Canon 600EX-RT

Canon 600 EX-RT back view from the B&H website

I know most are reviewing the Canon 5D Mark III, and that is an amazing camera, but I think the flash that Canon released, the 600EX-RT is the real gem.

Yesterday, March 1st, Canon released both the camera, flash and the ST-E3-RT transmitter.  The Mark III was highly anticipated, but because I’m a Nikon user, I haven’t been following the rumors from Canon.  I seen some info about the Mark III as I was browsing the net before bed, but I thought I’ll just look at it in the morning.  This morning I get up and WOW!!  Sorry I’m getting a head of myself.

Canon 600EX-RT front view from the B&H website

Canon’s 580EX II has always been a great flash.  As of yesterday, that has been dethroned as Canon’s flagship flash and is dwarfed by the capabilities of this new flash.

What’s so great about the 600EX-RT?  It has radio lighting control built in!!  This gives you full control over up to five different groups of flashes.

Canon 600EX-RT left side from B&H site

Why is this so important to me?  I have always loved the Nikon CLS system, but it has some flaws in it.  It’s a line of sight based system which means you can’t hide a flash behind a wall, unless you have another flash placed perfectly to relay the signal around the wall.  Also at times in bright light, the system is less than reliable, which when you’re shooting a wedding or even outdoors, can be a little frustrating.

Alternately, for years, photographers have been using radio triggers that have a greater range and can work in situations such as around corners or out of line of sight.  The inexpensive triggers have been unreliable in the past, although there are some that are better than others and the reliability has been improved as technology improves.  On the higher priced end, companies like PocketWizard have had simple triggers, such as the Plus II and just announced Plus III, as well as newer technology such as the Flex and Mini TT1 that transmit all the information from the camera to the flash.  That is a great system, but take the Nikon SB-910 and the Flex/TT1 combo for example.

A SB-910 at Henry’s here in Canada is $579.99 on their website. (No disrespect to Vistek or other retailers, I just picked one.)  Add on PocketWizard Flex TT5 Nikon transceiver, $249.99 and a Mini TT1 Nikon transmitter, $219.99 and you’re up to $1,049.97 before taxes for one flash with the radio trigger!!!  And normally you’d have at least two or three flashes minimum.  For a second setup, based on already having the Mini TT1 Transmitter, you’d only need a flash and the transceiver, so that comes to another $829.98 before taxes!  So you’d be dumping $1,879.95 for only two flashes with the radio trigger functions.

Let’s look at this new setup from Canon.   The 600EX-RT is estimated at $629.00 and the ST-E3-RT transmitter that mounts on the camera is estimated at $470.  You only need the one transmitter so the same scenario as above with two flashes will cost $1,728.  That doesn’t sound like much, but let’s take this a little further.  Most photographers that work off camera have at least 3 – 4 flashes.  The two flash set up is approximately $150 cheaper for the new Canon set up, but add one flash to three flashes and you save approximately $350 and if you add another to have a four flash system you save approximately $550.  To add to the savings, you’re also saving yourself on the extra batteries, space and weight to carry around the extra triggers.  While the weight may not be much, I know space is a premium for myself.  I don’t want to take more than I need (although I often do, ‘just in case’).

Now I know that most people are thinking this is just crazy.  At that point you’re spending in around the $3,000 mark for just the flashes and triggers, but if this is what you do for a living, then that $550 difference is almost a price of another flash or some other piece of gear.  And I’m guessing that in the future, Canon will add this technology into the higher end camera bodies, reducing the cost even more.  I just wish that it was something available to me at this point.

Enough of my dreaming away of future times, I just have to say, I tip my hat to the Canon camp for releasing this system!


Edit:  All that ranting and I forgot to mention that this is a more powerful flash as well.  With a GN number of 60, this edges out the Nikon SB-910.  I’m sure I’ve missed some items, but I think that’s enough from me at this point.

Please let me know if you have anything to add or if you have a review you want from me!


About covesphotography

I have loved photography since I was a child. I always had a camera with me, although it was usually an old Kodak 110 Instamatic. When I was older, I used to take (with permission) my fathers Konica SLR with a 50mm Sigma lens. I was always disappointed that I had to wait for the film to be developed to see what it looked like. I have about two large containers full of pictures in my bedroom closet even now, mostly mine from that time. I don't know exactly how old I was, but I was able to take a picture of a sunset over Lake Superior with a heavy cloud cover above and the water below, the sun just broke through. My parents took it and blew it up to a very large image and I had it hanging on my wall for years. As a lot of teenagers are now, I was impatient and didn't stay with my love of photography, however when digital became more popular, and because I double exposed an important roll of film, I purchased my first digital camera, about 2004. I loved it so much that it went everywhere with me. Now I want to turn that passion for photography to something that can bring joyful moments to other people. From elegant weddings, to family portraits, from infants and pregnancy photos to corporate head shots, from pets to product photography. I travel to you, either to your home or a location you specify. If needed I can help in location scouting as well.
This entry was posted in Canon, Flash, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Canon 600EX-RT

  1. i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.

  2. Chastity says:

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed
    reading it, you could be a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and
    may come back later on. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great work,
    have a nice evening!

  3. Greate article. Keep posting such kind of information on your page.

    Im really impressed by it.
    Hello there, You have performed an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and individually recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

  4. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem
    to be running off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let
    you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the
    problem fixed soon. Kudos

  5. Windy says:

    I like the helpful info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.

    I’m quite sure I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s