Rikon Meyin RF-604 – Review – RF-602 and YN-560 III Comapatible

The new Meyin RF-604 flash trigger by Rikon are another inexpensive 2.4Ghz trigger, but with a few unique features. And of particular interest at the moment, the ability to act as an alternative transmitter option to the very popular new YN-560 III manual flash unit with radio receiver built in.

T-Mart.com very kindly sent over a set of RF-604 so that we could get to the bottom of exactly how they would operate with the YN-560 III, and how they fair as radio triggers in general.

Rikon Meyin RF-604

Features

 

  • 2.4Ghz with 100+ metre range
  • Transceivers (Tx and Rx are the same, so you have back up transmitters)
  • Group feature – 3 groups with fast individual buttons
  • Pass through TTL hotshoe (allows a full TTL flash to be used on camera)
  • Remote shutter release function
  • Standard AAA batteries
  • Standard 3.5mm miniphone sync port (our favorite type)
  • Auto channel matching – allows an infinite number of channels
  • Flash wake up feature
  • Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus/Panasonic version available
  • Inexpensive – around $20 each or $35 a pair

 

The short version

 

RF-604 as Flash Triggers in General

There are so many just half decent manual radio triggers available now I’m reluctant to add more to the list of good options, unless they really get all the basics right or have something special to add. The Meyin RF-604 are of particular interest at the moment anyway due to their RF-602 (and therefore YN-560 III) compatibility. As general triggers though they also have some very good and unique features for the price. Though at the same time still not quite getting all the basics right either.

The RF-604’s strong points, as triggers in general, are that they do get most things right (see the feature list above). But the main unique advantages are the RF-602 compatible mode, and (for a trigger of this price) the grouping feature, which has fast individual group switches conveniently located on the back face of the unit (similar to the higher priced Phottix Strato II). Also a a clever auto channel matching feature, which ensures you will never be on the same channel as another RF-604 user (unless you want to be).

Rikon Meyin RF-604

 

The RF-604 have 2 main issue though. The first being the locking rings are tiny, which is mostly an issue when trying to use the pass through hotshoe. And the other thing is the RF-604 are simply not made solid enough to support a full sized flash on top of their pass through hotshoe anyway. The pass through is still of value though, as discussed further down. Other more minor factors are the low 60 volt safe trigger voltage (instead of 300 volts most triggers accommodate now), and a reasonable, but not super fast sync speed.

So if you’re just looking for some good inexpensive manual speedlite triggers, the Meyin RF-604 offer a decent option, particularly if the grouping function is important to you. Though mainly at the expense of a good pass through hotshoe. (Advantages with RF-602 compatible use are discussed below).

A good similarly priced alternative with a fairly solid pass through hotshoe (but without the group feature) are the Commlite T320. If you want to have your cake and eat it too, its worth paying the extra and going straight to the Phottix Strato II, which where really designed right, and a couple of years ago now.

The Meyin RF-604 are better than the popular but ageing YongNuo RF-602 and RF-603 triggers in almost every way.

 

RF-604 as RF-602 Compatible Transmitter – also for the YN-560 III

The Meyin RF-604 have an RF-602 compatible mode, allowing the 2 different trigger systems to have some compatibility together.

Rikon Meyin RF-604

Though there are some significant limitations when using the RF-602 mode with the RF-604 –

  • RF-602 mode only works as a transmitter (so any receivers still need to be RF-602)
  • RF-602 mode only works on one channel (channel 16 on the RF-602 receiver)
  • RF-602 mode disables the group feature on the RF-604 (which is one of its nicest features)

So this means when using the RF-604 as a transmitter, all receivers still need to be RF-602 receivers (or YN-560 III flash units with receiver built in).

 

YN-560 III

Currently the main interest in RF-602 compatibility is due to the very popular YN-560 III manual flash with RF-602/3 receiver built in.

YN-560 III

The Meyin RF-604 are a better trigger than both the RF-602 and RF-603, so they do provided a better transmitter option for the YN-560 III as well.

