But how about a TTL flash for under 75$? With an additional “M” mode for “strobist” photography on top? That’s what you get with the Yongnuo YN-465!
The YN465, the first TTL model from the Chinese photo accessories company, is basically a TTL-enabled YN460. It is available in a Canon E-TTL (II) version or as a Nikon i-TTL model.
Both are sold under the same name but differ technically so you need to make sure it’s the right version for your brand when picking one up.
Within the Yongnuo line-up you find 2 more TTL flashes: the YN-467 for Canon or Nikon and the YN-468 (Canon only). The YN-465 is the entry level flash. The range now was extended by the addition of the YN-565.
YN 465 Highlights
The YN 465 flash is offered in a Canon and a Nikon version. Auction listings often mention specific camera models, but there are NO sub-version in reality, so all Canon versions are identical, and so are all YN-465 speedlights for Nikon.
|Canon cameras||Nikon cameras|
Flash Head Features
Operation & Ease of Use
Test: Flash Recycling Times
Test: Guide Number
Speedlights.net Power Index
Test: Flash Duration
Tech Specs Table
Radio Triggering for Wireless Flash
AF Assist Beam
i-TTL (E-TTL) Performance
Flash Sync Modes
Other Flash Features
YN-465 Review Conclusion
Where To Buy
Intro: Flash Modes and Wireless Flash
The YN465 comes with 2 modes: the normal TTL mode as a default setting, plus a fully-fledged manual mode.
ETTL (II) for Canon / i-TTL Exposure Control for Nikon Camera Bodies
The YN-465, introduced in 2009, was the first TTL-enabled flashgun from the Yongnuo company in China. It builds on the feature set of the “strobist line” of manual flashes but adds through-the-lens exposure control for use in the camera hot shoe. For Canon, there are 2 more E-TTL models available with the YN-467 and the YN-468, and the third one = the YN-565 is expected to ship in May 2011. For Nikon, the only other option from Shenzhen is the YN-467 as of April 2011.
When the 465 was first introduced there were some reports about initial problems with the Nikon version, while the later released Canon version seemed to work perfectly right from the start. It seems to be a good idea in general to avoid the very first batch of a new Yongnuo model. My own YN-465 works perfectly and I think it’s offering a terrific value for people on a budget.
For camera compatibility please see the table above. The following list of TTL features is not supported by the YN-465: modeling light, high speed sync, sensor size detection, flash exposure compensation on the flash unit (you can use the camera body to dial in flash exposure compensation instead).
None of this is necessary for everyday flash photography but this flash is not designed for professionals, certainly. Jump to the TTL performance review section for detail information about flash performance when mounted on a DSLR.
Manual Flash Mode M
Manual mode photography is an extremely valuable feature and in some cases your best option for taking good looking photos. Using manual mode is a breeze with the YN 465: simply turn the command wheel to dial in a manual setting. All full stops are offered between full power (GN 33 on paper, but it’s lower in real life as can be seen from the test results below) and the minimum setting. Here’s the list of all steps:
1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 – 1/64
Full details about using the YN 465 in manual mode can be found in the wireless flash section further below.
Non-Supported Flash Modes
The following flash modes are not supported by the YN-465: (the old & mostly obsolete) “auto” mode, multi flash / stroboscopic mode, TTL in the version for analog camera bodies, and the 1st gen Nikon D-TTL.
Wireless Flash with YN-465
Triggering through the flash foot (e.g. using Yongnuo RF-602 flash triggers) is the one option for using the YN465 as a wireless flash – it does not have the optical slave modes found on most other Yongnuo speedlites. But it works fine with radio triggers and has a wide 6-stop range of manual power levels from 1/1 down to 1/64.
The YN-465 does not work in Nikon TTL wireless slave mode “AWL”, nor in the corresponding wireless mode offered by Canon. There’s no way for remote triggering without additional accessories (flash triggers), even if your camera has a built-in mini flash with a commander mode, such as the ones found on the 600D / Rebel T3i, or the Nikon D90.
