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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 January 2014
Picked up one of these to use in combination with my Metz flash for off camera work.
I'm overally very pleased with the flash it is both well built, powerful and with a quick recycle time.

But it is important to know what you are getting with this flash, and where it might be useful to you/type of shooting you do etc etc.

I'll do my usual good/bad list first though:

Pros:
+ Excellent price/bang per buck - For a manual flash for off camera work (main use) it is unbeatable value.
+ Good build quality, solid plastics and firm contruction with no obvious creaking, very respectable at this price point. Buttons are solid plastic (not rubber) and feel decently made and responsive
+ Fast recycle times on the flash about 2.5 seconds at full power
+ Powerful output, more than enough power here for your needs, and a lot more power than say an SB700 or 430EXII Canon flash (and a lot cheaper too)
+ Has a pc sync socked and a port for adding an external power pack
+ Comes with a decent padded case, and stand
+ Metal hinge on battery door feels solid and has not caused any problems to date
+ Easy to use and set up with a logical layout and large back lit LCD
+ Audio beep confirm/power saving modes and fine tuning of output in 1/3 stop increments
+ Built in WA panel and white card
+ Has a multi strobe flash output (can be adjusted for no. of flashes and frequency - depending on power output
+ S1 and S2 modes allow for no pre flash suppression and pre flash suppression - range is excellent indoors and out
+ Metal hoe shoe base (not Sony version though has quick release on that model)

Cons:
- This is a full manual flash only, it is NOT a TTL dedicated flash so bear that in mind if you are thinking of picking up a cost effective flash, there are some limitations with this flash (you have to set the power yourself and it does not integrate with the camera's metering at all, the only thing the camera does is fire the flash when shoe mounted) Yongnuo and other makers do offer dedicated TTL flashes depending on what sysetm you are using.
- Does not support dedicated wireless flash for any maker, is not HSS (high speed sync) capable
- Stand has a plastic thread not metal for tripod mounting
- There is no AF assist on this flash (not a huge issue but bear in mind if you are shoe mounting the flash)
- Zoom head motor is somewhat unrefined in sound, rather odd sounding motor but so far has not caused any problems
- LCD doesn't have great viewing angles (ie tripod mounted hard to see it above/below a dead on view)

Regarding full power output the manual warns that overuse will reduce the effective life of the unit, that's not a real concern as you have a warranty and are not likely to be blasting it at full power often. If the flash overheats it slows down the rate of fire I have not seen the flash shut down (as of yet)

The Yongnuo is a pretty nice flash which is very appealing mostly if you are looking to add a flash/flashes for off camera work. At this price you can pick up 1 or 2 for a very modest outlay, if you were buying an OEM maker like Canon and Nikon's flashes you'd run up quite a bill on extra flashes it could work out quite expensive. This is where the 560II comes into play, a very affordable option for photographers, though it does not replace a dedicated flash should you need one. As the Yongnuo is full manual the camera only instruct the flash to fire when shoe mounted it does not influence power setttings at all, and the camera meters just as it would "without a flash mounted" You should bear this in mind if you are looking for auto/TTL exposure.

This doesn't mean the Yongnuo isn't of use as a back up flash, it can fill that need if you want that option. You are better served using the flash off camera, but if shoe mounted you'll have to balance the exposure on the camera and flash yourself. Over time you'll get used to it, I would advise you set the camera to either M or S mode though set your shutter speed and aperture as you want it, and adjust flash output to suit.

Notes on wireless set-up:
The 560II is best used with other flashes set to manual mode, or using say an onboard flash (external or built in)
If you use all manual flashes with no pre-flash set the flash to S1 mode.
You can use radio triggers if you wish (though this adds cost) and the unit is quite good in range with just a flash signal
Using the onboard flash to trigger this off camera, if you are using Canon, Sony (they do a Sony shoe version too), or Pentax you will have pre-flash so set to "S2" mode. Bear in mind the camera will be setting it's exposure based on the built in flash so you can either use that output, or put a card or empty toilet roll over the built in flash (to deflect the output! works well!) Nikon have manual flash output on their cameras so S1 will work fine here.

