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I am planning to buy manual speed lights. I have found these Yongnuo YN560 III 2.4Ghz Wireless Flash Speedlite. I have a Nikon D7000 and I would like to know how many speed lights can I use simultaneously. Is it possible to use/trigger 4 of these with one click?

I understand that these are wireless and can communicate with the camera directly. In other words I do not need to buy wireless triggers separately as these have built in transmitters and receivers.

Please let me know if my understanding is incorrect.

The reason I want to buy these is because I have tried a different one (Neewer TT520) in the past with wireless trigger. The problem I had with those are that the flash does not fire if I do several clicks together. Often I had to pause after every click. It could be that the wireless trigger I bought wasn't great or something else. I don't think there is anything wrong with the speed lite.

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    Are you sure that your multiple-click problem isn't due to the flashs not being able to recharge fast enough? If you get Flashes that work with Nikon's CLS they say that the practical limit is three flashes per channel. – Wayne Dec 14 '14 at 16:10
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You are somewhat incorrect on your assumption of not needing a wireless trigger. This will work, but only in optical trigger mode. That is, using the cameras built in flash control (I believe it is called CLS in the Nikon world).

If you want to take advantage of the built in radio receivers, then you will need a single radio trigger on your camera, as it doesn't come with a built in one. I would assume this is what you are looking for, as you can buy cheaper flashes without radio based triggers to use with CLS only.

Yes, you can trigger all your flashes as it has group support. I believe there is support for 3 groups, but IFAIK there is no limit on the number of flashes per group.

  • Hi that's exactly where I think I am confused. If I can use CLS of my camera then why do I need a transmitter. Can't I just buy 4 speed lights and use my cameras cls system to trigger the? Basically I am trying to understand reasons/situations why I would need a transmitter if my camera(Nikon D7000) supports a built in CLS. Or am I missing something obvious here, given my limited understanding of using off camera lighting. – Sankalp Oct 26 '14 at 22:09
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    @Sankalp - Your camera can only act as a CLS commander when you're using iTTL-compatible remote flashes (not manual). In any other situation, the pop-up flash would have to fire during the exposure at a high-enough power level to register in the exposure in order to trigger optical slaves (the pop-up can only be turned down so far in manual mode). (In Nikon parlance, this would be SU-4 type remote triggering.) – user32334 Oct 26 '14 at 23:26
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    @sankalp: you don't need a transmitter if you have four speedlights that have CLS slave capability (e.g., four SB-400s or YN-565EXs). But CLS is optical (light)-based, not RF (radio). The YN-560III has an RF receiver but no CLS slave sensor. With CLS, the sensor panel has to face the commander signal and cannot be blocked. Line of sight requirements and range become more limiting if used outside in bright sunlight; radio doesn't have those limits. CLS is also NOT the same as "dumb" optical slaving like the YN-560III's S1/S2 modes or Nikon's SU-4 mode. – inkista Oct 26 '14 at 23:45
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There is no hard limit to how many YN-560III flashes you can set off remotely with the appropriate transmitter device, as long as the flashes can receive the radio signal. Four is well within its capabilities.

However, the YN-560III only has a built-in radio receiver. You still need a radio transmitter. The following Yongnuo models can all be used as a radio transmitter on the camera hotshoe for the YN-560III and YN-560IV:

  • YN-560-TX: dedicated transmitter unit, gives the most control over the remote flashes with six groups and manual power and zoom settings--but only over the YN-560III.
  • YN-560IV: speedlight unit with radio master, only three groups can be controlled.
  • RF-602 transmitter
  • RF-603 transceiver
  • RF-603II transceiver
  • RF-605 transceiver; allows for group on/off control as a receiver on a non-YN-560III, but obviously no power or zoom control.

However. Your problem with the Neewer TT520 probably has nothing to do with the triggering system and everything to do with your not giving the flash sufficient time to recycle between bursts. The flash's capacitor has to gather enough charge from the AA batteries in it, to create a flash burst. The higher your power setting, the longer you have to wait for the recycle, which is why these flashes come with the recycle "beep" feature to let you know when it's ready to fire again. This is normal. If you are burst shooting, or using MULTI mode, then you probably need to be at very low power settings (1/32 or lower).

Your D7000 does have a commander unit in the pop-up flash, but this is not a radio commander. It's an optical "smart" commander for Nikon's Creative Light System (CLS). This protocol is light-based, and uses flash bursts, kind of like Morse code, to communicate the full hotshoe protocol so features like iTTL and FP (high-speed sync) flash are possible. They're not with the YN-560III--that's why it's so cheap. To use your built-in commander, you need a flash with a CLS slave sensor in it, like a Nikon SB-700, or a Yongnuo YN model with a name that ends in "EX" (or other CLS-slave capable 3rd party flashes, like those from Sigma, Nissin, Metz, etc. etc.)

Understand that this is also a completely different (and incompatible) optical triggering system from "dumb" optical triggers, such as Nikon's SU-4 mode, or the Yongnuo S1/S2 modes. In these cases, a simple "see flash burst=>fire flash" signal is all that's possible, and all the Morse code signalling from a TTL optical system will set this type of slave off early. To use this, you'd put a Nikon flash in SU-4 mode, or a Yongnuo flash in S1 mode, and then put the camera pop-up flash into Manual mode, and out of any TTL wireless scheme (master/commander, slave, wireless, etc.)

See also:

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The YN560III has a built-in receiver, but it still needs a transmitter. You will need at least one RF602/603 transceiver to act as the transmitter.

As for the number of flashes you can control, that would be literally as many as you can cram into the radio range of the transmitter.

Your problem with the Neewer flash(es) and radio transmitter was probably simply the recycle time. Portable flashes cannot fire continuously; there will always be some frequency of shots that will completely drain the capacitor, requiring you to wait until the capacitor is charged again — at least until there is enough power available to fire the flash at the power level you have set. Some flashes recycle more quickly than others, and using the right sort of battery makes a big difference. (The most practical battery type for flashes that use AA-type batteries is a high-capacity low-self-discharge — or "precharged" — NiMH type. They have low internal resistance, which allows them to provide more current than alkalines to recharge the flash more quickly, and they will hold a charge long enough that you don't have to worry about the batteries having gone flat since last you used them.) At 1/4 power or lower, you should be able to shoot relatively freely (occasional pauses between sequences of two or three shots should give the flash enough time to recycle), but at higher power levels, you will probably have to wait a few seconds between shots. External battery packs can speed that up quite a bit, but eventually you will run into overheating, and the thermal regulation circuit will shut the flash down for several minutes.

If you need rapid recycling at higher power levels and for extended shooting, you really have no choice but to go to a studio-type flash.

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