Read more about wireless flash in the Radio Triggering & Optical Slave Mode sections further below.
|Compatible with Canon cameras (E-TTL(II))||yes|
|Supported Canon flash modes||ETTL(II), M|
|Canon wireless TTL slave / master||no / no|
|Compatible with Nikon cameras (CLS / i-TTL)||yes|
|Supported Nikon flash modes||i-TTL, M|
|Nikon wireless TTL slave / master||no / no|
|Manual power settings (on the flash)||1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 – 1/64|
The flash comes packed in a nice looking box. When you order from the manufacturer store it will probably ship in a thin bubble wrap envelope and there is not a lot of protection overall but all my Yongnuo flash units survived the travel from Hong Kong so far. The last one I ordered – a YN-467 for Nikon – even arrived within 8 days after the purchase which was pretty impressive for an offer with free shipping.
The packaging includes – in contrast to most other brand flashes – a wide range of accessories:
- the flash itself (even with a little bag of silica gel inside the battery compartment)
- handbook in Chinese and English
- a feature comparison chart about the Yongnuo flash models
- a pouch
- a stand
- a flash bounce diffuser as a “free gift”.
If you buy a Sunpak PZ42X or a Metz 48 AF-1 / 50 AF-1 you get nothing but the flash itself and a handbook. There is no bag, or stand, or stofen supplied. The Vivitar DF-383 came at least with a pouch. But Shenzhen Yongnuo is way more generous in that respect.
Click here for the instruction manual of the YN-465. The bag that comes with the Yongnuo 465 is simple and doesn’t have any padding so the level of protection is not the same as for the SB-600 or SB-900 soft cases. The flash stand, on the other side, is a more expensive construction than the el-cheapo one of the SB-900 (or SB-700). It has a metal insert for the tripod mount, and a hole for the speedlite’s locking pin. The snap on diffuser comes as a “free gift” depending on the seller you’re ordering from. Btw, it’s exactly the same size/model that fits on the SB-600 and SB-800 flashes from Nikon.
The flash itself is a little bit bigger than the SB-600 / SB-700 / 430EX II from Canon but much smaller than the flagship models from Canon or Nikon. The casing and body seems to be Yongnuo’s own design mostly. The battery door hinge design is inspired by the Vivitar DF-383 while the flash overall shows a few similarities to the Vivitar, but also to the Nikon SB-600.
The YN-465 is a typical representative of the Yongnuo 460 series: a bit rough around the edges, but a sturdy construction overall and – in my opinion – a rather elegant casing that feels well in your hand. It would look even better if the labeling on the back panel was not in ‘font size 400′ but you get used to it.
I keep repeating myself in all 46x series reviews: the weakest spot in the construction is the battery door with its primitive plastic hinge. Everybody dislikes its but nobody seems to have had a real problem so far. The picture below shows the battery compartment of the YN465.
Update from January 2011: all YN flashes come now with a metal flash foot, see here for reports.
The standard ISO shaped flash foot
is made from plastic sits well in my cameras’ hot shoes, radio triggers and flash stands. I have the Nikon version with the central X contact plus 3 additional i-TTL pins around it. I haven’t had (nor read about) any contact problems with Yongnuo so far.
There is a locking pin connected to the screw lock wheel to give you a reliable mount. The photo shows the foot of a pre-2011 YN-465 in comparison to the one of the Nikon SB-600.
Apart from the foot there is no other socket or connector on the outside of the YN-465, so use it for both mounting and triggering the unit.
It was a smart design choice by the Yongnuo engineers to give their 460 series flash heads the same front screen dimensions as the Nikon SB-600 / SB-800, so there is an abundance of stofens, lightspheres, grids, snoots etc that all fit the YN-465 as well.
Flash Head Adjustment
The ‘foursixtyfive’ has a movable flash head in both axes which is one of the features where it’s better than the entry level modes from Canon (270EX) and Nikon (SB-400). There is 270 degrees swivel to the left and right, and it can be adjusted between plus 90 degrees and minus 7 (it is -10 degrees actually) in the vertical axis, so bouncing the light off from a wall or the ceiling works well.
In the photo you can see it compared to the Nikon SB-600 which lacks the negative tilt, and so does the 430EX II from Canon.
There is no release button that needs to be pushed for turning or tilting the flash head. It still holds pretty tight in every position and operation is smooth at the same time – well built!
No Zoom Reflector
By default the flash covers 35mm in full frame (about 24mm for APS-C) and there’s no zoom reflector built-in – this is where most other digital TTL speedlights have an advantage, e.g. the zoom head models YN-467 and YN-468 which start at 24mm and zoom to 85mm max (full frame values).
