Finally the new Yongnuo YN-565 EX has arrived in the Speedlights.net office! Buying a flash is a quick thing thanks to the internet. What’s very time consuming is the testing, reviewing, and the writing process itself.
Which is why I’ll do it differently this time – this review gets published now, and will be updated and completed over time so that you don’t have to wait forever before the whole text comes together.
Here’s the full review program – available parts as of now are linked from the table of contents:
Intro: Flash Modes and Wireless Flash
Flash Head Features
Operation & Ease of Use
Test: Flash Recycling Times
Test: Guide Number
Speedlights.net Power Index
Test: Flash Duration
Dedicated Remote Slave Mode
No Wireless Master Mode
Optical Slave Modes “S1″ and “S2″
AF Assist Beam
-E-TTL Performance & Exposure Quality
-Flash Sync Modes
-YN-565 Review Conclusion
In the picture above you can see the new digital flash among its ancestors; all four models are available in Canon version, but for Nikon the choice is
still was limited to either YN-465 or YN-467 as of October 2011.
Update: As of December 2011, the YN-565EX can be purchased as a version for Nikon as well! I’ll get one of the new flashes as fast as I can and will add Nikon-specific information to this review.
Flash Modes Intro: Digital TTL, Manual Mode “M”, “Multi” Mode, Wireless Slave
Yongnuo’s YN-565 is the new top flash in their lineup and positioned against the Canon speedlite 430EX II (picture left) – to be competing with the professional 580EX II, the master mode and high speed sync / FP sync are missing.
In the table you can see what flash modes are available on the previous Yongnuo top flash YN-468 (picture right) and the Canon mid-range flash 430EX II.
|Yongnuo YN-468||Yongnuo YN-565 EX||Canon 430EX II|
E-TTL II Mode for Canon EOS DSLR
Yongnuo first became known for their manual-mode flashes, especially the YN-460 model. Then, in summer 2010 they released the YN-560 – a manual mode flash that looks like a clone of the 580EX II from Canon – except for the missing LCD display, and the reduced feature set lacking the automatic E-TTL (II) mode.
The new YN-565 EX integrates into the Canon E-TTL flash system. Just attach it to the camera hot shoe, power it on with default setting “ETTL”, and start your shooting – your digital EOS body takes care of the rest. The YN565EX Yongnuo is compatible with most entry and mid-range Canon camera bodies (including 600D, 1100D, 60D, 7D, 5D mk II) but make sure you check the Yongnuo-Canon compatibility page to see if your body is really supported – some Canon bodies are not compatible officially, e.g. the “1″ series pro bodies, or the original Canon 5D. And please don’t forget to leave a comment there with your own compatibility info when you have one of these flashes.
In E-TTL (II) mode the Yongnuo behaves pretty much like a Canon 430 II for the most part. Either use it in full auto mode, or dial in a flash exposure adjustment, or set one of the custom features to fine tune (e.g. AF assist firing, or power saving mode).
The flash can also be controlled through the camera menu system, but this was already possible with the YN-468 before. Change the camera mode dial to “P”, “M”, “Av” or “Tv” if the “Flash control” settings don’t show up on the camera screen (the “green auto mode” does not permit access to flash settings e.g.).
Manual Flash Mode “M”
A manual flash mode might seem like a relic from the past, but it’s indispensable for more serious shooting with any speedlite. It’s the only mode where you have 100% control over your light. Luckily, all Yongnuo flashes have a manual mode – the same can’t be said about all flashes from Canon, by the way.
In the case of the new YN-565 the manual mode is as good as it gets: all full stops from full power down to 1/128 – that’s 8 settings overall. In between third stops are provided, even between 1/1 and half power. This is the sequence:
1/1 — 1/2 +.7 — 1/2 +.3 — 1/2 — 1/4 +.7 … — 1/128 +.3 — 1/128
Switching to manual mode is equally easy – just push on the “Mode” button on the back of the flash. To dial in a power step use the left/right buttons – no other keys (such as “OK” or “Set”) are required. For the third steps use the up / down keys. As can be seen from the photo there’s no labeling on the “command pad” buttons, but you learn their functionality pretty fast.
Multi Mode (stroboscopic flash)
I’m starting this with my usual disclaimer: I don’t think multi mode is an important feature in a flash; in fact I think it’s useless pretty much. But if you want to play you find the stroboscopic flash feature on the Yongnuo YN-565.
Multi mode can be set direct on the flash or through the camera body (I’m testing with my Rebel T1i / 500D). In multi mode the following settings are available:
- flash output:
1/128 – 1/64 – 1/32 – 1/16 – 1/8 – 1/4
1 Hz – 100 Hz max
- flash count:
zero – 100 times (depending on power level)
Again, theses settings can be performed on the flash or in the camera menu. Compared to the YN-468 the frequency band has been increased, Yongnuo allows now up to 100 Hz while the YN-468 is limited to 50 Hz max. The other multi mode settings seem to have remained unchanged over the previous model.
YN-565 EX As Wireless Flash (Intro)
This new flash is the first ever Yongnuo speedlite supporting the Canon wireless slave mode – a big step up from previous Yongnuo flashes that supported ETTL auto exposure already, but only when mounted on the camera body. What you can do now with the YN-565 is keep shooting automatically, even if the flash is on a light stand or hand held for a more natural look of your light.
Owners of a 7D, 600D (Rebel T3i), and 60D can use the built in flash on the camera body to control the YN-565 in remote slave mode – no other accessories are needed. On top of that a Canon 580EX II can be used, or an ST-E2 commander.
The Canon version of the YN-565 can even be controlled in wireless TTL mode by a Nikon flash or camera body (!): Yongnuo lists SB-700, SB-800 and SB-900 as compatible, as well as Nikon camera bodies with built-in master mode (e.g. D70 / D80, D90 / D7000).
The YN-565 master-compatibility table further below in this review shows the official specs, the Speedlights.net test results, plus user reports from the web.
Further testing for the review will also include a range test outdoors as conducted for Nissin Di-622 II or SB-700 before – both under daylight and at night time. Yongnuo gives an official range of 15 meters outdoors – let’s see if that can be replicated.
Contrary to first rumors there’s no wireless master mode (commander mode): the YN-565 can be controlled by another commander flash (in the same way that Canon’s own 270EX II, 320EX, 430EX II and 580EX II can be controlled) but it does not have the ability to control other flashes itself – like the Canon 580EX II can as the only Canon speedlite in the current lineup.
