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Gear Talk => Reviews => Topic started by: Canon Rumors on February 26, 2013, 07:47:25 AM

Title: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Canon Rumors on February 26, 2013, 07:47:25 AM
Discuss our review of the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT  (http://www.canonrumors.com/reviews/review-canon-speedlite-600ex-rt/)here.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: FunPhotons on February 26, 2013, 08:22:56 AM
Whoops, common mistake at the top of the article.

Canon light triggering is NOT an infrared system.

It uses visible light pretriggering.

The red panel on your flash is for auto-focus assist.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: infared on February 26, 2013, 08:32:25 AM
GREAT review, Justin...and excellent sample shots to illustrate your points in the article. You are quite the capable new asset here at Canon Rumors! Thanks for an incredibly well-rounded review of a complex subject.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: msatter on February 26, 2013, 08:40:01 AM
Never had any problem with PocketWizards and Canon flashes but then I don't life in an FCC area. I life in an EC area were different frequencies are used to communicate with the PocketWizards.

In short it was an problem caused by Canon who produced interference in a bandwidth that used for communications. 

Read more on FCC on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission)
Read more on EC on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking)

From PocketWizard self: http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/range/ (http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/range/)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on February 26, 2013, 09:12:37 AM
Good review, Justin.  In a studio setting I found the 60D/7D optical triggers worked fine, but yes, they were nightmares outside.  When I went to full frame I purchased the Yongnuo 622s and they have worked well for me.  Glad that Canon is stepping up the technology, though.

I wonder if they (through firmware) will allow for flash control with the 600EX-RT using the 6D's wireless system.  I would hope that, at minumum, future bodies would have that master control built in.  It's not just the expense of additional components; it is the awkwardness of adding more components to the camera body when often what you need is to just shoot (without more and more weight!)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 09:13:37 AM
Never had any problem with PocketWizards and Canon flashes but then I don't life in an FCC area. I life in an EC area were different frequencies are used to communicate with the PocketWizards.

In short it was an problem caused by Canon who produced interference in a bandwidth that used for communications. 

Read more on FCC on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission)
Read more on EC on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking)

From PocketWizard self: http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/range/ (http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/range/)

All I'm saying is that if Pocket Wizard produced a product for a pre-existing Canon product, then it should have been thoroughly tested in all the markets.  Did Canon make a flash with too much RF interference? Maybe. Did Pocketwizard do their due diligence to make sure this wouldn't affect their customers? nope.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 09:18:07 AM
Good review, Justin.  In a studio setting I found the 60D/7D optical triggers worked fine, but yes, they were nightmares outside.  When I went to full frame I purchased the Yongnuo 622s and they have worked well for me.  Glad that Canon is stepping up the technology, though.

I wonder if they (through firmware) will allow for flash control with the 600EX-RT using the 6D's wireless system.  I would hope that, at minumum, future bodies would have that master control built in.  It's not just the expense of additional components; it is the awkwardness of adding more components to the camera body when often what you need is to just shoot (without more and more weight!)

I wish, but I'm sure we both know the answer to that. It's the same questions as why I can't add any arbitrary number of timed shutter releases to do in-camera time-lapse? Dongles and accessories are a great market for the manufacturer.

I would like to see added levels of control, though, while you can go from High-speedy sync and back again through wireless, you can't change the zoom (a minor complaint, since 99% of the time I'm shooting inside a light mod).
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 26, 2013, 09:19:26 AM
I wonder if they (through firmware) will allow for flash control with the 600EX-RT using the 6D's wireless system.  I would hope that, at minumum, future bodies would have that master control built in.  It's not just the expense of additional components; it is the awkwardness of adding more components to the camera body when often what you need is to just shoot (without more and more weight!)

Makes sense, but...

Quote from: Canon Marketing
It's not just the expense of writing the firmware code to support Wi-Fi flash triggering, it's all that lost revenue from the 600EX-RT and ST-E3-RT units we won't sell if we include the feature.  Sure, we did it with the popup flashes on the low end models, but that was old optical triggering tech, not our brand new RF tech.

 :-X
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: dragosdor on February 26, 2013, 09:19:54 AM
Hi there, I am new to this forum actually registered just to inquire about this 600 rt review. I am a seasoned photographer using a 5d3 and 4 flashes 600rt and I have been looking for a cheaper backup body alternative. The reviewer mentions that you have to own a 2012 camera for the RT system to be compatible, but then he puts 7d on that list, among 5d3, 6d and 1dx. So since when is 7d a 2012 camera? Or, did it gain compatibility through the 2.0 firmware? I am very interested since I will want to buy a 7d if it turns out is fully compatible. Forgot to mention I am only looking for the radio triggering and groups and high speed sync. Not the optical trigger which I even forgot the 600rt can do.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 26, 2013, 09:25:52 AM
So since when is 7d a 2012 camera? Or, did it gain compatibility through the 2.0 firmware? I am very interested since I will want to buy a 7d if it turns out is fully compatible.

Welcome!

The review is incorrect.  The 7D has the same limitations as any other pre-2012 camera for RF triggering, even with the v2 firmware - one stop lower X-sync, no group flash, and no HSS.  However, the 650D/T4i is a 2012 camera (and should have been on Justin's list in place of the 7D), and is 'fully compatible' with the 600EX-RT without those limitations.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 09:46:04 AM
So since when is 7d a 2012 camera? Or, did it gain compatibility through the 2.0 firmware? I am very interested since I will want to buy a 7d if it turns out is fully compatible.

Welcome!

The review is incorrect.  The 7D has the same limitations as any other pre-2012 camera for RF triggering, even with the v2 firmware - one stop lower X-sync, no group flash, and no HSS.  However, the 650D/T4i is a 2012 camera (and should have been on Justin's list in place of the 7D), and is 'fully compatible' with the 600EX-RT without those limitations.

Thanks guys, sorry about that error, you're right, the 7D is pre-2012 and not compatible with the full feature group mode. We'll get that fixed up in the review ASAP. So what does that make compatible? 5D3, 1DX, 6D right?
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 09:46:59 AM
Hi there, I am new to this forum actually registered just to inquire about this 600 rt review. I am a seasoned photographer using a 5d3 and 4 flashes 600rt and I have been looking for a cheaper backup body alternative. The reviewer mentions that you have to own a 2012 camera for the RT system to be compatible, but then he puts 7d on that list, among 5d3, 6d and 1dx. So since when is 7d a 2012 camera? Or, did it gain compatibility through the 2.0 firmware? I am very interested since I will want to buy a 7d if it turns out is fully compatible. Forgot to mention I am only looking for the radio triggering and groups and high speed sync. Not the optical trigger which I even forgot the 600rt can do.

Yeah, don't do it - that's my mistake - we'll fix it up in the review. Backup options are the 6D for now and *maybe* they'll release a 7DMKII this year...
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: infared on February 26, 2013, 09:47:48 AM
"I wonder if they (through firmware) will allow for flash control with the 600EX-RT using the 6D's wireless system.  I would hope that, at minumum, future bodies would have that master control built in.  It's not just the expense of additional components; it is the awkwardness of adding more components to the camera body when often what you need is to just shoot (without more and more weight!)"

...but then Canon would miss out on selling a $300+ accessory?   :P
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 09:48:33 AM
"I wonder if they (through firmware) will allow for flash control with the 600EX-RT using the 6D's wireless system.  I would hope that, at minumum, future bodies would have that master control built in.  It's not just the expense of additional components; it is the awkwardness of adding more components to the camera body when often what you need is to just shoot (without more and more weight!)"

