Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter

Yes, radio flash with strobes is better, but this item acts similarly to a radio-controlled studio, but with much more portability! No need for wireless transmitters and receivers, as the Canon Speedlites you surely own already accept signals from this thing!

Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter for Canon 580EX II, 430EX, 430EX II Speedlites
If you need portability with your portraits, this item is for you, since lugging around Speedlights and lightweight stands is easier than heavier strobes with bulkier stands. This makes location shooting much easier.

If you're on a budget, this item is for you, since you won't need to invest in additional strobes and trancievers and power packs. Just combine this with any Speedlites you already own.

If you want a quick and easy backup to your expensive, heavy strobe setup, this is for you, as you're likely to have your Speedlites in your camera bag anyway, and this item takes up about as much room as a Sto-Fen diffuser. You can't go wrong with such a small item enabiling near-full studio capability.

There are only two faults with this item:
  • Firstly, you need to be line-of-sight with your Speedlites. Indoors, the Speedlites can be pointed in a relatively correct direction and work. However, outdoors the line-of-sight is critical, with a turn of a few degrees off line causing transmission to fail.
The Canon STE2 Speedlite Transmitter as seen from the back (the side you would see if taking a photograph)
  • Speedlites are NOT strobes, and can never match the light output of strobes. You lose continuous modeling light capability and a couple hundred watt seconds of light when you use Speedlites instead of strobes. Don't expect to light massive groups of people or large subjects like trucks with a Speedlite setup.
One oddball curiosity with this item is that if you shoot pets and young children, they get easy distracted by the red blinking panels of the Speedlites in slave mode. I'm sure slave mode users know this. Nothing major, just something to keep in mind as their heads will tend to point toward your light stands during shoots.

Technical Details
  • Wireless flash controller for the Canon 420EX and 550EX and other Canon flashes.
  • Indoor transmission range of approximately 40 to 50 feet
  • Outdoor transmission range of approximately 26 to 33 feet
  • 1,500-transmission battery life
  • Turns off after 90-second idle
The Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 is compatible with Type A EOS cameras (E-TTL, auto flash) and Type B EOS cameras (manual flash). The ST-E2 is designed to control slaved Canon 550 EX flashes,

A side view of the Canon STE2 Speedlite Transmitter showing the hot shoe lock switch.
enabling simultaneous flash use in professional settings. The wireless controller has a flash ratio control, allowing for several different A:B ratios, 1:8 to 8:1 in half-step increments, as well as slave confirmation via a test transmission button, which sets off slave A, followed by slave B, at 1/64 output.