You can integrate with a wireless flash system or try to (ie CLS or other dedicated wireless flash) but I would advise using a set up in full manual or using the Yongnuo and a back fill light for a shoe mounted TTL flash.
I've used the flash with compact cameras too (almost all have a pre flash so set it to S2 mode for this) works a treat as most compacts have poor power for flash and this can work very well for an additional light for that task.

Works very well with my Metz dedicated flash (I use both with the main built in flash firing both units)

Overall very hard to be critical of the 560II, do bear in mind though that is has some limitations depending on what you are shooting. You probably will want a dedicated flash at some point (so the flash and camera work together to calculate power output and exposure. HSS - allows use of full shutter range with flash useful for outdoor fill flash), but for what it offers (ie bargain off camera flash set up) it's a very solid and recommended purchase for everyone.
44 comments| 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 October 2012
Ordered this unit to use as an additional remote flash, so it was never going to be attached to the camera.
As described, the unit is fully manual, so fitted my requirements. It works well when combined with the rf602 receiver/trigger combo - able to shoot up to 1/250 x/sync with no problems at all. This unit has S1 and S2 slave modes but probably won't utilise that function as I always use triggers.
Build quality - very good. It's about the same weight and size as the Canon 580exii. The flash head will also fit the StoFen diffuser for my 580exii.
The recycle time is very good - probably on a par with my 580exii. There is a connection for an additional power pack which helps speed up recycles.
The controls on the back are very easy to figure out - in fact haven't even looked at the instruction book yet.
The pullout wide diffuser panel and white reflector seem robust enough. It comes with a protective pouch and stand.

Buy this model of flash unit if you only require fully manual operation. There is no TTL, but there again you aren't paying for it. Its ideal for strobists or those who know how to use manual flash settings. At this price you could build up a great portable lighting kit.
If you are looking for a flash unit to use on-camera - then you are best looking to some of the other models from YongNuo that have TTL.

This is an excellent piece of kit for the price and in the right hands with the right knowledge you would be able to get some great results.
22 comments| 70 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This flashgun works as advertised. Please read the tin. The listing mentions the fact that this is a manual flash, so it comes nowhere near a fully dedicated flash as regards ease of use. There is no E-TTL feature, which means that the camera cannot really fully communicate with the flash. Evaluative through the lens metering is used on a dedicated flash.

Another feature on a dedicated flash is the zoom. Whilst zooming the camera would communicate with the flash (you would actually hear the flash adjust).

Now this fashgun, as the description suggests, is fully manual. Yet it is still a very valid alternative, and with some hands on experience you can get some great creative pictures.

A couple of decades ago we took awesome pictures using fully manual cameras with non autofocus lenses, and using light meters to determine the aperture and shutter speed....E-TTL flashes were science fiction.

I find myself using the YN560 II very often due to full control over the flash, thanks to the comprehensive full fledged "menu". Build quality is very good, and the LCD display combined with the button layout makes the YN560 a great flash. The slave function works very well too.

I would recommend that you search whether this flash is compatible with your specific camera. It is not compatible with all the models of the mentioned brand names.

For those who do not fancy dishing out 5 times as much for a dedicated flash, or people wanting to learn and experiment with flashes I would say that this flash is worth every penny. The price of this flashgun is a real bargain when taking into account it's numerous useful functions. Highly recommended.
0Comment| 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 December 2012
I am delighted with the Yongnuo YN560-II Speedlite.

I use the flash with my Canon 5D MK II and with my Nikon D300 as off camera flash via Cowboy Studio Wireless triggers and it has fired every time.

I didn't want ETTL flash so bought the YN560-II as it is so cheap (less than £50.00 via Amazon).

The quality of the product certainly appears to be on a par with Canon and Nikon Speedlights - the plastic casing and metal hot shoe appears to be very solid and the unit is quite weighty. The LCD menu system is very clear and very easy to use.

Recycle time also appears to be very fast at less than 5 seconds on full power and charging is actually totally silent until a beep tells you the unit is ready to be fired again.

The flash also has an adjustable sleep time mode to save on battery life.

The unit also comes extremely well packed and with a flash stand and a good quality soft case.

In summary this flash unit works extremely well, is very good quality and is very cheap when you compare this flash to the likes of Canon and Nikon.