But the Yongnuo offers even more options for wireless slave flash:
- it is compatible with non-TTL radio triggers such as Cactus V4 / V4 or Yongnuo RF-602 / 603
- it’s compatible with Radiopopper ETTL triggers (see here for more info)
- you find Yongnuo’s simple optical slave mode “S1” on the unit
- plus, there’s also the optical slave mode “S2” with pre-flash detection
Apart from these wireless options, you can also use a TTL remote cord.
The first piece of information posted here is the “unboxing” video where you can see the flash, its accessories, and a test shot with the Canon Rebel T1i (the Nikon version of the flash has not been released yet).
Yongnuo has always been shipping their speedlites with a complete set of accessories, and the new YN-565 is no exception here. The box itself does not provide much cushioning but, as you can see in the unboxing video, there are 2 layers of protection inside to prevent any damage from shipping. First, the YN-565 is packed in its soft case which has been upgraded from previous YN flash models. It’s not a simple bag anymore but a padded nylon semi hard case, very similar to the Nikon and Canon soft cases. Second layer is an additional bubble wrap envelope around flash and soft bag, inside the flash box.
There were concerns previously about Yongnuo flashes being shipped in thin envelopes and damaged during the transport. I would think that with the much improved packaging these problems are a thing of the past now.
Here’s what you find inside the box:
- the flash
- instruction manual
- YN flash “purchase guide” leaflet
- semi hard case
- flash stand
The instruction manual is provided in 2 language versions, Chinese and English. The 31 English pages describe the flash features, battery handling, basic functions, flash modes and wireless flash with a good amount of detail. The instruction manual can also be downloaded from Yongnuo direct, or also from here: YN-565 instruction manual.
The “purchase guide” lists 10 products: YN-565, the less popular Yongnuo wireless flash system YN460-TX / RX, their wireless commander ST-E2 (which can be used to control the YN-565), the YN-560 with identical casing as YN-565 but only a manual mode, their other 3 digital flashes YN-465, YN-467 and YN-468, and finally the first 3 manual-mode speedlites YN-460, YN-460 II, and the ‘exotic’ YN-462 – basically a simplified YN-460 but with continuous power control.
The semi hard case is really a great upgrade. It’s padded, nicely made (although not 100% on Canon / Nikon standard), comes with an internal pocket for the flash stand and a velcro closure. It’s also large enough so that the flash conveniently fits, not as tight as the Canon case for the 580.
The flash stand is also a new design and resembles now the Canon flash stand design. This means however that the metal tripod mount insert from the previous YN flash stand design is gone and replaced by a simple plastic thread, but that’s maybe a minor detail.
In addition to the accessories listed above I received a diffuser cap / “stofen” with my flash but that’s labeled as a “free gift” and technically not part of the accessory list. It also doesn’t fit in the box but came as an additional loose item in the shipping envelope.
With identical dimensions to the Yongnuo YN560 and the Canon 580EX mk II (which they’re both modeled after, see photo on the right) the digital YN-565 is not a small sized flash that fits in your coat pocket.
It’s a full size unit which requires as much space in your photo bag as an average tele zoom lens, something like a 70-300.
With their latest product Yongnuo demonstrates that they don’t rest but have kept working further on improving the quality of their flash units. With the YN-565 Yongnuo has brought their flash to a new quality level – there’s no similarity anymore to the Yongnuo 460 or the YN468, for example.
The outer casing is made of high quality plastic with a finish that feels just like the Canon 580. Everything fits together perfectly, there are also no rough edges or any other imperfections that would take away from the premium feeling the product evokes. You can tell the manufacturing quality is on a high level with little or no tolerances allowed, it actually feels on a slightly higher level than a Canon 430EX II and pretty close to the SB-700 from Nikon even. Time will tell how well it holds up in the long run but I would not have any doubts at this point.
Also details such as the battery compartment cover, the buttons, and the flash foot feel solid and well made. The flash has also a healthy weight of 380 grams without the batteries, that’s only 35 grams lighter than the pro flash 580-II from Canon.
Yongnuo upgraded their whole range of flash units with metal flash feet as of 2011. It’s actually not the whole foot but the base plate which is made of the new, higher grade material. A positive side effect is easier mounting – the metal material shows less friction in the hot shoe mount.
The base plate has a plastic insert housing the central X sync pin as well as the 4 additional ETTL contacts, plus the retractable locking pin near the front side (this is for the Canon version, the upcoming Nikon version of the flash has 1 + 3 additional pins).
The flash is secured in the hot shoe with a traditional locking wheel rather than the lever-based design chosen by Canon and Nikon. The plastic wheel nut doesn’t look exactly high tech but there’s no disadvantage whatsoever when it comes to achieve a secure mount in the hot shoe. In contrast, it can even be superior for non-camera mounts. The wheel itself has a good size, it’s easy to operate with a good grip.
The flash’s two external interfaces can be found on the left side of the body under a common rubber flap that can be conveniently moved to the side.
First there’s the non-threaded female PC sync port: use it for connecting a trigger cable, e.g. from a Yongnuo RF-602 radio trigger, or a cable connected to your camera direct. Using radio triggers on the flash foot I do find that a PC sync connection is more of a nice to have feature but your mileage may vary. And it sure does not hurt to have one.
The second external interface is an battery pack connector allowing external power supply via Yongnuo’s SF-17 and SF-18 battery packs – both in their Canon version officially labeled as “SF-18C”, “SF-17C” respectively. It’s not known at this point whether the Nikon version of the flash will feature a Nikon-type battery socket, but I would not expect that, actually.
The YN-565 shares the same adjustable flash head with the manual-mode-only Yongnuo 560. It is pretty large in size but this in turn allows a larger front screen and should help reduce the risk of thermal problems caused by the heat from the flash tube. In the photo below you can see the YN-565 together with Nikon’s SB-700 on the left, and the 2 Canon speedlites 580EX II and 430EX II. The whole flash is quite big but still handles well on a small Canon Rebel T1i body without tipping over.
The flash head allows adjustment in 2 axes. For bounced flash against ceilings or to use with the reflector card you can tilt it up to a maximum of 90 degrees (straight upwards). For close-up shots or macro photography a -7 degree position can be selected – just push the flash head slightly downwards from the center position.
Swivel is available from minus 180 degrees to the left to plus 90 degrees in the clockwise direction, useful for portrait photography for example or bouncing off walls, e.g. when the ceiling is too high or too dark. The swivel feature is also very useful because it allows to rotate the flash body – with the built-in wireless sensor on its front side – towards the master flash while the flash head can still face the subject that’s usually in a different angle.
