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Entries in yongnuo (4)

Wednesday
Dec262012

Yongnuo ON-E3/M Canon ETTL Off-Camera Flash / Strobe Cord Review

 

Let's face it, wireless off-camera flash / strobe / speedlite work is fun, but it takes a few minutes to set up your light-stands, umbrellas, triggers and strobes. Sometimes you want to work faster. Sometimes you haven't got the space for stands and light-modifiers. Sometimes there's several other photographers with wireless flash systems that are interfering with yours. Sometimes you'll need an ETTL off-camera flash cord like the Yongnuo ON-E3/M.

 

This is "simply" a cord that fixes onto your hot shoe, then onto the bottom of your flash. Your camera thinks that the flash is sitting on top of it, so if your strobe is ETTL compatible, you'll get full automatic flash metering, yet you can move the flash around to get the desired lighting effect.

 

You might say why don't you just adjust the swivel head on your flash and bounce the light? Good challenge, but what if you're in a location when the walls and ceiling are too far away, or have odd colours, or maybe you're outside. With an ETTL cord you can physically move the flash into a position where the direct flash will create the look you want.

 

The ON-E3/M is more than long enough to move it well away from the camera, it's never going to be blocked by other transmitters (it's not wireless!) and its small enought to always be with you, so no more excuses for flat flash images when you can't bounce that light.

 

Thanks, Rob.
Wednesday
Dec262012

Yongnuo YN565EX Canon ETTL Flash / Strobe / Speedlite Review

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

The problem with most of the flash photography we used to seeing is that it is on-camera, flat and boring. But because most of the snap shot images we see look like this, we can get used to accepting it and even thinking its ok, outside of an artistic decision.

The other assumption that get's drummed into us is that to be a good flash or strobe photo, that speedlite has to be off the camera, behind an umbrella or soft-box, is triggered wirelessly and has been gelled to match the ambient light.

The truth is that there is a third, simpler option that can give you superb results indoors, is fast, convenient, and in the case of the Yongnuo YN565EX, great value for money.

I am, of course, talking about using a large flash on-camera, but bounced off the ceiling or walls to give a more natural look inside. I could do this with any of my manual flashes, and the results would be the same, but with the through-the-lens ETTL flash metering of the YN565, the whole process is incredible fast.

Just like the pop-up flash on your compact or dSLR, the Yongnuo fires a pre-flash to meter the scene before it fires the main flash, giving you a fully automatic solution, so you can be running from room to room, changing subjects and distances without having to worry about adjusting the power of the strobe.

I put the 565 on the top of my Canon EOS 350d / Rebel XT, aimed the head at the ceiling, then shot with it all day on Christmas Day. The photographs came out great, with the ceiling acting like a giant soft-box, casting a soft light over everybody, allowing me to concentrate on catching those matching moments rather than looking at the back of my strobe trying t figure out power, f-stop and ISO combinations.

ETTL isn't the only string in the YN565EX's bow. It's got fully manual mode, with the usual two optical slave modes (normal and pre-flash), the 565 can act as a slave in Canon's new wireless speed-lite system, and it has an unusual Multi Mode, which fires the flash multiple times during a single, long, exposure, to freeze the action of a moving subject as it crosses the path of the camera, appearing numerous times.

To all extent and purposes the Yongnuo YN565EX is a budget copy of the Canon 580EX, minus the high-speed sync, and we'll have to see how reliable it is, but for price you can get them on eBay, (and the £20 I paid at the Car-Boot Sale), it seems like a right bargain.

Thanks, Rob.

Tuesday
Sep252012

Yongnuo YN462 Manual Flash / Strobe Review

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

Here's an interesting little flash for all you bargain hunters out there. I picked this YN462 from our local car boot sale for £4, and I've been pretty impressed with what it can do.

The Yongnuo YN462 is a simple flash compared to it's more expensive cousins, but it does have a variable power output, so it is a useful tool if you want to use it for off-camera flash.

There's no slave modes, but the YN462 can swivel it's head through 270 degrees and tilt it up 90 degrees. A built in bounce card and wide angle diffuser give a little control over the beam pattern, but there's no ability to zoom the head itself.

