-  Is the latest incantation of flash that promises to provide a new level of performance and reliability that is also designed to make consumers happy and obviously make additional money for Canon which makes Canon happy.  

Manufacturers don’t retro or upgrade older models anymore to perform better, or fix an obvious fault, they just come out with a new model. Thats my gripe.  It’s also part of todays throw away society and relatively nothing we can do about it.

The newest Internal Wireless two-way radio communication, eliminates the need for Pocket Wizards, Elinchromes and other radio triggers.  The bastion of their sales came from the fact that Canons were notorious for the antiquated triggering system they had, which failed only at the most critical times.  That's Murphy's Law for you. This model eliminates that problem.

It appears from reports I’m getting that Canon made a giant leap forward in solving this their biggest headache which was the  reliability of their communication. A huge percentage of 580 EXII professional users, also owned stock in Pocket Wizard.  

So now if you upgrade to the 600RT, it might put a ton of 580 EXII's on the market with Pocket wizards for those shooters who can’t stand being one model behind or showing up at a wedding or event and Uncle Fred had something newer.  This means you might recoup some of the losses flashes endure when a new model comes out.  Thats the good news. Already own Pocket Wizards? You have two options, I’m sure they will integrate new and old, so steal the 580's on eBay and forums from the sellers moving up.

-  The 600EX-RT offers an expanded zoom range and a higher guide number, plus a number of improvements over its predecessor in both operation and feel.  They call them improvements,  thats corpo-guano for upgrading.  It features a dot-matrix LCD panel for display of all pertinent shooting information, backlit controls plus an internal sound generator. 

Reliability is ensured with improved hot shoe contacts, improved flash head durability and the most comprehensive dust and water sealing system ever on a Canon Speedlite flash. A color filter holder helps maintain accurate color in a variety of ambient light conditions, same supplier as Nikons 910.

All this justifies the $200 increase in price…. a three light setup is only 1800.00 dollars. This means a lot of lightly or unused 580's EX II's bought by those who have to have the latest and greatest thinking might be flooding the market.  It is one key to success in the business to  be in a position to buy right.  Dropping prices on a decent strobe?  Grab the 580's while the irons are hot and let the other guy take the loss.   The really good news is that the 600RT uses the same cable as the 580EXII series. Mix them if you can by using both frequencies….

580-1  OLDER VERSION    (Cable is the MB5)

-  Some of the first edition older 580s are getting old in the tooth,  I have seen it happen only three times, runs on the pack but four AA's aren't strong enough. I did see this once before almost four years ago. Investigation showed weak capacitor, no pattern to this, isolated case and the solution was/is just run it on the pack till death do us part. Not worth fixing, Canon repairs are high. Run it on the pack.


Digital Camera Battery (DCB - Odessa Florida) 

-  Designed by a former Lumedyne employee, they built the worlds fastest super pack and a specialized cable for the 580 /1 and advertised that it was the fastest pack and cable in the world.  Unfortunately it was true, it was also the most or fastest short lived pack made.   For the first 25 or so flashes, it was fast, then a bad acrid smell, very bad.  Like a burnt tire that ran over a skunk.

Then they became the fastest pack builder to go out of business.  Both companies were involved, the pack builder DCB and the cable builder Paramount, aka PC Cable, I guess both had no stomach to absorb 100 blown 580/1’s  and Canon refused to fix them under warrantee. DCB vanished, eight years later I was still getting calls if I knew where they were located since I live about fifteen miles from Odessa, FL. Very short lived indeed. 

So was another company involved  Paramount who made the cable. They blamed each other. Paramount was sold and is now owned by another group.   A year later the newer 580EXII suddenly appeared. Most flashes are current models and enjoy a shelf life of three to four years, some longer. That was a fast turnover. They realized they had a problem. 

The 580 EX II was a logical improvement because it addressed a lot of the earlier 580/1 problems.
•  Overheating was the usual number one cause as is with all brands on accelerated packs
•  Weak springs in the battery compartment
•  Weak green boards and poor heat insulation
•  Poor seals, wet weather was a killer; seals were one of the selling points of the new EX II model.  BUT, seals keep water out and heat in. Sort of a mixed blessing when you think about it.


Now since we do not put any heat in the strobe with the Black Box design (NO AA CELLS) we generally are not a cause of heat. That leaves repetitive shooting, and getting the capacitor hot. Juice in, juice out, creates friction just like when you rub your hands together. 

Sometimes the module gets inserted BACKWARDS. Reverse the location. See diagrams on this page.

Quantum announces a Locking Plate for the MB5 cable when used with a Canon 580.  It's small, ingenious and it works. Best part is Quantum will send you one free. Obviously they felt the MB5 door was not as secure just using Velcro, as it should be, and they corrected it. 

Later kits of the MB5 come with the  a locking adapter plate for the 580 model.  It does not need the door to be closed, it is held in place with a small piece of Velcro furnished with the kit. 

Again, if you have purchased a Module MB5 that did not include a locking plate for the Canon 580EX flash, use the order form on their website.  Above is the picture posted on the Quantum website. This is shown as a public service announcement.

Basically it works like this. Place the module in the 580. Press down, slide clip in place, use the supplied Velcro to secure door, voila! Simple doesn't hurt the flash with over power and allows you to use batteries for backup if needed. And lets air inside.

It locks the cable in place with nothing permanent and no sharp points like on the Vivitar module. In addition no stress is put on the AC port which accelerated units use and damage is easily traceable there should you get a runaway capacitor or surge blow-out.