...but the Canon would miss out on selling a $300+ accessory?   :P

Exactly. At least this is a $300 accessory that actually does something practical - for a change.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: David Hull on February 26, 2013, 09:49:53 AM
Never had any problem with PocketWizards and Canon flashes but then I don't life in an FCC area. I life in an EC area were different frequencies are used to communicate with the PocketWizards.

In short it was an problem caused by Canon who produced interference in a bandwidth that used for communications. 

Read more on FCC on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission)
Read more on EC on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking)

From PocketWizard self: http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/range/ (http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/range/)

This is Pocket Wizard's fault for not testing the product properly.  The Canon flash is fully compliant with all of the international regulations that were in force at the time of its design and manufacturer.  That is what all of those little logos that are plastered on them mean.  Radio Popper, other PW's etc. work fine it was LPA Design's responsibility to make their product work with Canon, not the other way around.  The simple fact is that LPA did a poor engineering job and did not test their product properly. 
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 26, 2013, 09:50:36 AM
Thanks guys, sorry about that error, you're right, the 7D is pre-2012 and not compatible with the full feature group mode. We'll get that fixed up in the review ASAP. So what does that make compatible? 5D3, 1DX, 6D right?

1D X, 5DIII, 6D, and T4i/650D are compatible with 5 groups/HSS/etc.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: rs on February 26, 2013, 09:51:24 AM
Whoops, common mistake at the top of the article.

Canon light triggering is NOT an infrared system.

It uses visible light pretriggering.

The red panel on your flash is for auto-focus assist.
Explain the ST-E2 then.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: dragosdor on February 26, 2013, 09:51:57 AM
So since when is 7d a 2012 camera? Or, did it gain compatibility through the 2.0 firmware? I am very interested since I will want to buy a 7d if it turns out is fully compatible.

Welcome!

The review is incorrect.  The 7D has the same limitations as any other pre-2012 camera for RF triggering, even with the v2 firmware - one stop lower X-sync, no group flash, and no HSS.  However, the 650D/T4i is a 2012 camera (and should have been on Justin's list in place of the 7D), and is 'fully compatible' with the 600EX-RT without those limitations.

Thanks guys, sorry about that error, you're right, the 7D is pre-2012 and not compatible with the full feature group mode. We'll get that fixed up in the review ASAP. So what does that make compatible? 5D3, 1DX, 6D right?

Thanks for clarification! You can add the T4i to the list of compatible cameras but myself I will keep my 6d order and enjoy 2 FF cameras. T4i is just not a camera I can pull out of my bag at my kind of events :)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 09:58:07 AM
Whoops, common mistake at the top of the article.

Canon light triggering is NOT an infrared system.

It uses visible light pretriggering.

The red panel on your flash is for auto-focus assist.
Explain the ST-E2 then.

Canon does list this function as an "optical" triggering system, though I'm curious myself how the ST-E2 (or the ST-E3-RT for that matter) work in this regard... or maybe I'm not that curious because we're living in a radio triggered world now!
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: rs on February 26, 2013, 10:01:20 AM
Whoops, common mistake at the top of the article.

Canon light triggering is NOT an infrared system.

It uses visible light pretriggering.

The red panel on your flash is for auto-focus assist.
Explain the ST-E2 then.

Canon does list this function as an "optical" triggering system, though I'm curious myself how the ST-E2 (or the ST-E3-RT for that matter) work in this regard... or maybe I'm not that curious because we're living in a radio triggered world now!
http://www.canon.co.uk/For_Home/Product_Finder/Cameras/speedlite_flash/speedlite_transmitter_ST-E2/ (http://www.canon.co.uk/For_Home/Product_Finder/Cameras/speedlite_flash/speedlite_transmitter_ST-E2/)

Transmission type: Infra-red
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: David Hull on February 26, 2013, 10:04:06 AM
Never had any problem with PocketWizards and Canon flashes but then I don't life in an FCC area. I life in an EC area were different frequencies are used to communicate with the PocketWizards.

In short it was an problem caused by Canon who produced interference in a bandwidth that used for communications. 

Read more on FCC on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission)
Read more on EC on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CE_marking)

From PocketWizard self: http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/range/ (http://www.pocketwizard.com/inspirations/technology/range/)

All I'm saying is that if Pocket Wizard produced a product for a pre-existing Canon product, then it should have been thoroughly tested in all the markets.  Did Canon make a flash with too much RF interference? Yup. Did Pocketwizard do their due diligence to make sure this wouldn't affect their customers? nope.

Did Canon make a flash with too much RF interference? Nope.  If you look at the device there is an FCC compliance logo stamped right into the plastic this means that the device met all FCC requirements at the time of its manufacture.  If you read the FCC part 15 requirements you will see that the onus is on Pocket Wizard to make sure their device works with the devices it is supposed to work with.  "Did Pocket Wizard do their due diligence to make sure this wouldn't affect their customers? Absolutely not."  Canon is not at fault on this one, the fault lies entirely with LPA Designs, the PW manufacturer.  I have been through quite a number of FCC, part 15 qualifications for various products over the years.  BTW: it also caries an EC sticker and tehir requirements are even tougher.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 26, 2013, 10:20:44 AM
Whoops, common mistake at the top of the article.

Canon light triggering is NOT an infrared system.

It uses visible light pretriggering.

The red panel on your flash is for auto-focus assist.
Explain the ST-E2 then.

Canon does list this function as an "optical" triggering system, though I'm curious myself how the ST-E2 (or the ST-E3-RT for that matter) work in this regard... or maybe I'm not that curious because we're living in a radio triggered world now!
Ok, here's the deal.  The Canon 'optical' triggering system does use infrared light for the triggering, but depending on the source of the triggering signal, visible light may also be emitted. 

When using a flash as a master, the signal is sent by the main flash tube.  The xenon flashtube in a Speedlite emits a broad, relatively even spectrum in the visible range (useful for a 'white' flash with an approximate daylight color temperature), but there is even stronger emission in the IR range.  The emission spectrum looks like this:

(http://dpanswers.com/images/xenon.png)

The receiver on a slave flash is covered by a filter 'window' which blocks the visible light, but passes the IR light - those big peaks between 800-1000nm.  If you look on the front of a slave-capable Speedlite, there's a black panel which covers the IR receiver, and on flashes with an AF assist lamp, there's also a red 'window' for that (the slave receiver is usually above the red AF assist lamp panel).

The ST-E2 master has a xenon flashtube inside it (the AF assist lamp is separate), and that's behind a 'black' filter (the main 'panel' above the AF assist lamp window), which blocks the visible portion of the xenon flashtube emission, so only the IR component of the flash is emitted to control the slave units. 

I suppose Canon calls it 'optical' triggering because most of the time (except with the ST-E2), there is visible light emitted along with the IR triggering signal.  But it's also correct to refer to it as an IR triggering system, since that part of the spectrum is what the receiver is actually detecting.

Or, if you prefer, Canon light triggering IS an infrared system.   :P

The ST-E3 emits only RF - no IR (optical) triggering, and no AF assist lamp, either.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 10:27:36 AM
A great write up, again.

Two silly limitations the new RT system has that Canon have never implemented but third parties have, second curtain sync, which would be nice for sync speed action shots, and remote head zoom function, that is very useful as one of the best modifiers is the zoom.

Thanks!