There’s no flash head lock button / release but the adjustment mechanism provides a good amount of resistance to keep the flash head in place, except maybe for a situation where a heavier modifier is mounted directly on the flash head, for example a Lumiquest mini soft box III. In that case the weight moves the flash head down to the close-up position at minus 7 degrees – not a big deal if you adjust the light stand to compensate.
Yongnuo’s YN-565 provides an auto zoom feature that changes the angle of illumination with the lens zoom position, automatically covering the range of 24mm to a maximum of 105mm with a full frame camera body. This range is identical to the two Canon speedlites mentioned before, while Nikon’s recent models go further into the tele position with 120mm max zoom for the SB-700 or 200mm for the SB-900, respectively. More zoom on a flash is certainly useful for achieving creative lighting effects, the gain in sheer power between 105mm and 200mm is relatively modest, however – smaller than what you’d hope to get out of it.
For Rebel series cameras with EF-S crop sensor the new Yongnuo automatically detects the smaller sensor size and adjusts the zooming behavior. This ‘auto zoom for sensor size‘ mode works like on a Canon flash, and also the iconography is the same: you can tell the feature’s active from the nested-rectangles symbol in the upper right of the screen.
The YN-565EX chooses a longer zoom reflector position for EF-S than what you see on the lens: it moves the zoom head to 80mm with a 50mm lens, for example. Since 50 * 1.6 = 80 this still provides full coverage of the frame while using the battery power a bit more efficiently by avoiding some waste of light which is otherwise thrown at the surroundings outside of the frame.
The benefit is not drastic but it’s an intelligent approach and a nice feature to have. It’s also a testament to Yongnuo’s progress designing products more and more capable to fully compete with the camera manufacturers’ speedlites, yet still at an attractive price point.
Yongnuo’s flash always zooms with the lens in auto-zoom mode, even if the flash head is pointed to the side, or upwards for indirect flash (some other brand flashes stop zooming in these use cases).
On top of the auto zoom feature there’s also manual zoom to be found on this flash. Manual zoom is important for any kind of off-camera flash, be it in a completely manual or “strobist” fashion, or be it within the Canon / Nikon wireless mode. Even Canon’s and Nikon’s own flashes require you to set the zoom length by hand in wireless ETTL/iTTL, i.e. on the speedlite itself.
Zooming by hand works a bit differently from the YN-560 (the dedicated “+” and “-” buttons are gone) but in the same way it’s operated on the Canon 580: press the “ZOOM / Lightning stroke” button at the top right until the zoom indicator blinks, and then use the arrow keys to zoom up, or down, or change between “auto” and “manual” mode. Manual zoom mode is incompatible with sensor size zoom (that means the flash always displays full frame values in manual mode). The available zoom steps are identical to the 580 from Canon: 24 – 28 – 35 – 50 – 70 – 80 – 105mm.
Wide-panel plus Bounce Card
By default, the flash head covers the whole picture starting from 24mm wide angle with a full-frame camera body such as the 5D mk II, or from 15mm with an EF-S body such as the Canon Rebel series, or the 1100D.
If you should be using a wider lens than that, you can pull out a wide-angle diffuser screen from within the flash head. With this wide-panel you achieve 18mm coverage with a full frame camera body, or roughly 11mm with EF-S (Rebel series, 60D, 7D).
This wide-panel is also useful as additional light softener together with soft boxes, umbrellas etc. Just remember that this ‘coverage’ doesn’t mean a totally even illumination; expect a significant amount of light falloff towards the frame borders (this is something that almost all compact speedlites display, see further below). In general, indirect flash is clearly the better choice for vignetting-free lighting in a wide angle scene.
The second modifier built into the flash head is a thin white plastic card aka ‘bounce card’ or ‘catchlight panel‘ in Canon’s terms. This card is indeed present on the 580EX II and missing on the mid-range 430EX flash (displayed on the right in the photo below). It’s nothing but a piece of white plastic, roughly business-card size. Unlike the wide panel it does not cover the front lens of the flash but just stands out straight.
When taking portrait shots with flash head pointed straight up to the ceiling you can avoid the typical harsh flash looks. This usually comes at the price of dark shadows in the eye sockets, also known as ‘raccoon eyes’. But with the catchlight panel a portion of the flash is reflected and sent straight to the subject for a frontal fill effect, thus leading to a more balanced lighting ratio.
Test: Wide Angle Coverage
To test the light falloff / vignetting on the frame borders and in the edges each speedlite is tested under identical conditions with a 12mm DX (Nikon) lens, which equals 18mm full frame (the Canon flash was used on a Nikon D90, and set to manual mode).
The flash was set to 24mm with additional wide-panel for the official 18mm full frame coverage, exactly corresponding to the lens-camera combination (converted to full frame equivalent).
So how’s the result? As you can see on the right there is some limited level of light loss towards the borders, but then some clear vignetting in the extreme corners. Keep in mind that this is a test under lab conditions, nothing you’d notice in real life to the same extent. But let’s put this in context.
When you compare this to the Canon 580EX II below (left side), you can see that the Yongnuo is not as even across the whole image area as the pro flash from Canon, which scores as one of the very best in this test. The performance is quite similar to the mid-range 430EX II which is displayed on the right, which means it comes with slightly better vignetting results than the average for other speedlites tested to date – and a better result than the YN-560 which you might expect to have identical score.
Yongnuo’s YN-565 has a total of 11 control elements: 4 buttons in the top row, one power button, the test flash button, and the 4 command keys with embedded “OK”.
When mounted on a compatible camera body such as the Rebel T1i used for the review it can be fully controlled via the camera’s menu system (it’s not a given that every Canon-compatible flash provides this level of control, esp older speedlites such as the first Canon 430EX, and some 3rd party speedlites do not allows this).
The YN-565 comes with a very similar button layout as the Canon 580, apart from 2 details where a different approach has been selected: first is a simpler power button (instead of a turn-switch), and then you find a command pad with 4 “arrow” keys on the flash instead of a wheel.
Responsiveness of the flash is excellent, there is absolutely no reaction time or delay after the flash has been powered on. The buttons are made from hard plastic now rather than the rubber material that Yongnuo were using before (including the YN560). The feel of the surface is excellent, the pressure points well defined – a pure joy to use.
The buttons are even with the surface of the back of the flash which helps prevent any accidental actuation. Their larger size still guarantees good ease of use – unlike the Canon 430 with its tiny buttons that are too small to press down (which is why you’ll use it via camera menu system exclusively).
