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We Found The Best Flash Gun For Your Canon and Nikon Cameras

Let’s take a minute to talk about flashes. And not just any flash, let’s get straight to the good stuff. Today, I’m going to introduce you to the best flash gun for your Nikon or Canon cameras.

First, A Bit Of Advice About Flash Guns

best flash gun

An external flash is often the first lighting accessory many people invest in.

It’s cheap, it’s easy to set up, and simple to use.

Not to mention, they’re useful in a wide variety of photography situations.

flash gun
Choosing between an OEM or third-party option can be tough.

However, buying a flash is an intimidating task to the unfamiliar!

Many people are undecided as to whether they should go for one made by the same equipment manufacturer as their camera, or buy a third party compatible unit.

Are you unsure whether the power of the third party unit will be comparable to an OEM unit? You’re not alone!

Well, today, we’re getting to the bottom of it!

RELATED POST: How to Use Off-Camera Flash

Best Flash Gun For Canon

  1. Profoto A1 AirTTL-C studio Light
  2. Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT
  3. Hähnel Modus 600RT
  4. Metz Mecablitz 64 AF-1 digital flash

1. Profoto A1 AirTTL-C Studio Light

profoto best flash gun
This flashgun is one of the smallest lights out there.

Profoto dubs this as the world’s smallest studio light.

But what we really like about about the Profoto A1 AirTTL-C is that it’s extremely powerful and extremely well built.

Of course, the design also caught our attention. Unlike the traditional rectangular shape, the flash head is round. 😎

The design is useful because it produces more wrap-around, resulting in better light quality. This, of course, is better for portrait shots.

profoto round flash gun
The design makes it great for portrait photography without the use of extra equipment.

That said, you could use a normal rectangular flash head with a proper diffuser and get the same look.

You get a physical flash head zoom ring (albeit made of plastic) and modeling light. You also get a set of buttons and dials at the back of the light for controlling it manually.

Where The Profoto Beats Most Third-party And Some OEM Units…

The real power of the unit is when you’re shooting fast, continuous shots. The flash recycles very quickly. So much so that you hardly miss a shot.

profoto rear
The unit boasts a fast recycle time which outcompetes most other flashguns on the market.

That said, when you fire the Profoto A1 AirTTL-C in continuous mode, it actually fires at a smaller power setting.

Is this is the best flash gun for Canon? No, but it’s close. It loses out to the one we discuss next.

Profoto A1 AirTTL-C (for Canon) 901201
  • Limited 2-Year
  • Scroll down for FREE battery

2. Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT

canon flash gun
Canon’s Speedlite is a trustworthy, reliable flashgun option.

This is the second version of the highly popular original Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT. The guide number and zoom capabilities remain the same.

The flash has a decent build quality with some amount of weather resistance built into it. That said, this is not a completely weatherproof construction.

One thing we really like about the Speedlite 600EX-RT is that the flash head is secure. It –doesn’t wobble like the Profoto A1 AirTTL-C when you mount a diffuser. There’s a reassuring feeling when you work with the 600EX-RT.

canon speedlite
The base makes mounting this flashgun easy and it’s very secure.

Where the 600EX II-RT loses out to the Profoto A1 AirTTL-C is the recycle time. This is despite the fact that the new version is 1.1 to 1.5 times faster than the original version.

It is still much slower than the Profoto. Keep that in mind if you forecast yourself shooting at rapid rates.

Although the flash can recycle up to 2 times quicker when you use the optional compact battery pack CP-E4N or a third party option.

Shopping For The Best Flash Gun For Canon On A Budget?

The 600EX II-RT is less than half the price of the Profoto A1 AirTTL-C.

You could buy two 600EX II-RT and still have some money to spare. For this, we feel the 600EX II-RT is the most value for money and the best flash gun you could buy for your Canon camera.

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT
  • Improved performance of continuous flash by approx. 1.1 to 1.5x for fast firing (up to 2.0x if used with optional Compact...
  • Wireless flash shooting support is available for both radio and optical transmission, offering users greater functional range...
  • Multiple flash system allows control of up to five groups of flashes;Approx. 100 to 700 flashes
  • Power Source:Four AA size/LR6 alkaline or AA/HR6 Ni-MH batteries

3. Hähnel Modus 600RT

metz 64 af flash gun
This flashgun is a great budget option.

At just about $250 the Hähnel Modus 600RT TTL is a bargain. I know a lot of photographers are wary about buying third-party flashguns. Build quality and customer service are two major reasons for that. And, for the most part, that’s totally justified.

However, the build quality of the Hähnel is better than some of the other third-party flashguns that are available.

That said there’s no weather sealing on this flash gun. It’s going to be best for indoor shooting situations or using it in locations you’re unlikely to encounter rain or other weather-related setbacks.

Hähnel is known for its fast recycling speed and the number of maximum flash cycles. It uses high power lithium-ion batteries instead of AA units. The flash is capable of producing around 600 flash cycles.

hahnel modus
The unit has an impressive build quality when compared to other third-party options.

Another advantage of the Hähnel is it comes with a transceiver built-in. That means you can use the Modus 600RT as the primary flashgun mounted on your camera to control a series of slave units.

RELATED POST: How Slave Flashes Work (And Which are the 8 Best)

Similarly, you can also control a series of Modus 600RT’s in a channel with a transceiver unit mounted on your camera.

Undoubtedly, this is the best flash gun for your Canon system if you are on a budget.

4. Metz Mecablitz 64 AF-1 Digital Flash

It’s rare to find a flash that has a full-color LCD touchscreen at the back of it. The Metz Mecablitz 64 AF-1 has just that.

This should interest the section of users who have now become attuned to touching an LCD screen instinctively.

metz 64 af flash gun
The Mecablitz houses a sub-flash module which helps as a fill light.

Beyond that, the Mecablitz 64 AF-1 has one more advantages, that is, a sub-flash module.

The sub-flash module is designed to work as a fill light in specific situations, such as when the main flash head is raised or swiveled. The fill light is activated via the menu option and is a cool way to add some fill light when shooting portraits.

The Mecablitz 64 AF-1 also has a great Guide Number of 210’ at ISO 100.

Two Thumbs Up For Built-In Wireless Functionality!

Wireless master and slave functionality is also built into the system. You can use the unit with other slave units in a channel setup. Similarly, you can use this unit as a slave unit.

metz rear
The full color LCD touchscreen is a unique feature this Mecablitz flashgun offers.

I would not rate the Mecablitz 64 AF-1 as the best flash gun on this list, even though it still deserves a place here.


It’s not the fastest when it comes to recycling speed. It’s also not the fastest when it comes to the number of flash cycles per full charge. And, finally, the price is on the higher side.

Those things aside, the Mecablitz 64 AF-1 certainly brings something new to the table.

Metz Mecablitz 64 AF-1 Digital Flash for Canon E-TTL, E-TTL II, Remote E-TTL Cameras
  • Secondary reflector with 3 light output ratios ^Easy operating concept ^Illuminable dot-matrix display ^Motor zoom for 24 -...

Best Flash Gun for Nikon Cameras

  1. Nikon SB-5000 AF
  2. Profoto A1 AirTTL-N studio Light
  3. Nissin Di700A
  4. Nikon SB-700 AF

1. Nikon SB-5000 AF

nikon 5000
Nikon’s SB-5000 is the top choice for Nikon users.

The Nikon SB-5000 AF is the best flashgun for Nikon’s i-TTL system. It’s extremely powerful and has a fast recycle time of 1.8–2.6 seconds.

Plus, it has a built-in cooling system for continuous shooting for up to 100 shots. This is the current flagship and the best flash gun you could buy for your Nikon system.

nikon 5000
This flagship model has unique features such as a built-in cooling system to increase your shooting time.

The system comes with a radio transceiver built-in, which it facilitates the flash gun to be fired remotely.

This is the first Nikon flash gun to have this functionality. 💪

nikon 5000
The display is large and clear for ease of use.

When the flash is used as the master unit, it’s capable of controlling a series of other flash units. Actually up to eighteen of them in total, in six groups.

The guide number of the flash is not exactly the best we have seen, only 113’ at ISO 100.

Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight
  • Radio Control Advanced Wireless Lighting
  • Cooling System for 100 Consecutive Shots
  • Compatible with Nikon i-TTL
  • Guide Number: 113' at ISO 100 and 35mm
  • Zoom Range: 24-200mm (14mm with Panel)

2. The Profoto A1 AirTTL-N Studio Light

profoto best flash gun
Identical to the Canon mount this flashgun is also a great choice for Nikon users.

I’ve already detailed the Profoto A1 AirTTL-C for the Canon. The same details are applicable for the Profoto A1 AirTTL-N.

Needless to say, this one is designed specifically for the Nikon i-TTL system.

Profoto A1 AirTTL-N Studio Light for Nikon
  • Limited 2-Year Warranty
  • A1 AirTTL-N Studio Light - Li-Ion Battery for A1 - Battery Charger for A1 - Bounce Card - Dome Diffuser - Wide Lens - A1 Bag...

3. Nissin Di700A

nissin flash gun
The Nissin Di700A is a good budget option for Nikon users.

This third-party flashgun is an economical option. You could buy two of these for the price of one Nikon SB-5000 AF.

The flashgun includes a wireless receiver. This allows the flash gun to be used as a slave with other units, as well as the triggering it optically using the camera’s built-in flash.

Another interesting feature of the Nissin Di700A is a quick power lock option.

Pressing this will lock all the settings of the flashgun. It prevents any accidental change of settings while the flashgun is in use. Plus, it prevents any accidental change of settings when the flashgun is inside a bag being transported.

nissin rear display
This unit has lots of helpful features, including the lock function which prevents accidental setting changes.

The system supports 3 groups of flash units on 8 different channels.

The thing that we don’t like is the overheated circuit that shuts down for about 15 minutes after about 20-25 shots. This means this flash is only going to be ideal for light work and not for heavy continuous work.

Nissin ND700A-N Speedlite Air for Nikon (Black)
  • Stylish design with enhanced user experience
  • Focal Length range coverage of 24-200mm
  • Professional flash head design

4. Nikon SB-700 AF

nikon sb 700
An OEM option in a more affordable region, the SB-700 is a good choice and reliable piece of kit.

The SB-700 AF is a mid-range flash gun from Nikon.

It’s a reasonably well-built unit with all the bells and whistles.

A recycle time of 2.5–3.5 seconds ensure reasonable performance. But it is not ideal for fast continuous shooting. Still, it’s faster than the SB-600 which it replaces.

The SB-700 has both wireless master and slave functionalities. It can support up to 2 wireless groups across 4 channels.

The system has a thermal cut off system which will switch off the flash when it detects it has overheated. 🔥🚫

nikon best flash gun
The display is relatively easy to read and has a neat indicator which alerts you when the temperature is getting too high.

That said there’s a thermometer icon on the flash that will let you know in advance when you’re reaching that red line. You can stop shooting for a few minutes to cool the flash down.

Where The SB-700 Let’s Us Down…

Despite the better functionality, the SB-700 AF does have its own disadvantages.

RELATED POST: Best Camera Accessories

A reason why it lost out to the SB-5000 AF as the best flashgun for Nikon i-TTL system is that the LCD display is not exactly the best. Plus, it won’t work with a lot of the older version camera systems.

nikon flashgun mounted
This flashgun has limited compatibility, so it’s important to make sure it works with your DSLR.

That said, this is a great little package. It has a price tag of around $150 less than the SB-5000 AF. Plus, it packs in a lot of features. If you are using one of the newer Nikon DSLRs, then this is the best flash gun on a budget for your camera.

Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras, Standard Packaging
  • Portable, Versatile Speedlight Unit
  • Nikon's Precision i-TTL Flash Control
  • Complete Flash Head Positioning Freedom
  • Hot Shoe and Wireless Operation
  • Wireless Flash Control

The Best Flash Gun Depends On You

Budget vs quality? Third-party vs. OEM? There’s a lot that goes into deciding on the best flash gun. And, it’s up to you decide which is perfect for you.

However, every option we listed today holds its own in the world of flash gun photography. Truth be told, they’re all pretty decent speedlights! Let us know which one you decided to shoot with in the comments below!


  • Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your "master guide" here at PhotoWorkout.

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