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My current flash setup is a standard shoe mount but I've been thinking about getting a remote.

I've been drooling over the Speedlite 600EX-RT. It uses radio to control slaves, which is nice (longer distance, doesn't require line of sight, etc.).

One thing I don't understand: do slaves also have to be 600EX-RTs or do other flash units use radio to communicate already? Can any (cheap?) flash slaves can be used with a Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT or do I need to buy the 600EX and a ST-E3-RT transmitter in order (or multiple 600EX-RTs) to have a radio-controlled remote flash setup?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Unfortunately, no.

As of today (October 17th, 2012), built-in radio-controlled wireless flash setup with Canon 600EX-RT speedlites limits you just to two options:

  • 600EX-RT master with 600EX-RT slaves
  • ST-E3-RT master with 600EX-RT slaves

Optical wireless mode, on the other hand, allows 600EX-RT master to trigger non-600EX-RT slaves, but that's not what you are after.

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Just to clarify that last statement, are you saying that a hotshoe mounted 600EX-RT could trigger a slave 430EX II ?? Thanks :) –  Mike Oct 19 '12 at 9:29
1  
@Mike: Via optical triggering - yes. –  insignum Oct 19 '12 at 10:47

If you want to use the built-in Canon RT radio system, then you need a unit that speaks the Canon RT radio protocol.

The only gear, aside from Canon's ST-E3-RT and 600EX-RT that does so, are new units from Yongnuo. They've built their own clones of the 600EX-RT and ST-E3-RT, and both are compatible with Canon's gear, but have slightly different features set.

In addition, Yongnuo has also released the YNE3-RX receiver that can be used with the Canon 580EXII, 430EXII, 320EX, and 270EXII, as well as Yongnuo's own YN-568EX/II, YN-565C/II, YN-467CII, and YN-465C (and, one assumes, any eTTL-compatible flash that can be controlled from the camera's menu). These YNE3-RX receivers can handle the ID codes and groups, and provide eTTL, HSS, and 2nd curtain sync, as well as remote power control with Gr mode for these flashes. Early reports also say that the YNE3-RX supports Supersync (aka tail sync, HyperSync), like the YN-622 triggers.

Be aware that there have been some teething issues with all these new RT units. This is somewhat typical of Yongnuo--they tend to make early adopters into inadvertent beta testers. Early copies of the YN-600EX-RT and YN-E3-RT seem to have battery drain issues.

If you are new to Yongnuo gear, do some research, and learn about how to read manufacture date codes, and who the reputable retailers are with good return policies. I'd say keep an eye out on the Flash Havoc blog, and the POTN messageboard's thread on the YNE3-RX.

Shanny is working on an RT-compatible flash as well, but hasn't yet released it. Their YN-E3-RT clone is out.

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There are thirth made radio transceivers like PocketWizard Plus III , or Phothix odin , that perhaps could be used to trigger previus versios of canon flashes having as master the 600EX-rt no ?

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That's kind of what he was asking in the first place. Do you know if these work? If you don't know, this is probably best left as a comment rather than an answer. –  John Cavan Oct 25 '12 at 0:11

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