Review ~ Canon 320EX Flash

This is not a full scientific review, but mearly my own opinions based on using this flash gun for about a month, mainly for events photography.

In general I'm really pleased with  the 320ex, there are some nice little features on it, however there are also some draw backs, as you'd expect from a bit of kit that trys to do so much for such a low price.

Things I like about it...

I really like the fact that it has a LED light for video on it, this is really quite a useful feature and was one of the main things that drew me to the 320ex. The light works well on subjects that are fairly close to the camera, ie a person within 5-10 feet. Obviously its not going to light a whole room, but thats not really what its meant for either.

The LED can also be used as a modelling light, off camera hotlight or a handy torch. basically its a really useful feature that I'd love to see on more flashguns.

Another handy little add on is the camera trigger button so you can trigger your camera using the flash.

If you're using one of the latest canon camera's like a 7D or a 650D you can use this flash off camera and have full control of the settings from the camera menus with the flash being triggered from the on-camera pop up flash. This is a very handy feature, although I've often wondered why Canon don't build a radio trigger into thier camera's, now that would be REALLY cool.

Things I don't like about it...

No Af assist beam, instead you get a barrage of flash bursts, particularly if you're bouncing the flash. This is something I've found to be a bit of problem to be honest, especially if I'm trying to get candid shots in a night club!

The other thing that annoys me a bit with this flash is that you can't rotate the head fully, it goes 180 degrees to the left or 90 degrees to the right, so there is a whole 90degrees that you can't get to!

Finally the thing that I dislike the most about the 320ex is there is no manual control! this obviously severely limits its use for off camera flash stuff and would have been a very nice addition. There again maybe I just want a 580ex with a video light on it! haha.


I like this flash and for the money { arounds about £150 } you do get a lot of interesting features, but I think its very much a case of jack of all trades, master of none.

So if you want a flash that can do a number of things reasonably well and not break the bank then this could be for you. If, however you want the best you can get for a specific job you may be better looking else where.

A great example of this is the video light, whilst the one on the 320 works fairly well, for the same or even less money you can get a dedicated multi LED lamp that is more powerfull, has way more potential for light modifiers and is dimmable.

I took this photo at a recent event, using the flash to grab the action with a slow shutter speed. Gives you a rough idea of the range of the flash

For this pic I used a 500D set to ISO400 ~ F4 ~ 1/3sec, with a 24-105 F4L lens at 24mm. The flash was on camera, bounced of a wall/ceiling to my left and stopped down 2 stops to try and retain a good amount of ambient light.

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