I've been tasked with equipping a studio.

We are using Canon EOS film cameras and Canon EOS digital cameras.

The Canon EOS film cameras support E-TTL flash metering, the digital ones support E-TTLII metering.

Our ideal setup is a large studio strobe with a wireless transmitter we can just switch between the hotshoes of the two camera types.

I've found many studio strobes with E-TTLII transmission systems, do you think these will just 'work' with E-TTL?

Other than that, my other solution is to use a speedlite and wireless hotshoe transmitter released at the same time as the EOS film cameras, which is forwards compatible with the newer ones.

I dont want to invest in a flash light meter yet, unless anyone can recommend one that isn't crazy expensive?

Thanks for all the help.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you setting up 100% strobe lit shots? For a film camera? Without a meter? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Aug 10, 2019 at 15:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Why are you even considering E-TTL in a fully controlled studio setting? The reason what you want is hard to find is that there is pretty much zero demand for it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Aug 10, 2019 at 18:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Which EOS film bodies are you using? Most EOS film bodies do not support E-TTL/E-TTL II, but are 'Type B' bodies that only support A-TTL that meters off the main flash as it is reflected off the film. There is no preflash with A-TTL. Only the last EOS film bodies introduced after E-TTL was introduced in 1995 are E-TTL capable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Aug 10, 2019 at 18:53

1 Answer 1


E-TTL II is a minor software update for E-TTL. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EOS_flash_system#E-TTL_II which says:

E-TTL II is a software improvement on E-TTL and is now a standard in all EOS cameras introduced with or after the Canon EOS-1D Mark II in 2004. E-TTL II is implemented in the body, not the flash unit, and therefore can use existing E-TTL flash units and EF lenses.

The main improvement of E-TTL II is that it gives a more natural flash exposure, by being able to handle tricky scenes where the old E-TTL system would normally be thrown off. Such improvements are possible because E-TTL II incorporates lens-to-subject distance information in its calculation, where available, to assist in determining an approximate guide number for flash output. The flash metering system is also no longer linked to the AF system, whereas in the old E-TTL metering, bias is given to the selected AF point. Rather, E-TTL II compares the ambient and the pre-flash light levels of the scene to determine where the subject lies, in conjunction with subject distance information if available. This gives the photographer the flexibility to lock focus and recompose the scene without fooling the flash metering system. 'Hotspots' (areas of high reflectance) that would normally throw off the flash metering system are also ignored in the calculation.

Thus, you are able to use all existing E-TTL flash units with E-TTL II. I assume the converse is also true, i.e. E-TTL II flashes/transmitters (which are just the same as E-TTL flashes/transmitters, as the "II" part is done in the body) should work on E-TTL bodies.

Do also note the film camera's capabilities. Some are only A-TTL, and some others may support E-TTL but may lack certain features (example: EOS 300V lacks flash exposure compensation although it supports E-TTL).

  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC I disagree. Some newer Canon film cameras, introduced after the digital era has begun, support E-TTL flashes. Such as 300V: global.canon/en/c-museum/product/film236.html \$\endgroup\$
    – juhist
    Aug 10, 2019 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, Some introduced after E-TTL was rolled out in 1995 are E-TTL. But many lower end models introduced after 1995 were not E-TTL capable and were called 'Type B' bodies. The first source I was reading was incorrect. That's why I deleted my previous comment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Aug 10, 2019 at 18:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ In addition to all that, there's some incompatibility with old digital bodies. For example an old Sigma 500 DT flash works fine in a 450D but does not work in a T6i (750D). \$\endgroup\$ Apr 22, 2022 at 6:03

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