Best External Flash for Camera

Top 10 External Flash for DSLR Camera

Last Updated on May 8, 2023 by PixelPluck

Light is the most important factor in Photography. The photographs we make are a net result of the lighting dynamics on the sensor of the camera. This effectively means that you can add an external source of light not just to illuminate the subject properly but also to get creative lighting conditions. This will give an artistically different look to your photograph depending on how you use the external source of light.

Light is the most important element in photography. It’s the foundation of every image, shaping and defining the scene in front of your lens. But light can also be a tool for creative expression, enabling you to craft images that go beyond mere representation and truly capture the mood, emotion, and beauty of a moment. By learning how to use light creatively, you can transform ordinary scenes into extraordinary works of art. From the warm glow of golden hour to the dramatic shadows of the midday sun, there are countless ways to use light to add depth, texture, and emotion to your images. So whether you’re shooting landscapes, portraits, or still life, embrace the power of light and discover the magic it can bring to your photography.

In this article, you will find the top 10 External Flash for any DSLR Camera. Suitable for both entry-level photography hobbyists and professionals. Most of these also work with mirrorless cameras.

If you are already familiar with an external flash and understand the basics then move directly to the list of Top 10 External Flash.

RankExternal Flash
1Godox V860II TTL
2Nikon SB-700 AF
3Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT
4Neewer NW645 or NW670 or NW750 TTL
5Yongnuo YN560 IV
6External Flash Combo
7ESDDI Camera Flash Speedlite
8Altura Photo Universal AP-UNV2
9Neewer NW561
10Neewer 48 Marco LED Ring Light
Top 10 External Flash

Before we move on to the detailed list of top Speedlite for cameras, you must understand the basics of flash photography.

What is the difference between External Flash, Speedlight, and Speedlite?

All these ‘External flash’, ‘Speedlight’, and ‘Speedlite’ refer to the same thing, – An external light source mounted on the camera or off the camera using wireless triggers. Speedlight is the term used by Nikon while Canon uses the term Speedlite. Other third-party brands like Neewer, Godox, Meike, Yongnuo, Altura, etc also use the term ‘Speedlite’ for external flash. External flash is also referred to as a flashgun. So technically there is no difference between them.

External Flash = Speedlite = Speedlight = Flashgun

You can use a homemade DIY lighting source but it would be difficult to sync it with the shutter speed of your camera if it is not professional lighting equipment. External flashguns are also called Speedlite. They have become affordable and depending upon the model, you will get it for anywhere between $20 to $400. Why there is so much price difference between the external flash? The price difference is primarily because of the features, built quality, and power of the external flash unit.

What is TTL and how does it work on a Camera with an external flash?

TTL stands for ‘Talk Through the Lens’. There is a physical electronic connection between the DSLR camera and the Speedlite using the inbuilt metering sensor of the camera. The TTL mechanism determines the power and strength of flash output to give perfect exposure. Before the actual flash from the Speedlite, one or more short flashes, called “preflashes”, are emitted. Multiple pre-flashes are used to improve the actual flash output. This all happens swiftly. The light bouncing back from the subject enters the sensor through the lens and data is processed by the camera’s internal light metering system. This value is used to calculate the amount of light necessary for optimal exposure.

Cheap External Flash vs Professional External Flash

A compatible cheaper flash will work with your camera as well as an expensive one. The higher-end expensive speedlites have added capabilities like synchronizing with multiple flashes at the same time, TTL metering, energy efficiency, and more. For ease of understanding, let’s check out the features of the popular and inexpensive Speedlite with a professional Speedlite.

Importance of TTL

The first difference you will notice with a cheap Speedlite is that there is no TTL feature. With cheap Speedlites, you will have to manually adjust the power of flash to get the correct exposure. This can work in a controlled setup where you are doing a creative photoshoot and can retake a shot if required. During live events and photoshoots, this may not be your best option as the light conditions may vary in every shot and you will end up getting underexposed or overexposed images.