Yeah, the zoom-head thing is silly, I don't see myself using it much, but I bet you one time I'll need it and curse them.  At least High-Speed sync can be controlled, for me that's more important than the other two.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RLPhoto on February 26, 2013, 10:42:35 AM
600 ex RT vs PCB einstein 

That is the question in my upgrade situation.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 10:46:00 AM
600 ex RT vs PCB einstein 

That is the question in my upgrade situation.

Apples and Oranges no? I didn't sell my Elinchrom lights to get the speedlight. I sold my old speedlights to get new speedlights.

Personally, I love the look my bigger lights can produce, their versatility in power output (the Einsteins are very impressive in this regard), but they're not entirely portable.  So do you shoot at home, or in controlled environments where you don't have to lug heavy equipment around all the time, looking for power? Or are you working on your feet in tight situations often with incredibly limited amounts of time?

I use both types of light for different situations, though that doesn't prohibit me from combining them if necessary.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 26, 2013, 10:50:00 AM
I use both types of light for different situations, though that doesn't prohibit me from combining them if necessary.

...and combining them is why I use PocketWizards, even with my 600EX-RT - for a blended system of Einstein + Speedlite.  I hope Canon releases an RF receiver for their system at some point, which I can use to trigger a monolight.  Honestly, I expect they will do so down the line, for compatibility with legacy flashes...but likely not until well after they release a slave-only 4x0EX-RT.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 10:52:12 AM
I use both types of light for different situations, though that doesn't prohibit me from combining them if necessary.

...and combining them is why I use PocketWizards, even with my 600EX-RT - for a blended system of Einstein + Speedlite.  I hope Canon releases an RF receiver for their system at some point, which I can use to trigger a monolight.  Honestly, I expect they will do so down the line, for compatibility with legacy flashes...but likely not until well after they release a slave-only 4x0EX-RT.

Yeah, notice I sold my Speedlights but not my Pocketwizards (yet). I also have Elinchrom Skyports which work nicely with THAT system, so I just plug them into the Canon's and then play the trigger/receiver/cable which is at fault game.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JohnnyWashngo on February 26, 2013, 10:58:33 AM
'Selling off my 580exIIs wasn’t easy. Their drop in price meant I was selling two flashes to one 600ex-RT purchase'

That's odd. I sold off 3 of my 580exII speedlites in perfect condition when the 600ex-rt was announced. I got almost new price for them and had to add only a small amount extra to buy 3 600ex-rt's. Certainly nowhere near to the 2 for 1 situation you observed.

Great speedlite BTW. I love the confidence a radio trigger gives me. And I love the range as well.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 11:02:46 AM
'Selling off my 580exIIs wasn’t easy. Their drop in price meant I was selling two flashes to one 600ex-RT purchase'

That's odd. I sold off 3 of my 580exII speedlites in perfect condition when the 600ex-rt was announced. I got almost new price for them and had to add only a small amount extra to buy 3 600ex-rt's. Certainly nowhere near to the 2 for 1 situation you observed.

Great speedlite BTW. I love the confidence a radio trigger gives me. And I love the range as well.

Maybe because I started selling mine off after the 600 was released.  I didn't share your foresight as the used market crashed when the 600 was released.

And I agree, the confidence of radio, having it all displayed in front of me, the reassuring "beep" and that green light showing they're connected - all make for a more stable shoot.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: infared on February 26, 2013, 11:09:16 AM
"I wonder if they (through firmware) will allow for flash control with the 600EX-RT using the 6D's wireless system.  I would hope that, at minumum, future bodies would have that master control built in.  It's not just the expense of additional components; it is the awkwardness of adding more components to the camera body when often what you need is to just shoot (without more and more weight!)"

...but then Canon would miss out on selling a $300+ accessory?   :P

Exactly. At least this is a $300 accessory that actually does something practical - for a change.

Agreed.  But as Dustin wishes...clearly Canon could include these functions in the firmware and hardware of the camera ...making for a much better system. Smaller, less to carry, lighter weight...and less fiddley.  My Olympus OMD can control multiple flashes at different outputs and it is built right into a camera body that is one half the size of my 5D Mark III and less than one third the cost. Canon could definitely do this, too.

...am still glad to see that this new strobe and module improve on so many previous issues.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JohnnyWashngo on February 26, 2013, 11:10:31 AM
'Selling off my 580exIIs wasn’t easy. Their drop in price meant I was selling two flashes to one 600ex-RT purchase'

That's odd. I sold off 3 of my 580exII speedlites in perfect condition when the 600ex-rt was announced. I got almost new price for them and had to add only a small amount extra to buy 3 600ex-rt's. Certainly nowhere near to the 2 for 1 situation you observed.

Great speedlite BTW. I love the confidence a radio trigger gives me. And I love the range as well.

Maybe because I started selling mine off after the 600 was released.  I didn't share your foresight as the used market crashed when the 600 was released.

And I agree, the confidence of radio, having it all displayed in front of me, the reassuring "beep" and that green light showing they're connected - all make for a more stable shoot.

I see. Yeah, I suppose it was a matter of lucky timing when I sold off my old speedlites.

One thing that I really like about the 600ex-rt's is the flash grouping function. It's made doing creative work so much fun.

Also, I have been buying gels in the UK from FlashGels who have precut a bunch of Lee filters for the new system.

http://flashgels.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13&zenid=eh3ud620p3jnd0bjjq2702f616 (http://flashgels.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13&zenid=eh3ud620p3jnd0bjjq2702f616)

I actually rather like the canon gel holder and the way the gel clips into it. Feels a lot more reliable than the other systems I used on the old 580s.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 11:15:21 AM
Also, I have been buying gels in the UK from FlashGels who have precut a bunch of Lee filters for the new system.

http://flashgels.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13&zenid=eh3ud620p3jnd0bjjq2702f616 (http://flashgels.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13&zenid=eh3ud620p3jnd0bjjq2702f616)

I actually rather like the canon gel holder and the way the gel clips into it. Feels a lot more reliable than the other systems I used on the old 580s.

That's awesome! Long way to send for some gel's - hopefully someone over here will do the same - price is less than Canon's too.  I still want my own die-cut: yes I could cut my own with an exacto blade but who has time for that?
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RS2021 on February 26, 2013, 11:18:09 AM
I love the cheesy blue flash rings behind the 600EX unit...way to go guys!!!  ;D
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: bvukich on February 26, 2013, 11:33:31 AM
"little metal screw port that I’ve never seen anyone use…"

What the heck is that anyhow?  It's on the 430EXII as well.  I've always wondered when I notice it there, but never enough to actually look it up.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 11:35:37 AM
"little metal screw port that I’ve never seen anyone use…"

What the heck is that anyhow?  It's on the 430EXII as well.  I've always wondered when I notice it there, but never enough to actually look it up.

It's threaded the same as most light stands, so I assume it's designed to mount your flash sideways like that - which actually makes a lot of sense.  Heck, I already have an umbrella bracket that, if I remove the cold shoe, I can screw the flash onto it.  Helps bring the flash back to a more central spot on most modifiers... of course saying I *can* do something and actually doing it are different things ;)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Marsu42 on February 26, 2013, 11:44:23 AM
Another point for cons:

I wonder if they (through firmware) will allow for flash control with the 600EX-RT using the 6D's wireless system.  I would hope that, at minumum, future bodies would have that master control built in.

I doubt Canon will take the trouble to feature-update the 6d firmware, at least if the 6d is selling ok. and the competition hasn't followed up, but as others has written why stop selling 600rt or st-e3 units as controllers until then? But maybe that's just me being overcritical of Canon's money grabbing marketing :-p

For rt control not being included in the first place my guess is that Canon didn't want to add a really good feature except for the low light af center point that the 5d3 hasn't... plus the dev cycle for the 6d seems to have been very short, so they just added out of the box gps (w/o compass) and wifi chips.

