EX 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 and can be used as an optical master or optical slave unit making it compatible with speedlites such as the Canon 580EX II, Canon 580EX, Canon 430EX II, Canon 430EX, Canon 470EX-AI, Canon 600EX ii-RT, Canon 600EX -RT, Canon 430EX iii-RT flashes as well as the Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter.

The Canon Speedlite 580EX 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 580EXII - rear view showing the control panel

Canon 580EX II Specification


Maximum Guide Number 58m @ 105mm & ISO 100
Comparative Guide Number 36m @ 35mm & ISO 100
[58m@105mm, 53m@80mm, 50m@70mm, 42m@50mm, 36m@35mm, 30m@28mm, 28m@24mm, 15m@14mm]

The Canon 580EX ii is rated as being very slightly more powerful (about a 1/4 of a stop) than the newer Canon 600EX ii-RT (GN36m v GN34m @ 35mm & ISO 100). It is about 3/4 of a stop more powerful than the Canon 430EX ii or the Canon 430EX iii-RT (GN36m v GN28m @ 35mm & ISO 100).

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: Yes

Flash Head Tilt & Swivel

Up: 45, 60, 75 and 90°
Down: 7° (for close up shots between 0.5-2m)
Left: 60, 75, 90, 120, 150 and 180°
Right: 60, 75, 90, 120, 150 and 180°

Manual Exposure

Manual / output settings: Yes – 1/1- 1/128
Manual steps: 1/3 stop intervals

ETTL Exposure

Canon E-TTL / E-TTL II with flash exposure compensation (FEC), flash exposure lock (FE lock) and 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 (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 act as both a master and a slave unit

Auto-Focus (AF) Assist 

AF-assist beam: Yes
Number of AF points supported: 1 to 45
AF-assist beam type: Infra-red light pattern projection
Beam range: 0.6-10m at centre, 0.6 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: Yes
Colour temperature info communication: Yes
Remote shutter release: No
Custom function: 13
Flash settings from camera menus (with compatible cameras only): Yes
Optical slave capability (S1, S2): No
PC terminal: Yes
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 5 seconds
Number of flashes (approx): 100-700
Flash duration:
Flash Colour temperature: 5600K tbc
External power source socket: Yes, Canon compact battery pack CP-E4 or the Godox PB960

Build Quality

Dust and water resistant: Yes
Mounting foot material: Metal
Size: 76 x 137 x 117mm (3.0 x 5.4 x 4.6″)
Weight: 405g/14.3oz (excluding batteries) (4xAA batteries adds 100g)

Included Accessories

  • Soft case
  • Mini stand

Compatible accessories: 


Canon 600EX ii-RT
Canon 430EX iii-RT

Canon 580EX II Manual

Canon 580EX II manual download pdf format
Canon 580EX II Manual pdf format (opens external link to Canon official website)

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Page last updated on 27 January 2021