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Canon Speedlite hybrid with LEDs for continuous lighting?

Canon Speedlite hybrid with LEDs for continuous lighting?
Pictured: Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI (Image credit: Canon)

Canon has registered a new Speedlite for release – and it may be the manufacturer's first flashgun to feature an air cooling system and LED component to produce continuous lighting. 

The new Speedlite – which had been expected to launch with all the new RF lenses and teleconverters alongside the Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS R6 (opens in new tab) – would potentially challenge the best LED light panels (opens in new tab) such as those made by Rotolight and LumeCube. 

With the video capabilities of the EOS R5 and R6 being such a huge part of their feature set, a first-party continuous lighting product for filmmaking would certainly make a great deal of sense (though it's not without a hint of irony that both cameras could use a cooling system like the one apparently possessed by the Speedlite).  

Alternatively, the LEDs could serve as a modeling light – a pre-flash, low-power, continuous light to indicate to the photographer exactly where the light will fall when the flash is fired. 

The certification for the new Speedlite was spotted by super-sleuth Nokishita (opens in new tab), with a report by Canon News pointing back to a patent application that was spotted in October 2019. 

Canon Speedlite hybrid with LEDs for continuous lighting?

Canon's design for a new Speedlite with LEDs and an underside cooling system (Image credit: Canon News / JPO)

"In this patent application, Canon details a speedlite with built in forced air cooling to keep the flash head cool," wrote the site (opens in new tab)

"The mechanical design of the speedlite is quite developed in the patent application leading me to believe that the development is quite far along for this flash.  This speedlite is also a hybrid speedlite that contains a LED portion for continuous lighting (or perhaps as a modelling light).

"Canon also mentions the flash head having LED's. In the images below, 401 and 402 are LED's where the flash discharge tube is 102. You can see from the air flow path that both the discharge tube and the LED's have air circulation around them. The fan unit would be underside the flash head, protected mostly against the elements."

The site speculates that we might see the new Speedlite announced in the August-September window, and the certification filing certainly suggests that a reveal for the product is imminent. Flashguns don't usually get us too excited, but this one definitely has us intrigued!

Read more: 

Best Canon flashgun (opens in new tab): which Speedlite will be best for you?
The best flashgun: the best strobe units for Canon cameras, Nikon and more (opens in new tab)
The best flash triggers (opens in new tab): wireless control for off-camera flashguns
The best flash diffusers, softboxes and modifiers for your speedlight (opens in new tab)

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James Artaius
James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.