Adding rt might even be not possible at all because the radio chip is hardwired to wifi standard and cannot be modified for custom protocols.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JohnnyWashngo on February 26, 2013, 11:45:55 AM
"little metal screw port that I’ve never seen anyone use…"

What the heck is that anyhow?  It's on the 430EXII as well.  I've always wondered when I notice it there, but never enough to actually look it up.

It's threaded the same as most light stands, so I assume it's designed to mount your flash sideways like that - which actually makes a lot of sense.  Heck, I already have an umbrella bracket that, if I remove the cold shoe, I can screw the flash onto it.  Helps bring the flash back to a more central spot on most modifiers... of course saying I *can* do something and actually doing it are different things ;)

Page 6 (I think) of the manual has it down as a bracket mount.

http://goo.gl/ij3i3 (http://goo.gl/ij3i3)

Which makes sense when you think about.

http://www.wexphotographic.com/webcontent/product_images/large/37/1018262.jpg (http://www.wexphotographic.com/webcontent/product_images/large/37/1018262.jpg)

I never even noticed it before :)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: FunPhotons on February 26, 2013, 12:31:13 PM
Syl Arena just did a lecture for Canon CPS on the 600 where he makes the strong point that it is not an infrared system

http://learn.usa.canon.com/galleries/galleries/tutorials/syl_arena_speedlite_600exrt_seminar.shtml (http://learn.usa.canon.com/galleries/galleries/tutorials/syl_arena_speedlite_600exrt_seminar.shtml)

Good talk to watch regardless, but I would believe that Canon vetted the talk and content before they put it up
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RGomezPhotos on February 26, 2013, 12:34:45 PM
I know!  I would be very happy to buy someone's good-condition 580exII's...  Even if I had a compatible-camera, I would not use the newer flashes simply because there are no receivers for strobes.  Seems kinda silly to buy into this system and it work ONLY with flashes...  And at double the price of a top of the line third party maker...

'Selling off my 580exIIs wasn’t easy. Their drop in price meant I was selling two flashes to one 600ex-RT purchase'

That's odd. I sold off 3 of my 580exII speedlites in perfect condition when the 600ex-rt was announced. I got almost new price for them and had to add only a small amount extra to buy 3 600ex-rt's. Certainly nowhere near to the 2 for 1 situation you observed.

Great speedlite BTW. I love the confidence a radio trigger gives me. And I love the range as well.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RS2021 on February 26, 2013, 01:06:24 PM
For now, I have decided to stick with my litter of older 580EX II based system...will be too expensive to get four 600EX units...And canon will drag it out as long as they can before they release cheaper slave RT units.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Marsu42 on February 26, 2013, 01:19:20 PM
The Nikon SB-910, the top of the range Nikon flash that does not have radio, costs $549.95, the Canon EX600-RT costs $559

Looking at current Amazon.de prices the Nikon is €389 and the Canon is €519 - so the competition is 25% cheaper. The 600rt is still a good product (that's why I bought one), but Canon will exploit their tech leadership as long as it's possible. I'm hoping 3rd party manufacturers will reverse engineer the rt protocol asap...
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Pagesphotography on February 26, 2013, 01:25:06 PM
I know I find myself using ocf more with our 600/st e3 rt since it works together rather seamlessly.

Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 26, 2013, 01:42:46 PM
Syl Arena just did a lecture for Canon CPS on the 600 where he makes the strong point that it is not an infrared system
I like Syl.  He's a good guy and has great advice for using Speedlites.  But about this, he's wrong.  As I noted above, with a Speedlite as a master, the main tube transmits the signal, so both visible light and IR are being emitted - but the receiver is only picking up the IR.  As I also noted above, the ST-E2 outputs IR only, since the flash tube is covered with the same visible light blocking IR-transparent filter material.

Don't believe me?  Try reading Canon's own specs (http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/speedlite_flash_lineup/speedlite_transmitter_st_e2#Specifications) for the ST-E2...

Quote from: Canon USA
Wireless Functions   
Transmission System    Infrared pulse
How is that not infrared?   ???

Syl states that for Canon's optical system, the transmitter is the flash tube (which I stated), and that the ST-E2 uses a flash tube as well, but it has a "thick piece of plastic over it" so it's not "throwing on-camera flash into your shot."  If that 'thick plastic' blocks the light from the flash tube, how is the ST-E2 is signaling the slave flashes?  Infrared.  You can't see it.  Your CMOS sensor can't see it.  But the slave flashes can.  Syl just seems unaware of the fact that a flash tube outputs a broader spectrum than just visible light, and Canon is using the non-visible part of that output for optical wireless triggering.

The real point he's trying to make is that the IR triggering is 'line of sight' just like visible light.  A TV remote control is IR, and it's line of sight, too. 
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Rienzphotoz on February 26, 2013, 01:52:06 PM
Very nice review and great pics ... but isn't it kinda late
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RLPhoto on February 26, 2013, 01:59:30 PM
600 ex RT vs PCB einstein 

That is the question in my upgrade situation.

Apples and Oranges no? I didn't sell my Elinchrom lights to get the speedlight. I sold my old speedlights to get new speedlights.

Personally, I love the look my bigger lights can produce, their versatility in power output (the Einsteins are very impressive in this regard), but they're not entirely portable.  So do you shoot at home, or in controlled environments where you don't have to lug heavy equipment around all the time, looking for power? Or are you working on your feet in tight situations often with incredibly limited amounts of time?

I use both types of light for different situations, though that doesn't prohibit me from combining them if necessary.

Well, I'd use both equally as much. Before reading the review, I was 100% sure of my upgrade path to ditch my older strobes for PCB. Now, I'm not so sure if I should ditch my old 580's for 600 RT's until my Novatrons die then get new Einsteins.



Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: msatter on February 26, 2013, 04:47:40 PM
Thanks for the replies and I agree that PocketWizard should have introduced their units with the remark that there could be a reduced range with certain flashes made by Canon.

(http://www.robgalbraith.com/data/1/rec_imgs/2983_pocketwizard_canon_rf_table.jpg)

Source of the table: http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-9973-9966 (http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-9973-9966)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 04:54:23 PM
Very nice review and great pics ... but isn't it kinda late

Better late than never?

Sometimes reviews take me a few weeks to write, sometimes it takes a few months. If late means I had more time with them and thus, more experience using them and putting them through the paces, that could, theoretically, make that a more thorough review, no?

Either way, nobody's obligated to read them - and I'm sure it's new to *someone* out there ;)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: TWI by Dustin Abbott on February 26, 2013, 05:09:56 PM
Very nice review and great pics ... but isn't it kinda late

Better late than never?

Sometimes reviews take me a few weeks to write, sometimes it takes a few months. If late means I had more time with them and thus, more experience using them and putting them through the paces, that could, theoretically, make that a more thorough review, no?

Either way, nobody's obligated to read them - and I'm sure it's new to *someone* out there ;)

Absolutely.  Not everyone buys gear day one.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: infared on February 26, 2013, 05:32:49 PM
Very nice review and great pics ... but isn't it kinda late

Better late than never?

Sometimes reviews take me a few weeks to write, sometimes it takes a few months. If late means I had more time with them and thus, more experience using them and putting them through the paces, that could, theoretically, make that a more thorough review, no?

