Nikon CLS and a cheap TTL slave flash!

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I've been doing off camera flash for years. Strictly manual though. My only Nikon dedicated flash has always been my trusty SB-600. Used only at wedding receptions either on camera bounced or on a flash bracket with a Lastolite softbox. But I just made the leap to FX with a D3 body and I decided I needed a better flash.

Today I received my new SB-910 and it is wonderful! I've been playing around with it as a "master" and controlling my SB-600 remotely. Wow! I think I am hooked on wireless TTL flash now! I always scoffed at Nikon's CLS as "not professional" and felt that manual metering is the PURIST method! But I gotta say...I'm loving being able to tweak flash power setting right from the camera. Whether in TTL +/-EV increments, or with manual output levels.

I'm so hooked that I began searching for used SB-600's and other compatible Nikon flashes online. After a few solid hours of research I've found what I feel might be THE BEST value in an off-camera (Inrared triggered) TTL flash compatible with Nikon's CLS.... Anyone heard of the Yongnuo YN-560EX? It's basically made to use as a slave flash in both Nikon's AND Canon's proprietary wireless flash systems. Yes, this flash will function in TTL mode as a slave flash for Nikon and Canon both. It simply has a mode built in for each one. And just like an actual Nikon or Canon flash you can set the Yongnuo to work on channels 1-4 and in groups A, B, or C... all controllable wirelessly with your Nikon or Canon "master" flash or controller. And they're dirt cheap!

The only limitation to the Yongnuo YN-560EX is that its not TTL compatible via its hotshoe. So on camera (or on a radio trigger) it would be strictly manual. My reaction to that is "who the hell cares?". I wouldnt put one on my camera anyway. Its purpose is to be a wireless infrared slave flash, thats it. I just bought two, brand new on ebay, for $81 each! Tell me where you can find a better deal on a Nikon CLS compatible remote flash anywhere!

I'm looking forward to trying these units out. I'll post my results here!
 
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Yes I have read that. Very early on in the original (straight manual) YN-560 series there were some alleged quality issues. These were remedied quickly by Yongnuo and the YN-560's got "modified" with a metal shoe and better circuitry. I didn't own any of the original plastic footed YN-560 flashes so I can't say for sure, but I have several of the updated plain YN-560 flashes and I can attest they are great! I've had them for years and they are still rock solid. Yongnuo has since brought out a II and a iii as well with additional upgrades, and they still are known to be solid workhorse manual flahses.

If you look at that article you'll see two things. One, its from 2010, and since then I don't think anyone could argue that Yongnuo hasn't built a pretty solid reputation among photogs who recognize a true value in this type of gear. AND second, its by "Strobist". Now I love them too, but strobist has a vested interest in promoting their sponsor, Midwest Photo Exchange, exclusive distributor of (at the time) Yongnuo's only real pure manual strobist style flash competitor, Lumopro!
 
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For the record, I know Yongnuo model numbers can be confusing. They've had the following "560" series flashes (that I know of):

YN-560 - pure manual, LED controls
YN-560ii - still manual, same flash but with an LCD panel
YN-560iii - same manual flash, LCD panel AND built in Yongnuo rf receivers.
YN-560EX - The topic of this thread. TTL compatible Nikon/Canon wireless remote flash.
 
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For the record, I know Yongnuo model numbers can be confusing. They've had the following "560" series flashes (that I know of):

YN-560 - pure manual, LED controls
YN-560ii - still manual, same flash but with an LCD panel
YN-560iii - same manual flash, LCD panel AND built in Yongnuo rf receivers.
YN-560EX - The topic of this thread. TTL compatible Nikon/Canon wireless remote flash.


That really seems like false economy.. For only about $20 more than the YN560EX, you can get the YN565EX, which is same thing, but also provides hot shoe TTL (bounce, etc).

Review: http://www.scantips.com/lights/yongnuo565.html
 
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That really seems like false economy.. For only about $20 more than the YN560EX, you can get the YN565EX, which is same thing, but also provides hot shoe TTL (bounce, etc).

Review: http://www.scantips.com/lights/yongnuo565.html

Wow. Awesome article. I probably should have ordered the YN565Ex. But at the time I was thinking how I'd never need to put them "on camera". I didn't consider the fact that the YN560EX also won't work (TTL anyway) on a radio trigger such as the Phottix Odin or PW flex.

Oh well! May just pick up some YN565EX's too. That's the thing about Yongnuo flashes. They're so inexpensive that you can afford to buy several of them!
 
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You could investigate the LumoPro LP180's. Strobist (David Hobby) and I think Zack Arias have spoken highly of them. They're about $180 each, but still about half the price of a SB800 (even used market in Canada is $300ish).
 
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You could investigate the LumoPro LP180's. Strobist (David Hobby) and I think Zack Arias have spoken highly of them. They're about $180 each, but still about half the price of a SB800 (even used market in Canada is $300ish).


Strobist seems very highly biased - his Yongnuo review is designed to push the LumoPro which is sole-sourced by his advertiser. Which costs twice as much for a comparable item, but the FEW HUNDREDS of 5 star customer ratings on Amazon attest to the $60 YN560 appeal.
 
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Strobist seems very highly biased - his Yongnuo review is designed to push the LumoPro which is sole-sourced by his advertiser. Which costs twice as much for a comparable item, but the FEW HUNDREDS of 5 star customer ratings on Amazon attest to the $60 YN560 appeal.

