Yongnuo YN-560 Discovered

Update from 7/15/10:
Go here for the in-depth review of the YN-560 flash

As just reported by lightingrumors.com, the Yongnuo corporation has another new design in the pipeline: the new Yongnuo YN560. This is the successor of the YN-460-II: strong guide number, rather fast recycle, the 2 optical slave modes, but now with manual zoom from 24-105 (probably 18mm with wide angle diffuser) and a PC port. It is looking like a great strobist flashgun!

Yongnuo YN-560 front

Funnily, it’s just a few days since I did my Canon 580EX II review and when I first saw the new strobe from China it felt like a deja vu; and yes – the new Yongnuo does look like a Canon 580EX II, just without an LCD display but Yongnuo’s “idiot lights” on the back panel.

Aiming At Canon’s Top Model

It’s clear where the journey is going to: inspired by their success, Yongnuo is aiming higher and towards the volume market. The name alone tells a story: YN560 vs. 580EX – this does sound like the same class of flash unit. And so we can assume it will be a strong flash, the Canon has a guide number of 58 at the 105mm zoom setting.

The Yongnuo tech specs page is available in Chinese only to date (http://www.hkyongnuo.com/c-detail.php?ID=275), but thanks to google translate I can understand that the company specifies the same guide number for 105mm as 58 (meters).

This will come down to the 34-36 range at 35mm, so it is in the region of a Nikon SB-800, SB-900, and Canon 580EX (II) obviously. And it remains to be seen how strong this strobe really is in the end.

YN560 Manual Mode – no E-TTL / i-TTL (Yet)

Although announced as a TTL speedlite, the Yongnuo 560 has no LED for a TTL mode on the display but only “manual” and the 2 optical slave modes “S1″ and “S2″ that we know (and like) from the 46x series. So let’s wait a couple of months, and we’ll see an additional LED for TTL on the YN562, and then an LCD display on the 56… 5?. Also on the translated specifications page there is no word about E-TTL or i-TTL, so this is in line with the photo of the display.

In summary, any E-TTL or i-TTL rumor is dismissed for this unit.

Compared to Canon 580EX II

The whole design of the unit resembles the Canon from every angle. The over-sized flash head, the design of the red AF assist cover (where the YN-560 will have its optical slave sensor, but no AF assist), the shape of the hot shoe mount, the release button for the flash head lock, the ‘rail style’ design of the sides of the flash head, etc etc.

Here are the similarities between Canon 580EX II and YN560 i could detect:

  • zoom range 24 – 105mm
  • red light indicating ready to fire and round pilot button – looks 100% like Canon
  • from the LED’s it can be concluded that there is a 8 stop range from 1/1 down to 1/128 power – like on the Canon; this range is also mentioned on the specs page
  • there is a re-design of the much criticized battery compartment door – again, looks almost 100% like the Canon solution
  • flash head also looks like Canon with the characteristic bump for the wide angle diffuser and bounce card
  • there seems to be a locking / unlocking button for the flash head, this would be the first Yongnuo with a locking mechanism
  • a PC port, another first for Yongnuo, and it’s in the same position as the additional tripod mount on it’s archetype.
  • you can see a plug for an external battery pack. I’ve never paid much attention to Yongnuo’s battery packs to date, but it makes total sense obviously to combine this product line with their strobes. The plug looks similar, if not identical than the original Canon power pack plug.

Yongnuo YN-560 vs Canon 580EX II

Aside from the similarities, there are also a number of details and features missing compared to Canon 580EX II:

  • no weather sealing at the flash foot
  • no tripod mount at the side
  • no divided rubber covers for PC port, power pack, tripod mount, just one big flap
  • no locking lever design for hot shoe mount but conventional screw lock
  • no LCD display
  • no central control dial but 4 buttons
  • no sensor opening at the front for auto mode, so no “A” mode
  • probably no dual AF assist light, most likely no AF assist at all
  • no E-TTL, no i-TTL
  • no wireless TTL / ‘AWL’
  • no high speed synch = FP synch

But the pictures and specs suggest there are also some things you can’t get from Canon today:

  • the left button on the rear panel has a sound symbol, this is for a recycle beep – a feature you can’t buy from Canon (Nikons have it in AWL as an option, Metz offers it in some models too). Yongnuo says it’s an optional feature.
  • there are 2 optical slave modes – Canon 580EX II has no optical slave, only wireless E-TTL slave (and master). With all the triggering options = X contact, PC port, and the 2 optical slave modes, this unit is a strobist’s dream!
  • the flash is mounted on a Nikon camera. You won’t see many 580EX II in a Nikon hot shoe :-)
  • manual zoom with dedicated buttons and direct access
  • manual power setting likely to be with dedicated direct buttons, rather than finger acrobatics with the tiny Sel/Set button on the Canon
  • fine tuning of manual output level in 1/8 stops rather than 1/3 stops. This is no advantage in my eyes, but more of a disadvantage actually, but it’s due to the layout of the “idiot lights” on the back panel.

Yongnuo YN-560 Tech specs

Here is what I have noted down as the technical specifications of the new YN560. There might be smaller changes, e.g. with regards to recycle times, but overall the data should be quite correct.

$model = "'YN560'";
include (ABSPATH . 'wp-includes/SpeedlightsFullSpecsTable.php');

Compared To ..

Read on to learn more about:

  • in-depth review of the latest Nikon i-TTL model from Yongnuo, the YN-467. The simpler, cheaper but stronger YN-465 does also deserve a look.
  • review of the latest available E-TTL model, the YN-468
  • manual-mode review of the YN460-II, the ‘simpler 560′ (no PC jack, no zoom, but with the same power and lower price tag)
  • manual-mode review of the Canon 580EX II

Where to buy YN-560

The YN-560 is available in the manufacturer store hkyongnuophotoequipment” and from other sellers on eBay.

amazon is another good source for purchasing Yongnuo products. Compare availability and prices.

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2 Responses to Yongnuo YN-560 Discovered

  1. Pingback: Anonymous

  2. Joe Bowers says:

    I have one of these, as well as the older YN460-II. It’s a great flash, unbeatable for the price, but within 3 months of purchase it stopped firing. My friend bought one and had the same thing happen after 2 months. Both have been returned to Yongnuo for repairs.

    My YN460-II and Yongnuo wireless trigger have been trouble free and work flawlessly. I will continue to buy Yongnuo products, but be aware there may be a design flaw in the 560 model.

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