Either way, nobody's obligated to read them - and I'm sure it's new to *someone* out there ;)

It is obvious that you put a lot of time into this....I am grateful...why would anyone complain????  Jeeeeeeeeezzzz...
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: FunPhotons on February 26, 2013, 06:17:54 PM

I like Syl.  He's a good guy and has great advice for using Speedlites.  But about this, he's wrong. 

You just have to be right, don't you? But then you are always right I guess  ;D

OK fair enough.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: hyram on February 26, 2013, 06:20:31 PM
So... do I understand correctly that the "RT" is WiFi? And Canon won't integrate it into the 6D because it would obsolete the $300 controller? Then what's to keep some enterprising geek from adding this feature via something like Magic Lantern?

Just wondering ;)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 26, 2013, 06:26:08 PM

I like Syl.  He's a good guy and has great advice for using Speedlites.  But about this, he's wrong. 

You just have to be right, don't you? But then you are always right I guess  ;D

OK fair enough.

Actually, I like being wrong (it happens  :P ), because when someone corrects me, I learn something new!
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RustyTheGeek on February 26, 2013, 06:33:51 PM
OK, I read (semi read + skimmed) the review and I found it well done.  Thanks!

Unfortunately, the new Canon RF flash system still leaves me underwhelmed/disappointed because I think there are so many things they could have done and didn't.  It seems fairly rudimentary and limited for the money they are charging.  An incremental upgrade considering what is already available from RadioPopper, PocketWizard, YN, etc.

Integrated camera wireless control is what I want and halfway expected from Canon after all this time.  I want a small Canon RT flash alternative like the compact SunPak RD2000 form factor that I can hand hold or use on camera without the need for wires or another large on camera primary flash.  I want simple wireless flash zone control like the PW AC-3.  Instead we get another expensive, complicated menu driven master/slave dedicated flash design that simply replaced TTL light communication with TTL RT communication.  Wow.  Yawn.  Canon wasn't even kind enough to keep backward compatible TTL light communication on the ST-E3-RT controller so you could keep using all of your now obsolete and soooo 2010 pre-600 series flashes.  The 600 series flash stuff just seems more like a small incremental way to take a lot of my money than a true innovation or evolutionary RF flash system to really wake things up.  And WiFi is not the way to do anything other than low priority network data transmission.  To use it for much else where fast response is mandatory will result in delays, latency and interference.

Sorry to be such a stick-in-the-mud here but I think I'll pass and just keep using all my old 430/550/580 series (now junk I guess) stuff with YN radio triggers that work like a champ.  And the YN triggers even have AF assist lamps and a hot shoe on top, unlike the single function ST-E3-RT.  Take that Canon!
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: iso79 on February 26, 2013, 06:43:17 PM
I picked up three 600EX-RTs and the STE-3 transmitter. They work great. Totally worth the money. I don't miss my 580EX II, Lumpro flashes, Cybersyncs with synch cable hell at all.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RustyTheGeek on February 26, 2013, 06:52:59 PM
I realize that if the 600 series flash system solves problems or works wonders for someone, they should be happy to have the new features.  I just think that for the combined price of 3 x 600 series flash units + a transmitter I would rather keep what I already have that works (about the same) and get a 70-200 f/2.8 IS L v2 or something that adds more overall value to my kit.  But that's just me.  We all buy what's important to our individual needs.  It's all good in that regard!   :)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: iso79 on February 26, 2013, 07:03:36 PM
An efficient light weight lighting kit is more valuable than an expensive heavy lens that you will rarely use.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Jel_55 on February 26, 2013, 08:37:16 PM
Speaking as a novice (and newbie to the forum) I'm personally delighted with the 600EX-RT system.

For a long time flash photography was something of an enigma to me. Reading the likes of this forum and even Syl's excellent Speedliter's Handbook, often left me more confused than before. Because of this, I was always reluctant to spend the cash on a decent set of Canon speedlites.

Till now, I had used the Meike 580 (canon copy) and Pixel King wireless triggers. If I'm honest, I only ever successfully managed to the get the things working on one occasion. The painful process that several reviews describe of trying to eliminate where the problems were with third party equipment was something I was very familiar with and simply exacerbated my frustrations and difficulty in developing my understanding of flash photography. As an aside – I whole heartedly do not recommend either of the above – you get what you pay for I’m afraid!

I won’t lie, given the expense of the new 600’s and the likely amount of use I would get from the product, it was not a straightforward decision and purchase for me to make. I’ve spent the last 4 months reading every article on the web, every Youtube clip and every review before convincing myself to make the investment.

I’m pleased to say that I finally picked up two 600’s very recently and I can’t speak highly enough of them from my relatively inexperienced perspective. I defer to those more seasoned and experienced pros and semi pros on this forum in terms of highlighting the weaknesses of the system, but for my photography needs (and understanding), I think they are a great tool. 

The mysterious black art of trying to understanding flash settings, wireless and camera control is completely removed. When working with my 5d Mk III, you just switch it all on and it works. The LCD screen on the back of the speedlite is intuitive and informative so I can understand what the equipment is doing at a simple glance.

What all this means to me is I can now concentrate my efforts on learning about the effect of light and composition rather than get embroiled in the often unfathomable world of flash gear techno jargon.

EOS 5D MK III, 24-105 f/4 L IS, 70-200 f/4 L IS, 50 f/1.8
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RGomezPhotos on February 26, 2013, 09:56:15 PM
I think the new flash system is great if you work primarily with flashes. It certainly makes using them remotely a little easier. But I want the flexibility and possibly more advanced functions 3rd party units can offer.

I too was a little underwhelmed with the new 'upgrade'. I still wonder why they didn't incorporate WiFi on the flashes? Do you know the crazy stuff you could do? And the simplicity of doing it all with a laptop. The applications that can be developed for controlling them? The near limitless zones you can set... And it would only cost the manufacturer $20 to implement it....  Heck, Phottix can develop units with this functionality...  Better replacing a TCU and Rx units than entire flash units...

If I was getting brand new flashes, the 600's are the way to go. Otherwise, older units work just fine too if you're okay with 3rd party systems.

OK, I read (semi read + skimmed) the review and I found it well done.  Thanks!

Unfortunately, the new Canon RF flash system still leaves me underwhelmed/disappointed because I think there are so many things they could have done and didn't.  It seems fairly rudimentary and limited for the money they are charging.  An incremental upgrade considering what is already available from RadioPopper, PocketWizard, YN, etc.

Integrated camera wireless control is what I want and halfway expected from Canon after all this time.  I want a small Canon RF flash alternative like the SunPak RD2000 that I can hand hold or use on camera without the need for wires or another flash.  I want simple wireless flash zone control like the PW AC-3.  Instead we get another expensive, complicated menu driven master/slave dedicated flash design that simply replaced TTL light communication with TTL RF communication.  Wow.  Yawn.  Canon wasn't even kind enough to keep backward compatible TTL light communication so you could keep using all of your now obsolete and soooo 2010 pre-600 series flashes.  The 600 series flash stuff just seems more like a small incremental way to take a lot of my money than a true innovation or evolutionary RF flash system to really wake things up.  And WiFi is not the way to do anything other than low priority network data transmission.  To use it for much else where fast response is mandatory will result in delays, latency and interference.

Sorry to be such a stick-in-the-mud here but I think I'll pass and just keep using all my old 430/550/580 series (now junk I guess) stuff with YN radio triggers that work like a champ.  And the YN triggers even have AF assist lamps and a hot shoe on top, unlike the single function ST-E3-RT.  Take that Canon!
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 26, 2013, 10:52:42 PM
Speaking as a novice (and newbie to the forum) I'm personally delighted with the 600EX-RT system.

