Nov 3, 2011: The new YN-468-II has been released and is available now for $102! Get it from the manufacturer store: YN-468 II.
Improvements in this 2nd generation of this top-selling flashgun aim at the weak spots of the 1st gen model, a clear sign that the engineers at Yongnuo are paying attention to what their users are saying.
Just like the current generation, this Yongnuo Speedlite YN468-II will be a mid-range flash and probably cost around $90 – $120 at the time of release; as always with Yongnuo speedlites the prices for new units will probably drop by maybe $20 after a couple of months so that you could expect to pay around $80 – $100 by mid 2012. Please note that these price ranges are estimates and based on speculation at this point.
At that price range it’s about 40% – 50% cheaper than the also-new YN-565 which can be considered a “deluxe mid-range” flash compared to the “basic mid-range” model YN-468-II. “Deluxe” because the YN-565 EX comes with wireless E-TTL mode, an upgraded casing and a battery pack socket – YN-468II doesn’t have that.
But just like Canon’s own speedlites the new Yongnuo release will support Canon’s E-TTL and E-TTL II flash exposure protocol which means you can attach it to the camera hot shoe and fire away, without manual adjustments required. But that’s not all: if desired the flash does also allow all kinds of custom settings and adjustments, including a fully-fledged manual mode, flash exposure compensation, and so forth.
Yongnuo had done a round of upgrades to their existing products back in January of 2011, when they introduced a metal flash foot construction for the YN-468, together with improved quality control. I hope that with the YN468-II they’re reaching the next step especially since the list of upgraded features really gets me excited.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
New Battery Compartment
One of the clear weak spots in the first gen models from Yongnuo was the simplistic battery compartment. There was only 1 large compartment for the 4 cells without any kind if divider or guide rails. As you can see in the photo the design has been completely revised.
The 4 batteries are now all in a row with a latch that flips open. This looks like a much better design now, no more acrobatics required for a battery exchange.
Improved Optical Slave Sensor
E-TTL is supported in the camera hot shoe but not in wireless mode – get a YN-565 if that’s what you need. But there’s another wireless solution coming with the YN-468II – or even 2 of them. Located on the front side of the flash, underneath the red plastic screen, is an optical slave sensor eye that can be used to trigger the flash.
It comes in 2 flavors, the “S1″ mode to use with manual flash or studio flash, and the “S2″ mode that’s designed for digital TTL flash. The special thing about “S2″ is the ability to detect and ignore the tiny pre-flashes sent out by digital TTL systems before the shutter actually opens.
What’s new about this? The 2 slave modes are found in most YN-460 models indeed (460, 465, 467, 468), but their range and sensitivity have been less than ideal. In fact they’ve gone blind under lighting conditions with ambient light above EV 8 – that’s not a lot. So it’s been an “indoor feature”.
Yongnuo now have confirmed that the 2nd gen YN-468 flash comes with the upgraded optical slave sensor of the YN-560, and that makes a huge difference! As you can see here this type of sensor works under any lighting condition, with usable range up to 30 meters and even beyond.
Improved (Laser) AF Assist Light
This is another area where an upgrade is highly welcome. Yongnuo’s digital TTL speedlites all come with a dedicated red LED-based AF assist light to help the camera find focus in darkness. On the early models these LED’s were simple designs and the resulting light is resembling a donut-shape, as can be seen on the right (this is from an actual YN-468).
The new model comes with the much improved AF assist light that was first introduced with the Yongnuo 565: it’s still limited to the center AF field but there’s a bright red pattern projected now which helps much better with low-contrast subjects. Yongnuo also moved away from a simple LED but use a laser-based system which explains the clearness of the pattern, as well as the high range of the beam.
The photo above shows the AF assist of the YN-565 but that’s exactly the same one that will be used in the YN468-II.
PC Sync Port
Here’s another new feature of the YN468-II, but this one’s not an upgrade but something entirely new. As you can see in the photo they built now a PC sync port into the flash! Most people won’t need this – you can trigger the flash through the flash foot, or with the optical slave modes. But there will also be other photographers highly appreciating this extra triggering option.
The PC port is protected with what seems a rubber flap that can be rotated to the side (see the other photo above). One thing that’s maybe not ideal is the location on the same side of the flash where the battery compartment is found – this can lead to some mess when a cable is attached.
New Button Material
Here’s something new on the 2nd gen 468 speedlite where the details are still missing: looking at the photo of the back display you see the keys are a darker color now, and they might also be made of a different material than the soft rubber used on the YN-468.
We’ll have to see what’s behind this observation. The basic layout seems to identical to the 1st gen model, and I don’t think there will be any difference, really.
Metal Flash Foot
As mentioned above, the metal flash foot design was introduced in early 2011 already. Every YN-468 (“mark 1″) left the factory with a metal foot since then. The new YN-468 Mark II will certainly have a metal flash foot design also, just like any other Yongnuo speedlite shipping these days.
Where to Find More YN-468-II News
That’s what I know about the new Yongnuo flash as of now. As said at the beginning, it’s expected to be released in November, but I’m not able to give you exact dates. You can sign up to email updates, “like” Speedlights on Facebook, or follow Speedlights.net on twitter and you will be notified when there are news coming in.
Where to Buy
Yongnuo products can be found on eBay.
Here’s a direct link to the first YN-468 II’s that were listed.
See all YN-468 and YN-468 Mark II offers here for the best prices and check warranty conditions. A good option is to buy direct from the Yongnuo manufacturer store with the advantage of a 1-year warranty that usually comes with their sales.
amazon is another good source for Yongnuo products; compare availability and purchase price. If you purchase through one of these links you support the expansion of this website with even more tests and reviews.
Thank you very much.