On/Off is a button, similar to the YN-560 released in 2010 but plastic, not rubber. Keep your finger on it for about 2 seconds to power the unit on, lighten up the display and move the reflector into position. As said above it’s a button and not a switch as found on Canon speedlites; the 2-second delay is a small compromise due to the design simplification (and corresponding, the smaller price tag).
But this can be changed with C.Fn-16: if “quic” is set to “on” this delay is eliminated, and turning it on or off can be done without the delay.
On the bottom left is the test flash button, the only control with a slightly different feel: to fire a test flash requires a stronger button push, but not excessively as was the case with the first series YN-560′s. It’s maybe not so bad to have more resistance for that key, for obvious reasons.
Underneath “test flash” is an indicator LED for flash exposure, similar to the indicator light found on the Canon 580EX mark 2: a correct exposure in TTL mode shows “green”, otherwise the light remains idle. Again, like on Canon’s own speedlites, this is information that should be displayed inside the camera viewfinder where it belongs, and not on the flash; it’s certainly not Yongnuo’s fault that Canon has designed their system the way it is.
In leftmost position in the top row is the display light key – just press briefly to bring up the orange color illumination. The light comes from the left only but is very even and also pleasing to the eye. Keep your finger on the button for about 2 seconds to bring up the custom menu with 12 + 4 functions (see next paragraph) to fine-tune your flash, using the arrow keys.
Setting custom functions is generally much better via the camera menu system, simply because there’s more explanation and text around each option than a segment-type LCD can display. The one exception are custom functions “14″ through “17″ which don’t even display on the Rebel T1i used for this review – these Yongnuo-exclusive custom settings are only accessible on the flash direct.
MODE is the next button, and it simply toggles through ETTL, manual mode “M”, Multi and back to the digital TTL mode ETTL. Slave mode is not available here, nor is the “S1″ or “S2″ mode – all three are selected using other controls; there’s also no way to decide between ETTL or ETTL-II as this is always the camera’s decision. What can be done in terms of ETTL configuration is deciding between “E-TTL II Evaluative” and “E-TTL II Average” – but only using the camera menus.
Flash sync mode, the third button from left in the top row, allows “normal sync” and “rear sync” where the flash fires at the end of the exposure rather than at the beginning when the shutter curtains just opened. You can use the Yongnuo flash under review also in slow sync; this is traditionally something that’s set via camera mode for Canon and not on the flash. But what’s missing is high speed sync mode on this flash, unfortunately.
The top right button with ZOOM/”lightning bolt” label is for both zoom and slave mode operation; this works like at Canon again. A short press give access to the zoom mode, where adjustments are done with the arrow keys. Keep your finger on the button for about 2 seconds until the display changes and you see a flash unit icon on the screen with flashing lightning bolt and “OFF” lettering above. From here you can set the Canon-dedicated wireless slave mode, as well as the Yongnuo-exclusive “S1″ and “S2″ features (exclusive compared to Canon flashes, not in absolute terms because Nissin, Metz, Nikon and others have similar slave modes available on some of their models).
The last control element is the 4-way controller with embedded “SEL/SET” in the center. The keys are used to browse through the custom features, for example, or set a certain channel and group for wireless mode, or a flash exposure compensation, or a manual zoom step.
As said above: the alternative to adjusting the flash with its own control interface is to use the camera’s menu system – Yongnuo’s 565 is fully compatible there. Due to the better button design it’s less of a necessity than in the case of the Canon 430EX II (who’s buttons are too deeply recessed to use them properly), but it can be more convenient in some cases, while direct button access is faster in others.
The Yongnuo’s LCD panel is pretty large. It’s using the “segment-type” technology, not a dot-matrix screen. With this it’s not as flexible in terms of characters or images to display (you notice the limitation most when it comes to the custom features) but the contrast is very good and it’s easy to read.
The display lightens up in orange rather than the green light used by Canon and Nikon. The light is coming from the left side of the screen, but the illumination is very even and pleasing to the eye. The display light is not coupled with the shutter on the Rebel T1i, so the light doesn’t turn on with a half-press of the shutter release, but that’s the same with Canon’s 580EX II as well as the 430EX II – a Canon limitation, not a Yongnuo peculiarity.
The picture here gives information on the symbols and icons used on the display of the flash.
Settings and Customization
Yongnuo’s YN-565 offers 14 custom features that can be adjusted using the camera menu system – that’s the same number available on the Canon 580EX II, and more than what their mid-range 430EX II allows. On top, there are 4 more custom functions which are accessible through the flash only.
Here’s not the full list but only the list of custom features the YN-565 has more than the 430:
- C.Fn 3: FEB auto cancel
- C.Fn 4: FEB sequence
- C.Fn 5: Flash metering mode – can be accessed, but only “E-TTL II” available (the menu jumps back after another mode was keyed in)
- C.Fn 6: Quickflash with continuous shot – can be accessed, but only “disabled” available (the menu jumps back after another mode was keyed in)
- C.Fn 12: Flash recycle with external power – can be accessed, but only “Flash and external power” is available (the menu jumps back after another mode was keyed in)
- C.Fn 13: Flash exposure metering set. – can be accessed, but only “Speedlite button and dial” is available (the menu jumps back after another mode was keyed in)
Since modes 5, 6, 12, and 13 don’t permit any settings to change it’s actually only the FEB = flash exposure bracketing feature where the Yongnuo looks better than the 430EX mark II when it comes to its custom functions.
As a Yongnuo-exclusive development you get 4 more custom functions with the YN-565; these can’t be set through the camera menu system but through the speedlite’s custom functions menu direct:
- C.Fn-14: the sound prompt feature with flash recycling “beep” (displayed in the picture; “SOnd–” stands for “SOund off”)
- C.Fn-15: provides “sleep mode” fine tuning with settings between 3 minutes and 5 hours
- C.Fn-16: eliminates the 2-seconds delay when powering the flash on or turning it off with the main switch
- C.Fn-17: allows a reset of the flash to restore the factory defaults
Like all modern flashes the Yongnuo YN-565 runs on 4 AA sized cells, either alkaline or NiMH type are usually recommended. Alkaline batteries are a cheaper investment upfront but they can’t be recharged which is why you always have to keep a stock of them handy; they also don’t provide the same kind of throughput rechargeable NiMH cells deliver so flash recycling times are longer, and the maximum number of shots per battery is also less.
