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540EZ Autofocus (AF) Speedlite - System Flash Model - Index Page

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Canon autofocus 540EZ System Flash

1. Development of second generation Canon Speedlite

If you take notice, every great system camera will has a great companion flash to supplement the camera models as well. The Speedlight 430EZ system, which was a top-class clip-on type flash unit for the pre-EOS-1N, was released in 1989 as an improved version of the 420EZ system released earlier back in 1987. It featuring an addition of compatibility with external power sources. After that, the 430EZ system was improved by adding the compact battery pack E in 1992. However, the system now has an image of being out of date since more than 4 years have passed since it was released. The 540EZ system is a new upgrade, a similar clip-on type flash unit designed specifically for professionals and advanced amateurs, and was planned and developed as a successor to the EOS-1/430EZ system combination.

Canon 540EZ AF Speedlite by Shutter
" ...The Canon EOS 540EZ flashCompatible with Canon EOS Rebel series, Elan series, 600 series, digital SLR's etc.  Battery compartment and flash shoe look great! Flash shows a few tiny superficial signs of wear on the LCD screen.  Other than that this flash is in wonderful condition Don't miss out on having this fantastic flash in your collection!

Features: A-TTL TTL Three Zone Flash metering Auto Flash Exposure Confirmation  Flash Exposure Compensation, Bounce Flash, Manual Flash Control, Stroboscopic Flash, Flash Sync Timing , Energy Save Function ....and more

<<<--- Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. A Argenzio®. from "Shutter Blade.come". Image copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Fashion and portraiture flash application   Loading ......
TTL Photography has greatly influenced the conventional way how photographers work with possibilities.

Credit: Image courtesy of SING-LO whose all round photography can be found via his PORTFOLIO or selective works can also be found at his site at Pbase. Image copyright © 1996-2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Development of this system has the following objectives:

Nomancluture Canon 540EZ Front section  
a) Enhancement of the Canon EOS-1N / EOS-1N RS (HS-RT) system to be released at the same time and expansion of photographic expression
b) Improvement of flash functionality and performance
c) Larger light output i) Compatibility with EF 20mm wide-angle lenses ii) Improvement of flash exposure control reliability
d) Compatibility with EOS-1N /EOS-1N RS -point AF and 3 -point TTL flash exposure control
e) Improvement of operability
f) Improvements reflecting 430EZ users' requests

Credit: Nomenclature / Main Reference Map of a typical EZ AF TTL Speedlite constructed based on two original images contributed by "Gold Silence®" from his Ebay Store Image(s) copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

2. Overview of the Canon 540EZ system flash

The 540EZ system is a clip-on type flash unit with a large light output, maximum GNo = 54 (at ISO 100-m TELE 105 mm). Characteristically, this system is a top-class flash unit that features ten new or improved functions based or the desires and opinions of current users of the 430EZ, and that answers user complaints about the 430EZ with regard to operating performance. In particular, this system permits high-level flash photography due to its compatibility with 5-point focusing and 3-point TTL metering when mounted on the EOS-1N/EOS-1N RS.

Nomancluture Canon 540EZ Rear section  
2.1 Improved Functions. of the 540EZ Main Unit
The following 12 items (see Table below) are new or improved in the 540EZ:
(a) G. No and zoom range
(b) Built-in wide diffuser panel, providing an illumination angle compatible with a M 20mm wide-angle lens
(c) Manual light output reduction
(d) Downward bounce function
(e) Up/down bounce lock
(f) Function for setting the multi-firing frequency and number of firings
(g) Auto flash exposure check function after shooting
(h) Catch light add-in capability
(i) Built-in AF auxiliary light corresponding to 5-point focusing system
(j) Power SE cancel function
(ka) Large liquid crystal display panel and improved readability
(l) Quick firing when an external power source is used

Canon AF Speedlite 540EZ   Canon AF Speedlite 430EZ
Canon 540EZ AF TTL Speedlite

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. A Argenzio®. from "Shutter Blade.come". Image copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Canon 430EZAF TTL Speedlite

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Elle of®, U.K.. The Company also maintains an active Ebay Store, trading many photo equipment of various labels. Image(s) copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Comparison with 430EZ and List of Improved 540EZ Functions
Improved Functions/Areas



(a) Zoom range and Guide Number (GN) The value in parentheses denotes the guide number at full power (ISO 100-m).






















(b) Built-in wide diffuser panel, compatibility with 20 mm wide-angle lens




(c) Manual firing / G. No selection






(d) Bounce flash capability

Forward 60°~90°

Downward 7°


Left 60~180; Right Forward 60°~90°

(e) Bounce Lock:- Up, Down, Left & Right capability



(f) Multi-firring / Repeating flash capability

Settable Frequency



Settable Number of repeating flash



(g) Auto flash exposure result check after firing (exposure error warning)


(h) Catch light using wide panel / diffuser


(i) AF auxiliary light

Compatible with 5-points AF system


Compatible with 1-points focusing

Improved function

(i) Power SW / SE cancel position (ii) Large liquid crystal panel display with easy readability (iii) Quick firing when an external power source is used. For i and iii - not available with 430EZ, for item ii, provided with some limitation.