For a long time flash photography was something of an enigma to me. Reading the likes of this forum and even Syl's excellent Speedliter's Handbook, often left me more confused than before. Because of this, I was always reluctant to spend the cash on a decent set of Canon speedlites.

Till now, I had used the Meike 580 (canon copy) and Pixel King wireless triggers. If I'm honest, I only ever successfully managed to the get the things working on one occasion. The painful process that several reviews describe of trying to eliminate where the problems were with third party equipment was something I was very familiar with and simply exacerbated my frustrations and difficulty in developing my understanding of flash photography. As an aside – I whole heartedly do not recommend either of the above – you get what you pay for I’m afraid!

I won’t lie, given the expense of the new 600’s and the likely amount of use I would get from the product, it was not a straightforward decision and purchase for me to make. I’ve spent the last 4 months reading every article on the web, every Youtube clip and every review before convincing myself to make the investment.

I’m pleased to say that I finally picked up two 600’s very recently and I can’t speak highly enough of them from my relatively inexperienced perspective. I defer to those more seasoned and experienced pros and semi pros on this forum in terms of highlighting the weaknesses of the system, but for my photography needs (and understanding), I think they are a great tool. 

The mysterious black art of trying to understanding flash settings, wireless and camera control is completely removed. When working with my 5d Mk III, you just switch it all on and it works. The LCD screen on the back of the speedlite is intuitive and informative so I can understand what the equipment is doing at a simple glance.

What all this means to me is I can now concentrate my efforts on learning about the effect of light and composition rather than get embroiled in the often unfathomable world of flash gear techno jargon.

EOS 5D MK III, 24-105 f/4 L IS, 70-200 f/4 L IS, 50 f/1.8

Not much higher praise can be given then that I think. You can also control the settings from the "Flash Control" Menu in-camera, but why when it's on the top? Options, I guess.  I highly recommend the ST-E3-RT transmitter to get the other flash off the camera, you can use it in tandem with the other to get more power, or start playing around with two-light setups.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RustyTheGeek on February 26, 2013, 11:52:02 PM
"Canon wasn't even kind enough to keep backward compatible TTL light communication so you could keep using all of your now obsolete and soooo 2010 pre-600 series flashes."

Nobody cares if you are a stick in the mud, or if you can't realise the value of a manufacturer supplied option, to you it might not be high, to others it is good value. When compared to a 580 EX II and a PW the 600 is a bargain.

But where on earth did you come out with that rubbish? The 600 is 100% compatible with all previous optical ETTL flashes.

Well, I'm not sure how illustrating the obvious on my comments about myself and value perception is productive but whatever. 

As for the backward compatibility, that actually isn't rubbish.  I just neglected to be more specific because something came up and I had to run.  (I'll edit the post right away.)  The ST-E3-RT controller (which was my mental focus at the time) is NOT backward compatible with optical and WON'T control anything but the 600EX-RT.  The 600EX-RT as a master is supposed to control everything according to specs but I've read in some places where folks have had some issues or group/zone limits or something with the older flash models mixed in with 600 units used as optical slaves.  Since I don't own a 600, I can't really speak to that, that's just hearsay.  At any rate, it does sound realistic that if one wants the 600 series stuff to work best, one should not try to mix old and new and that seems to be a pretty common opinion.  So backward compatibility is probably a moot point anyway and that's too bad.

So with that said, I would expect upgrading to a 600 series only flash system to be quite expensive.  Well over $1000 at least for just two units and nothing else.  Everyone has their own priorities and budgets.  As I said before, not a big deal and it's all good for them if that's their choice.  Just not good for me.  I don't think I ever said others wouldn't benefit.  But if one already owns 580 units and some kind of satisfactory RT solution, PW, RP, YN or whatever works, I don't see much value in replacing it all with a minor upgrade such as the 600 series.  It's just not that much of an improvement in that scenario, which happens to be my situation and likely many others'. 
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RustyTheGeek on February 27, 2013, 12:30:44 AM
An efficient light weight lighting kit is more valuable than an expensive heavy lens that you will rarely use.

I guess I'm not sure how two or three 600EX-RT flash units along with possible stands, light modifiers and batteries can be considered "light weight" compared with a lens but you're right if compared to a bunch of studio strobes.  As for subjective value or assumed rarity of use compared with a lens, my flashes come out a lot less than my lenses in the types of walk around journalistic shooting I do.  And these large flashes are actually larger than most lenses, the 70-200/2.8 being one exception.  (I use a small RD2000 flash most of the time but I would love to have something similar in size from Canon that was controlled ETTL wirelessly directly out of the camera.)  YMMV.  My flashes would be used a LOT MORE if I could control one off-camera flash straight from the camera and not be forced to have a big ass flash attached to my hotshoe for the sole purpose of controlling another big ass remote flash that was the only one I wanted to use in the first place.  (Carry two large flashes just to use/control the single active large off-camera flash = stupid PITA to me.)  The ST-E3-RT controller is about the size of the RD2000 flash I use now but still requires me to hand carry the 600 flash because I can't mount the 600 anywhere.  That's dumb.  At least put a hotshoe on the controller.  But no!  Find a pocket, backpack or between your knees for that flash when you can't hold it all the time in your other hand when focusing, etc.

Hence the natural thought progression of ... lose the ST-E3-RT controller all together and put that functionality into the camera itself.  Now just carry one flash and let it live on the camera when not used off camera.  One flash, multiple uses.  Simple but for some reason not within Canon's grasp to offer.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Rienzphotoz on February 27, 2013, 12:58:47 AM
Hence the natural thought progression of ... lose the ST-E3-RT controller all together and put that functionality into the camera itself.  Now just carry one flash and let it live on the camera when not used off camera.  One flash, multiple uses.  Simple but for some reason not within Canon's grasp to offer.
Putting ST E3-RT funtionality into the camera is a great idea and I think it is "within Canon's grasp to offer" ... but IMO it would have negative imapact on the camera with:
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Marsu42 on February 27, 2013, 02:15:44 AM
decreased battery performance of the camera (as it also needs to provide additional power for that function)

The rt control needs only short bursts of radio activity, I doubt it'll be such a wifi drain as constant wifi operation with high data rates (eos remote).

The real drawback would be that like the 6d, there has to be some part of the camera w/o metal casing to reach enough distance/power and/or low battery consumption - but unlike gps this part hasn't to be where the built-in flash is (Rebels) or would be (6d).
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: denton on February 27, 2013, 07:06:16 AM
Hi all:

Have been accumulating the system as I can afford it, I now have the ST-E3 controller and four flashes. A couple of comments after the review:

-The price of the flash has actually been slowly falling. The last two I paid $529 from Adorama in person.

-One thing I'm unhappy with is that if you're shooting in low light you really need a 600 as a controller if you want the IR focus assist. Of course you can turn off the flash on the shoe if you're using it as a controller with other flashes off camera.

-It's easy to mix with studio strobes. If you use the ST-E3 to trigger a 600EX being used as a hairlight or something, the 600EX will then optically trigger a studio strobe in a softbox or whatever. I use it together with my older Elinchroms like that.

-As far as the filter issues, I use a Honl speed strap along with their filters. I'm sure there are other workarounds as well.

-It definitely took time with the manual to figure it all put, plus looking at Neil's Tangent site, and some of the videos at canonlearning, but I'm quite comfortable with the system now and love it.

