Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Can R6 MkII wirelessly control two 580EX off camera that uses optical tech?


Hi, I am looking at finally upgrading from my Canon 7D to a mirrorless system (R6 MkII).  The problem is I have two 580EX flashes that I don't want to replace unless I have to.  I have learned a lot in researching this camera and now realize tech has passed me by with the 600EX and now the EL series using RF technology over my optical based equipment.  But, as you know, their new replacement (EL-1) is twice what I paid for but other than RF tech, I don't see a huge advantage.   I mostly use one 580EXs on camera for portrait fill light using bouce and diffusers so have gotten very use to the power of the flash.  However, a couple fo times a year I use my other flash (its actually a 550) for product, scale model, and diorama photography wirelessly into diffusers (A:B). I also have a old ST-E2 speedligt transmitter from my previous 40D that also uses optical for control.  It seems most don't like using the Canon Speedlite system for multiflash photography, but I have gotten great results and don't want to learn a new way unless I have to.  I say that because going online to find an answer to others with similiar questions, that was the feedback I have seen so wanted to get that out front.  So.... 

  1. Can the R6 MkII wirelessly control my optical flashes like my 7D could?  I think the answer is likely no since it doesn't have a built in flash either..
  2. If not, can I add the older ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter (actually a Yongnuo brand) to the R6 and control my two optical flashes wirelessly that way? 
  3. If that doesn't work, would I have to purchase one of the newer flashes that can do both RF and optical (I understand the 600EX, EL1 and EL100 are both RF and optically controlled; but sadly the EL5, which is made to fit the R6 MkII hot shoe doesn't have optical).

I hope all can tell I have done my homework on this but for some reason I still can not quite figure out the total picture, so if anyone has some good advice on this, I really do appreciate it!






Not directly.  Your Speedlites would need some type of optical trigger.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

ok thanks for the response.  So maybe my ST-E2 will work with the R6.  I guess I will give it a go as I think I am going to get this camera this week. 

@Panzer948 wrote:

ok thanks for the response.  So maybe my ST-E2 will work with the R6.  I guess I will give it a go as I think I am going to get this camera this week. 

The digital hot shoe on R Series bodies is completely different from those found on Canon DSLRs.  Canon does sell an adapter to EX series devices to be use the digital hot shoe.


"The right mouse button is your friend."


Hi Bryan,

Firstly to answer your questions

  1. Exactly as you think. No built-in flash on the EOS R6 Mk II so cannot optical control flashes on its own. Needs some device on the hotshoe.
  2. The Canon ST-E2 will work, so if the yongnuo you have really does emulate the old Canon one then it will work, but remember that the ST-E2 Canon version can only control Speedlites in E-TTL mode, unless the Speedlite is set to individual slave mode (now renamed individual receiver mode) and the power level set on the Speedlite directly.
  3. Yes any other optical sender (aka master) capable Speedlite can be used. This includes the EL-1, EL-100 600EX, 580EX, 550EX. However... Speedlite 580EX II, 600EX or EL-1 should be used with the AD-E1 hotshoe adapter as the rubber weather sealing on these does not allow them to accurately fit on the R6 Mk II multifunction hotshoe. Though "apparently" if you pull the rubber seal off the 600EX or EL-1 it will fit without the adapter but not maintain weather sealing.

Note that if you want to use the camera menu to make changes to the flash settings, this is possible only one of the following optical triggering sender / master units is on the camera...

  • Speedlite 580EX II
  • Speedlite 600EX-RT / 600EX II-RT
  • Speedlite EL-1
  • Speedlite EL-100


Brian - Canon specialist trainer, author and photographer
I use British not American English, so my spellings may be a little different to yours