Note:- Out of the above 12 items, the function of item 2) is as follows: When the wide panel built into the top surface of the flash head unit is drawn out by hand, the panel automatically folds down 90', as shown in illustration below, so as to cover the flash head (the zoom position is automatically set and fixed to 28 mm). When this diffusion plate is set in the bounce state as shown in another illustration, weak light reflected from the diffusion plate is directed toward the subject, providing an effective catch light effect for portrait photography.

Canon 540EZ Compatibility With Pre-EOS Cameras Canon the Canon 540EZ be used on Pre-EOS cameras ? In a word, TTL automatic flash operation is possible with the T90, but with other cameras the flash must be used manually using guide number calculations. Supplementary explanations are provided below. (a) With AE SLRs equipped with a JCC contact on the accessory shoe, the synchronous shutter speed is automatically set upon completion of flash charging. (b) With the T90, which is equipped with TTL automatic flash control circuitry, both A-TTL and TTL automatic flash exposure are possible. However, since data communications between the camera and flash differ from the EOS system, operation is restricted as follows:

Auto zoom, f/No display and coupling range display are not provided on the 540 EZ.
Flash exposure compensation from the flash unit side can be set on the 540EZ, but it does not function.
Second-curtain synchronization can be set but does not function,

When attached to the T80 and previous cameras which are not equipped with a TTL automatic flash control function, the 540EZ fires at fill power because the camera does not send a stop signal to the flash unit. Manually set the aperture according to the value calculated from the "Guide number divided by Shooting distance" formula. In manual firing mode, the 540EZ operates at the output level indicated in the display.

For Canon 540EZ when uses EOS cameras other than the EOS-1N, CLICK HERE for the compatibility Chart (models confined to to EOS-1n Era).

Display Panel Comparison Between 540EZ (left) and 430EZ (right)

Regarding performance, the following two items, which were mentioned as major complaints about the 430EZ, have been improved. * When using flash at short distances, exposure control was poor, often causing over-exposure. ** Because of the flash units rather high color temperature, overall color balance was bluish and did not provide faithful color reproduction.

Apart from the above, the main specifications of the 540EZ system are almost the same as those of the 430EZ except the following dimensions and weight.


Dimensions (mm/inches)

Weight (gramme / oz)




Excluding battery

Including battery


80mm / 3-1/8"

138mm / 5-7/16"

112mm / 4-7/16"

415g / 14.5 oz

515g / 18 oz


75mm / 2-15/16"

127mm / 5"

106mm / 4-3/16"

370g / 13 oz

470g / 16.5 oz

2.2 External Power System

(1) Built-in power source When this flash unit is used alone, it is powered by four AA-size Alkaline-manganese batteries incorporated in the main unit. AA-size Ni-Cd batteries or AA-size lithium batteries can also be used. When an external power source is used, batteries (LR6 x 4) are always necessary in the main unit to provide power to the control circuits of the 540EZ main unit.

Power pack   Battery used
Laminated Pack E   1 x 0210 type 315V laminated battery
Transistor Pack E   6 x C-size alkaline-manganese batteries
  6 x C-size Ni-Cd batteries
  Ni-Cd battery pack
Compact Battery Pack E   AA-size alkaline-manganese batteries x 6
  AA-size Ni-Cd batteries x 6
  (AA-*size lithium batteries x 6)
(2) External power source The following external power sources for the 430EZ System can be used without modification.

| previous | NEXT | 1/2 MORE discussion .. ...-

Canon 540EZ system Flash:- Part one | two

Flash Photography:- Index Page Part | 2 | 3 | 4 - Canon 540EZ site

Selective Canon TTL Flash Models:- 160E | 200E | 300EZ | 300TL | 420EZ | 430 EZ | 480EG | 540EZ | Macrolite | Other non-TTL Canon flash models
Useful Resources at Julian Loke site: - Instruction Manual(s (PDF) for Canon 420EX | 580EX AF-TTL Speedlites.

Suggestive weblink:- Canon Flash Resources at or Bob Atkin Flash FAQ section

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Background and Various Issues | The Basic Features & various Setup
Manual & Auto Focusing | Metering Systems | Exposure Control | Viewfinder Optical
Flash Photography (with Speedlite 540EZ extension & Selective info on Canon TTL Flash Models:-160E | 200E | 300EZ | 300TL | 420EZ | 430 EZ | 480EG | Macrolite | Other non-TTL Canon flash model

Reliability Issues:- Body Chassis | Shutter Unit | Electronic Circuitry | Film Transport & film handling Secondary Functions:- Custom Function Part One | Part Two | System Accessories:- Film Back Options - instruction for Command Back E1 | Macro/Close Up Part one | Part two and Part III Flash for Macro-Photography | Power Sources -BP-E1 | PDB-E1 | Focusing Screens | Remote Control with Wireless Remote Set LC-3 | System compatibility

Variants of Canon EOS-1N:- Canon EOS-1N RS | Canon/Kodak Digital DCS-1, 3 -5 & 520/560 Series | Full Technical Specification | Main Reference Map / Nomenclature | Resource Centre:- Comparative Charts between EOS-1 & EOS-1N / or with its active Competition(s) (Nikon); Quick Operational Reference Card (278k Gif File); Listings of 7-segment digital numbers/letters appeared on LCD display panel/viewfinders (HTML page); External Link:-Instruction Manual (3.3MB PDF file applicable for both Canon EOS-1N (RS). | Using EOS system for your photography | Bots & Nuts of EOS System - by Philip Chong |

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