-I wounder why a controller can control just about anything on a slave, but not the zoom range. That would have been cool.

Overall am very happy with the 600EX-RT system.

Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Marsu42 on February 27, 2013, 07:44:49 AM
Fyi: Celebrating the first anniversary of the 600ex-rt I put up a poll about the rt successor of the 430ex2: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=13229.0 (http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=13229.0)
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RustyTheGeek on February 27, 2013, 08:37:56 AM
Hence the natural thought progression of ... lose the ST-E3-RT controller all together and put that functionality into the camera itself.  Now just carry one flash and let it live on the camera when not used off camera.  One flash, multiple uses.  Simple but for some reason not within Canon's grasp to offer.
Putting ST E3-RT funtionality into the camera is a great idea and I think it is "within Canon's grasp to offer" ... but IMO it would have negative imapact on the camera with:
  • decreased battery performance of the camera (as it also needs to provide additional power for that function)
  • If they produce new powerful batteries to support the camera with the in-built ST E3-RT functionality, the cost will add up not only for the camera but also in having to buy spare batteries (going by Canon's recent pricing strategy, I bet it will be very expensive) ... also those who are not interested in wireless flash photography will have to pay for a feature that they do not want.   

1.  Wireless flash RF wouldn't affect battery life that much.  It doesn't seem to affect the 600 series flash's battery life much does it?  The flash only uses four AA batteries, no special high capacity batteries there.  Although now that I think about it, perhaps an integrated high capacity battery system on a full size flash might be a good thing with even faster recycle time and longer life.  Let me think... use the same LP-E6 battery in the flash too... hmm.  That might be something cool...  Eh, Nahhh.
2.  Cost is rarely a reason to not do things in photography.  Canon charges somewhere around 10 million percent profit margin already and everyone seems to pay it for whatever they choose to release lately.  Just look at the 1D-X, 1D-C or 1D 4K or even the 5D3 as examples.  Not to mention the newest lens prices lately running into the stratosphere.  Somehow I don't think integrating flash control into the camera will make much of a diff.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Random Orbits on February 27, 2013, 09:38:45 AM
1.  Wireless flash RF wouldn't affect battery life that much.  It doesn't seem to affect the 600 series flash's battery life much does it?  The flash only uses four AA batteries, no special high capacity batteries there.  Although now that I think about it, perhaps an integrated high capacity battery system on a full size flash might be a good thing with even faster recycle time and longer life.  Let me think... use the same LP-E6 battery in the flash too... hmm.  That might be something cool...  Eh, Nahhh.
2.  Cost is rarely a reason to not do things in photography.  Canon charges somewhere around 10 million percent profit margin already and everyone seems to pay it for whatever they choose to release lately.  Just look at the 1D-X, 1D-C or 1D 4K or even the 5D3 as examples.  Not to mention the newest lens prices lately running into the stratosphere.  Somehow I don't think integrating flash control into the camera will make much of a diff.

Or Canon would rather sell the same body worldwide and deal with the flash separately.  Different countries have different RF regulations.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RustyTheGeek on February 27, 2013, 09:55:30 AM
Well, good point and you may be right but don't they already have different models for different countries?  That's just part of the game.  Just a few more hoops for the lawyers to rangle and the design techs to manage.  Shouldn't be a show stopper.  Maybe pick an available freq that works in both countries?  Or have two freq.  Pretty easy to manage two different freq or RF modules at the assembly level I would think.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: neuroanatomist on February 27, 2013, 09:57:46 AM
Although now that I think about it, perhaps an integrated high capacity battery system on a full size flash might be a good thing with even faster recycle time and longer life.  Let me think... use the same LP-E6 battery in the flash too... hmm.  That might be something cool...

Not a good idea to use the camera battery.  Li-ion chemistry is optimal for sustained, moderate-current discharge, and a flash needs brief, high-current discharge to fill the capacitor.  A Li-based battery in a flash means long recycle times (that's one reason why the popup flash on a Rebel/xxxD is very slow to recharge, whereas a 430EX II with NiMH batteries can keep up with the first part of an 8 fps burst.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RustyTheGeek on February 27, 2013, 10:42:09 AM
Although now that I think about it, perhaps an integrated high capacity battery system on a full size flash might be a good thing with even faster recycle time and longer life.  Let me think... use the same LP-E6 battery in the flash too... hmm.  That might be something cool...

Not a good idea to use the camera battery.  Li-ion chemistry is optimal for sustained, moderate-current discharge, and a flash needs brief, high-current discharge to fill the capacitor.  A Li-based battery in a flash means long recycle times (that's one reason why the popup flash on a Rebel/xxxD is very slow to recharge, whereas a 430EX II with NiMH batteries can keep up with the first part of an 8 fps burst.

Yeah, excellent point neuro.  Forget I said it.  Something in the back of my mind was dogging this idea and that's why I did the "eh... naah" thing at the end.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  Plus, more expensive batteries that can't be charged in the field are also a drag.  Since eneloop batteries came on the scene, my flashes work great for a long time and I loooove those eneloops.  Sanyo needs to somehow apply this same reliable and foolproof battery technology to the economy.   :D
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Lawliet on February 27, 2013, 03:14:10 PM

Li-ion chemistry is optimal for sustained, moderate-current discharge, and a flash needs brief, high-current discharge to fill the capacitor. 

True for LiCo cells, you comfortably get about 15W out of something camera sized, i.e. about 5s recycle time.
But change the cobalt for iron phosphate and the tide turns, you'd fry the caps and the flashtube long before the battery gets remotely taxed - cells rated for cont. 30C and peak 100C+ discarge means multiple full pops a second. (Profotos B4 uses such a battery, something 1/10 the size for a 50Ws flashgun?  :o 8) )
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: calfoto on February 27, 2013, 04:04:40 PM
Also, I have been buying gels in the UK from FlashGels who have precut a bunch of Lee filters for the new system.

http://flashgels.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13&zenid=eh3ud620p3jnd0bjjq2702f616 (http://flashgels.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13&zenid=eh3ud620p3jnd0bjjq2702f616)

I actually rather like the canon gel holder and the way the gel clips into it. Feels a lot more reliable than the other systems I used on the old 580s.

That's awesome! Long way to send for some gel's - hopefully someone over here will do the same - price is less than Canon's too.  I still want my own die-cut: yes I could cut my own with an exacto blade but who has time for that?

There's really no need to Die Cut filters for the Speedlite 600 filter holder - If you look closely, there are some cut out slits which allow you to use a 3"x3" square piece of gel - Those are pretty easy to cut with a paper cutter or scissors.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on February 27, 2013, 04:16:17 PM
Also, I have been buying gels in the UK from FlashGels who have precut a bunch of Lee filters for the new system.

http://flashgels.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13&zenid=eh3ud620p3jnd0bjjq2702f616 (http://flashgels.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=13&zenid=eh3ud620p3jnd0bjjq2702f616)

I actually rather like the canon gel holder and the way the gel clips into it. Feels a lot more reliable than the other systems I used on the old 580s.

That's awesome! Long way to send for some gel's - hopefully someone over here will do the same - price is less than Canon's too.  I still want my own die-cut: yes I could cut my own with an exacto blade but who has time for that?

There's really no need to Die Cut filters for the Speedlite 600 filter holder - If you look closely, there are some cut out slits which allow you to use a 3"x3" square piece of gel - Those are pretty easy to cut with a paper cutter or scissors.

