It’s a very long time since I had an external flash for my camera gear. In my days of film, I had a Canon Speedlite which I used on-camera. It was quite expensive and could not be used off-camera without an extension cord. Plus, it wasn’t very easy to experiment with manual settings – film being expensive per frame, and you had to wait ages to see the results!
When I got my Canon 300D in 2004, I realised my existing TTL flash would not work, since it relied on the measurement of the light bouncing back off the film plane in order to stop the flash pulse. So I traded it in part exchange for my Canon 100-400mm EF f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens early in 2007.
Recently I’ve been thinking about getting some flash equipment as I want to attempt some high-speed pictures with water splashes and smoke. Then I found a Flickr contact’s blog post about his techniques and equipment. I hadn’t realised there were sensibly-priced alternatives to the Canon flashes, so it was interesting to read.
For the princely sum of £165.99 including P&P, I have just taken delivery of the following Yongnuo flash stuff from eBay seller Chantelysee:
- 2 x YN560 Speedlites
- 2 x Flash diffusers
- 1 x RF-602TX wireless transmitter
- 2 x RF-602RX wireless receivers and connection cords (for attaching to studio lighting)
- 1 x Canon remote trigger cord
This is a considerable saving on the Canon 580EX Mark II Speedlite, which retails at around £370.
The YN560 has a guide number of 58, the head swivels in both directions, and it seems really easy to set the output power and zoom length. The only slight niggles seem to be that the shutter button on the wireless TX unit sits a bit proud of the rest of the case – and it has no off switch. So if you put it in a bag with the battery still in, there is a danger of it triggering and draining the battery. And although the feet for the flashes fit well, once you put the wireless RX units between flash and foot, it’s hard to switch on or off and the foot is a very loose fit. Minor issues, especially considering the overall cost of the kit.
I’m looking forward to using it properly and experimenting to see what effects I can get.