Battery loading and unloading for the YN-565 are super easy and fast: exchanging a pair of batteries just takes seconds. The battery compartment door opens very wide and stays open thanks to a spring mechanism at the hinge. First thing you see in the battery case is the easy to read polarity sticker – it’s amazing how many other models of flash have left me puzzled at first as to how the 4 cells must be loaded.
There’s a center divider in the large battery compartment keeping each cell in its place, much like individual battery silos but with easier access for your hand (the pic above shows the YN-560, which is 100% identical when it comes the battery bay).
The mechanism is a slightly simplified copy of Canon’s 580 EX II design, the only thing left out on the Yongnuo is the additional round sliding lock switch in the middle of the door. But the door keeps shut without it very reliably and the entire layout combines safety with great ease of use – it can be easily operated with one hand, even in a stressful situation.
On top of – or in addition to – the internal battery option there’s also a socket for external power available on this flash.
The socket is a Canon type (we’ll have to see until the Nikon version comes out if it will also use the Canon type socket, or if it will have a Nikon type; I assume it will also be Canon-type, because that’s what the instruction manual says).
Yongnuo’s own Yongnuo SF-18C or Yongnuo SF-17C battery packs can be used (the “C” stands for “Canon”, make sure you get a Canon version!). Use of an external battery pack does further shorten the already very fast recycling times – see next paragraph for the impressive results with the internal cells – but it also does increase the number of flashes per charge.
Test: Flash Recycling Times
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.
Alkaline and NiMH Results
According to the official specs the flash recycle time is 3 seconds with alkaline batteries which is in the range of a Canon 430EX II or Nikon SB-700 and faster than the pro models 580EX II and SB-900, respectively. As can be seen from the graph below this mark is reached in the test for the first 4 – 5 shots in a series of flashes fired with maximum cadence (i.e. right after the red full-charge indicator lights up again after the previous flash). From the 5th shot on the recycling time goes up a bit and stabilizes at around 3.5 seconds, which is still a good performance given the high guide number.
NiMH times are not provided by Yongnuo, but they are always metered in the Speedlights.net testing as a 2nd energy source. Not surprisingly the result is even better here with 2.0 seconds as the average. Canon 580EX II achieved 3.0 sec in our test, 430EX II came in at 2.0 sec as well, and the less powerful SB-700 scored 1.8 seconds with NiMH. Click on the thumbnails to see flash recycling graphs for Canon and Nikon.
The following video shows the flash recycle test, Yongnuo RF-602 was used for triggering:
Yongnuo builds an overheating protection circuit into all of their speedlites and consequently it’s also present on the new model Yongnuo YN-565. When the flash gets too hot the electronics block the firing mechanism for around 3 minutes, and there’s a corresponding signal for the user in the form of alternating red and green blinking of the flash-ready LED. Overheating protection mode did not occur in testing nor practical try-out, so there’s no issue with over-sensitivity (as opposed to the SB-900 where the feature kicked in during the tests).
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: 58 at 105mm
Guide number tests are always fun (I mean it seriously). It’s the moment of truth for any flash, the neutral & objective test of how much light you can get. As you’d almost expect – depending on your personal level of paranoia – there are some games going on with bloated guide numbers that can’t be achieved in real life. Among others, Yongnuo have also been on the optimistic side when it comes to their guide numbers specs.
With an official guide number of 39 meters at wide angle and 58 at full tele that’s identical values for the new YN-565 and the one other 56x-series flash YN-560 (this is a completely different flash, and not made to use with digital cameras). If you check the guide number test part of the YN-560 review you will notice that the real output is lower; the flash does not reach GN 39. To get a read on the new YN-565 the usual Speedlights.net light meter test is performed.
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.
These tests are always performed at the 35mm reflector position so that they’re comparable between flashes, even if they have different tele zoom ranges.
|Model||Light meter reading|
|Nissin Di866||f22 +7/10|
|Canon 580EX II||f22 +6/10|
|Nissin Di622 Mark II||f22 +4/10|
|Yongnuo YN-565||f22 +3/10|
|Nikon SB-900||f22 +3/10|
|Canon 430EX II||f22 +2/10|
|Metz 48 AF-1||f22 +1/10|
|Nikon SB-700||f16 +7/10|
|Yongnuo YN-465||f16 +5/10|
|Yongnuo YN-468||f11 +7/10|
For the maximum zoom setting of 105mm, the flash meter reads f32 +5/10 – that’s also a strong result.
Real World Guide Number: 54 (105mm) – 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.
Using the Speedlights.net methodology the 35mm-value of f22 +3/10 translates into a calculated guide number of 35.5. This is not quite as high as the official GN spec of 39 (all in meters, as always), but it’s still a strong value, and higher than what the previous YN-560 could achieve in our testing – let alone the previous top-TTL flash YN-468.
At the tele position a guide number of 54 is achieved rather than the official GN of 58. With this result, the flash is exactly 1/10th of a stop less powerful than the Canon 580EX II (it had a test-GN of 56 while official GN is also 58).
Compared to the Yongnuo YN-560 the new model fares even better: at the 105mm tele position (both models share the same zoom range of 24 – 105mm) the official guide numbers are identical, but it’s GN 54 for the YN-565 versus GN 48.5 for the YN-560 – the older model was not very efficient at the long end.
By the way, if you look very closely at the official part of the guide number table you’ll notice the specs for the full power settings between 24mm and 105mm tele are identical to the YN-560 specs, but there are a couple small differences in the official Yongnuo specifications for the YN-565 EX.
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.
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It can be easily seen from the power index that you get a strong flash with the new YN-565. If power is a concern then the YN-565 is a much better choice than the Yongnuo YN-468. This model, however, should still be sufficient for the occasional user especially due to the fact that Canon cameras automatically switch to ISO 400 (or even higher) when a flash is attached. This higher ISO setting doubles the flash range automatically compared to the ISO 100 used here as default.
Test: Effective Output Range
All Yongnuo flashes offer a versatile manual mode with a wide range of possible settings, down to the 1/128 step on the YN 565. At maximum power a flash meter reading of f22 + 3/10 was achieved, at 1/128 the meter showed f2.0 + 6/10.
|Yongnuo YN-565 output range spec||Output range from tests|
|7 stops||6.7 stops|
This means that there’s a 6.7 stop range available, 3/10 less than the 7.0 stops as in the specs. This is still a good result; few speedlights achieve their full range in this test.
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.
