This is yet another Yongnuo product for those of us whose budget would struggle to justify a Canon Speedlite. To the untrained eye the Yongnuo YN-560 III looks very similar to Canon’s own 580EX II but at just £43 it is somewhat more affordable than the £189 for Canon’s 430EX II, the successor to the 580EX II. Admittedly the Canon has ETTL whereas this Yongnuo does not.

In the days of film SLRs we used a flash but this has now been rebranded as a Speedlite (Canon) or Speedlight (Nikon) for DSLRs. They are the same tool but for a DSLR and are often referred to as strobes. Firstly we need to know what comes in the box when you have parted with you £43, so here is the list of what came when I purchased mine:

  • The speedlite (of course)
  • A stand which mounts via the hot shoe
  • A case
  • built in diffuser
  • built in reflector

The flash, flashgun, speedlite or strobe, you choose, will therefore mount on the camera hot shoe, on a light stand, on its own stand or even on a tripod making it very flexible. It can be triggered directly by the camera when mounted on the hot shoe, triggered by the camera’s own flash or remotely using the Yongnuo RF-603 C3 remotes as it will receive directly without the need to mount on a controller.

The flash really is feature rich and will happily fill most scenes with light. As there is no electronic through the lens (ETTL) metering you will need to go to manual mode on the camera and select the aperture and exposure yourself. Whilst this may be a hit and miss affair to begin with it is a good learning curve for manual mode on the camera. Don’t forget to switch back to your preferred exposure mode when putting the flash away or you will have some under exposed shots on your next outing! By looking at the resulting image you can turn the flash power up and down from 1/128th power to full. Alternatively open or close the aperture. Note that shutter speed makes very little difference when using a flash to fully light the scene – set to 200 – 250 or whatever your sync speed is.

The flash is easy to set up once you have got around the Chinese English manual. There is also plenty of information on the internet that you can use too. It runs on 4 AA batteries. You can now use rechargeables which were frowned upon back in film days as the discharge current was too high. It doesn’t seem to be a problem now. I have been rotating two sets of four Amazon batteries for the last 18 months without issue.

To match them up with your RF-603 remote triggers takes a few minutes as it is done via the panel, not actual switches. But you do get a visual representation of the switches on the display and that is a useful confirmation.

The flash has a guide number of 58, not 56 as you might expect. It will zoom from 24 to 105mm in incremental steps. The flash head can be tipped from -7° down to 90° up. It can also be rotated by 270°.

At the budget price this is a suffiently robust and effective product for the amateur photographer to dive head first into the world of powerful flash photography. Go buy one.

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