Friday, January 4, 2008

G9 Flash List

Matching an external flash to camera is a frequent topic on photography discussion forums. The G9 is so new, so versatile and so small that this question is being asked repeatedly about the G9. It finally occurred to me to address this question in my blog rather than continually attempt to answer individual questions.

The G9 has a hot shoe for external flash and, in general, works well with the Canon ETTL flash system except that ETTL does not work in the G9 Manual mode. Beware: Some Canon flashes and accessories cost nearly as much as the G9! Fortunately, the G9 also works with other flashes – even very inexpensive flashes.

Specifically mentioned in the Canon G9 Manual are: 220EX, 380EX, 420EX, 430EX, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II (actual functionality varies). I have personally used a 380EX, 420EX and 580EX with my G9. Some examples are here, here and here.

Here is a link to an excellent reference for using Canon flash systems and other flashes on Canon cameras. Much of this information applies to the G9 as well.

I’ve started a G9-flash compatibility list (discussion thread) at

In the list below, I’m relying on personal experience as well as the referenced documentation and discussion for the Canon G7 or G9.

220EX, see
380EX, I have personally used the 380EX with my G9
420EX, I have personally used the 420EX with my G9
430EX, see
580EX, I have personally used the 580EX with my G9

Many non-Canon flashes will also work in some fashion with the G9.

Cowardly Disclaimer: Recent Canon cameras can be damaged by high flash trigger voltage. This is also true of many cameras. Before using older flashes with your new G9, check for compatibility. Here’s one reference:

20, see
28, see
36, see
C 20-C, “Photography with the Canon PowerShot G7”, Siegfried Sierlein, (

I routinely use the Nikon SB-28 on my G9. Although the SB-28 works only in manual mode (or its own auto mode) it is smaller than the Canon 580EX and works well on the G9.
SB-24, I have personally used the Nikon SB-24 with my G9.
SB-28, I have personally used the Nikon SB-28 with my G9.
SB-800, see

Sunpak PZ40X II, see

Be careful here! The exact model number is important!
I have personally used a Vivitar 285HV with my Canon G9. The 285HV is a relativity recent re-design of the old 283/285 Vivitar flashes. The 285HV has the reduced trigger voltage to protect new cameras such as the Canon G9. The old 283/285 may have high trigger voltage and damage the G9.

I hope to update and expand this list, so please participate in the discussion thread or add your comment to this post.


Miguel said...

Hi, Gordon. Another useful post, thanks.

My strategy with the G9 (and with my 400D) is to use the Gadget Infinity radio trigger and avoid the whole voltage issue. I've placed an order for the trigger and receiver and hope this will allow me to pair any camera with any flash.

I have a Sunpak 383 which I currently use with my 400D, works very well. It's too much for a G9, though, so I'm thinking, I might go for the Metz 20, the price is so cheap.

Gordon Buck Jr. said...

More and more often, I am using the Gadget Infinity radio triggers on the G9. I like the off-camera effect and the small size of the transmitter is very nice. I'll eventually post those experiences here.

Unknown said...

Hi Gordon,

Maybe others would find this information helpful. According to Canon USA support, the maximum safe trigger voltage for the G9 and S5 is 6V. And according to Chuck Westfall of Canon USA, EOS DSLRs Digital Rebel, D30, D60, and 10D had 6V limit. Anything after that--20D, 30D, 40D, XT, XTi, and of course the professional lines--can handle up to 250V with both the hotshoe and PC sync socket.

My Metz 20 C-2 measured at 5.3V. My Canon Speedlite 420EX was 4.4V, and 550EX was 4.6V. My Sunpak 383 measured at 6.9V.

Miguel said...

I finally received the Gadget Infinity radio trigger for the flash and tried it out with the G9 and my Sunpak 383. Worked like a charm. I have no intention of using the Sunpak directly on the G9, not just because of the voltage issue, but because it's too unwieldy.

J said...

I've tested the Sigma 500 Super on the G9... seemed to work just fine.

Anonymous said...

canon g9 digital and
Canon Powershot A640

varuscelli said...

Any idea whether the older Canon 540EZ would be compatible with the G9?

Gordon Buck Jr. said...

I don't have a 540EZ but others are saying that it is not compatible with the G9 flash control logic. In other words, the 540EZ will be triggered by the G9 but the flash power would have to be set manually.

varuscelli said...

Thank you, Gordon. In playing around with the 540EZ and G9 this weekend, I seem to be finding that to be exactly the case (the need to use manual settings on the flash).

Alexandre Campagna said...

I don't have a G9, but I have a Powershot S5IS and I just tested successfully a Nikon SB-80DX on it.

Set to manual mode, the Rear sync works too.

I decided to cover the TTL ports on my camera with electrical tape as a precaution...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gorden, very helpful article. Just wondering if you know whether a Nikon SB 27 would work with a G9?


Unknown said...

Do you know if this blog info is relevant to the G10? I have a Nikon SB-28 and would like to connect it to the G10 via a flash bracket. B&H sales rep said it could damage the camera because of voltage issues. Also looking into the Gadget Infinity radio trigger as a safer alternative.

Gordon Buck Jr. said...

Sam, I regularly use a SB-28 on my G9; it will not be a problem on your G10. You can test the voltage to assure yourself. Radio triggers will work as well but remember that both the SB-28 and radio triggers mean full manual operation.

Unknown said...

Thanks Gordon for the reassurance. Certainly do not want to fry my G10. What do you use to connect the SB-28 to the hot shoe on your G9. There seems to be a lot of stuff out there, but I have not found anything that seems to fit my needs. I am using a Nikon Sk-E900 flash bracket and it has the Nikon 3 prong sync cord. Can you recommend a hot shoe adapter that works with this system?