Canon 430EX III-RT vs Canon 600EX II-RT

The Canon 430EX III-RT vs Canon 600EX II-RT

The Canon 600EX II-RT is Canon’s flagship model and was released in May 2016 aimed squarely at the professional photographer who needs that extra bit of power, fast continuous shoot rate, reliability, durability and all the fancy features that you can think of. The Canon 430EX III-RT was released in July 2015 and replaced the 430EX II which didn’t have radio wireless capabilities. Both the 430EX III-RT and the 600EX II-RT have integrated radio wireless communication and both speedlites can operate as radio master or radio slave units. Both speedlites are also backwards compatible by including Canon’s optical wireless communication whereby the master unit communicates with the slave units using a series of optical pulses/flashes. The 430EX III-RT can only act as an optical slave.

Apart from the obvious difference in size another big difference you’ll notice when comparing the two speedlites is the price. Typically the 430EX III-RT is around half the price of the 600EX II-RT making it very popular with the enthusiast photographer. Even though it’s half the price the 430EX III-RT is only 2/3 of a stop less powerful and usually sufficient to meet the demands of most photographers. However if you are a professional wedding photographer then you probably need as much power as you can get especially if you’re bouncing your flash off nearby walls and ceilings so the 600EX II-RT is probably going to be your best choice.

The 600EX II-RT has improved zoom capabilities offering a maximum equivalent focal length of 200mm compared to the 105mm on the 430EX III-RT. Great for event photographers and photo-journalists but also very useful as a fill-light when working outdoors with a longer lens. However if most of the time you’re going to be placing it in a softbox then a zoom of 200mm probably isn’t going to be one of your highest priorities when choosing a speedlite.

Table highlighting only the differences between the two models:

FeatureCanon 430EX III-RTCanon 600EX II-RT
Zoom head24-105mm20-200mm
GN@35mm28m34m
GN@105mm43m54m
GN@200mmn/a60mm
Tilt head downNo-7º
FEBNoYes
Optical Master/SlaveSlaveMaster & Slave
AF Assist points11-65
Custom functions1015
Recycling time3.5 secs5 secs
Number of flashes180-1200100-700
PC terminalNoYes
External powerNoYes
Dust/water resistantNoYes
Size70.5×113.8×98.2mm78.7×143.2×122.7mm
Weight295g435g

Canon 430EX III-RT vs Canon 600EX II-RT

Canon 600EX II-RT Good Points

  • Around 2/3 stop more powerful than the 430EX III-RT
  • Has an external power socket
  • Weatherproof (dust & water-resistant body)
  • More AF assist focus points
  • PC socket

Canon 600EX II-RT Bad Points

  • Expensive
  • More complicated menu
  • Bigger and heavier
  • Longer to recycle at full power

Canon 430EX III-RT Good Points

  • Almost half the price
  • Smaller and lighter
  • Controls slightly more intuitive

Canon 430EX III-RT Bad Points

  • Less powerful (but only by around 2/3 stop)
  • Buttons are a bit fiddly
  • No external power socket
  • No PC socket