Built Quality

The cheaper Speedlites may or may not have an LCD display depending on the model and price. Generally, LCD displays are a better choice as they display a lot of important information. The cheaper speedlites have inferior battery life compared to a professional flash. The built quality is obviously better on the expensive flash units. This means not just the physical toughness which can handle minor falls and bumps but also better electronic circuits. Professional Speedlites don’t get as hot as cheap models during extended photo shoots. There are a lot of other differences which we will discuss later in this post. The strength of flash is more powerful inexpensive units. It is measured as a guide number denoted by GN.

However, there are many third-party speedlites with TTL, which will work on your camera and are often reliable and affordable. In fact a lot of professional photographers use a combination of cheap and expensive flash units to keep the cost down without risking the results. Read on to find out the Top 10 External Flash for DSLR Camera.

Visual Comparison:
Professional Speedlite vs Cheap Speedlite

Cheap Speedlite vs Professional Speedlite. Top 10 External Flash for DSLR Photography
Nikon SB-700 vs Neewer TT560 Speedlite

The expensive professional flash units have built-in wireless functions while you will have to buy it as an external unit for cheaper models if you wish to use the flash units off the camera. For example, keeping the flash unit behind the subject to get a rim light effect.

rim light effect using flash behind the subject. Top 10 External Flash for DSLR Camera
Rim Light Effect – Photo by @learningtolight

If you have an external flash unit without an inbuilt wireless transmitter then you can get a ‘flash radio trigger’. Radio triggers are cheap alternatives to wireless flash units and will do the job just like a professional flash unit. The radio triggers are a set of transmitter units along with one or multiple receiver units. The transmitter unit goes on the flash mount on the DSLR camera and the receiver unit is used for external flash. Multiple flashes can be triggered off the camera with multiple receiver units. You can check some of the options for wireless flash triggers here.

Price Difference:
Professional Speedlite vs Cheap Speedlite

The price difference between cheap and professional units is steep. The cheaper ones will do the job just fine enough if you are not on a professional assignment. The cheaper speedlites are also helpful when you are getting serious about photography and want to learn the use of speedlites for creative goals.

Now that you know the basics of external flash photography and what to expect from a Speedlite, let’s check out the recommended Top 10 External Flash for DSLR Camera. The following list contains the most popular flash units for both hobbyists and professional photographers. Prefer a TTL flash unit over others if you primarily shoot dynamic events and outdoors. The list is not ranked and you can go with any of them depending upon your budget and requirements. An external flash will open fresh creative horizons for you in photography.

Top 10 External Flash for Camera

Do not be intimidated by an external flash as a beginner. Speedlites are fun, easy to learn, and expand creativity. Make sure that you check the compatibility and buy the best flash for your specific camera model. The Top 10 External Flash are ranked by Value for Money. Choose the one which will work on your camera and fits your requirements and budget.

1. Godox V860II TTL Flash

Godox V860 fully supports TTL function with support for TTL auto flash, manual flash, 1/8000 high-speed sync, flash exposure compensation, flash exposure lock, second curtain sync, modeling flash, etc. It’s the best-performance flash without being overpriced. It comes with inbuilt 2.4G wireless transmission for remote flash trigger functionality. With a powerful guide number of GN60 and 22 Steps of Power Output (1/1-1/128), it gives the premium Nikon and Canon Flash a run for the money.
Check Price – USA / Europe / India

2. Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash

Nikon’s SB-700 is the most popular professional option for Nikon DSLR users. It is extremely versatile in terms of functionality. SB700 is a high-performance Speedlight for demanding situations and absolute creative control without compromising on quality. It weighs only 360 grams without batteries. It is also a one-time investment for serious photographers looking for a reliable option to use forever. For beginners, the Nikon TTL system is as simple as set, point, and shoot. As a beginner, you will get superb results in full auto mode. Advanced users will appreciate the lightweight handling, flexible control options, and battery efficiency. The SB-700 is so popular that it has been around for 10 years now.
Check Price – USA / Europe

3. Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT Flash

This flash only works for Canon DSLR cameras. It does have a strong built quality but supports just as many functions as the cheaper alternatives. Canon 430EX III is a combination of advanced features and simple operation while being compact in size.

4. Neewer NW645 or NW670 or NW750 TTL Flash Speedlite

Neewer NW645 or NW750 is a new external flash with TTL capability at a rock bottom price. It supports ON-Camera and OFF-Camera Flash Triggering. External Micro USB interface can be used as a port to charge the Speedlite (must be rechargeable battery) and upgrade the firmware. It has a high guide number of GN58 at ISO 100 and 180mm.

