T. Payne Photography | Speedlite Recommendations

Speedlite Recommendations

January 20, 2014  •  2 Comments

Speedlites

Often, I am asked about using flash in photography. Many people want to know about studio strobes, speedlites and continuous lighting. Today I am going to talk about speedlites. The reason I am talking about speedlites is because they are what I use 98% of the time. They are very easy to use, carry, set-up, manipulate and more. In the past I have used several different brands of speedlights with several different capabilities. Recently, I have really become enamoured with the Yongnuo speedlites. Why? For starters, they are relatively inexpensive. I mean, who isn't on a budget and who doesn't like getting a lot of bang for their buck? Lets look at the 3 main speedlites that I like to use from Yongnuo. In case you are wondering, no I am not a compensated spokesperson for them, I just have had great success with them and love them.

Lets look at the YN-560. There are now 4 versions of this speedlite, the 560, 560-II, 560-III and now the 560ex. Each has slight improvements over the other, but they are basically the same in regards to performance. The 560 is a 100% manual speedlite. It has a single pin and can be used on just about any camera that has a standard hot-shoe. These are basically the same shape and size as a Canon 580EXII Speedlite. They also put out about the same amount of light. Now, for those of you just starting out, 100% manual means you will have to change and adjust every single setting on the flash. From zoom range to output it is all up to you and you will need to do this on the speedlight itself. There is no wireless control on the first 3 versions. So, if you want to fire this speedlight off-camera, you will have to set it up as either an optical slave or use triggers. The newest version, the 560ex claims to be compatible with master commander mode found in some Canon and Nikon cameras. I have not used this version so I can not comment on it. They offer flash control adjustable incrementally from 1/1 full power down to 1/128 power in 1/3 stop increments. 

The next version I want to talk a little about is the 565ex. This has the same shape and light output as the 560 but this is a TTL flash. There is a Canon version and a Nikon version. I am not 100% but I believe there is a Sony version as well. The big upgrades from the 560 are: TTL, compatible with both Canon and Nikon wireless, rear curtain sync, multi-mode, FEC, FEB, overheating protection and it can be controlled with your on camera menu. Paired with Yongnuo's 622 triggers you can do some pretty great off camera lighting setups and control everything in camera.

The final version I am going to discuss is the 568 exII. This, in my opinion, is the finest speedlite made by Yongnuo. Not only does it incorporate all of the good from the previously mentioned models, but it also has a few other fantastic features. The first of which is HSS, high speed sync. HSS allows you to use flash at higher shutter speeds than you can with a normal flash. This unit can sync at up to 1/8000 second. My second favorite feature of this speedlite is that it can be used as a master flash. It allows for different groups and channels. The shape of it has been changed and it mimics the Nikon sb-900. Again, this speedlite is compatible with both Canon and Nikon wireless, can be used as a slave unit and more. This is basically a Canon 580exII wrapped up in a nice neat less expensive package.

Both the 560 and the 565 have a port for an external battery pack. Unfortunately the 568 exII does not offer this feature.

 

Prices range from around $65.00 for the 560, $105.00 for the 565 and around $170.00 for the 568 exII 

Again, this is my experience and solely my viewpoints. To become more familiar with the listed speedlites, try one yourself.. 

 

 


Comments

T. Payne Photography
Christine,
Thanks for the comment/questions. In order for me to properly respond I need a little information from you. First, which camera are you using? Does it have flash commander/control capabilities? I will tell you about my set-up and hopefully it will help with your situation.

I shoot with a Canon 5d markII, although this is a fantastic camera and I love almost everything about it, it does not have built in flash commander capabilities, therefore I have to use triggers that can relay my commands to my flash units. If you have a master flash, such as the 568 and use it ON CAMERA, it can control your other flashes. I almost never shoot with a flash on my camera so this isn't what I use to control things. I own several sets of the YN-622c transceiver triggers. With these triggers, I can set up several different groups of flashes for use at different power levels. For instance, I can set up flash A camera left at a 45 degree angle up and away from my subject. Then, set up flash B camera right almost straight on to my subject and flash C above and behind my subject to use as a hair-light. Now, I have 3 flash units set up all attached to 622-c triggers and another on my camera's hot shoe. I don't want them all to light up my subject at full power so, using my camera's on screen flash control panel I can set up the flash units so that each one, A,B and C all fire at different power levels to achieve the effect/look I am going for. I can make adjustments on the fly without having to physically go and adjust each speedlite. Both the 565 and the 568 speedlites are capable of this. Now, I used to shoot with a camera that didn't have the on screen external flash control. When I was using that camera, I had the Yongnuo 603-c triggers. Those simply fire the flash. They are great for use with manual flash units such as the 560. However, when you need to make adjustments to light output, you have to physically go and adjust each unit individually. As for your questions, if you are using the 568exII on top of your camera and your camera offers on screen control, you can use the 430ex as a slave and it will trigger from your 568exII without having to buy triggers. The 568exII can eliminate the need for another trigger if you use it on your camera and all of your other flash units are compatible with its controlling system. In this case, all Canon brand EX speedlites are compatible-430ex, 580ex, 600ex-rt. However, as my blog said, I recommend the Yongnuo speedlites because of the amount of performance for your money. So, if you wanted to shoot a 4 light set-up you could use the 568exII as a master flash on top of your camera to control the other speedlites that you have set up, without triggers. I hope this helped clear up some things for you. I am always available to answer any questions that anyone may have. Thanks again for reading my blog..
Christine(non-registered)
Hi Tim!
I have a Canon Speedlite 430ex.
I want to start using additional flashes but I do not know what kind of trigger to get.
I know I need a master flash so I will need a 568 exII, correct?
So if I set the 568 as my master flash,the speedlite 430 as the slave then how do I trigger them?
I eventually want 4 flashes total.. so then when I get those what triggers do I get to make all 4 fire at once? I am SO confused about triggers any help you have would be greatly appreciated!
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