Having said that, the basic RF-602 transmitter generally still does the job ok. The main reason the RF-604 transmitter would be an advantage is if you need the pass through hotshoe either for

  • also mounting a flash on-camera, or
  • also mounting another manual radio transmitter on top

The reason people may want to mount another transmitter unit on top (as seen here), is so they can fire their existing radio triggers and lights, as well as add some YN-560 III flashes into the mix (using their built in RF-602 receivers).

If the second transmitter also has a pass through hotshoe then the RF-604 transmitter is not desperately needed, as the RF-602 transmitter can be mounted on top of the other transmitter instead (as seen here).

 

Apart from the pass through hotshoe, the other smaller advantages over an RF-602 transmitter, are the standard AAA batteries, and a locking ring and pin, which the RF-602 doesn’t have. But neither of those are generally much of an issue when using the RF-602 transmitter either.

Advantage to the RF-602 is the ability to change to another channel (RF-604 only allows channel 16) so that you won’t interfere with other photographers.

I would avoid the RF-603 as a transmitter choice to the YN-560 III unless you already own RF-603 triggers. That’s mainly because they have slower sync speeds, more compatibility issues with non dedicated cameras, and they won’t test fire the flashes when off the camera hotshoe.

Although the RF-604 generally have faster sync speeds, there is no advantage in sync speed from the RF-602 to the RF-604 transmitter when used with the YN-560 III flashes built in receiver. You can see more detail on transmitter options for the YN-560 III in the full review here.

 

RF-604 In More Detail

 

The RF-604 are transceivers, meaning the transmitter and receiver are exactly the same units. They are not self switching though, meaning you simply manually select whether the unit is to be a transmitter (on the camera), or a receiver (connected to the flash), via a switch on the side of trigger.

The third position on the switch is “for 602”, and this mode allows the Meyin RF-604 to act as a transmitter compatible with the very popular YongNuo RF-602 radio trigger receivers.

Rikon Meyin RF-604

The other side of the trigger only has an ON – OFF switch, and a sync port to connect to flashes via a sync cord. Major points here to Rikon for using a standard 3.5mm miniphone socket (which we really wish was standard everywhere) instead of an outdated and unreliable PC sync style socket.

Rikon Meyin RF-604

Group Function

At the back of the trigger the RF-604 have a good group feature, which simple allows you to turn flashes, or groups of flashes, on and off from the camera. This is very handy when setting up and possibly metering lights, so you can evaluate the each light separately, and then all together for the combined effect. Also for simply turning on and off lights mounted in places that are not easy to access.

Rikon Meyin RF-604

 

There are separate switches for each of the 3 groups, and bright red LED lights indicate which groups are currently switched on.

The is clearly modeled after the Phottix Strato II, which also has an extra 4th group. Up until the Strato II most triggers used a tedious scrolling method of selecting a combination of groups to turn on and off. So these seperate buttons for each group are a big improvement.

Phottix Strato II vs Meyin RF-604

Locking Rings

While we are looking at the Phottix Stratto II, note the huge difference in the size of the locking rings. The Strato II have one of the neatest fitting hotshoes and feet, so they are one of the best options for using a flash on camera via the pass through hotshoe. But the decent size locking ring also helps lock the trigger down to the camera hotshoe without movement. The toy like locking ring on the RF-604 makes it hard to lock down tight, but also its not as easy to access when mounting and removing either.

And the reason Rikon can’t simply add a larger locking ring now is because the trigger case needs to be designed properly to accommodate one. If you look at the Stratto case bellow, you can see that the whole case is actually longer. This allows the larger locking ring to fit without overlapping the battery compartment. Which is important otherwise the batteries would be hard to get in and out and the door would be difficult to open.

Phottix Strato II vs Meyin RF-604

I don’t mean to be picking on the RF-604 considering the two triggers are in a different price range, but this just illustrates how the Strato II are designed properly. And it wouldn’t have added to the RF-604 price to make the same considerations here. Also note the RF-604 foot is not attached square to the case, which is also typical of a number or the lower end triggers.

