Why is an exter­nal flash bet­ter than a built-in flash? It recharges faster, is more pow­er­ful, gives the sub­ject vol­ume (when shoot­ing with the built-in flash, it turns out to be flat). We have already told in detail about what on-cam­era flash­es are, how to shoot with them and what they are for. In this arti­cle, we have com­piled a selec­tion of the most pop­u­lar exter­nal on-cam­era flash­es that deserve atten­tion.

On-cam­era mod­els are much more pow­er­ful than built-in ones. They are com­pact, mobile and light­weight, which is why they are so pop­u­lar among pho­tog­ra­phers. Pho­to: btcethereum.com

Cri­te­rias of choice
The best Canon flash­es
Speedlite EL-100
Speedlite 430 EX III-RT
Speedlite 600EX II-RT
Pop­u­lar Nikon flash­es
Speed­light SB-400
Speed­light SB-700
Speed­light SB-5000
Sony Cam­era Flash­es
Good non-orig­i­nal flash­es
Nissin i‑40
Yongn­uo Speedlite YN968EX-RT
Godox V860II‑F

Criterias of choice

one. Price. There are flash­es up to 15,000 rubles, up to 30,000 rubles and more. There are good mod­els in every seg­ment. You don’t have to buy the most expen­sive one. It is bet­ter to choose the most con­ve­nient, fast, pow­er­ful in the right price range.

2. Lead­ing num­ber. This is a mea­sure of pow­er. This is the max­i­mum dis­tance in meters from the flash to the sub­ject that will take a good pic­ture. The big­ger, the bet­ter. But the guide num­ber that man­u­fac­tur­ers indi­cate is the indi­ca­tor at max­i­mum flash zoom. And it dif­fers for dif­fer­ent mod­els. There­fore, com­par­ing only the guide num­ber is not entire­ly cor­rect. You need to eval­u­ate the zoom and oth­er para­me­ters.

3. Zoom. This is the abil­i­ty to con­trol the lev­el of light scat­ter­ing. It is mea­sured in mil­lime­ters, the small­er the indi­ca­tor, the larg­er the angle. Zoom can be auto­mat­ic or man­u­al.

four. Reload time. Peri­od (in sec­onds) that is spent recharg­ing the device between snap­shots. If you need a flash for reportage shoot­ing, this indi­ca­tor is impor­tant. It affects the speed of work. The low­er the score, the bet­ter.

5. Swiv­el head. Flash­es can rotate hor­i­zon­tal­ly and ver­ti­cal­ly. It is opti­mal that the mod­el can be rotat­ed in any direc­tion — thanks to this, there are more options for dif­fer­ent light­ing.

We talked about how to choose a cam­era flash in detail in the blog. And now let’s move on to our top of the best.

The best Canon flashes

Speedlite EL-100

The most bud­getary (from 14,000 rubles), light (190 g) and small (71x65x92 mm) mod­el from our Canon selec­tion. It can be a slave and a leader. There is a stro­bo­scop­ic flash mode, aut­o­fo­cus illu­mi­na­tion.

There is a sec­ond cur­tain sync. This means that the Speedlite EL-100 will fire until just before the cam­era shut­ter clos­es. This is used at slow shut­ter speeds when you need to cap­ture the blur­ry move­ment of an object — the effect of a motion trail is obtained.

The flash rotates hor­i­zon­tal­ly and ver­ti­cal­ly. This helps to find the right option for high­light­ing the object.

Of the short­com­ings — a long reload (5.8 sec­onds).

The Canon Speedlite EL-100 is a small, cheap flash that’s handy for out­door events. Pho­to: expert-technomarkt.de

Speedlite 430 EX III-RT

A portable mod­el that can work as a mas­ter (mas­ter) and as a slave. Ver­sa­til­i­ty is an impor­tant advan­tage. Con­nec­tion to oth­er flash­es (up to 15 pieces) is pos­si­ble via radio.

The flash can be tilt­ed for­ward (90 degrees), rotat­ed to the right (180 degrees) and left (150 degrees). There are con­trol but­tons on the body. The flash is light (295 g) and small (70x113x98 mm). Reload time — up to 3.5 sec­onds, in fast mode (Quick) — 2.5 sec­onds.

Addi­tion­al ben­e­fits:

- fas­ten­ing made of met­al (stronger than plas­tic);

- 10 user set­tings and 8 per­son­al;

– There is a col­or fil­ter includ­ed. It is used for cre­ative pho­tog­ra­phy. We talked more about work­ing with col­ored light in a sep­a­rate arti­cle;

- runs on AA bat­ter­ies (4 pcs). Their charge is enough for 180 oper­a­tions at full pow­er.

