Yongnuo YN560 III speedlite by Adam Gasson / adamgasson.com

Yongnuo YN560 III review

A common trait amongst photographers is that we all try and buy cheaper versions in the hope (and it really is hope) that it’ll perform just as well as a version that sells for double or treble the price. As much as I’d like to think I’ve learnt my lesson from buying cheap and buying twice – twice being a vast underestimate – eBay provides a world of dubiously similarly looking items that, on paper, are every bit as good as top of the range kit. So in time honoured tradition I went and bought a speedlite that costs 1/6 of the price of a Canon 600EX. My initial thoughts are after the break…

£56 including delivery from Hong Kong. In my head the world is still a very big place so the fact that the Yongnuo YN560 III can be bought and shipped for such a low price is as amazing as it is terrifying. I had a few concerns on ordering; would it arrive/fall apart on opening/work/explode? It did arrive, although it took over 6 weeks to do so as it was out of stock (not that the eBay seller said this, in fact they were still selling it as ‘available’ for weeks after they told me it wasn’t in stock).

The flashgun body itself looks similar to the Canon 600EX but a little bit smaller (EDIT – on using it I now realise it’s a near carbon copy of the 580EX II excluding the scrolling wheel) – although the button layout and display are more unique. The build quality is surprisingly good and it doesn’t feel cheap in the hand despite being cheap in the pocket. The lack of locking on the flash head itself is an annoyance but not the end of the world – unless you use modifiers that hang off the head itself. The flash is fully manual but, for what I need, that’s fine as my main interest was in the built in radio receiver that works with my existing RF-602 trigger and receivers. I haven’t used it out on a commission yet but from testing at home it seems to fire fine (and the beep can thankfully be turned off). The rear display is bright and easy to read with the power level clearly visible – it’s actually better than my 580EX II speedlites I use at the moment.

So my first impression is pretty good. The build feels reassuring and the layout is logical and quick to use. Fingers crossed it doesn’t blow up tomorrow on the first use…

(2) Comments Write a comment

  1. So it looks like this incarnation of the YN 560 is the addition of a radio receiver. I can see where that would be a good selling point for a lot of photogs. The earliest Yongnuos had some quality control problems. They seem to have improved that, though, and I seldom see complaints of flash units that die prematurely. My biggest complaint is that, here in the states, anyway, they don’t really have a solid distributorship. If something goes wrong, it’s up to you to send it all the way back to China. That said, I have the 560 and 560 II, and both have held up under my use.

    Reply

    • Thanks for the comment Rick. I agree with your summary, my biggest issue was (and still is) the build quality and quality control. At £56 it’s a viable gamble I feel. But as you said if there is a problem I’m faced with sending a cheap flash back to HK or China which, inevitably, will cost 50% of the purchase price. I’ve used it on a few jobs with no problems so far but it’s been low powered outputs so time will tell!

      Reply

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