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Speedlite Flashes with Automatic Focal Distance Adjustment


New to Flash photography...

My question is this: Flashes are adjustable through a wide focal range such as 24mm to 105mm on the Canon 470 EX-AI.  Are there any flashes that adjust its own focal distance automatically to match what the cameras lens is currently set to?  I mean Flashes that you don't have to adjust manually by hand every single time the photographer changes the camera lenses focal distance?



Most Canon Speedlites (the 470EX is one) will auto zoom to match the camera focal length.

Screenshot 2023-04-12 193132.jpg

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic


Yes most of Canon's speedlites automatically adjust focal length. Note newer speedlites also apply crop factor when using an APS-C (1.6x crop) or APS-H (1.3x crop) sensor camera. The 220EX, 380EX, 420EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 430EX III/ III-RT, 470EX-AI 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, 600EX/ 600EX-RT, 600EX II-RT, EL-1 & EL-5 automatically zoom to match lens focal length. But note only newer speedlites such as the 430EX, 430EX II, 430EX III/ III-RT, 470EX-AI, 580EX, 580EX II, 600EX/ 600EX-RT, 600EX II-RT, EL-1 & EL-5. Automatically apply crop factor when the zoom head is set to auto. If set to manual the speedlite does NOT apply crop factor. It will apply the 35mm/ Full Frame equivalent that the lens is set to.


Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D & Sigma 17-50mm F/2.8 EX DC OS HSM


I agree with Demetrius, most Canon do auto adjust to some extent.

I know for certain all the 400, 500 and 600 series flashes do The newest EL-1 and EL-5 models do, too.

I don't think any of the 200 series flashes do. Not sure about 300 series.

The 550EX and 580EX I've used for years also have a panel that can manually be pulled out and placed in front of the flash head to provide even wider coverage... at least 17 or 18mm, if memory serves.

The auto zoom feature may not work with some 3rd party lenses... especially fully manual lenses (the camera may not "know" the focal length of the lens). But it is also possible to manually set the zoom feature of the flash. .

And there are "modifiers" available for most of the popular flashes... For example I use "extenders" sometimes when shooting sports or wildlife. These are usable with 300mm and longer telephotos and use a Fresnel lens to concentrate the flash output to reach greater distance. 

There is also a variety of diffusion panels that can give wider coverage, or soften the look of the lighting, if preferred.

Keep in mind that the 24-105mm and all the other focal length references are based upon full frame cameras. Divide by 1.6 for any APS-C format cameras. For example, 15-65mm on APS-C is comparable to 24-105 on full frame.


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2), EOS M5, some other cameras, various lenses & accessories

The 380EX has display indicators. Identifying lens focal length in 35mm equivalents. But it doesn't factor in crop factor. The 380EX also has auto zoom heads. But the newer 270EX, 270EX II, 320EX & EL-100 have manual zoom heads. The 220EX mentions a specific zoom range it supports but doesn't have a way manual adjust it. 380EX Zoom Head.png


Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D & Sigma 17-50mm F/2.8 EX DC OS HSM
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