Laziest guy in the world right here!  :P

I just have *so* many cut out rectangles with little velcro pads on them. So using them with my stack of Honl straps is just the "old way" of doing things I'll stick to. I kind of like manually controlling my WB anyway.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: RustyTheGeek on February 27, 2013, 11:08:56 PM
Just for the record, my bitching is more about wanting more functionality and redesign than cheaper price.  Just swapping optical for radio communication isn't a big game changer in my book and doesn't deserve my money.  I would like to see Canon do something truly great and shake things up using the big advantage they own... integrated camera functionality together with several models of great performance flashes with reliability and simplicity of use.  After all this time knowing what is out there in the aftermarket and designing the current new camera bodies and new flashes, this is all they came up with?  How unimaginative and incremental.  Yawn.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Random Orbits on February 28, 2013, 10:26:20 AM
Just for the record, my bitching is more about wanting more functionality and redesign than cheaper price.  Just swapping optical for radio communication isn't a big game changer in my book and doesn't deserve my money.  I would like to see Canon do something truly great and shake things up using the big advantage they own... integrated camera functionality together with several models of great performance flashes with reliability and simplicity of use.  After all this time knowing what is out there in the aftermarket and designing the current new camera bodies and new flashes, this is all they came up with?  How unimaginative and incremental.  Yawn.

I don't think it can be done as easily as you think.  Different countries have different RF regulations and it may not be practical/possible to design for all of them in one unit.  Imagine having to a different 5D III model depending on where you live.

Perhaps, the next generation will bring the comm to wi-fi, which is pretty standardized.  Nikon just came out with the WR-1 system -- not a flash, but it still needs to be wired to the camera.  It looks like Canon will have a more elegant system for a bit longer.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: andikaei on March 03, 2013, 04:04:36 AM
hey is anyone try 600 ex rt +st-e3 with canon 6d ?

is the HSS work with 6d?
because i want to shoot in outdoor at the sunlight with over 1/2000ss
thx :D
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Rienzphotoz on March 03, 2013, 10:38:52 AM
hey is anyone try 600 ex rt +st-e3 with canon 6d ?

is the HSS work with 6d?
because i want to shoot in outdoor at the sunlight with over 1/2000ss
thx :D
According to Canon any Canon DSLR made in 2012 onwards can do HSS ... i.e. Yes 6D + 600 EX-RT can do HSS
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Marsu42 on March 03, 2013, 05:46:47 PM
Page 51 of the manual covrs functionality with different age cameras. The 6D is a post 2012 camera so has no restrictions.

... but the information Canon gives is not (entirely) correct because even post-2012 cameras like the 5d2 are reported to work with full speed remote flash just fine, it's just that Canon - for marketing or warranty reasons - doesn't say it works and that the ui doesn't support rt and group mode.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Marsu42 on March 04, 2013, 03:52:37 AM
I believe, whilst there is a little wiggle room, the Canon specs are right for consistent and accurate flash.

Thanks for the info (other 1d3 users might appreciate it), it's just that I recently researched the 5d2+rt and didn't find a single report of it not working - though it only has 1/200 x-sync and ymmv of course.

Either way, the 6D has 100% functionality in HSS with the ST-E3-RT and 600EX-RT.

Right, plus it has the newer in-camera ui - and for the guaranteed reliability (though at only 1/180 x-sync) I'll also get the 6d.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on March 05, 2013, 11:01:27 AM
Yes, but I'd like to see a series of images shot with ETTL in HSS from a 5D MkII to verify correct operation if it was an important function for me. Like I said, my experiences are that it is nowhere near as consistent as ETTL below HSS.

Having said that, it is not a feature I have needed, HSS yes, but not the combination of ETTL and HSS. I am sure when I get post 2012 bodies I'll use it though  :)  HSS does work faultlessly in manual mode with multiple channels and ratios on my pre 2012 bodies.

As for the RT system, I really like it, even with the limitations my bodies have, and, when compared to the competition, I don't feel the price is too high. When I was making my choice for intelligent radio triggers the only other option I ended up seriously considering was the Phottix Odin, now they have some really nice functionality!

I also want to put it through some HSS paces. It's just been pretty crappy weather here and none of my shoots have been outdoors. Spring can't come soon enough!
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: JVLphoto on March 05, 2013, 05:48:20 PM
Hey Justin,

I have found HSS to be faultless in manual in pre 2012 bodies, but it does not work consistently in ETTL HSS.

Here is a test I did in manual HSS with a 1Ds MkIII, the model is cheap :)

It is actually three 600EX-RT's each in their own group and fired with the ST-E3-RT, just to see how it all worked and what I could expect from it. The most noticeable power "improvement" is the 200mm zoom, that is a great feature, the more I play with flash head zoom the more I like it and the more I wish the Canon system did it remotely, like the Phottix Odins do.

Very cool, and good point about the zoom function - though it doesn't matter as much after I drop them into one of my favorite light mods.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Bruce Photography on March 08, 2013, 09:40:36 PM
The review mentioned briefly the Nikon SB910.  I know this is a Canon 600 RT review, but what is the equivalent TTL-BL function on the 600 RT?  Also I haven't seen much info on slow rear syncing as I do with Nikon CLS lighting.  Is there a book or article that compare CLS functionality with the equivalent SB910 functions.  Yes I know the 910 is only optical and the new 600 RT is radio but I'm asking for the comparison between the two lighting systems independent of how they are triggered.  Can you help?  I have a bunch of Canon optical speedlights and the world of CLS seems (with the in-camera commander) so simple and yet very functional.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Bruce Photography on March 09, 2013, 12:49:10 PM
Edit: Canon have never done remote second curtain sync. Even the new RT system does not do second curtain sync. If you need that feature on a Canon then look at the Phottix Odin system.

Thank you so much for your very complete answer.  Now I don't have to keep looking at Canon manual for rear curtain remote synch.  Thanks again.  Bruce
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Iodine on March 23, 2013, 01:00:17 AM
Discuss our review of the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT  (http://www.canonrumors.com/reviews/review-canon-speedlite-600ex-rt/)here.

Does anyone have experience with the 600EX RT (as master) and 430EX II (as slave) using manual flash output power setting?  With each unit set to 1/16 power, I am unable to get more than two consecutive flash exposures in continuous shooting (5DIII) before the master flash misfires.  Both flashes happily fire a long burst in continuous shooting at 1/16 power if separately mounted on the camera but when combined as master/slave I can only get two flashes before a misfire.  I am using the optical wireless communication channel.  Any ideas welcome.
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: Iodine on March 23, 2013, 04:42:39 PM
Thanks privatebydesign - much appreciated.  I have discovered that this problem is not related to the 430EX II slave but is something to do with the 600EX RT used with optical wireless transmission.  If I change to radio transmission I can get a long burst in high speed continuous shooting at 1/16 power.  I only want to get a three or four shot burst using optical wireless transmission at 1/16 power to drive the 430EX II slave.  If I change the 600EX to 1/128 flash power with optical transmission I can get a longer burst before a misfire but I also need 1/16 power.  It seems like high speed continuous shooting with optical wireless transmission is discharging the flash tube capacitor much faster than it can be recharged by the batteries (Sony eneloop 2500 mAH).  Using radio transmission this does not appear to be a problem at 1/16 flash power.  Maybe I am expecting too much. 
Title: Re: Review - Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
Post by: danski0224 on March 29, 2013, 08:58:14 PM
I'll admit to using a small fraction of the capabilities of the 600EX-RT, but I can say that what I use hits the mark more often than the 580EXII.

I don't know if it is the extra power or something in the metering, but I have noticed a difference for the better.