The Canon Speedlite 320EX is one flash that has always caught my attention. While Canon has always supplied a great range of accessories and tools for the modern day photographer… does the 320EX fall inline with the rest of Canon’s quality products?
Guide Number: 32m (105 feet)
Coverage: 24mm, 50mm
Tilt/Swivel: 270 degrees
Recycle Time: 1.8/2.3 seconds
Custom Functions: 4
AF Assist: Series of flashes
The Canon Speedlite 320EX is easy to use… especially if you have never really felt the need to use a flash, much like myself – well at least until now. While I run a simply setup of the Canon 500D with various standard lenses, I have always been accustomed to shooting without a flash. This was essentially due to the fact the on board flash on the 500D was not entirely the best flash to use.
When first taking a glance at the Canon Speedlite 320EX you will notice that, much like the rest of the Canon range, the flash has a rather impressive build quality. It is sturdy, solid in design and capable of taking a knock (within reason). Additionally it even packs in a LED light.
The LED light is mainly a feature for Canon’s newer DSLR cameras. It has been added in order to function as added light for video capture. While studio lights outshine the LED light, it is still a great addition for those who record one-on-one interviews while at a conference or away from a kitted out studio. As an experienced photographer, I have found myself doing a fair amount of video interviews recently. While some venues have adequate lightning, others do not. This is where the added LED light plays a major role in capturing great, well lit video. Granted, it may not be the brightest light to grace a flash, but it certainly does a fantastic job of lighting up a subject.
When it comes to controls, the Canon Speedlite 320EX is a dream to work. The back of the flash features a surprisingly neat and well laid out control panel. You simply need to slide a switch left or right in order to access different features and settings. On/Off is featured to left bottom of the flash. The same switch can be used to set the flash to “Slave” mode; however, the LED tends to flash when this mode is selected, which may annoy some people.
On the bottom right you will find the switch for the video light. The video light has a manual mode and auto mode, which will either allow you to control when you use the light or let the camera decide. The two sliders at the top are used for setting the slave group as well as the remote channel settings. Another bonus is the fact the camera gives you full range of A-B-C group selection plus channels 1, 2, 3 and 4.
When it comes to batteries and power, the Canon Speedlite 320EX works off of 4x AA batteries… much like most modern day flashes. The flash recycle times are pretty impressive; however, this can depend on the batteries that you use. I tried a cheaper brand of batteries at first, which seemed be okay for the first few snaps, but once depleted the flash underperformed. Thankfully, using a decent set of rechargeable batteries will rectify this.
The Canon 320EX has the ability to bounce light at the following angles: 0, 60, 75, or 90 degrees. The flash head can also be rotated to between 279-90 degrees to the right and 180 degrees to the left.
The flash can also be used as a wireless slave; however, it will need a wireless enabled camera body to function.
The Canon EX320 is quite honestly a well thought out product. It features a solid design and is easy to use, even for beginners. While the flash was originally released in 2011, it is still well worth picking up if you are looking for a flash on a budget.
Below are a few test photos taken with the Canon 320EX Speedlite attached to the Canon 500D.