Nevertheless, if you disregard the pass through hotshoe function, the RF-604 locks onto the camera hotshoe ok in general, and there is a safety locking pin as seen on the foot above.

Something I have not seen before though on the metal foot is a small lug stopping the trigger from mounting too deep into the camera hotshoe, but also stopping you from attaching the trigger backwards in the hotshoe. I’m guessing the later is likely its intended purpose.

 

Meyin RF-604 Foot

Battery Compartment

No great issues here, the battery door cover is relatively light duty but snaps in place fine. The AAA batteries locate inside without any issues that I noticed.

Meyin RF-604 Battery Compartment

Auto Channel Matching

One unique feature of the Meyin RF-604 is the lack of any channel switch or dip switches anywhere on the units. This is because the RF-604 have a unique auto channel matching function, which effectively provides an endless amount of different channels, selected completely at random. So its virtually impossible to accidentally be on the same channel as another photographer nearby.

That is provided you do actually bother to enable the channel matching and pair the units. Otherwise all the RF-604 come from the factory in the same universal channel mode, so its guaranteed they will fire (or interfere with) any other RF-604 units that haven’t been taken off the universal channel yet either.

Speaking to Rikon they were very proud of this feature. And I do see that its pretty smart that you are almost guaranteed not to be on the same channel as anyone else. But at the same time, for most people, experiencing conflicting channels with anyone else is a pretty rare experience, and this auto channel now means there is only one channel available in RF-602 mode, which actually creates a possible significant issue. So Rikon have to some degree solved a problem that wasn’t there only to create another one. Nevertheless this is an interesting feature.

 

Range

I tested the range directly side by side comparing F-602 and RF-604 transmitter and receiver sets, as well as comparing RF-604 and RF-602 transmitters, using the RF-602 as receiver, and YN-560 III flash with built in receiver.

The RF-604 where virtually the same as the RF-602. Both reached over 100 metres line of sight. And if anything the YN-560 III worked just as well as a receiver, if not better (with either transmitter). But I also placed the transmitter behind my back to see how they fair with an obstruction in the way, as this usually shows up the real difference between triggers pretty quickly. But again they were both around the same, at approximately 50 metres. (This behind the back test cuts the YN-622C TTL triggers range down to around 15 meters in comparison).

 

Reliability

As with most reasonable quality 2.4GHz triggers now, there is no sign of any misfires or random fires.

 

Sync Speed / Latency

They way I compare the speed or latency of the radio triggers, is to simply push the camera past its X-sync shutter speed and compare how much shutter is showing in the frame (as a black stip along the bottom). The slower the triggers are the more shutter will show.

The Meyin RF-604, used as both transmitter and receiver set, where mid way between the RF-602 and other very fast triggers like the Commlite T320. This means the RF-604 are not particularly fast, but they have enough buffer to ensure you should always get a clean frame at X-sync, at least using a 1/250th X-sync camera (the Canon 5D series often won’t reach 1/200th with the fastest triggers). While the RF-602 can start showing shutter in the frame at 1/250th X-sync sometimes.

Interestingly, using the Meyin RF-604 as transmitter, and the YN-560 III flash as receiver, there is no advantage over using the RF-602 transmitter. So the RF-602 receiver inside the YN-560 III is the weakest link there. As above you can expect shutter may creep into the frame at X-sync sometimes with this combination as well then.

 

Pass Through Hotshoe

They Meyin RF-604 have a full TTL pass through hotshoe, allowing a TTL flash to be used on camera (in TTL) while firing other flashes with radio receivers in manual as well.

Unfortunately though the the RF-604 case feels a bit flexy with a full size flash mounted on top. I think you would have to be pretty careful using a full size flash on top like that at all. Mounting the YN-500EX (very similar in size to a Canon 430EX II) certainly felt a lot better though and I can see a smaller flash could be feasible. But you would still need to be quite thoughtful about tilting and swiveling the flash head without putting to much stress on the trigger.

