Canon Has Officially Dropped 'Master' and 'Slave' Terms

Canon Has Officially Dropped 'Master' and 'Slave' Terms

Since the global response for Black Lives Matter, many industries, including photography, have been shifting for the better. So, it's welcome news that Canon has officially dropped their master/slave terminology.

The terms "master" and "slave" used to be and in some cases still are commonplace in photography, especially when it comes to flash units. A master flash gun usually controls the trigger of another flash gun called the slave. This technique is used to synchronize multiple off-camera flash devices and is commonly used instead of wireless (or wired) triggers to either save time or money.

Godox XProN TTL wireless trigger

Flash guns set to master can be used to trigger other flash guns set to slave mode where wireless triggers, like this Godox XProN TTL, aren't used.

I spoke recently about my reservations with the master/slave terminology and some other issues I had with specific terms within the photographic community. I've since been in touch with Canon who confirmed, much to my surprise, that they've actually dropped the master and slave terms. In fact, they dropped them around the end of 2017. Here's what a Canon Europe Spokesperson had to say:

Canon started to phase these [terms] out since the end of 2017. [In] all new products and materials, these terms are no longer used. Products released before this time, and still available, will still have the term as it’s often a physical part of the LCD display so can’t be changed by firmware etc.

So, why then wasn't I aware of the terms being changed? I'm sure this is news to most of you as well. Well, they went on to say that the terminology change isn't yet immediately obvious to most customers because the terms are mostly used with flash guns, which are presumably less popular than the cameras and lenses. To compound this issue, the most popular flashes were launched pre-2018, so when customers use the manuals, the terms are still there.

Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT flash gun

The popular Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT speedlite was released in 2016, before Canon officially dropped the terms "master" and "slave."

Many photographers buy used gear, so will also not notice the terms change either on devices or in manuals for a little while, until the newer models start to drop in price and are more widespread in the secondhand community. But until then, at least it's good to know that Canon has dropped the terms. Who knows, maybe old manuals and flashguns will become more museum pieces, holding historic knowledge for the photographic community at large?

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Previous comments
Dirgha Raj Shrestha's picture

Transmitter/Receiver is a perfect combo IMHO

Edwin Cobbinah's picture

As a black man, born and living in Africa, I don't get it, whats wrong worh the term "master" and "slave". I don't care, in fact, I prefer it.
This whole racism issue is really being blown out of proportion. We blacks dind it ok to discriminate against ourselves but when a different coloured person does it then its racism.
Until we learn to accept who we are (looking at you the blacks in America), as "Africans"and not "African-American", this is going no where. It's a complete waste of time.
Now back to the main topic, it's a word for crying out loud. Who every said a black person calling another black person a nigga, but honestly they say it among themselves as if there is nothing wrong till a white person says it. This is mind boggling.
I pray this whole thing get nowhere cause that's what it seems to me.
Master and Slave is fine for me, they should consider making it an option for those of us who prefer to use such terms do so, it's my human right as well.

Cool Cat's picture

You sound like a smart man. As far as I am concerned there are only two races, the decent and the indecent. You should have the right to do or say anything you like, so long as your rights don't deny the rights of others.

Matthias Kirk's picture

I am not woke enough to really care about this nomenclature. But that people get all hysterical because a camera company decides to drop the terms from its manuals is more than bizarre to me.

Terry Waggoner's picture

Alas..............(sigh)............quoting the Bard........tis "much ado about nothing". The changing the way we refer to how we speak is meaningless as it accomplishes absolutely nothing..............changing peoples there would be a more worthy cause.

Scott Ruffner's picture

How will Canon deal with the "White Balance" feature on all of their cameras?

Boy W Camera's picture

Technically white color is "all hues". That's all hue need to know.

Niels Veeneman's picture

they haven't found out this exists yet but be ready when shit hits the fan

David Pavlich's picture

Watch for the next firmware update. ;-)

dean wilson's picture

Just a matter of time before the term Master and Slave are removed from the lexicon. I wonder when MasterLock® will be forced to change the name of their company and products?

Bruce G's picture

Never be the best at baiting the hooks.

STEVE SLATE's picture

I guess my comment was removed because it was too “negative”? I don’t see it here anymore.