I know that the Yongnuo YN560-TX Manual Flash Controller is to control multiple flash units, and that the Yongnuo YN-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter is also to control multiple flash units.

My understanding is that:

  • The YN560-TX is a manual controller, but you can still mount it on the camera.
  • You can use the YN560-TX a flash transmitter-trigger by the camera.
  • The YN-E3-RT is specifically used to be mounted on cameras and for the camera shutter to trigger the flashes.
  • The YN-E3-RT won't work by itself, as opposed to the YN560-TX.

Are any of the above points incorrect? If they are all correct, what is the functional/workflow difference between the two units?


2 Answers 2


What is the difference between the YN560Tx and the YN-E3-RT?

Here are a few of the distinguishing factors for the YN560-TX:

  • The YN560-TX is manual only. It is made to control manual flashes (e.g. YN-560 IV) or some compatible TTL flashes (e.g. YN685 set to 'RF603 receive') set to manual power.
  • The YN560-TX uses a communication protocol shared by the RF-602/RF-603/RF-603 II/RF-605 series of transceivers. No other system transmits using this protocol. Units in the YN622 system made since December 15, 2014 can be set to receive signals from YN560/RF-603/RF-603 II/RF-605 transmitters, but the YN622 pieces can not transmit on the YN560/RF-603/RF-603 II/RF-605 protocol.
  • The YN560-TX can control compatible flashes (or flashes attached to compatible triggers) even when not attached to a camera. That is, one can change the settings on the YN-560 series of flashes or on, for example, a YN568EX II set to manual power and attached to an RF-603 II or RF-605 trigger. To get a synced 'fire' signal a transmitter needs to be attached to the flash. However, one could place an RF-603/RF-603 II/RF-605 on the camera's hot shoe to trigger the synced "fire" signal and use a YN560-TX not attached to the camera to control the settings of each flash before each shot.

Here are a few of the distinguishing factors for the YN-E3-RT:

  • It is a 'clone' of the Canon ST-E3-RT. It was "copied" from the Canon unit to function in the place of the much more expensive Canon flash controller. The Yongnuo version actually has some additional features and functionality (e.g. AF Assist light, USB port for firmware upgrades, controls on the radio unit, etc) not included in the Canon version.
  • The YN-E3-RT can control 'RT' compatible flashes manually or using TTL. If the flash has the capability, it can be used with HSS, Multi flash, 2nd curtain sync, etc. It allows off camera flashes to use pretty much all of the same capabilities they would have if directly attached to the camera's hot shoe.
  • It operates on the Canon 'RT' radio protocol. This protocol is not compatible with the YN560/RF-603/RF-603 II/RF-605 protocol. It is also not compatible with the YN622 protocol.
  • The ST-E3-RT must be attached to the camera's hot shoe to be at all functional. The Canon system for which the ST-E3-RT (and the YN-E3-RT clone) is designed has an extensive flash control menu in compatible Canon DSLRs (2012 and newer for "full" functionality - some compatibility with slightly older Canon bodies) and the settings are selected and changed via the in-camera 'external flash control' menu. Depending on the specific camera model, up to 5 separate groups can be controlled via the camera's menu. The YN-E3-RT includes controls and a display on the controller. This allows the YN-E3-RT to control up to five groups - even when using pre-2012 Canon cameras that can not control groups via the camera's 'external flash control' menu. It also allows controlling up to five groups with camera models that only have provision for three groups in the camera's menu. It also allows the YN-E3-RT to be used to control RT flashes in manual mode even when shooting with a non-Canon EOS camera (as long as the camera has an ISO compliant hot shoe with the single "fire" pin in the middle).

The various protocols different wireless flash systems use are like different human languages. They do the same thing, facilitate communication, but they use different 'words' and 'syntax' to communicate. The YN622 units that can be set to receive but not to transmit signals from a YN560/RF603/RF-603 II/RF-605 transmitter would be analogous to a person whose native language is French, which they can both speak and understand very well, who can also understand Spanish when they hear it but can not speak Spanish well enough to be understood in that language. To take the analogy a bit further, if the YN622 protocol is 'French' and the YN560/RF-603 protocol is 'Spanish', then the Canon 'RT' protocol might as well be 'Hungarian'.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your structured listing was very enlightening! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 14:46

The main difference between the two transmitters it that they're used for different radio triggering systems. The YN-560-TX is for Yongnuo's manual-only 560/60x system; the YN-E3-RT is for Yongnuo's cloning of the Canon -RT radio triggering system built into Canon's latest speedlites.

My understanding is that ... the YN-E3-RT won't work by itself, as opposed to the YN560-TX.

This is incorrect. The YN-E3-RT can be used in-hand (off the camera hotshoe) to make setting adjustments and test fire off-camera flashes, just like a YN-560-TX.

... what is the functional/workflow difference between the two units?

They are essentially identical in workflow. You place them on the camera hotshoe, set it to the same channel as the receiver units (built into the flashes, or added onto the flash foot/cabled to strobes), and then you control the remote flashes via the interface of the transmitter and fire the flashes either with the transmitter's TEST button, or the camera's shutter button.

The difference is in the functionality of the triggering systems.

The YN-560-TX can only give you sync (firing the flashes) with RF-602/603/603II receivers/transceivers, sync and group on/off with RF-605 receivers, and sync, zoom, and power control over Yongnuo YN-560III/-560IV/-660/-740 speedlights.

The YN-E3-RT transmitter only works with the Canon -RT system and clones (which will be more expensive than manual-only Yongnuo triggers), but gives you nearly full control over the remote speedlights, as if they were on the camera hotshoe. You will have HSS, TTL, 2nd curtain, Gr mode control, etc. As well as a slough of other UI enhancements and features such as being able to use an -RT flash as a remote shutter release via the YN-E3-RT/camera hotshoe connection (if the camera is a post-2012 body) and four-digit ID codes to avoid radio interference from other shooters using the same system in your vicinity. There's a lot more control over the remote speedlights in this system.

Manual-only gear has the advantages of being universal to all camera brands and cheaper/simpler to produce, while TTL/HSS gear is (usually) dedicated to a single camera system and is much more difficult to reverse-engineer, because the communication between the camera and flash is much more complex.

There is also the fact that you can't really mix these two systems. While you can use a YN-600EX-RT II speedlight from a YN-560-TX, but functionally, it can't do anything more with that transmitter than a YN-560 IV could. And you can't trip a YN-560 IV from a YN-E3-RT, unless you put a YN-E3-RX on its foot, and it will still be a manual-only flash whose power cannot be controlled from the transmitter.

This is why the -RT gear will be more expensive. All the flashes have to have -RT built in if you want the full set of features the YN-E3-RT can offer.

Other brands do offer systems where TTL and manual-only gear can be mixed, but they won't offer the same breadth of features the -RT system does. Whether or not you need those features is up to you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer ! This gave me a good insight. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 14:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.