With the popularity of Sony’s mirrorless cameras, a lot of lifelong Canon users may be making the switch to Sony.
If you are one of these people you may be wondering if all of your current Canon flashes can be used on your new Sony mirrorless cameras.
- You can use a Canon Speedlite flash on a Sony a7 camera but there are some limitations
- Limitations include only being able to use manual flash settings and not E-TTL settings that you normally get with Canon Speedlite
- E.g. If you used a Canon Speedlite 430EX II on a Sony a7 camera, you would be able to use the Canon flash with manual flash settings.
But you would not be able to use automatic features such as automatically matching the flash zoom to the focal length.
- These limitations exist because of the types of hot-shoes used on Sony a7 cameras and the pin layouts on Canon flashes.
The first thing to consider is if the hot shoes fit together.
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What Hot Shoe Do The Sony A7 Cameras Have?
The Sony A7 cameras have the Sony multi-interface hot shoe, but, what does that mean?
Basically, pretty much every other camera brand uses the same universal hot shoe however Sony’s multi-interface hot shoe is slightly different.
The multi-interface hot shoe works to allow lots of accessories to be used with the Sony cameras which can aid in video production as well as photography.
Unfortunately, it can have some drawbacks due to it being slightly different to universal hot-shoes that other camera brands use.
Sony themselves say that “using third-party flash units is not guaranteed to work with the Sony camera” however you can often find ways to make other brands work with Sony cameras.
Do Canon Speedlites Fit The Sony Multi-Interface Hot Shoe?
Luckily, the Canon Speedlite flashes do fit onto the Sony multi-interface hot shoe however all of the contacts don’t line up perfectly. ,
Due to this, you will not be able to use features from the E-TTL mode that you are used to with Canon Speedlite flashes.
So to be able to use the flashes, you will have to set them to manual mode first.
If you are already used to shooting with manual flash settings then this shouldn’t be a problem for you, but if you’ve mainly stuck to E-TTL flash then you may want to read up on things such as flash zoom settings.
Another problem that you might find with the hot shoe fitting is that the Sony hot shoe is a little small and the Canon hot shoe flash won’t be a perfect fit.
This is to do with the positioning of the pins on the hot shoe.
Watch the video below to see what I mean. In the video, a Yongnuo flash is discussed, but it’s a similar situation with Canon flashes.
Can I Trigger My Canon Speedlite Remotely Using A Sony Camera?
You might be wondering if you are stuck with using an on-camera flash or whether you will be able to trigger the flash remotely.
The good news is that you can do this by either using a transmitter or a Speedlite on the camera body as a master flash.
In both of these scenarios, you will be setting your remote flash as a ‘slave’ flash which is triggered by either the transmitter or the master flash.
Using A Transmitter To Remotely Trigger A Canon Flash
For this, the first thing you’ll need is a transmitter and a go-to transmitter is the Canon ST-E2 which is a transmitter that is compatible with pretty much any Canon flash that normally uses E-TTL.
As a rule, if the Speedlite has EX in its name then you should be able to use the Canon ST-E2 with it.
If you use Yongnuo flashes, you can also use any ‘EX’ Yongnuo flash too.
For the transmitter to work in this setup, do the following:
- Make sure that you have the Canon ST-E2 transmitter mounted on the camera’s hot shoe
- Make sure that all of your flashes are set to manual mode rather than E-TTL
- Set your flashes to the ‘slave setting’.
- Make sure the ST-E2 transmitter is in manual mode too
Now when you trigger the camera the flashes will be triggered wirelessly by the transmitter on the camera.
Using Another Speedlite To Remotely Trigger A Canon Flash
This works in a similar way to a transmitter, so make sure that the remote flashes are set up in manual mode and slave mode.
The difference comes with the Speedlite which is on the hot-shoe of the camera body.
The Speedlite on the camera body will need to be set to manual too, but you need to also set it to ‘master’ mode.
This makes sure that it will be the ‘master‘ to the ‘slave flashes’ and it can trigger your remote flashes which are not on the camera body.
Now when you shoot with the camera, the master flash on the camera will fire and the slave flashes will detect this flash firing and fire with it.
Even though you are able to use Canon flashes with the Sony A7 series cameras, one other thing besides TTL features that you lose out on is sync speed.
The max sync speed for Sony cameras that are advertised on your specific Sony A7 body will probably not be achieved with any of these setups as they are not proprietary Sony flashes.
Results may vary but you will likely find that using a transmitter will give you a slightly slower max sync speed compared to using a Speedlite as a master flash.
Check out the following if you found this post helpful:
- Sony FE VS E Lenses. What Is The Difference Between These SEL Lenses?
- What Is The Difference Between E-TTL And TTL Flash?
- Do All Flashes Work On Any Camera?