If used with shorter lens settings, e.g. the 18mm position on a kit lens from Canon, vignetting will be visible on the frame borders. In that case use the wide-flash panel which helps with broadening the beam.
Wide angle coverage
Like all Yongnuo flashes the head features a built-in wide angle diffuser (plus bounce card). With this wide panel the coverage extends to 18mm full frame or 12mm for Nikon APS-C or about 11mm for Canon EF-S.
The first thing you should do after unpacking the new flash is peeling off the protective film and you will see that all the scratches on the back panel are gone. On that panel you won’t find an LCD but a simple battery of 7 yellow LED lights. They are used to display the output level in manual mode and not needed for TTL operation.
Apart from the LED’s there is a “Pilot” button for manual test flash release, and the only other control is a big black command wheel. Turn clockwise to power on in TTL mode, turn further for manual mode from 1/64 and through the 7 stop range to 1/1. That’s it – no custom features, and no other settings.
The YN-465 runs on 4 AA cells, either alkaline or NiMH. There are stickers in the battery chamber indicating the polarity. Once you master the right battery loading technique you’ll find it a trouble free exercise. Unlike on the 560 series from Yongnuo and the professional line from Nikon or Canon there is no external power source connector; but, to put things in perspective: given the very fast recycle time you won’t miss it much.
Test: Flash Recycling Times (2.0 / 1.2 (!) seconds)
Modern flashes have full-power recycle times between 2 and 6 seconds, depending on their maximum power and battery type. Speedlights.net recycle times are tested according to ISO 2827; see details.
The official specs for the flash under review mention 5 seconds recycling time. You can watch the alkaline battery test here (using a set of 4 brand new Duracells).
The flashgun achieves an outstanding result for both battery types. It only needs 1.2 seconds with fresh Sanyo eneloop NiMH cells (charged at 1.373 volts at the time of testing) and 2.0 seconds with the Duracell AA’s (1.614 volts). With this result it is much faster than the competition from Canon, Nikon and Metz; this is true not only for the mid-range flashguns like the 430EX II but also for their flagship speedlites like an SB-900 or 580EX (II).
The chart gives a graphical representation of the findings. It shows that recycles times stay pretty constant with NiMH and exhibit the typical increase with alkaline cells. It’s a very similar result as for the YN-467.
Rechargeable NiMH batteries are certainly the preferred energy source not only for performance reasons but also a better choice for the environment.
If you fire a speedlite too often at maximum output the energy of the light will heat up the flashgun itself. Like other 460-series models (and also the YN560) there is a thermal cutout implemented in the YN-465 to prevent damages caused by the heat. I have seen it in action with the (stronger) YN-460-II but not on the YN-465 to date.
Test: Flash Output and Guide Number
The guide number (GN) of an electronic flash is a measure of the maximum light output – visit the test details page to learn more.
Official Specification: GN 33
The official specs for the YN-465 state a guide number of 33 which must be for 35mm since that’s the only reflector setting. As we’ve shown for other units in the 460 series the real guide number is lower than that, so the Yongnyo flashes don’t live up to their specs.
Flash Meter Results
All flashes are tested using the same standardized method using a Sekonic flash meter in a controlled environment. Speedlites are never tested alone, but always together with re-tests of other models to guarantee consistent results between sessions.
In testing, the light meter shows f16 plus 5/10 (a half stop over f16) putting our flash ahead of the SB-400 and also the Yongnuo YN467. Which is a bit surprising as the latter is equipped with a zoom head and you’d expect it would be better. f16 +5/10 is a bit behind the result for the Nikon SB-600, and clearly less than the Canon 430 (II). This is less of a surprise.
|Model||Light meter reading|
|Nissin Di622 Mark II||f22 +4/10|
|Sunpak PZ42X||f22 +3/10|
|Canon 430EX II||f22 +2/10|
|Metz 48 AF-1||f22 +1/10|
|Nikon SB-600||f16 +9/10|
|Nikon SB-700||f16 +7/10|
|Yongnuo YN-465||f16 +5/10|
|Nikon SB-400||f16 +0/10|
|Yongnuo YN-468||f11 +7/10|
|Yongnuo YN-467||f11 +7/10|
The following picture shows you the difference between 4 different speedlites. All pictures were shot at 1/200 seconds, f16 and flash at full manual power (SB-400 can be manually adjusted from the D90 menu system). Please note that these pictures don’t indicate that some of the units would be underpowered in absolute terms – with a bigger aperture you’d get a lot more light on this scene.
