Pros: Superior build quality, Fast recycling time, Good Exposure performance, quiet, perfect "g-series" flash!
Own a G"-series" camera with a hot shoe and every other Canon flash is just too darned big? Here's the perfect solution: The Speedlight 220EX. A little short on features - no tilt or swivel head - but not on performance or results! P-n-S images are PERFECTLY exposed thanks to TTL metering (note: This is *NOT* an E-TTL II flash!!!) Plus, the small size and weight balances - for example - MUCH better or something like a G10 than another model Canon flash. For those smaller Canon's - the "G's" - and dSLR's where you don't need the added sophistication of larger flash units, it's impossible to recommend this small model highly enough!
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Review 2 for Speedlite 220EX
Location: Washington, DC
Used this product for: more than 1 year
Expertise Level: Advanced Amateur
Product replacement: No
Great entry-level flash
Date:November 8, 2008
Pros: Good Exposure performance, small, light, inexpensive, useful af assist beam
Cons: no easy way to do bounce or add a diffuser
The built-in flash in your camera is called a "fill flash" for a reason. Even though the little 220EX only has about twice the power of a built-in, using one is still a world apart. The AF assist beam is leagues less obtrusive and much more effective than strobing your built-in at your subject. It's also useful as it increases the distance between the flash head and the lens, which reduces red-eye and means that you won't have a lens shadow in the bottom of your frame if you're using a large lens. If you have a pro camera this unit is small & cheap enough that you can just throw it in your bag to compensate for not having a built-in. The 4 AA batteries will be heavier than the flash itsself, so some people use lithium cells instead of rechargable NiMHs as they're lighter.
It's unfortunate that the head doesn't at least tilt up for bounce, but at this price one can't be too picky. Some folks have jimmied a universal-mount omni-bounce onto it as a diffuser. Haven't tried that yet, but I made a poor-man's diffuser box with wax paper that works pretty well. I also attach a bent notecard with a rubber band when I need bounce.
It bears repeating that the small size means that you don't ever have to be without a real flash, & it's great for impromptu off-camera work with a cord. Given the low price, the 220EX is a must-have if you're serious about getting into SLR photography unless you want something bigger & more flexible, and even then it's a great secondary/travel unit. It also works well on advanced compacts like the G10. If it had a tilting head or a pull-out bouncer &/or diffuser like certain other manufacturers' flashes it would have a 5 star rating for sure.