Here’s the result from the continuous firing power test for the Yongnuo compared to some other flash units:
|Model||Calc. guide number at 60 sec wait||Calc. guide number at continuous fire||Difference in f-stops|
|Canon 580EX II||39.4||34.3||-4/10|
|Canon 430EX II||34.3||26.0||-8/10|
Yongnuo’s new flash shows a pretty consistent performance in this test. Even when it’s fired with the maximum cadence, that means as fast as the flash will allow, its guide number stays well above 30 (meters). A loss of three tenths of a stop is better than average. The Yongnuo keeps up slightly better than Nikon’s SB-900 even.
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 for reviews.
Yongnuo YN-565 Flash Duration Compared
Typical values for t0.1 flash duration times are usually in the range between 1/200 sec and 1/400 sec for a full-power flash shot. The more powerful speedlites are usually found at the longer end of the spectrum, that’s the case e.g. for the 580EX II from Canon; see the following table for test results from other flashes plus the result for the Yongnuo YN 565.
|Model||t0.1 flash duration metering at 1/1|
|Canon 580EX II||1/285|
|Nissin Di622 Mark II||1/375|
|Canon 430EX II||1/350|
t0.1 Flash Duration Times Table
Yongnuo provides only full-power flash duration data as 1/200 sec, plus the minimum time of 1/20,000 seconds for the 1/128 step. The Broncolor FCC used for this test has a measurement range down to 1/8,000 sec which is why flash durations at the low power settings can’t be validated. The values where a time could be taken are all in the normal range, including the full power t0.1 time of 1/325.
|Output level||Manufacturer spec||t0.1 metering|
Yongnuo’s YN-565 can be used as a remote slave flash – i.e. outside of the camera hot shoe in a variety of ways, from simple and low cost to expensive and sophisticated use cases.
- using the dedicated, digital Canon / Nikon infrared TTL slave mode – this is what you should try first esp. if your camera body has a built-in master mode / controller mode
- radio triggered through flash foot or PC sync port – tested here with non-TTL triggers such as Cactus V4 / Yongnuo RF-602
- with the non-TTL optical slave modes “S1″ and “S2″
- TTL cables (see here for example) should also work without problems, but this hasn’t been tested
- there’s some information available now with regards to radio TTL trigger compatibility: positive Radiopopper ETTL trigger results (see here)
the YN-565 does not seem to work with Pocket Wizards
Here’s a positive report about YN-565 triggered by Pixel Knight TR332
YN-565 doesn’t work with Phottix Stratos II as reported below in the comments
Options (2) and (3) require manual flash power adjustment whereas options (1), (4) and (5) come with the comfort of TTL.
Option (5) is the most expensive way to trigger wireless flash. Another downside is the fact that the technology used is based on reverse-engineering by third party companies and therefore not all trigger-flash-camera combinations will automatically work.
Please use the comments if you have more radio-TTL-triggering insights to share!
Dedicated Remote TTL Slave Mode (Canon and Nikon)
If your camera has a built-in master mode then give it a shot right away with the YN-565 and wireless flash; there’s really no need to buy any other equipment to get started right away. The technology uses infrared light instead of radio waves for the signal transmission so it requires a direct line of sight between the commander/master and the slave flash. Another limitation is that the triggering reliability may suffer under extremely bright ambient conditions, e.g. on a sunny summer day at the beach – but it may also work very well in your case (and at close range it should almost always work fine).
What’s really special about the Yongnuo 565 is that it speaks – or better: understands – two languages (no, I don’t mean Chinese and English here). One and the same YN-565 can be used as a slave flash in the Canon wireless E-TTL system, as well as in the Nikon wireless i-TTL = AWL mode.
Not many people use both Canon and Nikon systems, and the hot shoe of the flash is not universal but either Canon or Nikon only, but it’s still pretty cool. No other compact speedlite can do that!
Wireless TTL Mode (dedicated, infrared based)
Switching to wireless slave mode works in a similar fashion as on the Canon 580EX II: keep your finger for 2 seconds on the ZOOM/”lightning bolt” button until the flash icons appears with blinking “OFF” label. Pressing the right key on the 4-way controller activates wireless slave mode – the display changes from “OFF” to “SL on” with an additional “slave” icon on the display.
The display now shows channel and group, and an additional “cn” label which indicates the concurrent Canon/Nikon slave mode (Canon’s flashes obviously don’t work with Nikon camera bodies).
Setting a channel or group is easy but not super intuitive (unless you know the necessary steps from Canon already) so you want to check your instruction manual when doing it for the fist time. To access this type of adjustment repeated short pushes on ZOOM/”lightning bolt” are needed; the menu switches between zoom length, channel, group, and then slave type (Canon+Nikon, Canon only, Nikon only).
Yongnuo’s flash offers 4 channels and 3 groups (A-B-C) which is the same range as Canon and Nikon (btw, this is one of the advantages over the Nissin Di622 mark II, which is limited to channel 1 & group A only).
The speedlight indicates this slave mode through a flashing red LED on the front in a similar location as on the 580EX II from Canon, using the AF assist beam emitter (which projects the AF pattern displayed below). This flashing light can’t be switched off.
Wireless TTL Mode with Manual Control “M”
Another option for the dedicated infrared wireless mode is switching to manual power control rather then relying on automatic ETTL / iTTL flash exposure. This can be easily achieved by setting the Yongnuo up as a wireless slave as just described.
Now, it’s important that you do NOT follow the instructions in the Yongnuo manual (p. 52 in the English version), so do NOT switch over from “ETTL” to mode “M” on the 565 (you won’t be able to dial in a different power level than what’s displayed already!). To be clear: leave the slave flash in “ETTL” at this point.
Instead, switch your master flash mode from “ETTL” to mode “M”, and assign a power level for the slave flash between 1/1 and 1/128, either using the master itself, or the camera menu system. What you’ll notice after the first flash gets fired is that the Yongnuo display shows “M”, and the value you’ve dialed in on the master.
It’s also possible to combine the dedicated wireless mode with the stroboscopic “multi-mode” as an additional sub-mode within wireless flash (again, use the master to set a power level, # of flashes and frequency can be set on the slave, however).
Light Sensor Position
Canon and Yongnuo (and also Nissin) position their wireless sensor eyes on the front of the flash body. In the case of the Yongnuo YN-565 it’s placed under the additional, darker red screen that’s embedded within the red cover on the front of the flash, above the AF assist beam.
Downside of this design choice is the fact that the sensor is facing the subject instead of the commander (camera) in default position – which is why Nikon and Metz place their sensor eyes on the side of the flash body which is a better location for direct line of sight in a typical multi-flash setup.
An easy trick to improve signal reception in case of issues, however, is to twist the flash body away from the flash head until the sensor is facing the camera, while the flash head is still pointing at the subject you’re shooting.
