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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 and Canon EOS R6 – would potentially challenge the best LED light panels 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, 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

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

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James started working in the photographic industry in 2014 as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy – successor to 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. An Olympus and Canon user, James was previously technique editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine.