Last week I posted the details of Canon’s EL-1 Speedlite. I stand by what I said.

On paper, this is a very impressive unit, probably the finest Speedlite/Speedlight yet, building logically on the features that portable flash benefits from. I was thinking specifically with my ‘working hat’ on as a professional photographer and many decades of use.

One aspect not included in the press release though was a suggested or guide price.

That in itself is not unusual. Many companies today – if the do not give one – state that the pricing is ‘TBA’ (To Be Advised).

Personally, I do not see why a press release can not have that information. Why leave off what for many could be a deciding factor?

From my experience working with a number of camera and lighting manufacturers, that sometimes is because the corporate HQ has not supplied enough information yet. But sometimes, it is a case of waiting to see the response first from social media, and photographic dealers for example, then feeding that into the pricing decisions. Big, positive response tends of course to push prices upwards.

Yesterday, a good friend, someone I highly respect, and a professional photographer who has been shooting Canon for decades got in touch. His comments regarding the £1000+ asking price I can not re state here exactly verbatim..

I quickly checked a couple of the better known photo retailer’s sites in the UK. Sure enough, this is an expensive piece of kit and worse still we are looking at £1250 typically.

This is very hard to justify. To be honest I was expecting sub £1000 but not by much. Yes, if you are a working press professional shooting most days of the week, or a wedding photographer again with multiple bookings a week as examples, I could make a serious case for it. But for most, including skilled enthusiasts who will make up the majority of purchasers, this just seems a lot for the amount of use it may well get. Particularly if in reality you do not need the ultra fast recycling speeds and firing rates.

Looking at Canon’s other Speedlite models, let alone third party options, there is plenty there to satisfy serious photographers providing they have the camera/flash compatibility they need. I have and use Speedlights that have had a hard life in numbers of shots created, that are either still available as new, or there are similar quality products at keener prices.

The fact is I like the sound of the EL-1, it is spot on in many small but important features. And credit Canon for that.

But stepping back from on paper theory, there is nothing it offers that I can not already achieve with that combination of existing units and those priceless unmatched tools of both lighting and shooting experience.

Learning how to light is fundamental to creating the best images. As is an understanding of using your specific kit to maximise what you achieve.
Buying the latest and greatest kit alone is not.

It may be I have to put my hands up after using an EL-1 and say yes, I was wrong about it’s pricing. But at this stage I just can not see the asking price justification. It may encourage other companies to do similar, so all photographers professsional or enthusiasts lose out.

John 22/10/20.