The Canon Speedlite 430 EX III-RT is a com­pact mod­el that is easy to oper­ate. Pho­to: lifewire.com

Speedlite 600EX II-RT

The most expen­sive flash from the Canon col­lec­tion. Pow­er­ful flag­ship mod­el with wire­less syn­chro­niza­tion via opti­cal and radio chan­nels. The flash can be tilt­ed 90 degrees for­ward and rotat­ed 180 degrees left and right. The mod­el can be used as a slave or mas­ter. Can con­trol 5 groups of flash­es. It is impor­tant that the total num­ber is not more than 15.


  • on one charge (4 AA bat­ter­ies) can make up to 700 flash­es. You can con­nect an addi­tion­al pow­er sup­ply;
  • 15 user and 6 per­son­al set­tings;
  • data on the col­or tem­per­a­ture of the flash is trans­mit­ted to the cam­era;
  • reload time in Quick mode 0.1–3.3 sec.
Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT is a heavy (435 g) and large (78x143x122 mm) mod­el for stu­dio shoot­ing. Pho­to: fstoppers.com

Popular Nikon flashes

Speedlight SB-400

The cheap­est (from 5,000 rubles) mod­el that is suit­able for begin­ner pho­tog­ra­phers. Reload time — 3.96. Such a flash is not suit­able for reportage shoot­ing, when speed is impor­tant. But this is a good option for work­ing at a leisure­ly pace.


  • light weight (127 g) and size (66x57x80 mm) — can be used not only in the stu­dio, but also tak­en to out­door shoot­ing;
  • head rotates up 90 degrees. The down­side is that it does­n’t turn left or right.
Nikon Speed­light SB-400 is a sim­ple and cheap mod­el that is suit­able as a first flash for a begin­ner. Pho­to: de-academic.com

Speedlight SB-700

This ver­sa­tile flash is suit­able for pro­fes­sion­als. She has:

  • faster reload (2.5 sec);
  • It is pos­si­ble to rotate the head hor­i­zon­tal­ly and ver­ti­cal­ly. Not only turns up (like Canon), but also goes down;
  • there is a man­u­al and auto­mat­ic zoom (illu­mi­na­tion angle 24–120 mm);
  • pow­er can be adjust­ed man­u­al­ly.

This mod­el can be used as a mas­ter and as a slave. There is a spe­cial Com­man­der mode for work­ing with remote flash units. With the help of advanced set­tings, you can divide all con­nect­ed flash­es into groups and quick­ly man­age them.

Syn­chro­niza­tion is pos­si­ble both on the first and on the sec­ond cur­tain. The dif­fer­ence is vis­i­ble only when shoot­ing mov­ing objects. In the first case, the trail from the move­ment is vis­i­ble in front of the object, in the sec­ond case — behind.

Shoot­ing mov­ing and sta­t­ic sub­jects is made eas­i­er with the Nikon Speed­light SB-700 on-cam­era flash. Pho­to: lifewire.com

Speedlight SB-5000

Pro­fes­sion­al flash with very short recy­cling time (1.8–2.6 sec).

An impor­tant advan­tage is the pres­ence of a cool­ing sys­tem. Shut­down due to over­heat­ing is a prob­lem that pho­tog­ra­phers face. Due to fre­quent oper­a­tion, the device over­heats and turns off. To earn again, he needs to cool down. As a result, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er los­es time. With the Speed­light SB-5000, you can for­get about such a prob­lem. It will not get hot even if you take 100 shots in a row.


  • can be con­trolled via radio sig­nal (dis­tance up to 30 meters);
  • there is a light dif­fuser and col­or fil­ters;
  • many modes: man­u­al, mul­ti­ple flash and oth­ers;
  • can be used as mas­ter or slave.
The Nikon Speed­light SB-5000 flash is a unique mod­el that does not over­heat after pro­longed use. Pho­to: dw.kz

Sony Camera Flashes


The light­est mod­el of the entire top. This flash weighs only 105 grams. This is a cheap (from 8,000 rubles) gad­get that is per­fect for both a begin­ner and a pro­fes­sion­al pho­tog­ra­ph­er.