I will be buying another unit soon for background lighting etc.
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on 15 December 2012
First impression is great value for money. I intend to use this flash for strobist in-door use, manual settings (no need for TTL funcionality) as slave with in-camera flash as master and so far it performs great! Easy to use, easy manual contol, clear and simple LCD info, flash shoe screw makes the flash fit safely to the shoe and it givs a robust impression.
The very best is that the flash works pefectly as slave in a setup together with a NikonD7000 and a SB-600. The SB-600 is controlled by nikon in-camera flash by nikon CLS mode and the YN-560 II is set to S2 mode and triggers by the other flashes (not CLS controlled from camera) timely every time. No extra radio triggers needed and i can continue using my nikon flashes in CLS mode and easily add this powerful flash when needed!
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on 7 December 2012
I bought this with a little trepidation. After all, what do you get for fifty quid? Well, I need not have worried. Beautifully packed (like a Nikon SB900....), complete with easy access carry case and stand, it has a very professional feel to it. The controls are self explanatory although supplemented with a small but adequate instruction manual.

So, how does it handle? Honestly, I was really impressed, it feels and behalves as you would expect from a professional product costing many time more. The head movement is both smooth and firm and all controls on the back operate well.

I purchased this speedlight for use with my Phase One digital back on my Hasselblad 501CM. Yes, your did read that correctly... The snag with the 'P' series backs is their sensitivity to trigger voltage offered by the flash gun. You would be singularly unwise to use a Metz 45CT1 for example with a Phase One back... The YN-560 II offers an elegant solution. AND the results speak for themselves.. Excellent. No, it does not have the same power as an SB900 but i can't use the SB900 directly with the 'P back without a radio trigger. This unit does an excellent job with just a male to male PC lead (not included). 'Simples'...

I will report back after some serious use and am confident of the outcome..
11 comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 March 2013
I very rarely leave reviews but on this occasion, i had to!

I've never been a fan of flash photography but that's because i never understood it. ISO levels, triggers, speedlite, continuous lighting etc etc. What to use? How to use it? Is it compatible with my camera? it was all a bit of a minefield!

That said i watched some videos on YouTube by "thatnikonguy" he's a bit of a creep with the models but never the less gets some good results, theres a video up for single portrait lighting where he uses a well naturally lit room, one model on a stool, this very flash, a trigger, umbrella and a white wall. The results are superb! I just had to try it!

I'm using a Nikon D5100 with a Nikon 18-200mm AF-S VRII lens (so there is the most expensive bit, around £400 body and a £620 lens) but i'm assuming if you are looking at this flash you already have a camera! Anyway, I got a Yongnuo YN-560 II speedlite, Yongnuo RF-603N triggers, decent light stand and umbrella for the grand total of £81. It came to £98 including postage. Best money i've spent! both flash and triggers worked out of the box, the slave mode on camera is good, i didn't have to change any settings or try and configure them just plug and play! Awesome!

Another cool feature on the triggers is you can use them as a remote shutter! Anyway this simple and cheap bit of kit has opened up my photography no end! I always used continuos lighting now i just don't need to!

100% recommend this. If i was being picky only thing i don't like is the flash uses AA's and the triggers use AAA's but i've now bought recharagebles for both so no worries anymore!

Hope this helped.
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on 30 May 2013
My first time using one so I'm not an expert but after doing some research online this came up tops.

Took some amazing photos with it, surprisingly easy to get the hang of for a newbie and way cheaper than it's competitors.
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on 11 May 2013
Very good flash, it isn't automatic (throught the lens) so you must take a couple of test shots first to get the exposure correct. For the price it is excellent and feels like it should be more expensive than it is.
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on 21 January 2013
First of all my best compliments to the seller that allows me to have the flash accordingly to my time and delivery method costraints. ery appreciated and suggested.

Talking about the product's rating:

I was searching for a flashilight having a poor budget, so TTL model is to expensive.
I use the flash rarely so it is not possible for me to invest in a fully automated one.

So I decided, after a long research on the web, to bouy this one even if it's manual.
It takes some days to understand how to set the unit accordingly to the settings of my Canon 500D.
Sometimes I need to shoot several pics to find the right settings but it's an issue I can manage looking
on the related saving.

I'm very suprised about the quality of the product (some fears about China quality) and the usability.

Maybe in the future I will buy the TTL one and use this as slave.
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