The pass through hotshoe can also be very handy for mounting an extra radio transmitter or a TTL cord on top, and these don’t put any weight or stress on the hotshoe. So the TTL pass through is still a valuable feature.

Meyin RF-604 and YN-500EX

 

Shutter Release –

The RF-604 also has a remote shutter release function, though the cord required must be purchased as an optional accessory.

Even though the RF-604 are transceivers they still require a separate set of Tx and Rx to release the camera shutter, and another complete set of Tx and Rx (set to a different channel) to fire the flashes (if you want to do both at once).

They RF-604 has a 2 stage button, and a half press wakes the camera and focuses. Single shot, continuous, delay, and bulb are supported.

 

Packaging –

The  RF-604 are sold as either a pairs, or more commonly single transceiver units. The singles come in a neat little double lined box which just fits the trigger and instruction manual neatly. No other accessories are supplied.

The single units are ideal if your just after a transmitter unit for the YN-560 III flash units or RF-602 receivers.

Meyin RF-604

Price and Availability

The RF-604 are available in Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus/Panasonic versions.  The the Canon and Nikon appear to be the main ones available at the time of writing. Transceivers are priced around $20 each sold separately, and slightly less as pairs.

Amazon – RF-604 – Canon & Nikon – YN560III

Tmart.com – RF-604 Canon & Nikon – YN-560 III

 

Rikon Website

35 Comments
  1. Dedi 5 years ago

    I have them since about 3 weeks myself, and I really like them. They are supposed to be my backup triggers later when i upgrade to some with remote manual function. But for now they are perfect with the listed features, beginning with the most important group function. When shooting in clubs and event stages this allowes me to turn off lights which would flash directly into the lens, and also i can start mixing available stage light (which is often bad alone specially on small events)

    They are fully reliable. I love that they can be used as remote triggers which I could test today. It wasnt easy to find the cable for that. I only got one for nikon dc2 with a 2.5mm, but works with a 2.5 to 3.5mm adapter.

    The downsides:
    – One trigger (out of 4) does not get triggered. I have to test a channel matching, maybe that one is misconfigured. But there is no manual how to do that (only found about that function online).
    – rf602 compatibility is only transmitter. The advertisment sounds different.

    I cant agree on the reviewer that the locking ring is too small. Maybe because I didnt use biggers yet. But once locked it holds. I once lost a rf602 trigger. This cant happen anymore.

    I havecto test the channel configuration, with this manually set you could use more than 3 groups – of course for every 3 groups you need another transmitter on the camera.

    Conclusion: highly recommend for the very good price.

    • Dedi 5 years ago

      I forgot one disadvantage. The button to select tx, rx or rf602 is moved far too easy. I have to tape them if I have to avoid that they get a wrong setting.

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 5 years ago

        Hi Dedi,

        Thanks again, maybe they have updated that now though, because the switch on the ones that I have a probably the opposite, and actually quite hard to move, possibly a bit too hard.. Thanks

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 5 years ago

      Hi Dedi,

      Thanks for that. If you haven’t set the channels yet to auto matching that may be the issue with the 4th receiver as you mention. Someone may have used that already somehow.

      That’s an interesting point though, every time you get a new receiver you will need to match them all again. It a shame there is no mention of a way to get them back to the common channel. I’ll check with Rikon to see if that is possible at all. Thanks

      • Dedi 5 years ago

        Suddenly a second receiver is not playing with the rest. Cant tell yet if it just dropped to another channel. Unfortunately I cant find the manual anymore how to set them manually. But either way this shocks me a little, since none of them should happen.

        Do you have that link how to set them manually?

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 5 years ago

          Hi Dedi,

          Rikon doesn’t appear to have the manual online, but they are very helpful, so if you drop them an email I’d think they would be able to send a PDF manual. http://www.kondc.com/

          If you don’t have any luck there, let me know and I’ll type the section out here. Thanks.

