Yongnuo YN-560 Speedlite Review

yn560-0789 What's in the box? YN-560 Flash unit, flash stand, soft pouch, instruction manual and a 2 page leaflet with a quick guide and overview of the flash unit.

This is a review of the Yongnuo YN-560 Flash unit. A month ago, I bought my first Yongnuo flash unit, the YN-560. At first, I was really hesitant, but after reading some good reviews specifically on the YN-560, I took my chances and bought one from Amazon. I figured, if it does not work, then I'll just return. Exactly one month after purchasing the first unit I find myself holding my second YN-560, I like it so much I bought a another unit from Amazon. The YN-560 is a manual flash that is easy to use and is perfect for most type of photography application, most especially strobist type of work. I have been continuously using my YN-560s to see if it will fail, but so far it has perform well according to specification. YongNuo is a third party manufacturer of cheap flash units from China, their products started popping up on ebay in late 2009 and became widely known to most photographers in 2010 at least to me. In the past year they've improved the quality of their products from mediocre to above average, especially with the release of the YN-560 which directly competes with mainstream flash units like the Canon 580EX II and Nikon SB 900.

yn560-2525 YN-560 shown with the built-in bounce card.

When I got my first unit, my first impression was that the YN-560's build quality is really great, it feels really solid and does not look cheap at all, except for the back display, which uses a row of LEDs.  Many will agree that the  YN-560  looks more like  a Canon 580EX II, they are also similarly sized, and like the 580EX II, the YN-560 has a built-in bounce card  for softer reflected light and beautiful catch light. The flash head tilts and swivels without the use of a bounce lock found on the canon 430ex II and 580ex II. I like it, this really simplifies things, now I can move / rotate /swivel the flash head without worrying about the release bounce lock. The flash head's build quality feels solid and sturdy and with the looks of it, it can handle all the swiveling, bending and rotating, I tested it several times when I got my first unit, and it was perfectly fine. The flash head can be moved up from 0 – 90° left from 0 – 180° and right from 0 – 90° . The YN-560, features a new and improved zoom function, and according to them, it's better than their previews products. By pushing the button on the flash,  it can cover focal length range of 24 to 105mm. It is motor driven and can be quickly adjusted using the buttons on the back panel. When zooming in and out, there is a sound which indicates the activity, this is one of the features I actually tested when I got my flash and suggest you do this test to, there are some units that has a faulty zoom motor like the one that David Hobby (The Strobist) got.

yn560-0791 Back display of the YN-560.

One thing I don't like about the back panel is that there are no separate indicator for the zoom and power level indicators, when I change the zoom settings, the light indicator will revert back as a power level indicator after 5 seconds or so, I won't know what my last zoom setting was until I press the – or + zooms button which will display the last zoom setting I was in.  I guess it's no big deal, especially for a $65.00 flash unit. What I Like about the YN-560

  1. The best thing I like about the YN-560 is that, I really find it easy to use, the buttons on the back panel are well designed, except for the zoom and power level indicators I've mentioned, but once you get to know it, it's no big deal and won't affect the performance of the unit. When adjusting the flash power using the buttons on the panel, I find it easier to press compare to my Canon 430 EXII, the buttons on the 430ex II are kinda stiff and sometimes requires me to push twice for it to recognized the adjustment, the buttons on the YN-560 are made of rubber and are well sized.
  2. Has remote S1 and S2. Compatible with Canon's wireless remote features, therefore I can trigger it remotely using my Canon 60d's built-in pop-up flash.
  3. Build quality is great and feels really tough / solid.
  4. Now includes a Standard PC Port.
  5. Recycle time is fast and accurate.
  6. So easy to swivel / tilt /rotate / and doesn't have a release knob.
  7. New and improved battery doors.
yn560-0793 The YN560 now includes a Standard PC Port.
yn560-0799 New and improved battery doors. Better than older models.

Notes : The YN560 is a manual flash and doesn't support E-TTL or I-TTL.  On camera or off camera, the YN560 can only sync up to 1/320.   More Features:

  • Improved  Zoom Function Covers Focal Length  Range of 24mm To 105mm.
  • Guide Number: 58 At ISO100, 105MM
  • Slave Function ( S1, S2 Mode)Can be triggered remotely by Canon 580 EX II, STE2, or the built-in flash on a Canon EOS 7D, EOS 60D, Rebel T3i. It's quite accurate, I've tested it using my Canon 60D's built-in flash to trigger the YN560, outside on bright sunlight and it works fine.
  •  Sound Indicator When The Charging cycle Is Finished, The Flash Will Give A Sound, So  You May Concentrate On The Creation Process.
  • Supports External Power Pack Compatible with Yongnuo's SF-18 And SF-17 battery pack models
  • New PC Synchronous  Port The YN560 now includes a  Standard PC Port.
  • Super Fast Recharging Recycle Recharges a fraction of a second faster than the 430EXII at full power
  • Supports High Speed Continuous Shooting YN-560 can support  8FPS  high speed  continuous shooting under power level of 1/8 and below.
  • The Improved Power Saving Mode
  • Automatically saves your settings
  • Overheat Protection

Sample Photos: I have use the YN-560 on outdoor events.

yn560-2 Daytime Outdoor Events.
yn560-9842 Daytime Outdoor Events.

I use it frequently on macro.

yn560-0129 Macro Photography.
yn560 Macro Photography.

Other application.

strobist-2498 Portraits.
me Portraits.

Review Conclusion: For more than one month of continuously using the YN-560, I find that it is a reliable manual flash. I actually have two of this units and luckily both of them still works. The YN-560 Speedlite is all a strobist would hope for and what's good about it is the price, it's really affordable. It's a lot for $65.00. I highly recommend the YN-560 for someone looking for an easy to use manual flash. If you decide to get one, I would suggest that you buy from a U.S. dealer that has a good return policy, just in case you get a faulty one. I buy most of my gear from Amazon, and every time I buy I always check if it's Sold and Ship by Amazon if not, at least I opt for Fullfilled by Amazon, this way, if ever one of my order is faulty, i can easily return it with no questions asks.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions regarding this post, please let me know, you can send me an email or post a commment below.

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