Real World Guide Number: 27 – Guide Number Table
The calculated guide number is obtained by adding exactly 1 f-stop to the flash meter test results. Learn more about this method on the test details page.
The following table lists the calculated guide number test results for default and wide angle reflector position with the official spec for the default position in brackets below. Yongnuo does not provide a guide number table, that’s why the other fields are showing “na”.
Speedlights Power Index
The light blue bar in the Speedlights.net Power Index shows the official 35mm-GN, and the dark blue bar indicates the test results. Go to the test details page for more information on the Speedlights.net Power Index.
The YN-465, like all other flashes from Yongnuo, is not as powerful as the specifications suggest. It missed the official GN 33 by quite a bit. But with a real guide number of 27 there’s still sufficient output provided, it’s almost on the level of Nikon’s new SB-700.
Test: Effective Output Range
Between maximum power and 1/64, the YN-465 offers a theoretical 6-stop range (one stop less than what you get from the Nikon SB-700). For full power on the YN465 the meter reads f16 +5/10. For 1/64 the meter shows f2.0 plus 8/10 – that’s why the real output range is 5.7 rather then 6 full stops.
|Yongnuo YN-465 output range spec||Output range from tests|
|6 stops||5.7 stops|
Test: Continuous Shooting Output
All flashes lose some power when fired with maximum frequency; read the test info page to learn more about the effect and the test procedure.
|Model||Calc. guide number at 60 sec wait||Calc. guide number at continuous fire||Difference in f-stops|
|Nissin Di622 Mark II||36.8||32.0||-4/10|
|Canon 430EX II||34.3||26.0||-8/10|
|Metz 48 AF-1||33.1||29.9||-3/10|
3 tenths of a stop is the guide number decrease when the YN-465 is fired at maximum speed in the full power setting, i.e. as soon as the ready light comes back on. As you can see from the table this is a rather good result and it means the YN-465 won’t hardly be weaker in fast shooting sessions despite its awesome recycling performance. Good news.
Test: Flash Duration
Flash duration is the time between the beginning of the flash and the end of the light emission. Go to the speedlite test methodology page for information on t0.5 versus t0.1 flash durations and the method used here on the site.
YN-465 Flash Duration Compared
In reality there is hardly a difference between common modern-design flashes when it comes to flash duration – the following table is illustrating this fact; differences in the specs are due to different definitions involved on manufacturer side, as seems.
|Model||flash duration spec at 1/1 power (sec)||t0.1 metering result (sec)|
|Nissin Di622 Mark II||1/800||1/375|
|Canon 430EX II||unspecified||1/350|
|Metz 48 AF-1||1/125||1/230|
t0.1 Flash Duration Times Table
|Output level||Manufacturer spec||t0.1 metering|
These are the typical values you’d expect for a speedlite, no surprises here. The last possible reading with the Broncolor FCC is 1/8000 at the 1/32 power setting; for 1/64, the time is outside of the metering range.
Here is now an overview of the specifications and test results for the YN-465.
|Guide number spec
(35mm, ISO 100, in meters)
|Guide number test result||27|
|Manual power settings||1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 – 1/64|
|Flash duration (full power)||1/800|
|Recycle time spec
(at full power)
|5 sec alkaline|
|Recycle time test result||2.0 sec alkaline, 1.2 sec NiMH|
|Flash foot material, type||metal (2011), standard ISO|
|PC Sync Port||no|
|Trigger Voltage||3.25 V (measured)|
|Standby Mode||40-50 sec, but instant wake-up & fire|
|Flash Head Features|
|Swivel||-180 to +90 degrees|
|Tilt||-10 to +90 degrees|
|Manual Zoom Head||(18) 35mm fixed|
|Auto Zoom||(18) 35mm fixed|
|Bounce card / 2nd reflector||yes / no|
|Batteries Used||4 x AA|
|External Power Source||no|
|CLS Wireless Slave||no|
|CLS Wireless Master||no|
|E-TTL(II) wireless slave||no|
|E-TTL(II) wireless master||no|
|Other Flash Modes|
|AF Assist Light||yes|
|Exposure Compensation in TTL Mode on the Flash unit||no|
|Rear Curtain Synchronization||yes (if supported by cam)|
|High Speed Synchronization||no|
|Sensor Size Detection (DX, FX, etc)||no|
Yongnuo flashguns have first gained a reputation among “strobist” photographers (visit David Hobby’s website here to learn about lighting). With their fast growing line of TTL models they are now also gaining ground among TTL (read: occasional) shooters, that’s why we are looking at both types of application here on the site.
