Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Review

Canon 600EX-RT Review

There is a newer version of this item, the Canon 600EX ii-RT Speedlite

Canon 600EX-RT flashgun - front view
Canon Speedlite 600EX -RT


The Canon 600EX-RT was introduced in March 2012 and was Canon’s first flash with a built-in 2.4GHz radio trigger system. It also maintains the legacy optical EX wireless system so it compatible with older Canon 430EX II & Canon 580EX II speedlites. This is an excellent quality flashgun suitable for professional wedding photography however the uses of this speedlite are only limited by your imagination. The Canon 600EX-RT has a 20-200mm zoom with a powerful GN of 60m at the 200mm range (ISO 100). Of course it includes all the features you can think of such as ETTL II, high speed sync, 2nd curtain sync, FEB, multi-flash, external power socket, an accurate AF-assist light and weather proof seals. This speedlite was updated in 2016 by the 600EX II-RT which to all intents and purposes is exactly the same but with an improved continuous flash rate.

For a detailed comparison see our blog post Canon 600EX-RT vs Canon 600EX II-RT.

Guide Price

Discontinued. Try eBay. Suggested second hand price, excellent condition £160 (UK) US$180 (US)


The Canon 600EX-RT is compatible with all Canon EOS cameras. 

Canon 600EX-RT Specification


Maximum Guide Number 60m @ 200mm & ISO 100
Comparative Guide Number 36m @ 35mm & ISO 100

Front view of the flashgun

Zoom Head

Zoom head: Yes
Focal length coverage: 20-200mm
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°
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 increments

ETTL Exposure

Canon ETTL with flash exposure compensation (FEC), flash exposure lock (FE lock) and flash exposure bracketing (FEB) 

Canon 600EX-RT speedlite - rear view showing LCD display

Wireless Communication

Radio Wireless (RF) 2.4GHz
Uses Canon’s 2.4GHz RT radio system.
Transmitter maximum range approximately: up to 30m
No. of groups: 5 (A, B, C, D & E)
No. of channels: Auto, 15 channels and 10,000 wireless radio IDs
Master/Slave: Can act as both a master and a slave unit

Optical Wireless (IR)
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

side view

Auto-Focus (AF) Assist 

AF-assist beam: Yes
Number of AF points supported: 1 to 65
AF-assist beam type: Infra-red
Beam range: 0.6-10m at centre, 0.6 to 5m at periphery

side view of flashgun showing battery compartment

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: Yes
Custom function: 18 (5 personal functions) 
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 5.5 sec
Number of flashes (approx): 100-700 with AA alkaline batteries
Flash duration:
Flash Colour temperature:
Optional external power supply: Yes, Canon compact battery pack CP-E4 / CP-E4N or the Godox PB960

Build Quality

Dust and water resistance: Yes
Mounting foot material: Metal
Size: 79.7 x 142.9 x 125.4mm (3.1 x 5.6 x 4.9″)
Weight: 425g/15.0oz (excluding batteries)

Flashgun mounted on a Canon EOS 5D camera

Included accessories

Compatible accessories: 

Alternatives to the Canon 600EX-RT

Canon 600EX ii-RT is the newer updated version with an improved continuous flash rate. Apart from that it’s pretty much the same.

Canon 430EX iii-RT – half the price of the Canon 600EX II-RT, lightweight and more compact with just 2/3 stop less power.

Canon 580EX ii – a great alternative if you don’t need radio wireless. No longer in production but you can pick up some excellent bargains on ebay from time to time. If you need the radio wireless capabilities you could just add a Yongnuo YNE3-RX radio receiver

Yongnuo 600EX-RT II – effectively a Canon clone for a fifth of the price and uses the same RT radio wireless system so speedlites are compatible. Maybe not quite as reliable and not the same quality of after sales support if things go wrong but still an excellent option at a price that can’t be beaten.

Godox TT685 – Great alternative with similar spec but uses Godox X radio wireless system.

Canon 600EX-RT Manual

Canon 600EX-RT manual download pdf format
Canon 600EX-RT Manual pdf format (opens external link to Canon official website)

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This page was last checked and updated on the 27 January 2021