As Nikon does not support High Speed Sync (HSS) / Focal Plane (FP) Flash on its D3x00 & D5x00 series DSLRs, I was wondering if Canon has cameras incapable of HSS in their line-up, too, and what is required to use HSS on them.

For example, does an EOS 80D support shutter speeds faster than 1/250 with a speedlight? And will it only support Canon's Speedlites, or do they also support third party speedlights (e.g. by Yongnuo, Metz, Godox, ...)?

  • Nikon's entry level cameras (D3x00 and D5x00 series) do not support FP/HSS flash. – Michael C Apr 5 at 11:07
  • There are older Canon EOS digital cameras and film cameras that do not support HSS. – Michael C Apr 5 at 11:12
  • @flolilolilo You only mention Canon in the phrase after the comma inside the parenthesis. While you may well have meant to say "As HSS is a feature of the Canon flash, not the Canon camera (AFAIK, every fairly new Canon camera supports HSS...", what you actually said might be interpreted to mean every flash and every camera from every maker. – Michael C Apr 6 at 1:14

All current Canon EOS DSLRs, including the 80D, support High Speed Sync (some older EOS DSLR and film cameras do not). Of course you must use a flash that is HSS capable and not all Canon or third party flashes made to be used with Canon cameras are HSS capable. Some of Canon's HSS capable flashes are only officially HSS capable when directly attached to the camera's hot shoe.

There is a workaround to use all Canon compatible HSS capable flashes off camera with any Canon EOS camera that supports HSS.

You can use third party radio triggers to use HSS off-camera with Canon EOS cameras and a HSS capable flash. This works because the transmitter on the camera's hot shoe makes the camera think there is a flash attached directly to the camera. The radio receiver built-in or attached to the HSS capable flash makes the flash think it is attached directly to the camera.

I use a Yongnuo YN622C-TX attached to my Canon cameras. I am able to use HSS with my Yongnuo YN685 flashes with built in YN622 radio receivers. I am also able to use a 430EX II connected to a YN-622C receiver in HSS mode.

Cameras:

The Speedlite 430EX II's manual (p.37) states that:

If you use the 430EX II with a Type-B camera (TTL autoflash EOS camera), note the features available and not available below. When a Type-B camera is used with the 430EX II set to autoflash, <TTL> will be displayed on the Speedlite's LCD panel.

Features not available with Type-B cameras:

  • [...]
  • High-speed sync (FP flash)
  • [...]

So every Canon camera since the Elan II / EOS 50 (the first with E-TTL), which was released in 1995, should support HSS. If you are unsure about your camera, E-TTL (II) is the feature it needs to support HSS.

Thanks to @Mike Sowsun for providing information about the Elan II!


Speedlights:

Canon (Speedlite):

Canon's first flash to support HSS (and E-TTL) was the Speedlite 380EX which was introduced in 1995. As far as I know, all Speelites since then have E-TTL, though not all have HSS (as of now, only the 90EX does not).

Thanks to @Mike Sowsun for providing information about the 380EX!

Third party (Metz, Sigma, Yongnuo, Godox, Cactus, ...):

If you use a third-party flash, it might need to suppport your current camera. However, I would think that Canon's flash protocol is not updated with every new camera, so usually, if the flash claims HSS support with any of Canon's DSLRs, it should work just fine.


HSS & wireless triggering:

Be aware that a speedlight's support for HSS might be limited to on-camera-service, i.e. when the flash is connected to the camera's hot shoe. Yet again, the 430EX II's manual (p. 29) states:

Wireless flash with the following settings can be done in the same way as with normal flash shooting:

  • [...]
  • High-speed sync (FP flash)
  • [...]

Therefore, at least with Canon flashes it seems that you can set up a wireless HSS system. I cannot possibly comment on all other systems that are available, though I might add information about Metz speedlights as soon as I have the time to test wireless HSS with them.

  • There are older Canon EOS DSLRs and film cameras not capable of HSS. Current Nikon D3x00 and D5x00 series cameras are not capable of HSS/FP sync. – Michael C Apr 5 at 11:11
  • @MichaelClark Nikon cameras usually won't fire a Canon-compatible flash, won't they? ;-) However, I cannot find information on the first Canon DSLR that supported HSS on the internet - will change that to at least all post-2010 DSLRs, as I first used it myself on a 60D. – flolilolilo Apr 5 at 11:23
  • 1
    Flo - I first used HSS on a 20D with a 430EX. So, you can take that date back to at least 2004. – Hueco Apr 5 at 18:28
  • 3
    Canon High Speed Sync dates back to 1995 with the introduction of E-TTL flash that came with the Elan II and 380EX flash. All Canon SLRs and DSLRs made since 1995 support HSS. Other than the 90EX, all EX flash units support HSS. HSS is sometimes called FP (focal plane) Flash – Mike Sowsun Apr 6 at 2:03
  • 1
    @MichaelClark The 430EX II DOES support HSS via Canon's optical wireless system as long as the appropriate master is in the hotshoe. You might be confusing it with 2nd curtain sync which is not supported for optical wireless off camera sync. – Mike Sowsun Apr 6 at 6:05

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