Radio Triggering For Wireless Flash
There’s exactly one option for wireless flash, and that is attaching a trigger on the foot of the flash. There’s no PC sync socket, no slave sensor for optical triggering, no wireless TTL support in the dedicated systems from Canon or Nikon. It really comes down to radio triggering so no luxuries here, which means that the safest option does work.
The photo below shows a YN-460 on the right: you can see the center pin for the trigger signal, plus the locking pin which holds the flash in the hot shoe or in the supplied mini flash stand. On the left you can see the additional pins of the YN-465. These are the additional TTL contacts for the data exchange between the flash and the camera itself, but the strobe can be fired with the central pin alone, so “strobism” with radio triggers works perfectly fine.
The trigger voltage of the review unit is at 3.25 V so no danger for low voltage radio triggers. Useful for umbrella use are the negative flash head tilt (helps aiming better at the center of the umbrella), and the integrated wide angle screen for a wider light spread, beyond the 35mm illumination. Depending on the modifier you might also use the diffuser cap in addition.
Manual Mode Operation
The flash is switched on with the big command wheel on the control panel. The speedlite is super responsive overall and reacts without any delay. In manual mode the power can be set to 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, or 1/64 by turning the command wheel; no partial output levels but a good 6 stop range (7 different settings overall), indicated by the series of orange LEDs (“idiot lights”).
No Optical Slave Modes
In contrast to the other Yongnuo speedlites this unit does not have the 2 optical slave modes built in. While this looks bad on paper it’s not a big loss in real life, at least for me: first you never get the same kind of near-100%-reliability with an optical slave sensor that you get with radio receivers anyways, so it’s a backup solution at best.
In addition, the type of optical trigger built-in on the 46x series models from Yongnuo is working under low ambient light conditions only but not outside in bright sunshine. It’s only the YN-560 optical trigger that always works very well, but not the ones on the 46x flashes (I tested them all).
No Troubles with Standby Mode
Standby / power saving mode has been changed versus previous models like the YN-460; the 465 unit enters standby now faster (within 40 to 50 seconds of inactivity). Standby is indicated by flashing “TTL” light or “M” LED plus flashing output level lights. As their standby mode disqualifies a lot of flashguns from strobist usage this sounds like very bad news but the Chinese have not screwed up here.
Rather have they come up with a really smart solution: the flash fires off at the very first press of the shutter (or trigger), which means it wakes up from standby and fires in parallel. I verified this behavior with two different radio triggers, the Cactus V4 and also the Yongnuo RF-602. With RF-602 installed it does not even go into standby actually – that is all excellent news.
YN-465 Wireless Flash Video Review
Here’s the video review of the YN-465 manual mode operation including battery loeading, flash mode setting, and radio triggering with Yongnuo RF-602 and the Cactus V4.
To qualify for off camera work there needs to be a certain feature set present that is differing quite substantially from what you need in the normal flash photography use case. This is what’s called the “strobist must-haves” here on speedlights.net.
First and foremost you need a manual mode on a flash apart from the automatic TTL mode, and in order for that mode to be useful you need several different output levels to choose from. In addition the flash needs to be able to fire using the central X-contact alone – this is something the Nikon SB-400 is unable to do, for example. And finally you want to be able to use the flash with radio triggers without its power saving feature ruining your day by locking the flash
- manual mode
- has manual mode: yes
- minimum manual power: 1/64
- all full stops from 1/1 to 1/64: yes
- X contact firing: yes
- flash standby mode: 40-50 sec, but instant wake-up & fire
There is not one feature too much on the YN-465, but that’s what enables the great pricing. And at the same time there is no weakness either – the YN-465 is a very useful “strobist” speedlite with good output and a good range of power steps too. So all in all the verdict is AA (-) but don’t hesitate to get one for your strobist kit in case the additional TTL might come handy one day.
