Yongnuo YN-560 vs Canon 580EX II

With the 56x line Yongnuo has just announced a new line of flash units, positioned above the existing 46x line. It is rumored that the 46x flash units will remain in production, and I hope and believe this holds true (this is confirmed as of early 2011).

Update from November 16, 2011: expected for December release is a new, upgraded YN560-II model with LCD display and other upgrades that will be replacing the current YN-560. Learn more.

Yongnuo YN-560 vs 580EX II Canon

The first model in the series is the YN-560 (see here for the in-depth review), which has been reported to be available soon, in early June 2010. Since its design resembles the Canon 580EX II a lot, I have put together here the 2 units specifications next to each other.

Basic specs and strobist information

Some of the data for the new Yongnuo still needs verification, e.g. recycle times and the real guide number.

Model information
Brand Yongnuo Canon
Model YN560 580EX II
First introduction 2010 2008
Successor none yet none yet
Output specs
Guide Number (m) 39 36
Manual Power Settings 1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 – 1/64 – 1/128 1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 – 1/64 – 1/128
Flash duration (full power) 1/200 1/833
Recycle time specified
(full power)
3 sec alkaline 5.0 sec alkaline
Recycle time measured
(full power)
3.4 sec alkaline, 1.6 sec NiMH 3.8 sec alkaline, 3.0 sec NiMH
Flash head features
Swivel -180 to +90 degrees -180 to +180 degrees
Tilt -7 to +90 degrees -7 to +90 degrees
Manual zoom head (18) 24-105 (14) 24-105
Motor zoom no (14) 24-105
2nd reflector no no
LCD display no yes
Standard flash foot standard standard ISO (Canon)
PC Synch Port yes yes
Optical Slave 2 modes (1 w/ pre-flash suppresion) no
Other trigger no wireless TTL slave mode
Trigger voltage 3.25 V (measured) 4.49 V
Standby mode can be adjusted (30 mins max) can be deactivated
Power supply
Batteries used 4 x AA 4 x AA
External power source Yongnuo SF-18C or SF-17C Battery Pack CP-E4


On-camera features

This second table here now looks at features and functionality you will be able to receive if the flash unit is attached to a camera or supporting wireless TTL mode. The YN-560 will be working in manual mode only: there is no E-TTL or i-TTL support although it will fire with the shutter release.

Model information
Brand Yongnuo Canon
Model YN560 580EX II
First introduction 2010 2008
Successor none yet none yet
Nikon TTL
D-TTL no na
i-TTL no na
CLS wireless slave no na
CLS wireless master no na
Canon TTL
E-TTL no yes
E-TTL II no yes
E-TTL(II) wireless slave no yes
E-TTL(II) wireless master no yes
Other flash modes
Stroboscopic mode no yes
Auto mode no yes
Camera support
AF assist light no yes (triple beam)
Exposure compensation in TTL mode on the flash unit no -3 to +3 EV
Rear curtain synchronization yes; most probably not working with Canon cameras yes
High speed synchronization no yes
Sensor size detection (DX, FX, etc) no yes
Modeling light no yes
More information
full review YN560 Photo Talkz

  • Pete says:

    I’d love to see a similar side-by-side size comparison with the SB-900. I’ve never seen a 580EXII close up so I’ve no idea how big it really is. I do have an SB-900 and know that it’s at the limit of what I’d want to be carrying around though.


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  • marie says:

    I use the YN 460 as a second wireless flash in support of my 580exii. I can’t fault it as a second flash. It cost $65 (AUD), which meant the whole wireless set up (with stand, receiver and hot shoe adaptor) came under $150 (AUD). I used it all day Sunday and it never faltered. The 580 was less consistent (my fault for trying to push it too hard, it could have easily performed all day at a 1/4 power). All this aside, the 580exii is fantastic and I wouldn’t be without it, but as a secondary flash system the YN-460 is reliable (if not a little flimsy) but all over it’s good value for money.

  • Matty says:

    Hi All,

    I’m struggling to determine what would be better for an off camera flash – do I go for a Yongnuo 560 or do I get a Canon 580 EZ? They’re both around the same cost…

    please help!


  • Brad says:

    The YongNuo 560 is an exceptional off- Camera flash. for the dirt cheap price, this flash compares highly to any and all flashes on the market. The recycle time alone is pretty amazing.

  • sherwin sahagun says:

    it was a very nice article about yn560.. honestly i just bought one but i kind wonder why everytime i trigerred the yn560 with my cactus v5 on the top of the camera the outcome of the picture is half black out i dont know if theres something related to shutter speed? please help! i dont know if theres something wrong with my transciever or my yn560? thanks! pls help!

    • fransener says:

      Hi sherwin

      The black band means the shutter speed is too short for the combination to work. Repeat the test with longer speeds, e.g. 1/200, then 1/160 sec – the band should become smaller than disappear. Now you know what your limit is, and how far you can push it for your shooting. Use your cam in mode “S” (Nikon) or “Tv” (Canon), or in mode “M”, otherwise you don’t have control over the camera shutter settings. Let us know what you find out!


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