Ok this isn’t something new as Canon released their speedlite accessories back in March 2012 but I decided to share few thoughts about this brilliant speedlite system.
Yes I described the Speedlite 600EX-RT as brilliant because is compact and saves you to carry in your bag extra equipment like third party receivers, plus all the wonderful features listed below:
1. Two-Way Radio – This is something new for Canon as their first device was infrared based transmitter which wasn’t the best option for outdoor wireless controlled flash use. Now they added 2.4 Ghz radio signal to the new system which allows for the Slaves to send signal back to the master/transmitter when recycled and ready to fire again.
2. The range of transmitting/receiving the signal is about 98’ (30m) according to the manual, in the urban environment with all the interference, but there were claims from people who tested the system in non-urban environment that they were able to fire the Speedlite from 340’ (100m) away.
3. Sync Speeds – Using both devices together, even with any pre-2012 Canon camera, allows you to shot at all sync speeds up to 1/8000” ( in high-speed sync mode ).
4. Groups – Now this is something really practical that allows more flexibility when controlling lots of flashes at once on a set. The Speedlite Transmitter ST–E3–RT provides you with up to five groups and the mode for each group can be set individually.
5. Bigger and better LCD display.
6. Interactive menu for the System – together with the better LCD on screen display offers much better navigation and operation. There aren’t any hiding functions under same button.
7. 15 Channels, 10.000 IDs and a Channel Scanner.
But there is couple of little problems, and this has nothing to do with the quality of the new Canon system, for people like me, who already have 7 Canon speedlites ( combination of 430 ex and 580 ex II ) and the combo of Pocketizards transmitter and receivers, it will be literally impossible to replace/upgrade to the current new Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT & Speedlite Transmitter ST–E3–RT and the reasons are:
The very first reason is the price tag of the Canon’s Speedlite 600EX-RT unit as, obviously, we can just buy one speedlit and anyone who wants to do some serious strobe lighting will need at least 3 of them. And the fact is that the Canon’s Speedlite 600EX-RT price in UK is something between £460 -£500 per unit which for most of us is quite high price to pay for a speedlite ( by the way wexphotographic is selling it with £80 cashback http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-canon-speedlite-600ex-rt-flashgun/p1530019 ).
The thing is that the price although high isn’t that bad for all the extras packed into that small source of, so desired for all of us photographers, light. There are much cheaper solution from Canon to start with your off camera flash photography and that’s Canon’s 430 EX II, not the 430ex. This flash is ideal solution and its cheaper than its bigger brothers, 580EX II AND 630EX – RT, and power wise, its just 2/3 stops less powerful than the big boys.
The second reason, for me personally, is the fact that the new Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST–E3–RT won’t work with any older flashes than 630EX-RT. And in case I want to upgrade to the new system this will mean that I need to first sell all of my already own equipment in order to get the new system, which won’t generate enough money to help me replace it without spending any extra solid cash.
So my conclusion here is that at the moment I will be still using my old strobes system but as soon as I can afford or the prices drop down a tad I definitely will be selling my PocketWizards and older Canon speedlites to get the new Canon’s Speedlite 600EX-RT & Speedlite Transmitter ST–E3–RT .
Well done Canon, keep up the good work and please consider that most of your customers are on a tide budgets!!!