With autumn and Winter approaching available light is steadily reducing down so the opportunities for me shooting are becoming more and more limited. Having dabbled in the past with flash I thought I’d like to give it another go. I’m really a beginner when it comes to flash, I’ve never owned a flash gun for more than a couple of months at a time, so it’s really going to be somewhat of a learning curve for me.
Owning a Fuji X-Pro1 and X100s makes flash kind of tricky. Neither is especially well supported with flash, Fuji has their own range of flash guns, but none are especially awesome compared to the options available from Nikon or Canon - I guess in time Fuji will build on this, but at present there’s a small choice of flash units, all of which are relatively expensive for what they are, and out of my budget for what I really want.
Having previously owned a Yongnuo 560II which was a pretty decent flash gun, together with a couple of triggers for off camera flash, I thought I’d go that route once more. The only problem with the Yongnuo’s are they are non-TTL flash guns. TTL flash basically hooks your flash into the exposure system of your camera and will set the correct exposure setting in line with what the camera is asking for including focal length, power and distance. Non-TTL requires the flash to have all of these set manually, meaning you have to work out what you require to get the flash exposure correct. Too much flash exposure and you blow the image out completely, too little and you may as well not bother.
This time around I’ve gone with a Yongnuo 560III which I understand is identical in performance terms to version II, but has the advantage of a built in receiver. This means all I have to do is pop a transmitter into the hot shoe on my camera body and as it fires the signal it fires the flash. Simple, even for me!
The YN560III is a nice bit of kit. Considering the cost of it is under £50.00, it is well made, feels solid, and features a nice bright LCD on the back for settings. I understand it’s based on a Canon 430, and even features both swivel and angle adjustment for bouncing your light.
It comes with a footplate, but sadly no diffuser, although these can be picked up reasonably enough. It requires 4 AA batteries to work, I use Duracell’s in it, as these appear to offer sufficient power to keep it charged, and re-charge quickly when in use.
What you get...
YN-560 III Flash Unit Padded Case Mini Base Stand Instruction Manual
Straight out of the box, it takes a little setting up with an RF603 transmitter which I have, you go into a couple of settings, by way of the button controls on the rear, and choose your transmitter of choice. Once set, it fires without issue.
Working out your exposure is more difficult, in my limited experience to date it appears the best option is to set the shutter speed manually to 1/125, set the flash to a power setting (e.g. ⅛), and control the amount of ambient light through your aperture. Start at f/5.6 aperture for example, and if you need more light, increase your aperture, need less light decrease the aperture. This may seem a bit of guesswork, and possibly is… As time goes by, I’m hoping to hone my skills to make this a more technical decision rather than educated guess.
Overall, the Yongnuo 560III is a worthwhile addition to any camera kit, given its cost. It has many features, good build quality and includes a nice case to keep it safe when not in use.
Built in radio trigger receiver for off camera firing. Compatible with RF602, RF603, RF603 II triggers. Power adjusts from 1/128th to full, with 1/3rd or 1/2 stop adjustments. Zoom head from 24mm to 105mm.
If you’re looking to get into flash for the first time on a budget like me, or looking to increase the number of speedlites you have, take a closer look at what Yongnuo have to offer.
I’d welcome any comments regarding working out exposure settings….How do you work yours out?