The photo illustrates how this can be done.
Master Flashes – Compatibility List
Owners of a Canon 7D, 600D (Rebel T3i), and 60D can use the built-in mini flash on the camera body to control the YN-565 in remote slave mode – no other accessories are needed. On top of that a Canon 580EX II can be used, or an ST-E2 commander – both the Canon ST-E2 as well as the Yongnuo ST-E2 are compatible according to the Chinese manufacturer.
The flash can also be controlled in wireless TTL mode by a Nikon flash or camera body (!): Yongnuo lists SB-700, SB-800 and SB-900 as compatible, as well as Nikon camera bodies with built-in master mode (e.g. D70 / D80, D90 / D7000).
Here are the results of hands-on tests with my own equipment (see on the Speedlights.net Facebook page) – so far I only checked the basics = TTL mode with 1/200 sec in “Tv” / “S” mode, master flashes were set to “- – -”.
|Master flash||Official Yongnuo compatibility info||Speedlights.net test result||External test results|
|Canon 600D||yes||not tested yet||na|
|Canon 60D||yes||not tested yet||tested OK (see comments section)|
|Canon 7D||yes||tested OK (10/11/11)||tested compatible (1)|
|Canon 580EX II||yes||tested OK (10/11/11)||tested compatible (1)|
|Canon ST-E2||yes||replacement unit tested compatible with Canon ST-E2 on Rebel T1i*||tested compatible (1)|
|Yongnuo ST-E2||yes||works with Yongnuo ST-E2 on Rebel T1i||tested compatible (1)|
|Nikon D80||yes||works with D80 as master flash||na|
|Nikon D90||yes||- not firing in mode “cn”
- but OK in mode “n”
|tested compatible (1)|
|Nikon D700 & D7000||yes||not tested yet||tested compatible (1)|
|other Nikon bodies||yes||not tested yet||na|
|Nikon SB-700||yes||tested on Nikon D90 – works||na|
|Nikon SB-800||yes||tested on Nikon D90 – works||na|
|Nikon SB-900||yes||tested on Nikon D90 – works||na|
|Sigma EF-610 DG Super (Canon version)||na||not firing||na|
|Sigma EF-530 DG Super (Canon version)||na||not tested||firing but not in sync (see comments)|
|Metz 58 AF-2 (Canon version)||na||replacement unit tested with success||na|
(1) tests conducted by Leo from Image Melbourne – see this discussion thread
* Yongnuo confirmed that the YN-565 is designed to work with Canon ST-E2, and the replacement unit was indeed tested with success. Serial # of the unit is YN21629020.
My first sample with serial #YN20110121 could not be controlled by the Canon ST-E2 wireless commander, only the Yongnuo version of the ST-E2. I’ve received a replacement unit from Yongnuo and this new flash with serial #YN21629020 performs as expected and specified: in slave mode “cn” it fires in sync with a Canon ST-E2 mounted on the Canon Rebel T1i. A re-test with the Metz 58 AF-2 was also successful. Initial problems with the D90 commander flash could also be resolved (by switching the YN-565 EX to from mode “cn” to mode “n”.
Official Yongnuo Wireless Remote Range: 15m Outdoors
Yongnuo gives a 25 meters maximum range for indoor use and 15 meters outdoors as the longest distance for the wireless TTL mode. These values are above what Nikon for example recommends for their flashes, but based on the very positive experience with the wireless sensor of the YN-560 I’m hoping to see a good performance.
Tested Wireless Range: 20 – 35 meters Outdoors
My replacement flash from Yongnuo delivers a very good performance in wireless ETTL range testing where it was triggered with Canon ST-E2 speedlite commander as well as Yongnuo ST-E2 speedlite commander on a Canon Rebel T1i. The following pictures show test results for daylight (EV 11.1 to 11.3) and in complete darkness.
Day, with Yongnuo ST-E2:
Night, with Yongnuo ST-E2:
Day, with Canon ST-E2:
Night, with Canon ST-E2:
The updated chart as of (11/1/2011) displays a summary of the results and shows what you can expect. Please be advised that the practical range will be lower in direct, very bright sunshine (about EV 14 to 15).
If I moved the flash out of the shade and into the sun – light meter showed EV 15 – it did not fire off reliably anymore. This was the same problem with Canon 430EX II and Canon 320EX so it’s not a Yongnuo issue; it’s simply due to the limitations of the technology used.
No Master Mode on YN-565
Contrary to first rumors there’s no wireless master mode (commander mode): the YN-565 can be controlled by another commander flash (in the same way that Canon’s own 270EX II, 320EX, 430EX II and 580EX II can be controlled) but it does not have the ability to control other flashes itself.
Radio Triggering For Wireless Flash
Why should one invest in external radio triggers when the dedicated TTL wireless mode is built in? First, these radio transmitters are near 100% reliable, even without line of sight which is required for the dedicated mode using infrared light. Second, they can be used to mix TTL with non dedicated speedlites. And third, a simple radio trigger like the Yongnuo RF-602 costs only a few bucks so it’s not much sunk cost anyway (get them from eBay or amazon). And some models can even be used as a remote for your camera shutter!
YN-565 Works Well With X Sync Radio Triggers
As you’d expect from a Yongnuo, the YN-565 operates without issues together with radio triggers, and thanks to its low trigger voltage of 3.97 Volts there is no danger of damaging their electrical circuits.
To use the YN-565 with radio receivers, don’t set it to the “SL On” mode, but always deactivate the slave mode. Also, don’t use “S1″ or “S2″ in conjunction with radio triggers; just switch to the plain manual flash mode “M” using the MODE key on the flash.
PC Sync Socket
One option to attach radio receivers is mounting them on the foot of the flash, but many photographers prefer a PC sync socket for that. That’s no problem with the Yongnuo as it offers both options; the PC port is found on the left side of the flash body under a thick rubber flap that can be conveniently twisted sideways.
Sync Speeds with Radio Triggers
The flash was tested together with a Canon Rebel T1i = 500D and a Nikon D90 which both offer 1/200 sec as the maximum (that means fastest) sync speed for flash – with the type of non-TTL radio triggers used here, no shutter speeds faster than that can be achieved theoretically.
The table shows the results for 3 different types of radio triggers. For these tests, the flash foot was used to attach the receiver; you might get different results when using the PC port.
|Trigger Model||on Nikon D90||on Canon T1i|
|Yongnuo RF-603||not tested||1/200|
The Yongnuo triggers fulfill the expectation in this test with 1/200 seconds sync while the Cactus V4 proves to be an over-achiever, at least in conjunction with the digital Rebel EOS 500D: it masters the trick of faster sync with 1/250 sec than what you can do with the flash in the camera hot shoe (when the camera detects a flash in its hot shoe, all shutter speeds faster then 1/200 are blocked).