YN-465 i-TTL Nikon (E –TTL for Canon) Review
The YN-465 is the first TTL-enabled flashgun from the Yongnuo company in China. It builds on the feature set introduced with their ‘strobist line’ of manual flashes but adds thru-the-lens exposure control for use in the camera hot shoe. For Canon, there are 2 more E-TTL models available with the YN-467 and the YN-468. For Nikon, the only other option from Shenzhen is the YN-467 as of May 2011.
A compatibility list for the YN-465 can be found at the beginning of this review (click here to jump to the compatible camera models section).
The picture below shows the Yongnuo YN465 mounted on Nikon D90 which results in a compact and well balanced package. The flash is a little bit bigger than the SB-600 but much smaller than the flagship models from Canon or Nikon.
Hot Shoe Operation
The Yongnuo YN-465 (photo left)
has had a plastic foot with a screw-lock pin; since 2011 all YN speedlites have a metal flash foot design. The foot slides in the D90 hot shoe with a bit of resistance, and a full lock requires a bit more than a half turn. I have not had any contact problems with my Yongnuo flashes to date. As soon as you power the flash on, the camera’s top display lights up for a couple of seconds.
It is a bit annoying on the Nikon D90 (and it was the same on the D80) that the camera does not recognize an accessory flash in its hot shoe as long as the unit is powered off. As if there was nothing the built-in flash tries to pop out with the flash mode button and knocks against the external flash.
As soon as the external flash is switched on the camera does recognize it and the built-in flash gets deactivated. This works with a Nikon SB-600 as well as the Yongnuo 465 (but not with a non-TTL flash like the YN-460 or the Vivitar 285HV for example: if one of these sits on the camera and powered on the built in flash still tries to pop up with the Nikon flash mode button).
The YN-465 enters power saving mode in under a minute of inactivity and then starts flashing the LEDs on the back. It comes back immediately as soon as you half-press the shutter release and fires even at the first full press. Means you are always ready to fire, similar to the standby feature on the Nikon SB-900.
AF Assist Beam
When the first YN460 models hit the market, the red screen on the front side of the flash was a pure dummy with no function at all. It was only later that this became the place where the light sensor for the optical slave mode was put, and since the YN-465 it’s also housing the LED based AF assist light that supports focusing in low light situations.
The light is a simpler construction than the dual-beam design on the Nikon 600, 700, 800 and 900 series speedlights / the Canon 430EX (II) / 580EX (II) flashes but still effective overall when used with the middle AF sensor. However, in the most difficult situations – like subjects lacking any contrast, at very long distances, or at the frame borders – it can’t always compete with the Canon or Nikon focus assist and their pronounced grid pattern.
Like on the Nikon SB-400 the angle of coverage for the flash beam is fixed. The YN-465 has a reflector covering a 35mm FX lens (or ~24mm DX / APS-C / EF-S). You can certainly use it with a longer lens but in contrast to a flash with zoom reflector it does not narrow down the beam and the guide number doesn’t increase (flashguns with zoom reflector typically win 1 f-stops between 35mm and their 105mm setting).
With the built-in wide panel coverage increases down to 18mm FX (around 12mm DX for Nikon, 11mm for a Canon Rebel). Yongnuo got a bit of a bad reputation for the low quality of their flip-down wide panels in the first batches of the YN-460 which seemed to break or even fall off in some cases. Things have improved as I haven’t read about problems with it in a longer time now (and I haven’t had problems myself on my 6 flashes from the 460 series).
Lack of a zoom reflector does not cause any problems with the camera obviously; It’s just like with a built-in flash where this is the same situation or with the aforementioned SB-400 (or the respective Canon flash 270EX / 270EX II). The difference is that the Yongnuo is stronger than these entry-level models, it’s almost on the level of the new SB-700.
E-TTL / i-TTL Performance
To activate TTL mode on the flash you need to physically set the command dial to the respective position – like usual in the Nikon system the mode is not set on the camera, but on the speedlight direct (yes, the SB-400 is an exception here).
