With a minimum flash output as low as 1/8192 power the new Canon Speedlite EL-1 is a clear invitation for close-up and macro photography, but it has – many – other tricks up its sleeve.
Canon introduced its Speedlite EL-100 in 2018. A compact and lightweight unit, it offered more than usual in the segment, being able to rotate upwards and to the left and right enabling photographers to bounce the flash off of nearby ceilings, walls or surfaces. Designed for photographers who are just beginning to use an external flash or need a secondary unit, it also features an optical wireless flash function, working as sender and receiver, all for $199.99.
It took a long time for Canon to expand the EL line, but here it is and now the company aims at the top of the scale, with a new generation professional speedlight that, says Canon, “provides higher performance and reliability unlike ever before, in comparison to previous models, with a new rechargeable Li-ion battery and newly designed user-friendly interface.”
The Canon Speedlite EL-1 works seamlessly with EOS cameras. Paired with Canon’s latest professional DSLR and mirrorless cameras – the EOS-1D X Mark III and EOS R5 respectively – which are praised for their speed and image quality, the Speedlite EL-1 empowers photojournalists, sports, wildlife and wedding photographers to capture those unmissable moments. It even has a new user-friendly interface and joystick, enabling photographers to effortlessly navigate across the menu and change settings quickly. The LCD screen has also been enhanced with a white backlight and white text on a black background so that it is easy to read settings, even in low light.
An active cooling system with a fan
The Speedlite EL-1 achieves a consistently powerful flash ensuring photographers can capture the moment, in almost any scenario. With a powerful output and high reach, the Speedlite EL-1 has a competitive Guide Number of GN60, to illuminate even distant subjects. It achieves the highest continuous firing performance of any Canon Speedlite, capable of, Canon claims, “up to 170 continuous full power flashes in a burst without overheating and high-speed flash charging of 0.1 to 0.9 seconds – perfect for shooting the likes of a red-carpet event or weddings.”
In situations where photographers are shooting continuously for long periods of time, it is key they have confidence in their kit. No longer will professionals have ‘battery anxiety’ about their flash thanks to the battery level indicator on the Canon LP-EL battery pack. The lithium ion battery is synonymous with power and reliability, affording photographers approximately 335 flashes at full power.
Leveraging an active cooling system with an internal fan, the Speedlite EL-1 maintains consistent flash performance during extended periods of shooting – ideal for those long days photographing events such as weddings. In Continuous Shooting Priority (CSP) Mode the flash output is automatically lowered by one stop, and the ISO speed is automatically raised by one stop instead to further conserve battery power, extend shooting and reduce recycling times.
Modelling lights and power down to 1/8192th
“As an extended form of expression, we understand that integrating a flash into your photography is an art form, and having the right equipment to meet your artistic demands is imperative to client service,” said Tatsuro “Tony” Kano, executive vice president and general manager of the Canon U.S.A., Inc. Imaging Technologies & Communications Group. “We’re excited to bring the Speedlite EL-1 into our product catalog which continues to offer photographers, who are experts in their field, the right high-quality professional imaging tools of the trade.”
The Speedlite EL-1 is a versatile flash, offering more freedom of choice and greater control so that photographers can achieve their desired look. The Speedlite EL-1 is the first Canon Speedlite equipped with bi-colour LED modelling lamps, enabling photographers to see where and how the light of the flash will fall on their subject and to make any necessary adjustments to colour temperature and brightness.
With a new low-power option down to 1/8192th, photographers can control the flash output across 14 steps of range – for example, in macro photography where just a subtle amount of light is needed or when capturing portraits and balancing the exposure with a night sky backdrop. It is also possible to connect the Speedlite EL-1 to up to 15 other flashes for studio levels of performance.
Weather resistant sealing, bounce, and battery
The radio wireless transmission opens up a number of creative options, now including second-curtain synchro for greater artistic expression such as trailing light. Using the Flash Exposure (FE) memory feature, the Speedlite EL-1 can store the last E-TTL flash shot settings, allowing the photographer to switch to Manual Flash mode, making minor adjustments around these settings as needed, for a quick, easy and consistent set up.
Built to withstand challenging weather conditions such as heavy rain, the Speedlite EL-1 employs similar weather resistant sealing to Canon’s EOS-1D X series cameras. Utilizing the same electronic contact mechanism as the popular Speedlite 600EX II-RT, this unlocks the dual benefit of a wipe function for resistance against dust and a dual-line communication system to provide back-up communication between camera and flash, which prevents misfires. The new xenon tube provides better durability, accuracy and consistency, making the low-power flash possible.
A greater degree of bounce movement has also been added – now capable of 120 degrees of tilt – the flash can be directed backwards, making it simple to bounce the flash and soften the light. Alongside the supplied bounce adaptor and two-colour filters included in the box, this creates the perfect toolkit for portrait photographers. The new Canon LP-EL battery pack has been specifically designed to quickly deliver the high currents needed to charge Speedlite EL-1 and enable such exceptional performance, while also being able to utilize the same LC-E6/LC-E6E charger as used on many of Canon’s existing cameras.
The Canon Speedlite EL-1 is scheduled to be available for in-store purchase in February 2021 at an estimated retail price of $1,099.00.