I use the CANON Speedlite 420EX with my NIKON D3100.
Every once in awhile, I take a search term from my blog, that some reader used to search for topics on my blog. The question was:
Is the CANON Speedlite 420EX compatible with NIKON D3100?
In my younger days as a photographer (in my teens), I read camera manuals like novels. I took what they said literally. It was the same when I got to the “How to Use Your Flash with your Camera,” section: The way I read the flash recommendation pages in the manuals was also literally. What I always saw and visualized when I read the warnings about using other flash brands with your camera, was alarming to a young photographer. I thought that if I used anything other than the camera’s own flash brand, with the camera, then the flash would melt, go “KER’BLEW’Y”, or brake-in-half!
What I interpreted the camera maker writing in the manual was EXTREME’O to the 29th degree. I believed that ONLY Nikon flash units could be used with their cameras, or there could be dire consequences (those were my nightmares). I had a vision of doom in my mind if I used any other flash brand with my NIKON cameras – after all, my crazy visions seemed to be based on some sort of proof that was as strong as oak.
What I believe the camera manufacturers mean to tell people, in their manuals, is that to use all the wonderful functions of the NIKON flash units, you need to use them with NIKON cameras. That is true. All of the little metal buttons on the flash line up with perfection with all the metal buttons on the camera’s hot-shoe.
However, what is it really like to use your CANON Speedlite with your NIKON Camera?
Well, that is what I do, so I will relate my experience with this wonderful combination. I typically use Manual Mode on my NIKON D3100, and that is what is available with a CANON Speedlite when attached to the NIKON. Therefore, ah, perfection. Because I also use remote firing devices with my flash units, there is no problem using CANON Speedlites with your NIKON Camera.
However, if you want to have all the capabilities available between a FLASH and a CAMERA, and have one flash attached to the camera be able to trigger other flash units remotely, and all the other cool things that NIKON Flash to NIKON Camera Body, can do…then it’s better to use a NIKON Speedlight with the NIKON Camera.
My camera has not melted down, and there has never been any damage of any kind to my camera or my flash unit when using my CANON, my METZ, or my VIVITAR flash units with my NIKON camera bodies.
Other peoples’ experiences may be similar.
You can try it at your own risk – All I can say is that I have never had any problems with the CANON Flash to NIKON Body combo.