Speedliter’s Handbook, Learning to craft light with Canon Speedlites by Syl Arena manages to do the impossible – provide comprehensive and extremely helpful information on the Canon Speedlite system.
Let’s face it, Canon’s own documentation is a little, how shall we say, thin. Information on the intertubes is scant. A professional photographer recently mentioned to me that while part of a group of Canon shooters none of them knew or could figure out how to use the Canon Speedlite wireless system.
Enter Syl (author of PixSylated.com and speedliting.com) and his 386 page monster tome from Peachpit Press. When he mentioned this book to me I expected the run-of-the-mill photography book – one that you read and place on the bookshelf, soon to be forgotten.
After read the book I can only say: Wow.
The 25 chapters cover basic lighting theory and placement and exposure before moving into the Canon Speedlite realm. The 580 EXII, 430 EXII, 270EX, ST-E2 and macro ring lites are dissected. Power control, manual flash, E-TTL, and metering are all explained in detail.
Off-camera use and Canon’s wireless triggering system lead into lighting modifiers, gear and batteries. Both experienced and fresh shooters will benefit from Part 4 – covering portrait lighting, gels, high speed sync and overpowering ambient light. Terms, web resources, custom functions and a handy 6-point Speedliting checklist are included in the Appendices.
Straight-up: This is the ultimate resource for Canon Speedlites. No more reading a hundred forum posts to get answers. No more pulling your hair out trying to understand wireless triggering from Canon’s penguin-laden instructions.
Speedliter’s Handbook, Learning to craft light with Canon Speedlites is well laid out and full of hundreds of colorful photos – of both gear and lighting scenarios and samples. My only grievance is the lighting diagrams. While each explains the lighting set-up, the red-haired, green-shirted cartoon Syl in each diagram did seem to overpower the rest of the diagram.
Canon shooters: Buy this book. Even veterans can find useful info in pages. For those just starting to experiment with Canon flashes this is a must-have.
Speedliter’s Handbook, Learning to craft light with Canon Speedlites by Syl Arena is available on Amazon – where is has received unanimous 5-star rating – one buyer calling it the Canon Flash Bible.