Canon Speedlite EL-5 review

The Canon Speedlite EL-5 is the first flashgun to feature Canon’s new-fangled ‘multi-function foot’, with a touch of gold

Canon Speedlite EL-5
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

This Speedlite certainly isn’t lacking in power and versatility. It has a powerful maximum output, a full-range of advanced flash modes, a secondary twin LED lamp and wireless RF master and slave connectivity. It’s also the first Canon Speedlite to feature the new ‘multi-function foot’ with its 21 gold-plated connection pins, although that limits its compatibility to just a few of the latest EOS R-system cameras. It has great stamina and fast recycling speeds, based on a rechargeable Li-ion battery. Crazily, however, the charger for the battery is sold separately, as an optional accessory.


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    Powerful and versatile

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    RF wireless master/slave modes

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    Weather-resistant construction


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    Only compatible with a few cameras

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    Charger sold separately

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    21-pin connector looks fragile

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On the face of it, the Canon Speedlite EL-5 looks a bit of a bargain. It shoehorns most of the features of the flagship Canon Speedlite EL-1 into a more compact, lightweight build. These include a 24-200mm motorized zoom head with a powerful Gn 60 maximum power rating, a secondary, twin LED lamp for constant lighting, modelling and AF-assist, and advanced flash modes including high-speed sync, rear-curtain sync and programmable strobe (repeat). It also runs on the same rechargeable Canon LP-EL rechargeable Li-ion battery, boosting stamina and recycling speed between flashes. And compared with the Speedlite EL-1, the EL-5 costs less than half as much to buy.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)

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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.