          • Dedi 5 years ago

            Found it! It was a translated page from http://www.meyin.com.cn/a/news/2013/0521/159.html

            I explain it here for short, as the translation is not that good 🙂

            Turn everything off, set one to TX, rest to RX.
            Press on TX the button full, switch on and wait until green light blink.
            Do the same with the RX, they will stay red.
            Turn everything off.

            They now are on the same channel. Fixed my 2 receivers to work with the others again.

            Flash Havoc says:

            Great work! I’m glad that fixed the issue. Its a little concerning that they are changing channel though, but hopefully that is just because they hadn’t been set to an auto channel yet. Keep us posted if you have any issues still.

            For anyone else reading this, this will not effect RF-602 transmitter use (for the YN-560 III etc) at all, as that is set to channel 16. Thanks.

  2. ituner 5 years ago

    Sync Port only way out?

    in a transmitter may receive synchronization from the camera through the Sync Port?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 5 years ago

      Hi Alexander,

      Yes the Sync port is out only. I had to use a hotshoe to sync cord on the RF-604 foot to connect it to the camera sync port. Thanks

  3. AlexV 5 years ago

    Hi, this might be a stupid question, i’m pretty new with triggers/receivers, but is it possible to mount a receiver on the RF-604 transmitter mode hotshoe ?
    Let me explain, could we imagine to have the RF-604 on camera hotshoe, as a trigger for a let’s say YN560 III and on top of this RF-604 a Cactus V5 receiver that would let’s say be triggered by a Cactus LV5 laser trigger ?
    So, when objects breaks through the lazer beam, V5 receiver shoots the shutter while RF-604 triggers the YN 560 ?
    Thanks !

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 5 years ago

      Hi Alex,

      To trigger the camera you need a shutter release cord from the Cactus V5 to the cameras shutter release port. So you probably could mount the V5 on top of the RF-604 on the camera, but its basically just sitting there as a place to put it, the shutter release cord is what is firing the camera. In other words it wouldn’t matter if the V5 was connected to the RF-604 or not. Thanks.

      • AlexV 5 years ago

        Hi,
        Thanks for this answer, as i said i’m really nexw to triggers, and dont even own one already, so i thought the signal to release shutter was transmitted via the hotshoe, and didn’t know it was in fact the cable ! 🙂
        Thanks a lot, that’s much clearer now !

  4. jannson 5 years ago

    Honestly they seem pretty reliable. But does anyone know which version will run with a Pentax k-5?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 5 years ago

      Hi Jannson,

      The Canon or Nikon version should work just to fire the flash. If this is for a transmitter for the YN-560 III you may be better off with the basic RF-602 transmitter. Thanks.

  5. Kenneth 5 years ago

    Hi, from what I know, the RF-602 only works at max sync speed of 1/180 for Pentax if there is a capacitor added into the circuitry or if the trigger button on the transmitter is half pressed before the camera shutter is depressed.

    I wonder if the Meyin RF-604 would be a fuss free alternative to those wanting to use Pentax and Yongnuo 560 III.

  6. George pahountis 5 years ago

    Thank you for the review!
    I would only desagree with the conclusion that phottix strato ii is well made.
    I have a couple cracked transmiters from phottix, i google my problem and i have realized that i m not the only one. Please keep in mind that i treat my equipment fairly enough and that have happened in two phottix transmiters that I own
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1161607

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 5 years ago

      Hi George,

      Wow, thanks I had not seen that before. But I do say many times that pass through hotshoes are generally not going to be ideal for heavy use. The Strato II have the most neatly fitting shoes I have come across which helps a lot. The new Pixel King Pro have a metal frame inside, but then the shoes are still sloppy which is eventually going to cause reliability issues. Thanks.

  7. George pahountis 5 years ago

    I think you are very right, under “heavy” use the pass through feature would turn to a problem sooner or later. I have to say that the units still work perfectly when mounted without a flash on top or off camera with a cable. Too bad they do not sell transmiters alone. However i will keep an eye on triggers since i see a bunch of potentially great stuff coming out soon. ( remote power would be high on my list )
    Thank you for the great unbiased work!

