Speedlite provides a very strong, affordable external flash.

Not too long ago, I started updating my camera equipment and even though I had a built-in flash on the Canon DSLR I have, I realized very quickly that I needed something more. I started looking at adding an external flash, or Speedlite, to accompany my camera and I found the M500 Flash Speedlite from Photoolex. For those of you that have never researched an external flash for your camera, they can range in price from $100 all the way up to $500 or more. So, when I started looking at this very important accessory, I of course looked for budget-friendly options. That’s how I found the M500 Flash Speedlite. It’s a high-performance Speedlite that is affordable. This Speedlite is listed as being compatible with the following Nikon and Canon models:

  • CANON – EOS 70D, 60D, SL1, Rebel T6i, T6s, T5i, T4i, T3i, T2i, T1i, T5, T3, XT, XSi, XSi
  • NIKON – P6000 P7000 P7100 P7700 P7800 COOLPIX A D40 D50 D60 D70 D80 D90 D3000 D3100 D3200 D3300 D5000 D5100 D5200 D5300 D7000 D7100 D200 D300 D600 D610 D700 D750 D800

The flash is very lightweight – weighing only 11.23 ounces (not much more than an iPhone). The weight is a big deal to me because I don’t like my camera to feel too top heavy. The flash is powered by 4 AA batteries. This is fairly standard among speedlites, but I would have loved to see it have a rechargeable power source. The light can work as a continuous light as well as a standard flash with a total of 150 Lux. As far as color temperatures go, the M500 has a light color temperature of 5000K and 5800K for regular color temperature. The flash rotates both vertically (-7 to 90 degrees) and horizontally (0 to 270 degrees). This is great for variety and just adds to the flash’s versatility.

Photoolex M500 Flash Speedlite REVIEW

What’s really cool about this Speedlite, and something that was a ‘must have’ for me, is that it will work independently of the camera. This was a big deal to me because there are a lot of times that I will just need fill light when I’m taking shots of products using my table top photo studio. You also have the option to connect a PC sync cable (not included) to trigger the flash. The M500 Flash Speedlite offers multiple flash modes (S1, S2, M) in addition to continuous fill light or standard flash.

  • S1 – a manual wireless flash mode
  • S2 – a manual wireless flash mode that ignores the first flash in order to synchronize with the master Speedlite that supports TTL or red-eye reduction pre-flashes
  • M – the flash power is set manually using the +/- buttons

In testing the M500, I found that it is very easy to use. Even though I consider myself proficient as a photographer with a DSLR, I have to admit that I have somewhat limited experience with the professional-grade external flashes. So, ease of use was something I was looking for. The instructions that come with the M500 are very easy to read. They explain the differences between the modes and also how each one should be used. There is a simple control center on the back of the flash itself. With these controls, you can run the flash in test mode, change the light intensity of the flash, and, of course, turn it on and off. The buttons are tactile instead of a touch screen. This is something I prefer because you can easily fell your way around the controls without looking. I much prefer these simple controls to some of the other, more complicated control panels.

Photoolex M500 Flash Speedlite REVIEW

The Speedlite M500 puts out a really nice spread of light. I think my favorite feature is the fill light option. The flash provides a very nice, soft light with varying degrees of intensity. It’s a great help to me. The flash function as you would expect and provides ample light for your photos. The body of the flash is very sturdy and I think it will hold up to regular use.

This is a very capable, affordable flash and I think it’s a great option for beginners as well as professionals.