When you use faster speeds than 1/200 / 1/250 you start seeing a black band at the bottom of the picture that grows with even faster speeds until the entire frame is dark – this is normal and not alarming in any way. Just go back to a longer exposure and everything is back to normal again.
Using the Manual Flash Mode
Using the YN-565 in full manual mode is very easy; the MODE button provides direct access to the mode “M”, and the keys on the 4-way controller allow adjusting the power level between 1/1 and 1/128:
- the “left” and “right” keys increase or decrease the output in full stops, e.g. from “1/1″ to “1/2″ and “1/4″
- when using “up” or “down” the increments are third stops, therefore the sequence is “1/1″ – “1/2 +.7″ – “1/2 + .3″ – “1/2″
Manual zoom is available between 24mm and 105. Thanks to the LCD display there’s permanent zoom information available (in contrast to the YN-560 where the zoom only shows up when a zoom button is used). Zoom steps are 24 – 28 – 35 – 50 – 70 – 80 – 105mm, and then back to 24mm with the “auto zoom” step in between. Using the arrow keys again you can zoom up or zoom down, just as desired. In contrast to other designs the manual zoom is not disabled when the wide-flash panel is used.
Optical Slave Modes (non-TTL) “S1″ and “S2″
Most Yongnuo flash offer two optical slave modes to use them without any additional trigger in an existing lighting setup. While the slave modes were of limited use in the first gen models of the 460 series they got greatly improved for the first 560 series flash, the fully-manual YN-560 from 2010 where you get excellent range as well as reliability under all lighting conditions.
Please note that optical slave mode is not set through the MODE button but by using the ZOOM/”lightning bolt” key. In both optical slave modes the display shows “slave” to indicate this special mode (in contrast to the TTL slave mode, there’s no display of “c”, “n”, or “cn”). The slave mode indicator LED on the front is flashing in the 2 optical slave modes as well.
Digital Optical Slave Mode “S2″
In mode “S2“, the YN565 ignores the E-TTL (or i-TTL in the Nikon world) pre-flashes used for flash exposure metering and triggers the strobe with the main flash burst only – this is not possible with a simple optical slave mode, e.g. the Nikon “SU-4″ mode or Nissin’s “SF”.
This was quickly tested with 1 Canon 580EX II in the hot shoe of a Canon Rebel T1i:
- when the 580EX II is used as a regular ETTL flash the YN-565 in mode “S2″ fires in sync with the Canon, up to the 1/200 seconds sync speed of the camera
- when the 580EX II is used as a master, however, the YN-565 doesn’t contribute to the exposure although it fires off with the master flash (your workaround here is to use the YN-565 in “cn” slave mode)
Simple Optical Slave Mode “S1″
“S1” mode fires the flash with the first flash from any other speedlite it sees. This light signal can be a manual flash used as a trigger, or a studio flash.
But it will also trigger the Yongnuo with digital pre-flashes used for exposure metering at Canon and Nikon, which is why the S1 mode does not help much in a digital setup.
Slave Mode Reliability
Slave mode reliability will be tested as part of the range testing for wireless ETTL mode at a later point in time. It is expected to show the same performance as the YN-560 flash from the same model family.
Adjustable “Standby” and “Power Off”
Standby (custom function 01 allows “on” or “off”) and power off (custom functions 10 and 11) can be adjusted with identical parameters as on the current flash generation from Canon which means the flash is not limited in its usability as a “strobist” photography tool.
But interestingly there’s even more customization offered because the custom functions don’t end with the “13″ as on the 580 mark II. The YN-565 has 4 more of them = 14, 15, 16, and 17; these are not visible in the camera menu but can be set on the speedlite itself – they were designed as extensions of the Canon custom functions protocol that has 14 fixed “slots” from “00″ up to “13″ as it seems.
On of these custom settings, C.Fn-15, give you the option to fine-tune the standby mode to be entered with varying delay between 3 minutes and up to 5 hours. See the following excerpt from the instruction manual for a summary of the options available.
Off-Camera Flash Score
Its TTL features make Yongnuo’s YN-565 much more than a manual flash, but it’s still an excellent choice for that use case: powerful, with a wide range of settings, a very handy manual mode implementation, plus the 2 optical slave modes.
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The flash cooperates without problems with radio triggers and standby can be adjusted in a very wide range. This feature set makes the YN-565 not the cheapest, but surely one very well designed “strobist” flash for manual mode shooting.
AF Assist Beam
All Yongnuo speedlites for digital TTL feature an AF assist light which typically consists of a red LED on the front of the flash. The red light is the most unobtrusive way to get additional light on a subject under low light conditions, where the camera would have trouble focusing quickly and correctly if no help is provided.
Yongnuo uses a new AF assist design on the YN-565, which looks more like generated by a laser beam than a regular LED. It’s actually very much possible that a laser is used; they did that before on their version of the ST-E2 speedlite commander. The picture below simulates the AF beam coverage with an EOS Rebel T1i and 18-55mm lens at approx. 24mm.
The covered frame area is rather small, it’s limited to the spot metering circle, but the AF assist lights up with all AF fields, even the ones at the border. Due to parallax the AF assist can be used from around .80 – 1.00 meter while it’s aiming too high at close-up distances.
The following 3 pictures show other AF assist solutions. First is the Yongnuo YN-468 with a classic red LEO in doughnut shape. The beam appears here much brighter than it actually is; the YN-565 has a much higher range due to the laser that’s used. What can be seen in the middle and on the right is the Canon 430EX II AF assist, using a dual-beam construction. Depending on the AF field selected the flash activates one of 2 different LED’s with special pattern projection.
Summary: The Yongnuo YN-565EX has a very effective AF assist light, superior to the classic single-beam LED solutions. It covers the center AF field very well, and the pattern also helps with generating contrast for low-contrast scenes. When it comes to the AF fields at the frame borders it’s not effective, and more sophisticated Canon (and Nikon) AF-assist designs play out their advantage.
Upcoming Review Parts
Where to buy the Yongnuo YN-565
Check for YN-565 offers on amazon (I talked with the seller “cheaplights” and he ships from the US and offers 30 days own warranty).
If you purchase through one of these links you support expanding this website with even more tests and reviews. Thank you very much.