Review: Canon Speedlite 320EX

Look, up there on top that Canon! Is it a flash? Is it a video? No its the Canon Speedlite 320EX. More powerful than your pop up flash gun. Able to shed a little video light on an otherwise dark subject. Capable of firing your camera like a remote control trigger. That’t right, this little flash has a built in remote control for your camera. The question is, does this Swiss Army like flash gun really work or does it have the potential to “go go gadget failure”.

As a Flash

For so many people flash photography is a rather daunting area of the art and when presented with a flash gun that has a giant LCD display with custom functions and hundreds of modes they can very quickly go into a state of anxiety. For a first time flash the Canon Speedlite 320EX is perfect. It has a simple interface, is portable and yet offers more pop than your pop up flash does. Most importantly the 320EX supports Canon’s wireless TTL flash technology and if you ask any photographer the best way to improve your flash photography they will say the very first thing to do is take the flash off the top of your camera. No one likes a mug shot.

As a Video Light

As more and more DSLR’s are shooting video is is becoming more necessary to have a video light in your bag along side your traditional kit. The 320EX solves this problem for you, the video light is built right into the flash unit. It is not the most powerful video light but provides that extra bit of illumination needed to make your videos better.
And the Remote Camera Trigger
This is just a really cool feature. In essence if you mount your camera on a tripod, you can move freely around with the flash to get it just where you want it. Point the flash at the camera and press the remote trigger button and then you have a few seconds to point the flash where you want it and the camera will fire. While it may not be something you use daily we can certainly see some uses for it that we would not have tried had the flash not had the feature.

For the occasional flash shooter, second flash in strobist flashers’ bag of tricks or as mentioned earlier, a first time unit this is all the flash you should need. While it may be nice to have a little more power or an automatic zoom head I seldom felt that these were really missing. The video light is a nice to have though by no means a replacement for a good video light if you are serious about that side of things though for the photographer who finds him or herself in a video pickle unexpectedly, the 320EX could very well be your MacGyver like Swiss Army knife, photographically speaking of course.