There are no other features to activate on it like flash exposure compensation or acoustic signals or slave mode or anything else. What is certainly available is a manual mode as a TTL alternative (see further above). In mode TTL, the D90 camera can be used in any mode supporting a flash; I explicitly tested it in P, S and A (but see below for some advice regarding FP sync setting).
There are 3 icons or groups of symbols when it comes to flash related functionality in the D90 viewfinder. One of them is FV lock which we will talk about further down on this page. The other two are:
- flash-ready indicator:
This is the lightning stroke symbol and the rightmost icon in the viewfinder info bar. If a compatible flash is ready to fire the symbol is lit. Once fired, the symbol disappears until the flash has recycled. Yongnuo’s YN465 masters this discipline as good as the speedlight from Nikon, it even blinks for 3 seconds if fired at full power to indicate a potential underexposure, just like an original. In contrast, a YN-460 on the hot shoe shows a flickering light (which means “some flash light would be needed here but there seems to be no flash active”), so this is something that has been developed by the Yongnuo engineers for their TTL models.
- flash compensation indicator and flash compensation value:
this functionality is also supported by the i-TTL flash from Yongnuo and works fine; see below in the discussion for more details.
I shot around 500 photos with the Yongnuo YN-465 in TTL mode and exposure is very good in general. There was no situation where it disappointed, be it direct flash or bounced against the ceiling.
Daylight fill flash exposure is very good, especially the balance between natural and flash light is pleasing. In none of my daylight fill flash photos there was noticeable over- or underexposure of the main subject or background.
Photo above: Direct flash; shot was taken at 70mm with a D90 at ISO 640, shutter priority at 1/200, f2.8. Contrast was set to neutral, sharpness to minimum.
Photo above: the same shot with a more pronounced S-curve applied and sharpened via USM.
Please go to the YN-465 i-TTL sample picture page for more sample shots and information about white balance, fill flash and bouncing light.
The summary of the TTL tests is that the YN465 is able to deliver very decent results, also when directly compared with Nikon’s own SB-600.
Flash Sync Modes
The normal sync option is on the first curtain and usually with shutter speeds between 1/60 and the max sync speed, typically between 1/200 and 1/250 seconds. The Yongnuo YN465 has support for some but not all of the other sync options you get with the SB-600 from Nikon.
Slow sync is supported by the SB-600 and works also with YN-465, no difference for this highly useful functionality that helps you balance ambient with flash light. In the Canon system, there’s no flash setting for slow sync; use the “Av” camera mode instead.
Rear Curtain Sync
2nd curtain sync is set on the D90 body using the flash mode button (unlike YN468 the YN-465 has no rear curtain sync setting on the flash itself). The picture was shot hand held at 1/2 second, f2.8, ISO 200. Not a good photo but should be good enough to demonstrate that rear curtain sync works.
I’m actually not sure if this needs to be supported by the flash at all; it’s simply a camera feature in the Nikon system. Because – it even works with the manual-mode only Yongnuo 460 on the D90.
Update from March 2011: A got an email from a Canon 60D user (thanks again for the information!) who’s able to use it in rear curtain sync when changing the sync mode from the camera menu system. I’m not sure if this works with all Canon bodies or only select (recent?) models, but there are compatible bodies for rear sync with this model of Yongnuo flash.
No High Speed Sync With YN-465
For me, this feature is pretty important: with auto FP (or ‘HSS’ = high speed sync) enabled you can go beyond the camera’s sync speed while using flash light. On the D90, the minimum shutter speed for flash is 1/200 sec. With auto FP enabled, you can take flash photos with any shutter speed the camera offers, that means also with shorter times, e.g. 1/500 or 1/4000 sec.
Nikon’s speedlights SB-600, SB-700, SB-800 and SB-900 support this very useful feature (in the current lineup, only SB-400 does not). If FP is set to “on” in the camera it seems like you can also use it with the YN465. Switch to mode A or S and you will see that times shorter than 1/200 are possible. But fire a shot and you will notice the flash does fire.
But don’t get fooled: although the flash does fire there is no light from it on the frame. HSS works with a series of mini flashes firing one after another to overcome the problem of partly closed shutter curtains. This is not working with the Yongnuo which is firing just once.