Again, It allows the Canon to safely run cooler. The 580 stuffs a lot of electronics into a small package and they are not exempt from over zealous use and overheating.
The most common call I get involves the square module. Since it is square it can be inserted backwards causing a burning smell.  Even more apparent on the less expensive units, from mainland China and VietNam, also Thailand.   The better units are still coming from Japan.   Thats why the 580 EXII costs twice as much as the 430 EXII.   Thats why even Quantum has a warning on the module, a tag.

The 580 EXII:  (Cable is the MB2 - READ ME)
The 580 EX II uses the MB2 which is a locking module from the past brought back, very similar and thats the problem,  for the  battery layout of the EXII.  It is identical in spirit to the locking module of the Vivitar and fits quite a few models however it can be installed wrong, very wrong.  Please take a careful look at the photo shown and it was provided for me by Bruce Ward, no relation to Batman, to whom I thank profusely.  


The shoe of the strobe is on the left side of the picture and the head to the right.  The door is open to the right.

Place the tiny red dot supplied, or use nail polish in the position shown which is the bottom of the 580 EX II and facing back to the screen.

You can see a little (+) molded in the Canon Module. Place a dot of nail polish on this (+) mark. This is the correct orientation.
Use the Velcro supplied to hold the door from moving around. The door open has a great advantage in keeping the strobe cool.  Like I said this module can be installed three out of four times wrong. 

Again, the most common call I get involves the square module. Since it is square it can be inserted backwards causing a burning smell.  Even more apparent on the less expensive units, from mainland China and VietNam, also Thailand.   The better units are still coming from Japan.   Thats why the 580 EXII costs twice as much as the 430 EXII.   Thats why even Quantum has a warning on the module, a tag.

For those who have a problem with doors open.  I accept the fact there are those who refrain from jaywalking, won't step on a crack in the pavement and never walk under ladders. They probably spend half their life cleaning lenses, and constantly charging their batteries. From my sordid life as a street shooter, political chaser, event and wedding photographer, I see things as tools to be used in the best possible way. I don't mind the door open. I just have a package of Black rubber bands in my gadget bag.  Simple ten cent solution.


If it gives me better performance, less strain on the electronics, better heat dissipation, and longer component life, than so be it.

Idiots tell me it's not as pretty as the front mounted high AC port. But, components that are stressed and ultimately can fail move the critique to the attorneys and you can tell them how pretty it was. And that's my opinion. 

I get paid for pictures not door framing. I cannot believe those who make an issue of this except it's their quirk. They can't stand the door open. 

OK, go get a TURBO, still screw with four NiMH and have half the flashes, increased maintenance, plus, the possibility of an overheated unit. But you will be pretty.

But if it rains hard what will I do? The same thing you did with the SUBWAY sandwich you didn't finish, put a ZIP-LOCK bag on it and a rubber band.  If it's raining that bad, the Bride is already indoors, the body is en-route to the lab, the game was called and you are the only idiot left standing in the rain.  Only Gene Kelly made money "Dancing in the rain". 

Or suffer with the door slightly ajar which can only help to dissipate heat. HEAT is the number one killer of strobes caused by too rapid shooting exacerbated by over clocking with transformers or external capacitors.  

If you have to shoot in the pouring rain, get a Nikonos. I live on a golf course and watch some of these morons with lightning strikes all around them high five-ing that incredible two foot uphill putt. the closest these guys get to the Golf Open is the distance from the TV to the lounger. 

Tampa Bay is the lightning capitol of the world, we named a team after that. Every year we lose more folks to lightning on golf courses than alligators. Shows you why that critter has been around thirty-million years. I have never seen an alligator hit by lightning.

In addition, other problems with strobes are cranial-rectal dyslexia occurs causing some users to plug something into something they shouldn't, or simply bad luck drops in, and the unit falls off a table. 


So the guy says to the psychiatrist "every time I take my flash out in the rain it gets wet".  The shrink says, "only shoot on sunny days".  

Flashes are not waterproof neither are battery packs especially those with large amounts of electronics.  I don't care what they tell you.  Drop it in the pool and see what happens.  Electronics, capacitors, heat, wind and water do not mix.  Hot car trunks and air conditioning with a hot capacitor… create moisture.

If you have one of those accelerated units costing 639 dollars getting drenched with all that electronics in it, be cautious that's 330 volts of prime time. 

If you are shooting in a down pour, whether the door is open or closed won't mean a thing, you should have it wrapped in a zip lock, saran wrap or if the rain is that bad get your butt inside because that where everyone else will be.  Lightning kills more than alligators do in Florida.  The larger Zip Locks can hold a flash and camera and cut a hole for the lens shade and clear filter, secure with a rubber band. 

430 EX and EX II Users   (Cable is the MB-2) WARNING!
Actually it also involves correct placement of the positive and negative. if you go by the Canon markings you will insert it upside down.  Very similar to the 580 EX II, call me first if you don't know. Taking a hint from their 580 EXII program, the CANON E430 EX II uses the same cable as the 430EX (Older Series) Be very careful when installing this module and use the nail polish to mark it for future reference especially when under stress, like at a wedding and sports events. Even a second or two installed backwards will toast the unit.

For pro work the 580 series is heavier and has more safeties than the 430 series, thats why you pay more. One is Japan , the other mainland China. Nikon did the same thing with the 600 series.  Pro Japan, amateur China. Very cost and profitable that way.  I predict if things keep going on the global side more will be from China and thats not good.