08 March 2018

The Verge: “Canon made a flash that automatically figures out the best direction to point”

The 470EX-AI looks just like every other Canon Speedlite, but it has motors inside at the base and hinge, and a sensor in the corner of the face of the flash. When you double tap the shutter button on your camera, the flash points out at the subject, calculates the distance, then points itself at the ceiling and does the same. Right after that, the flash reorients itself one last time into what it “thinks” is the best direction to achieve the perfect bounce light for your subject.

The new flash is a delightful idea, the kind we’re actually starting to see slightly more of from Canon lately. But there are some limitations. For one thing, if you let the flash pick a spot, and then you move to recompose your photo, you have to do the whole process over again or else the light will bounce in the wrong direction. The flash can also only work its magic on ceilings — turn the camera sideways and it will still point up after it measures. There’s a 23-foot limit to the sensor, and if a ceiling is black it will just point straight up.

Sean O'Kane

Very interesting innovation, something that I wasn’t expecting and could improve indoors flash photography considerably – assuming it works consistently.

In this video, David Flores checks out the brand new Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI. It's the first intelligent flash, designed to measure the distance between the subject along with the surrounding area, to automatically determine the most flattering to bounce flash

A cynic point of view would add that most Canon users would prefer a ‘dumb’ flash with built-in radio transmitters and rechargeable lithium batteries. But still, genuine innovation in the DSLR space is not so common these days and shouldn’t be sneered at.

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