You're going to be using the YN462 in manual mode either on the camera or off with some sort of wireless trigger.  The box guide number is 33, which means that at ISO 100, with a subject 3 metres away you'd be shooting at about  f/11, powerful enough for most portrait work.

One of the key features you need from a strobe that you're going to be use off-camera is the ability to alter the power so that you can balance the exposure or create different light levels within the same scene. The YN462 does this in an unusual way - with a dial. This means that you do have an ultra smooth way of getting from full to partial power, but you're going to have to guess how far to turn that dial if you want to drop one, two or three stops of power, so you'll have to do a little more chimping than usual.

So keep your eyes open for a Yongnuo YN462. It may not be the most sophisticated speed-lite out there, but with a little practice it can help you get the job done.

Thanks, Rob.

Tuesday
Sep042012

The Lighter Way To Strobe: Yongnuo YN460-II Flash Review

(If you can't see the video please click here.)

You want to get into off camera flash, but you're not quite sure where to start. You don't want to spend too much money, but then again you want something that works. You want to buy a Yongnuo YN460-II.

For around £30 on eBay you can have exactly what the strobist reckons you need to try off-camera lighting - a flash that can be triggered remotely and one where you can adjust the output power. Perfect.

Look, I'm not saying that that the 460-II is the best speedlite you can buy to try this off-camera flash stuff. Yongnuo don't have the best build-quality, there's no helpful TTL metering, and you wouldn't want to rely on this kit in a professional situation, but for £30 you can dive head-first into a whole new world of artificially lit photography. If you decide you don't like it, you've lost less that the cost of a decent UV filter, but I doubt that'll happen, what will happen is that you'll want another.

IMG_0730

Let's look at the reasons why the YN460 mk 2 is a great little contender. It's a completely manual flash - you choose the power by using the buttons on the back, starting at full power then dropping to 1/2, 1/4, 1/8th, and down to 1/64th. You can mess around with 1/7th steps, but that's a little fiddly so you probably won't bother, or need to really.

What about that power? This flash has a guide number of 35, at ISO 100. To work out what that means, just divide the guide number by the distance to your subject (in meters) and that'll tell you the aperture you'll need for a correct exposure. So if your subject was 3 metres away, and you were at ISO 100, and the flash was at full power, you would use an aperture of about f/11. That's plenty, and means that you'll rarely be popping off shots at full power, you'll mostly be using the flash at 1/2, quarter or 1/8th power, which means very quick recycle times, so you won't be waiting more than a couple of seconds for the flash to charge up and be ready to fire again.

Don't get too caught up with guide numbers, watt seconds or other numbers that'll make you think that flash photography in the digital age is about calculations and the inverse square rule. To decide on the power / aperture / ISO / shutter-speed you're going to make a best guess, then adjust according to what you see on the back of your camera and on the histogram, it's that easy to get started, but of course a lot more difficult to master.

Next up is the Yongnuo's different operating modes. First is manual mode, where you'll be triggering your flash with it on your camera, or off with a wireless trigger. But the YN460-II offers two slave modes, which means that you don't need to invest in a wireless trigger just yet. In S1 mode the strobe will flash whenever it senses another one going off near by, so you'll use this with older cameras, film cameras, or if the triggering flash is another manual one. In S2 mode the flash will be triggered by any modern camera flash, like the one on your, dSLR, compact, bridge or mirror less. These flashes actually fire twice (but you'd be hard pressed to see it), so the Yongnuo waits for the final flash before firing. Simply set up your slave, the YN46-II, on S2, then use the pop-up or built in flash on your camera to trigger it. Simple! This is an optical system, so the range reduces outside and it's no good if other photographers are around firing flashes, but it's a great built-in feature that'll get you started.

So there it is, i've enjoyed using my two YN460-II's over the last few months, and as I learn more about the intricacies of flash photography I'm sure I'm going to get more and more out of them.

I've just checked on Amazon.co.uk and you can grab an 460-II for around £40, with free delivery, which sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Come on and join the strobists!

Thanks, Rob.

Grab a Yongnuo YN-460-II from Amazon in the UK .

Get a a Yongnuo YN460-II from Amazon in the USA.