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Smart Speedlite from Canon

Canon has announced a ‘world first’ flash unit, the Speedlite 470EX AI, with a motorised head that can automatically determine the best angle and adjustment for effective bounce flash.

The Auto Intelligent Bounce technology is a new innovation and takes the guesswork out of shooting with bounced flash. The flash head is activated by pressing the depth-of-field preview button on a recent Canon camera or with a button on the flash head. The flash head is motorised and can rotate 180 degrees left and right, plus 120 degrees upwards, enabling it to be quickly moved into the optimal position for lighting the subject and eliminating the need for guesswork or calculations.

It has a Guide Number of 47 (m/ISO 100) and wide lens coverage, ranging from 24mm to 105mm, with14mm possible via the built-in adaptor. The flash recharges in 5.5 seconds to full power with 4 AA/LR6 batteries, or 3.5 seconds with rechargeable NiMH batteries. A high-speed sync function enables the flash to be fired several times in rapid succession at a higher than normal shutter speed. This setting is useful for action shots, or to create a darkened or blurred background for subjects.

The 470EX AI has two operating modes: full-auto and semi-auto. In full-auto mode a double press of the shutter button activates built-in sensors that assess the best position and angle for the head and moves the head to that position. In the semi-auto mode, the photographer determines the bounce angle, while the head sets the appropriate position.

The Speedlite 470EX AI flashgun includes 19 custom functions. An integrated wireless optical receiver allows the flash to be used at distances of up to 10 metres indoors or 6-10 metres outdoors. Its battery can power between 115 and approximately 800 flashes.

The Speedlite 470EX AI is scheduled to go on sale in mid-May at an expected price of around $700.

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