  8. Sebastián 5 years ago

    Hello,

    I have also been testing these triggers and have written my review (in Spanish). I would like to make a request and I have not been able to directly sync with RF-604 YN 560-III directly.

    You used the RF-602 transmitter mounted atop Meyin transmitter in the shoe of the camera?

    Otherwise I have not found direct support RF-602 mode that integrates Meyin to fire the flash YN 560-III.

    Regards,
    Sebas

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 5 years ago

      Hi Sebastian,

      Did you set the YN-560 III to channel 16, and RF-602 mode? Thanks.

  9. Sebastián 5 years ago

    Hi Flash Havoc

    Thank you for answering.

    Yes, I have enabled these modes and flash recycling indicator (usually red) only changed to blue when I rode a RF-602RX issuer on a RF-604 in the hot shoe of the camera.

    My question. You proved Meyin synchronization used as emitter to synchronize directly the YN 560-III?

    In my case it did not work. Only once I rode a Yongnuo RF-602RX transmitter over another trigger Meyin in mode transmitter RF-602.

    But I like these triggers because they have more compatibility with other triggers that the manufacturer does not indicate. You can view here:

    http://www.fotografia-decueva.es/labs/test-review-triggers-meyin-rf-604/

    Best regards!

  10. Author
    Flash Havoc 5 years ago

    Hi Sebastian,

    Yes, the RF-604 works directly as a transmitter to the YN-560 III. No other trigger is needed.

    The RF-604 must be in RF-602 mode though, and the YN-560 III must be in RF-602 mode, and set to channel 16.

    • Sebastián 5 years ago

      Hi Flash Havoc

      You’re right, I selected the channel 16 in the YN 560-III and everything works.

      Many thanks!

  11. Author
    Flash Havoc 5 years ago

    Ok great, thanks Sebastian.

  12. michael 4 years ago

    I cannot get the Strato II to fire the 560III. I’ve spent several hours withe settings. Help!

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Michael,

      Are you using a Strato II receiver attached to the YN-560 III ?

      As the Strato II can not fire the YN-560 III’s inbuilt RF-602/603 compatible receiver.

  13. Pierre 4 years ago

    Hi,

    Thanks for your great review.
    I have one problem and you may be have an idea about:
    We are two photographer on the set and we want to use the same flash. How syncronize 2 transmitters to 1 receiver?

    Thanks

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Pierre.

      Sorry for the slow reply. That is a very interesting question.

      UPDATE – Please see Scott’s comments a few posts below.

  14. astro 4 years ago

    hi. my meyin rf-604 triggers doesn’t waku-up my metz 50 or my canon 430II flashes. but they wake for stand-by all yongnuo flahes 565, 568, 560II, 560III. can you help me what is the solution to wake also the metz and the canon flahes to? regards. astro

  15. Scott 3 years ago

    @Pierre @FlashHavoc
    You can easily synchronize 2 or more transmitters to a single (or multiple) receivers. All you have to do is synch everything to a single unit set as transmitter. Now they are all synchronized – just slide the switch on any of the to transmit and you have another matched transmitter that will fire any of them set to receive. I use two bodies all the time so this is what I do. These have been great for a few month of regular use now.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Ok great thanks Scott, that makes sense.

  16. Ric 3 years ago

    I would like to know if Rf-604 Canon version will work as TX with Rf-604 Nikon version as RX and vice-versa.

    Thanks

  17. Ric 3 years ago

    I would like to know if RF-604 for Canon works as TX to an RF-604 for Nikon as RX an vice-versa.

    Thanks.

  18. pratik 3 years ago

    how can i buy this Rikon Meyin RF-604 in india plz suggess me asap

  19. Marcello 3 years ago

    We need a meyin 604 mk4 with new features

    rf 603 group control, flash power control, af assist light, better reliability

    Still using my meyin 604’s and loving them, there is no alternative for the features you can have if you already own YN560 III or IV

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