Canon Speedlite EL-1 flashgun review

The Canon Speedlite EL-1 costs almost as much as an EOS RP camera complete with kit zoom lens! So is it really worth it?

Canon Speedlite EL-1
(Image: © Canon)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Money no object, Canon’s Speedlite EL-1 is a phenomenal flashgun. It’s super-powerful, amazingly versatile and, with its Li-ion battery pack, has excellent stamina and ultra-fast recycling speeds. It’s tough too, with a weather-sealed construction and can take on pretty much any challenge. Overall, the EL-1 is an absolute joy to use, but some other flashguns are almost as good and only cost a fraction of the price.


  • +

    Li-ion battery pack has great stamina

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    Amazingly fast recycle speeds

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    Powerful output and great features


  • -

    Humongously expensive for a flashgun

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    RF wireless range isn’t overly generous

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    Some might prefer a color touchscreen

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The price tag is enough to make you take a double-take. $1,099/£1,299 for a flashgun? That’s more than twice the price of Canon's very capable Speedlite 600EX II-RT and almost as much as a Canon EOS RP complete with 24-105mm kit zoom lens. So Canon’s new Speedlite EL-1 should be something pretty special if it's to deserve a place as one of the best flashguns, and indeed it is. We’re just not sure if it’s quite special enough.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.