The Best Camera Flashes Under $500

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer BounceLite Flash Modifier review (11 of 16)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 1.4

We’ve got great news for you: being a user of flashes doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can be less than the money that you spend on getting a new lens and it can help you get better results in your images. Some of them feature TTL transmission while others are fully manual. But if you want to get serious into Strobism, then that won’t matter anyway.

What you’re pretty much looking for is power output, reliability, build quality, and an affordable price point. And over the years, we’ve reviewed quite a few that meet all of those criteria. Here are some of the Best Camera Flashes Under $500 for you if you’re on a budget.

Phottix Mitros+

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Phottix Mitros Product images (2 of 11)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 5.6

By far, this has to be our favorite flash for the Canon DSLR system. Not only does it have TTL transmission built in but it also has radio transmission when using Phottix’s Odin and Odin II transmitters. In fact, we think that the TTL from these flashes works better than Canon’s own.

The flashes are well built, powerful, reliable, simple to use, and most of all they’re affordable.

Check out our review.

Buy Now: Amazon

LumoPro LP-180

Pro Tip: Lumopro's LP-180 doesn't feature TTL, but it has a ton of horsepower and is super affordable.

Pro Tip: Lumopro’s LP-180 doesn’t feature TTL, but it has a ton of horsepower and is super affordable.

Perhaps the best built flash on this list, LumoPro LP-180 flashes are exceptional tanks with lots of power output and great design. Lumopro designed this flash for strobists–and that is evident with the light stand thread being installed on the side of the flash and on the foot mount. It is fully manual and fairly simple to operate. In fact, many product photos on the Phoblographer are shot with it due to its near 180 watt second power output.

Check out our review–and see why it got an Editor’s Choice award.

Buy Now: Amazon

Adorama Flashpoint Streaklight 180WS

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Streaklight 180 WS product images (7 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

While we’re really not a company that promotes housebrand products or the ethics of creating them, retailer Adorama has done an incredible job with their Flashpoint Steaklight LP-180. Its closest competitor would be the Lumopro flash on this list, but this light does a bit more. It is a hybrid of a flash and a monolight with full manual control, a battery pack, an umbrella reflector with frosted dome, and with loads of power output at 180 watt seconds. When we need a bit more punch in a portable package, this is the one we reach for.

Check out our review.

Buy Now: Amazon

Pro Tip: to be honest, all you sometimes need to make this process work out for you is a flash with a zoom head or a nicely diffused umbrella reflector. If you're using a flash with a zoom head, set it to its widest zoom range--which is typically 14mm. Then move the flash back and forth accordingly.

Pro Tip: to be honest, all you sometimes need to make this process work out for you is a flash with a zoom head or a nicely diffused umbrella reflector. If you’re using a flash with a zoom head, set it to its widest zoom range–which is typically 14mm. Then move the flash back and forth accordingly.

Vivitar 285HV

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Vivitar 285HV flash product photos (5 of 5)

Many years ago, photographers swore by the old Vivitar 283 flash. The follow up was the 285HV. Though not built as sturdily, it still remains simple to operate. It has power output settings, a guide to help you figure out what power output to use based on your ISO and aperture, and three zoom head options. It is also fully analog–so there is far less that can go wrong with it.

Check out our review.

Buy Now: Amazon

Yongnuo 560 III

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Yongnuo 560 III product photos (6 of 9)ISO 2001-30 sec at f - 7.1

This is a flash that we use often with mirrorless camera systems due to how small the transmitter is. Like the others out there, it is simple to use–but not as simple as Adorama, Lumopro or Phottix’s offerings. However, what you need to be aware of is that it is dirt cheap and pretty well built. In fact, for a flash out of China and coming in at a price this affordable, we would just buy a new one if something went wrong. That, and Yongnuo’s customer service isn’t the most responsive.

Check out our review.

Buy Now: Amazon