Off camera flash triggers – range test – yongnuo 560, 603, 622
There are a huge range of off camera flash triggers these days and it’s hard to know which ones to get. I used to swear by pocket wizard and whilst these are great, they aren’t cheap to buy. Recently there has been a new player in town, Yongnuo. You may have seen my recent post about the 560-TX which can trigger and control the YN-560-III remotely with power setting changes. I had been using YN-603’s to trigger the YN-560 as this has a built in receiver, so this ability to change the power when at a distance was pretty promising.
Why radio triggers?
Canon and Nikon both allow remote triggering of their flashes using proprietary signals. Up until recently-ish both Canon and Nikon used optical communication (flashes of light basically) to tell the other flash what power and when to fire, this is great in a dark area where light is easily seen, but, as light levels go up then the range becomes limited, and if you have something in the way such as a person the flash my not be triggered at all! Now Canon have fixed this problem with their eye-wateringly expensive 600EX-RT. The canon 600EX-RT uses radio signals to communicate to works over longer distances and is reliable.. however a whole system of these is not for the faint of heart at approx £350 each (if you can get them cheap), so a setup of a trigger and 2 units is around £1000… you don’t want to leave these behind.
This is the beauty of the Yongnuo 560-III flashes, they have triggering built in and are around £50 per unit, really openning up creative opportunities.. of course this is no good if the range is poor or they don’t work reliably. I’ve been using them since launch for over 12 months and they work brilliantly, fire every time and keep up with the 10fps of the Nikon D3s when you need it.
How far will these cheap triggers go?
Of course it’s no good having remote power control if you have to be right next to the flash to cause it to trigger. So after a discussion about this and how other flashes struggle with distance in certain situations then I thought i’d put them through this torture test.
Amazing ranges for inexpensive flash triggers
I was amazed how well they all did to be honest, of course the best case scenario is that you have your lights on a light stand or somewhere with a nice clear receiving path from the transmitter. However what if you want to put the flash on the floor to backlight someone? and don’t want to have to worry about a stand, or there’s not a room for a light stand. Not having to have a light stand is quite liberating and opens up lots of choices for flash placement. Of course the flash on the floor is going to give you pretty poor range – especially if you have something in the way, such as your 8 year old daughter helping you out modeling 🙂
Results.. which ones best?
Get on with it! Here’s the results in order
As a benchmark lets see what you get when the flash is higher, like it would be on a light stand.. in this case I used my portable voice controlled light stand.
Yongnuo YN-560-TX triggering Yongnuo YN-560-III held in air by 8 year old flash expert
Just to see what you could get out of this if you had better placement of the units I tried going to the opposite end of my local field.. this is measured as 145m on google maps.. and is fired every time! AMAZING! This gives you an idea that you aren’t going to have any issues if you’re doing setups with lights mounted in optimal positions.
Now lets put the flashes on the floor to see how much it cuts the range (a lot as it happens)
Yongnuo YN-560-TX triggering Yongnuo YN-560-III on floor
This was the best range, measured at around 45m, which on the floor and my daughter in the way is pretty good. Take a look at the range on these when you raise the flash up.
Yongnuo RF-603-II triggering Yongnuo YN-560-III on floor
This was second best of around 38m, likely because the unit is a little smaller so the antenna isn’t quite as good as pushing out as the YN-560-TX which takes bigger AA’s and is a bigger unit. without measuring the Xmitter power it’s not possible to draw any firm conclusions.
Yongnuo YN-622N-TX triggering Yongnuo YN-560-III mounted on YN-622N placed on floor
This got the least range in the test, of around 30meters, this may well be because of the more complex communication between the units.. note I set the control to fire the flash manually to remove any iTTL communication though the protocol is likely to be more complex.. but even so 30 meters in a worse case scenario is pretty decent with iTTL control.
What do you think?
I look forward to your thoughts and comments below.
Here are links to where you can buy all the above items should you so wish and help fund these amazing reviews. 🙂