5. Yongnuo YN560 IV Speedlite Flash

Yongnuo is a bestselling brand among the photographer community due to its packed features at an affordable price. It has an LCD display and supports the ‘Wireless Master Function’. This means that you will be able to control other flash units using this flash. YN560 IV flash has impressive performance with GN 58 at ISO 100 and 105mm.
If you are confused about what to get then go for this model without a second thought. No surprise that it makes the list of Top 10 External Flash for DSLR Cameras. Absolutely value for money external flash especially for Nikon D7500 D7200 D7100 D7000 D5500 D5300 D5200 D5100 D3300 D3200 D3100 D750 D610 cameras. Also compatible with all Canon cameras.
Check Price – USA / Europe / India

6. External Flash Combo

For absolute creative freedom and control, a professional photographer will need more than one external flash unit. Multiple flash units can be set up and synced with each other to create a special lighting condition that can not be achieved by natural light sources. It requires a lot of experience to handle multiple flashes at once to get perfect results. For such advanced photographers, there is an option to get a combo of flashes that are compatible with each other. It is a good practice to stick to one brand to avoid any incompatibility issues. There are multiple options from Godox, Yongnuo, Altura, Neewer, and others for a professional combo setup along with wireless triggers and other accessories to perform advanced flash photography.

7. ESDDI Camera Flash Speedlite

ESDDI is an established name in the field of professional lighting category in photography. The ESDDI Camera Flash Speedlite is a fantastic deal for any photographer with an LCD display and multimode. TTL function is not supported in this external flash.
Check Price – USA

8. Altura Photo Universal Speedlite Flash (AP-UNV2)

Altura AP-UNV2 is a powerful manual flash unit. It has a beautiful and detailed LCD display. It delivers high performance at a lower cost. The downside is TTL incompatibility. But for the price, it is value for money.
Check Price – USA / India

9. Neewer NW561 Flash Speedlite

Neewer NW561 is the most popular and affordable external flash. does not have a TTL capability so you will have to manually adjust the flash strength. This is ideal for studio environments or setups where you can retake the shot if it is not properly exposed. There is no LCD display on this unit. The upside is the notably cheap price. It is compatible with all Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, Pentax, Fujifilm, and Sony with Mi Hot Shoe cameras. It is not compatible with Canon EOS Rebel SL3/250D, Rebel T7/1500D 2000D, Rebel T100/3000D 4000D.
Check Price – USA / Europe / India

10. Neewer 48 Marco LED Ring Light for Macro Photography

Ring lights are extremely useful for macro photography. They illuminate the subject evenly and eliminate the chances of getting any harsh shadows. A well-lit subject is important in macro photography as the aperture needs to be closed down for a good depth of field. If you like to shoot macro photographs then you must have one of these ring lights. Ring lights are inexpensive and easy to use. Neewer 48 Macro ring light is by far the most popular light source for macro photography.
Check Price – USA / Europe / India

This concludes our guide to the Top 10 External Flash for DSLR Cameras. If you are confused about anything then drop a comment below and we will help you out with all queries related to External Flash for Camera. To check compatibility write your camera model in the comments and we will suggest the best Speedlite for it.

Top 10 External Flash for Camera
Top 10 Flash – Click to Save

Useful Resources:
Low Light Photography Tips
Learn Off-Camera Flash Photography by Strobist
History of Nikon Speedlights or Canon Speedlites

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  1. What is the top External Battery Packs for External Flashes, both types of batteries ? I am looking for one for my Nikon D 700.

  2. Fantastic explanation for beginners. Thanks. Godox is great value for money speedlite.

  3. Godox is certainly the best value for money external flash.. Yongnuo can be a secondary speedlite for any setup. Very reliable. I get fantastic results with both.

    • Yes, for anyone on a budget, Godox and Yongnuo are a fantastic combination. They give Canon and Nikon Speedlite a run for the money. We are glad that you found our recommendation helpful.

  4. Thanks for detailed speedlite guide. I ordered the Godox V860II with TTL.

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