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New professional model Speedlite 580EX unveiled
Dennis Hissink : August 20th 2004 - 09:00 CET
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CanonCanon, a leader in photographic and imaging technology, today announces the release of a new flagship to its EX Speedlite range: the Canon Speedlite 580EX. Now Canon's most powerful flash unit, the Speedlite 580EX has a guide number of 58 (m/ISO 100 at 105mm) and an adjustable angle of coverage suitable for wide lenses to 14mm. Replacing the popular Canon Speedlite 550EX, the Speedlite 580EX improves on many specifications of its predecessor, and includes new features to improve digital EOS SLR flash results. These include transfer of colour temperature data to optimise the white balance compensation, and auto-adjustment of the zoom flash position to best compliment the sensor size of the camera to which the unit is attached.
New professional model Speedlite 580EX unveiledCircuitry modifications improve on Speedlite 550EX recycle times by approximately 25%. An ultra-bright 3-LED configuration focus assist-beam has been designed to be compatible with all focus points within the frame of all EOS AF systems, including the new EOS 20D 9-point AF. The unit has improved exposure stability, with a tolerance of just +/-0.3 stops.

New features for full control
An intuitive and ergonomic interface includes a new select dial for fast and direct control over settings such as flash exposure compensation. A bounce lock release button provides immediate control over the bounce head angle. 14 custom functions can be pre-set for fast access to commonly used settings. Despite high power and short recycling times, the unit is small and lightweight. A new left-right 180? bounce allows either left or right vertical camera orientation. A retractable catch light reflector is built-in for portrait photography.

System flash
The Speedlite 580EX is a key component of the integrated flash system for both analogue and digital SLR cameras, and is fully compatible with the distance linked E-TTL II system found on recent EOS cameras. It serves as a wireless master to compatible slave units (with up to four channels and three slave groups), or as a slave to other Speedlites or transmitters such as the ST-E2.

White balance compensation
Slight variations in a flash gun's voltage and brightness can destabilise white balance in respective frames during continuous shooting. The Speedlite 580EX compensates for this by transmitting colour temperature information from the flash to the camera. The camera then uses this information to optimise the white balance setting for each individual image. This function works with the camera set to Auto WB or Flash Mode.

Matching sensor size
When mounted to the latest EOS digital cameras such as the EOS-1D Mark II or EOS 20D cameras, the Speedlite 580EX receives sensor size information (full frame, APS-C or APS-H) from the camera. The flash's zoom position automatically adjusts accordingly, thus optimising flash coverage and reducing the amount of charge required per shot. The Speedlite 580EX distributes a consistent, even spread of light throughout the entire zoom range.

Fully featured for full control
Features include 1st and 2nd curtain flash synchronisation, flash exposure bracketing (FEB), exposure compensation (±3 stops in 1/3 stop increments) and manual adjustment of flash output (22 levels).

New battery pack
Developed with working professional photographers in mind, the new external compact battery pack CP–E3 improves flash recycle times significantly and increases to approximately 432 the number of firings before batteries need to be replaced . The pack takes optional rapid-change magazines that can be loaded with 8 AA-size batteries prior to a shoot to ensure fast, smooth transitions from one battery set to the next, important in critical shooting situations or to keep up momentum in the studio. The CP–E3 battery pack is also compatible with the Speedlite 550EX, MR-14EX and MT-24EX.

New L bracket
A new optional Speedlite Bracket SB-E1 allows the flash unit to be mounted to one side of the camera. Designed specifically for press and wedding photographers, it removes the harsh unnatural shadows that can appear to one side of the subject when shooting in portrait orientation with camera-mounted flash. Flash batteries are replaceable without removing the unit from the bracket.
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