  • reload time — from 0.1 sec­onds to 4. This is a good indi­ca­tor, espe­cial­ly for such a bud­get mod­el. You can take a series of shots very quick­ly;
  • can work in mas­ter flash mode;
  • There is rear cur­tain sync.
Sony HVL-F20M is a com­pact mod­el with sim­ple con­trols. Pho­to: i.ebayimg.com


Pro­fes­sion­al mod­el suit­able for Minol­ta, Sony cam­eras. The head is repeat­ed (hor­i­zon­tal­ly and ver­ti­cal­ly). You can not only tilt, but also raise. The con­trol is sim­ple, there is an LCD pan­el and all the nec­es­sary con­trol but­tons right on the case.

Wire­less flash con­trol, rear-cur­tain sync is pos­si­ble. A good reload time is 0.1–2.9. Suit­able for fast shoot­ing of mov­ing objects.

HVL-F43M is a pro­fes­sion­al pow­er­ful flash for Sony cam­eras. Pho­to: fotokonsult.se

Good on-camera flashes from alternative manufacturers

Nissin i‑40

Com­pact mod­el (85x61x85 mm) with rear cur­tain sync capa­bil­i­ty. Can act as a slave flash. Fast reload time — from 0.1. The mod­el is wire­less. You can take it to an out­door event.

The Nissin i‑40 flash has a swiv­el head (it ris­es 90 degrees and rotates hor­i­zon­tal­ly 360 degrees). Thanks to the TTL mode, you can quick­ly set up auto­mat­i­cal­ly and man­u­al­ly.

Nissin i‑40 is a mod­el com­pat­i­ble with Sony cam­eras. Pho­to: commons.wikimedia.org

Yongnuo Speedlite YN968EX-RT

The mod­el is com­pat­i­ble with Canon cam­eras. This is a pow­er­ful flash that sup­ports Canon’s RT wire­less pro­to­col (TTL wire­less). Can be con­fig­ured to work with oth­er flash units. Will work as mas­ter or slave.


  • there are LEDs that can be used as addi­tion­al light­ing when shoot­ing video;
  • man­u­al pow­er adjust­ment;
  • turn­ing the head ver­ti­cal­ly and hor­i­zon­tal­ly.
The Yongn­uo Speedlite YN968EX-RT is a pop­u­lar low cost flash. Pho­to: viplist.fun

Godox V860II‑F

On-cam­era flash, which you can buy for Fuji­film equip­ment. It is uni­ver­sal, so it will fit all mod­els of the brand. Advan­tages:

  • auto­mat­ic and man­u­al zoom;
  • dif­fer­ent oper­at­ing modes: strobe, aut­o­fo­cus illu­mi­na­tion, mod­el­ing light;
  • the head rotates hor­i­zon­tal­ly and ver­ti­cal­ly;
  • very fast reload time (0.1–1.5 sec);
  • can work as a mas­ter or as a slave flash.

We col­lect­ed the key fea­tures of the described gad­gets and brought them togeth­er in one table. All prices are valid at the time of writ­ing.

Model/Specification Mod­el Com­pat­i­bil­i­ty Guide num­ber Reload time (sec) Swiv­el head Zoom Weight (g) Price (rubles)
Canon Speedlite EL-100 Canon 26 5.8 Yes (up, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al 190 from 14 000
Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Canon 43 0.1–3.5 Yes (up, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al, auto­mat­ic 295 from 36 000
Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT Canon 60 3.3 Yes (up, down, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al, auto­mat­ic 435 from 58 000
Nikon Speed­light SB-400 Nikon 21 3.96 Yes (up) Man­u­al 127 from 5 900
Nikon Speed­light SB-700 Nikon 28 2.5 Yes (up, down, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al, auto­mat­ic 360 from 35 000
Nikon Speed­light SB-5000 Nikon 34.5 1.8 Yes (up, down, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al, auto­mat­ic 420 from 36 000
Sony HVL-F20M Sony, Minol­ta twen­ty 0.1–4 Yes (up) Auto 105 from 8 000
Sony HVL-F43M Sony, Minol­ta 43 0.1–2.9 Yes (up, down, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al, auto­mat­ic 335 from 20 000
Nissin i‑40 Sony 40 0.1–4 Yes (up, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al, auto­mat­ic 203 from 16 000
Yongn­uo Speedlite YN968EX-RT Canon 60 3 Yes (up, down, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al, auto­mat­ic 450 from 18 000
Godox V860II‑F fuji­film 60 0.1–1.5 Yes (up, down, hor­i­zon­tal) Man­u­al, auto­mat­ic 430 from 19 000