Canon launches its first flash designed for the latest EOS R cameras

Canon Speedlite EL-5
(Image credit: Canon)

Canon has revealed its new Canon EL-5 Speedlite, which with its 60GN (guide number), built-in modeling light and rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack, should be a must-have for any event photographer.

The Canon EL-5 Speedlite was revealed at the same time as the Canon EOS R6 Mark II and Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM. Being announced at the same time as the EOS R6 Mark II is of particular relevance, since the new Speedlite is Canon's first to boast compatibility with the camera's Multi Munction Shoe, also featured on the Canon EOS R3, Canon EOS R7 and Canon EOS R10

The new shoe enables a new generation of Canon accessories, such as flashguns and microphones, to be mounted without the need for cables. In some cases accessories can also draw power from the attached camera's battery instead of needing its own power source. 

Flashguns are likely too power hungry to rely on the camera battery, so it's no surprise that the EL-5 features its own rechargeable Li-Ion battery (LP-EL), which Canon claims can shoot 85 flashes continuously at full power, or 350 flashes in a single charge. It’s also said to have a fast recycle time of between 0.1 sec and 1.2 secs depending on the power setting. You can also set the power as low as 1/1024 for more subtle lighting requirements.

(Image credit: Canon)

Canon claims that the EL-5 Speedlite offers same intuitive design as the Canon Speedlite EL-1, with its familiar joystick and button layout, and will be a great high-performance option for weddings and events and features weather sealing as well as “efficient” passive cooling. 

It features a Guide Number of 60, though as there are multiple ways to measure guide numbers with varying factors we’re eager to give it a test drive to see just how powerful it is. Its dual white LEDs can also be used as a modeling lamp, so you can see where your light is falling before you fire the flash. This is a feature usually saved for larger studio flash heads, so it’s impressive to see a modeling light squeezed into a portable flashgun. It also doubles up as an autofocus assist lamp to help you focus in dark scenes.

Canon Speedlite EL-5 with new Canon R6 Mark II (Image credit: Canon)

The EL-5 also features a wireless radio control, which enables users to control up to 15 additional Speedlites, as well as a Camera Link function that enables photographers to trigger external cameras connected to Speedlites.

Shipping starts in February 2023, and will cost $399 / £499.99 / AU$729..

Read more: 

Best Canon cameras
Best Canon RF lenses
Best Canon EF-M lenses
Best mirrorless cameras

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Dan Mold
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, Dan also brings his technical wizardry and editing skills to Digital Camera World. He has been writing about all aspects of photography for over 10 years, having previously served as technical writer and technical editor for Practical Photography magazine, as well as Photoshop editor on Digital Photo

Dan is an Adobe-certified Photoshop guru, making him officially a beast at post-processing – so he’s the perfect person to share tips and tricks both in-camera and in post. Able to shoot all genres, Dan provides news, techniques and tutorials on everything from portraits and landscapes to macro and wildlife, helping photographers get the most out of their cameras, lenses, filters, lighting, tripods, and, of course, editing software.