Nidelva river through Trondheim Norway

Nidelva river through Trondheim Norway
by Saaru Lindestokke                

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Is YN-460 Yongnuo worth it? Found it for 34 EUR http://bit.ly/GE1Tdp

Fist of all: is it so cheap I will regret I bought it and just withdraw using it?

In my understanding and for I would use limitations are:

  • no radio trigger. I would need to use optical one. I read that it might not work well in the sun, etc. Does is usually work with some flaws or does it usually not work? :)

  • It doesn't have i-TTL I didn't really know how it works, but I guess I can have better control and possibly better results just setting all the things by myself. How complicated is it to do calculations and setup? Do i need to mesure distance of the subject for it?

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Most weak flashes don't work well in bright sunlight. – J. Walker Mar 21 '12 at 17:53
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I have a YN-462 and a Nikon SB-600 so I'll comment a bit. There's a clear quality of product between the two. The Nikon feels better better and solid. However, functionally, when they're both in manual mode on a stand, they both work fine and consistently.

Manual for flash is not hard at all - once you do it a few times, you start to get a feel for it. Then you'll setup, take a test shot or two and only have to make minor adjustments.

You absolutely can use radio triggers with them - I use these cheap ones and love them.

One caveat about cheap flashes - most of them are weaker in strength than a more expensive flash. This could result in slower recharge times because you're doing a full pop instead of a half pop or just having insufficient power. Much of this will be determined by how you use it, its not been an issue for my style of photography.

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+1 for the CowboyStudio trigger. It's simple, cheap, and works relatively well. – zim2411 Mar 21 '12 at 22:28

Short answer: absolutely yes

Long answer: I have the YN-465, it's the TTL version of the YN-460 and it works great, it's powerful enough for everyday use and the light it gives out is just as good as the high end flashes.

Before I bought the YN-465 I used a borrowed high end flash for a different camera (a flash for Pentax on a Canon camera) so it was effectively a manual flash.

Manual flashes are actually easy to work with if you have time for a test shot or two, just set something take a test shot and adjust up or down, I could usually get the right exposure with just one or two shots and I'm not an expert.

Now, there is a clear difference between cheap and high end flashes, the build quality is different and the cheap flash is not nearly as powerful, if my income depended on the flash working I would definitely go for the expensive one but for hobbyist use the cheap YN flashes are great.

I don't know about the YN-460 optical trigger because the YN-465 doesn't have one - but optical triggers are known to be useless in direct sunlight and when you don't have a clear line of sight between your on-camera flash to the off camera flash - so I wouldn't expect much.

You can get radio triggers on eBay for less than $15, I've used a borrowed set of cheap radio triggers for a few months and they worked perfectly almost all the time (but not all the time - and when they don't work you better have a backup plan). Now that I had to return the borrowed radio triggers I will be buying a set for myself.

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The backup plans always include a PC-sync cord as the last resort. I shot off-camera-flash for nearly two years using a cheap PC-sync cord. Works great. Of course, being tied with a cord has obvious downsides that radio and light-triggered remotes are free from. – Pat Farrell Mar 21 '12 at 19:38
    
@PatFarrell - my backup plan for radio trigger failure is putting the flash on camera and bouncing it - but I usually photograph family events with lots of running children, a PC-sync cord it an accident waiting to happen in those situations – Nir Mar 21 '12 at 22:07

I use manual flashes all the time. The universal source for off-camera manual flashes is Strobist: http://strobist.blogspot.com/

Up until last week's Canon announcement, all of Canon and Nikon's remote flash triggers were done using light, not radio. They all have the same issues.

In all cases, you can use a cheap PC-sync cord for sync even in bright sun.

Manual flashes require you to set the power level manually. You do not need a meter. You do not need to calculate anything. Just set it up, make a test shot and look at the histogram on the back of your camera. Adjust to suit.

I use LumoPro LO160s, they are about $150 each. They work great.

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Men, I never thought that Canon and Nikon are infrared and not radio. Sometimes I wonder if their success is completely deserved :) – Paolo Mar 21 '12 at 15:58
    
Joe McNally is a world class photographer that teaches using the Nikon CLS system. Amazing work. But it does not work 100% of the time, and even for him, sometimes you have to use manual. – Pat Farrell Mar 21 '12 at 19:35
    
...and four years later, both Canon and Nikon now have RF-built-in flash units. The tech moves fast in this sector. – inkista Apr 23 at 17:58

Are super cheap flashes worth it?

In certain usage situations, absolutely.

  • If you are a hobbyist and don't need rock-solid reliability or plan on super-hard usage
  • If the cost-savings is worth entering a copy/component quality lottery
  • If you don't mind being an early beta tester with new models
  • If you don't mind Chinese reverse-engineering issues (future/backwards compatibility)
  • If this isn't your first or only flash
  • If the feature sets fits what you want to use the flash for

Super-cheap flashes are typically reverse-engineered technology of Chinese manufacture. The low-lost cost has to come somewhere, and it's mostly from the QA. While this has gotten better over recent years with Yongnuo, there's still a larger variance in component and copy consistency than with OEM gear, and warranty service isn't nearly as accessible or reliable. A Yongnuo flash must be mailed to Shenzhen China for repair/replacement. The postage alone typically means most folks will just replace a YN-460/560 rather than get it repaired if it's faulty. They're often seen as disposable units.

And if you need to have a working unit at all times, pros tend to get multiple copies of Yongnuos, or shell out more bucks for, say, a LumoPro or OEM (Canon/Nikon) flash they know will be more reliable or at least can be serviced in the US.

The second thing to keep in mind with super-cheap flashes is that they tend to be manual-only with a bare minimum of features. They can really fill the bill for a hobbyist learning to go off-camera flash Strobist-style as second, third, and fourth flashes. But for a first or only flash, where you may want to use the flash both on and off-camera, having TTL (auto power setting based on metering) and high-speed sync (HSS) in at least one flash can be worth the additional leap in the pricetag.

no radio trigger.

Even back in 2012, this isn't really an issue, since radio triggers have become really cheap and easy to add to a flash's foot.

In 2016, it's far less of one, as receivers are now being built-in. The YN-660/YN-560III and IV all have built-in radio receivers that even allow for remote power/zoom setting. This is becoming more and more widespread with all flashes (even the OEM ones). You do get locked into a specific trigger system, though.

It doesn't have i-TTL I didn't really know how it works, but I guess I can have better control and possibly better results just setting all the things by myself. How complicated is it to do calculations and setup? Do I need to measure distance of the subject for it?

It's easy to do if you or your subject aren't moving, and you can reshoot a couple times (studio conditions) and have time to adjust. Very hard to do if you're shooting an event, are moving in and out of different lighting situations with a moving subject, and only have a split second to dial in the power. This is why TTL and prior to that, autothyristors, are built into more expensive flashes to automate setting the flash power. It all depends on how you plan to use the flash. Think of having iTTL on a flash like having A mode on your camera--very convenient for fast operation. You use iTTL on a flash for speed, and M for precision.

In addition to this, iTTL also means the flash can communicate with your camera to do things like FP sync (if your camera body supports it--the D3xxx and D5xxx bodies don't), so you can use flash with a shutter speed above your body's maximum sync speed, and CLS [optical remote flash triggering with full hotshoe communication for remote power setting, 2nd curtain, FP, Zoom etc.]

See also: What features should one look for when selecting a flash? and What are the Yongnuo flash naming conventions?

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