The speedlite transmitter is a wireless flash controller. It can fire up to three slave groups with variable output ratio up to 8:1. It is fully E-TTL II compliant and can control 580EX (II), 550EX, 430EX (II), and 420EX. While it provides wireless E-TTL II functions, it can also be used to simply trigger slave flashes with the flashes set to manual power. The ST-E2 also emits an AF-assist beam. It’s significantly smaller and lighter than a flash, so if you just need a focus assist, it’s a good choice.
It uses IR pulses to trigger slaves, so unlike radio controlled triggers, all flashes must have line-of-sight. Direct line-of-sight isn’t strictly necessary indoors—the pulses bounce around pretty well, around corners, even through light modifiers like softboxes—but it’s a really good idea outdoors. Range decreases with the level of ambient IR, so trying to trigger a flash that’s sitting in direct sunlight is tricky at best.
Our units ship with one 2CR5 lithium battery. If you are going to shoot more than several hundred shots, you will want to pick up a 2CR5 battery for backup.
If you’d like to extend the range and reliability of the ST-E2, you can also rent the RadioPopper PX Kit for Canon along with the ST-E2.
The ST-E2 is a very useful speedlite commander unit for working with off-camera speedlites. It does require line of sight, so you’ll need to be relatively close to your off-camera flash. Also, it’s not the greatest to use in outdoor conditions, so you’ll want to stick to indoor conditions with this guy. Otherwise, it’s a great option for wireless full E-TTL control of compatible Canon speedlites.
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