Exactly! I've been saying this for a long time. I don't doubt for one minute that the Lumopro flashes are good quality. But the facts are the facts. Yongnuo flashes do everything the Lumopro ones do (and more in many cases) for a fraction of the cost. So the obvious question is; Do Yongnuo flashes, with their seemingly great features and low prices, work well and last? The answer is an obvious "yes". All you have to do is read the reviews and watch the YouTube videos. Also worth noting is it's not a "Made in China" vs made in USA, Germany or Japan thing either. From what I've researched online, Lumopro flashes are imported from China as well. There's just no real logical reason for those Lumopro flashes to be priced as high as they are.
 
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...From what I've researched online, Lumopro flashes are imported from China as well. There's just no real logical reason for those Lumopro flashes to be priced as high as they are.

A couple of reasons could apply: Purchase a Lumopro & you're buying from a middleman / importer, while the Yongnuo is sold either factory-direct or from an offshore distributor / reseller. In my experience, low-volume end user purchases from these guys are duty-free, while the Lumopro importer probably pays duties, and the off-shore sellers' overhead is probably a fraction of the US-based retailer's. To the degree they exist, these factors create a price difference.

Secondly, volume probably impacts unit costs. I'd wager that the production volume of a Lumopro model is a few thousand units. A Yongnuo model, sold world-wide, is probably a multiple of that. And from what I understand, The Lumopro importer also does some QA, while Younguo relies more on the end-user. Again, different costs impact the end-user price.

So each brand represents a different cost / price model. Neither is intrinsically superior and each offers advantages to different users, I think. At this point in my shooting, I tend to lean toward the 'Y' model, but if I worked the heck out of my strobes over long periods of time, I could see preferring the 'L' way of doing things.

Larry
 
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You're right on with that.

I would actually like to own a Lumopro flash. I've thought about it many times and I even contacted MPEX (Lumopro retailer) once and asked for a coupon or discount code. But they will not budge on that price. So, consequently, every time I'm close to trying one of theirs to see what all the hype is about, I wind up with more Yongnuo flashes because, to me it's a PROVEN winner, and I can buy 2-3 units to Lumopro's 1!

Lumopro's newest, the LP180 is $200! That's a simple manual flash that, on paper, is not even as feature-packed as the YN-560ii ($65). The OTHER widely known pure manual flash has always been the Vivitar 285. While not quite AS robust as they used to be they're still very solid performers and priced well under a $100.

If Lumopro ever wants a bigger share of the market they're gonna have to come down to earth on that price, or allow more than one single retailer to sell them in the US!
 
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A large portion of the appeal of the YN flashes is that they are disposable. If an SB-910 becomes a paperweight, it's an almost $600 paperweight. You could have 8-10 YN flashes do that to you, and that span may cover 10 years as well.

I believe that he additional expenses of the LumoPro is the 2-year warranty. I'm going based off of memory, but it can be reviewed on their site I'm sure. I don't think that YN's have any warranty, but again, at $65-80 per flash, that's the cost of most extended warranties anyway. :)

I haven't used either, but interested in expanding my stable of flashes in the near future.
 
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.... If Lumopro ever wants a bigger share of the market they're gonna have to come down to earth on that price, or allow more than one single retailer to sell them in the US!

Don't look for that to happen. 'Lumopro' is an Mpex house brand, built on contract by one or more Chinese mfr's to the specs of the American seller. I'm certain exclusivity is part of the contract - if a measurable quantity of those products began showing up on ebay at prices competitive with Yongnuo, say $100, word would quickly spread and Mpex sales would crater.

The mfr would have to bear the selling costs if they were selling direct. At present they simply roll a large quantity out the factory door and a shipping company takes them from there. If they distribute through Asian resellers, as does Yongnuo, that's an additional cost layer. So only significant volume would allow reaching the 'Y' price point. Automation appeals to more casual users than does a manual flash, so high volume is unlikely - keeping the unit cost (and price) up. Catch 22.

Yongnuo already makes / has made the manual 560ii & iii. If they added a 3.5mm sync jack (both units already provide an optical slave), & called it a pro unit, at $100 a 'Lumopro' wouldn't compete. Heck, they don't now - you must perceive the 'enhanced reliability' of the 'L' brand as worthwhile in order to buy them, and most of us don't ...
 
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I am just getting interested in learning off camera flashes. I currently have an sb800. I know that I am going to want more flashes. Which Yongnuo would you recommend for me to get started with? The YN565Ex? Where do you all purchase these flashes? I really can't afford more Nikon flashes right now. If there is something affordable that would work well, I would be so happy!!
 
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I think the YN568EX might be the best choice as it's HSS capable as well.

I got the YN560EX myself because I ONLY plan to do basic off-camera flash with them via the CLS commander. If you put them on a typical radio transceiver they'll be strictly manual.

Wayne could tell you for sure. He knows pretty much everything about these flashes!
 
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I think the YN568EX might be the best choice as it's HSS capable as well.

I got the YN560EX myself because I ONLY plan to do basic off-camera flash with them via the CLS commander. If you put them on a typical radio transceiver they'll be strictly manual.

Wayne could tell you for sure. He knows pretty much everything about these flashes!
But you can trigger them through CLS and the built in on camera flash?
 
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