I highly recommend deactivating the FP sync setting manually on your Nikon camera body to protect yourself from errors, or use mode “S” and set a shutter speed of max 1/200 sec. For owners of a Canon DSLR, there’s no problem with this: the sync mode jumps back when you try to select “HSS” and the short times don’t get ever used.
Other Flash Features
This section deals with red-eye flash, modeling light, flash-off, and flash exposure compensation / flash bracketing settings.
Anti red eye flash is not supported by the YN-465: the mode can be selected with the flash mode button on the camera, and the flashgun does fire, but the anti red eye pre-flashes are not emitted. The same applies for the combination of red-eye flash plus slow sync; again, no anti red eye pre-flash on the Yongnuo (slow sync works).
Modeling light is activated through setting e3 on the Nikon D90. If set to “on” and when using a compatible flash you can generate a (more or less useful) modeling light by pressing the depth-of-field button near the lens mount on the camera body. With the YN465 in the hot shoe the depth-of-field button is doing its normal job (which is a depth-of-field preview obviously) but there is no modeling light.
Flash Exposure Compensation
Using the flash mode button and one of the D90′s control dials, flash output can be modified in a range from -3 to +1 EV. In the viewfinder, you can see an active flash exposure compensation as well as the amount that is set when the flash mode button is pressed. This works exactly the same way on the 465 as it does on the SB-600; both tested flashguns do execute the command.
When using the SB-600 with its own, built-in output level compensation you have a second way to override flash output: either on the camera or on the flash itself or both combined (e.g. +1 on the SB-600 plus -2 on the camera gives you -1 overall). With the YN-465 you don’t have EV compensation on the flash but you can use the flash output compensation on your camera.
Flash Exposure Lock (FV Lock)
FV lock allows locking in of a certain flash level – it is like exposure lock but for the flash output. To activate you need to configure either the AE-button or the Fn-button (Nikon D90), and then the camera-mounted speedlite sends out a pre-flash once this button is pressed. This works well with the Nikon unit. Together with the metering flash, the FV lock icon lights up in the viewfinder until the next press of the Fn button deactivates both icon and the feature again.
The Yongnuo sends out the pre-flash too but the symbol only flashes up for a fraction of a second and then disappears again. And I don’t think it stores the value actually. Even after looking into the Yongnuo handbook again and following the steps listed there I could not get the flash exposure lock to work really.
Flash Bracketing (FEB)
With custom feature e4 “auto bracketing set” on the Nikon D90 you can set different types of bracketing when the auto bracketing mode of the camera is used. Personally, I never used this feature before as I do bracketing manually when it’s needed, but a quick test of the flash bracketing shows that it is working with the Yongnuo model 465. Function e6 finally lets you select the bracketing order.
The Nikon D90 has a setting on the mode dial called “flash off”. Unfortunately the ‘flash off’ mode on the camera body is a point and shoot mode and does not allow you to select the f-stop or shutter speed (nor sensor sensitivity) yourself. But there is a workaround for camera bodies with a FUNC button – you can assign a custom function for flash-off with it.
YN-465 Review: Conclusion
After their first products YN460 and YN462 Yongnuo worked into 2 directions to further expand their lineup of speedlites: with the 465 / 467 / 468 they introduced E-TTL / i-TTL support while the YN460-II goes into another direction: no TTL but more power, making it the better choice for the “strobist” who won’t use TTL ever. The latest strobist model now is the YN560 (a really nice flash by the way, but no TTL).
Among their TTL flashes the YN-465 is a great offer. Not in terms of the richness of features, but in terms of value. It works very well without a major weakness. And it’s really cheap.
YN 465 Weaknesses
Get one of these for a low cost entry into accessory flash. It is much cheaper than a SB-400 and 270EX but offers a lot more in every aspect that matters: power – flash head adjustment – off camera use.
Also, consider adding one of these to your strobist kit with YN-460-II or YN-560. It works with radio triggers, but at the same time serves as a backup flash for the hot shoe.
Where to Buy the YN-465
Yongnuo products can be found on eBay: see all YN-465 offers here for the best prices (check warranty conditions). An option is to buy direct from the Yongnuo manufacturer store where it normally comes with a 1-year warranty.
amazon is another good source for Yongnuo products; compare the availability and purchase price there. You help expand speedlights.net with further reviews if you buy through these links. Thank you very much for your support.