Chinese manufacturer Shanny have released a new SN-E3-RF transceiver, and SN600C-RF flash unit with 2,4GHz radio receiver built in. Providing full ETTL, HSS and Remote Manual functions.
And they are available now, from around $80 for a pair of SN-E3-RF transceivers, and $125 for the SN600C-RF flash unit.
The new RF system is not compatible with Shanny’s existing RT flash system. This RF system is designed to compete with other popular and inexpensive ETTL and HSS enabled RF style radio flash systems like the YongNuo YN-622C and Pixel King Pro.
The advantage the Shanny RF system currently has though is a flash unit with radio receiver conveniently built inside.
And to launch this system quickly Shanny have used the existing YouPro Pro6 radio transceivers as the basis for their new RF system.
The new SN600C-RF flash units then have corresponding 2.4GHz radio receivers built inside the flash.
The SN600C-RF are based on the same flash platform as the recent SN600SC and all of the other current Shanny flash models. One important addition though is a USB port for firmware updates, now mounted directly in the flashes battery compartment.
As the SN600C-RF have a radio receiver built inside, there are no Canon or Nikon Optic Wireless master or slave modes included (basic S1 and S2 optic slave modes are still included though).
Shanny have pushed this new RF system out very quickly, obviously hoping to get the jump on YongNuo and Pixel etc who do not yet have a flash with radio receiver built in for their YN-622C and King Pro RF radio trigger systems.
And to do this quickly Shanny have used the existing 2.4GHz YouPro Pro6 radio transceivers as the basis for the system.
The YouPro Pro6 appear to be decent triggers, but they do not have any flash control interface. Which means all flash functions must be controlled through the cameras Flash Control Menu, and that is considerably more limited than the interface built into the YN-622C-TX and King Pro transmitter units.
And because of this as far as I understand Shanny are also in the process of rushing out another transmitter unit with interface built in for the new RF system as well.
And a flash with transmitter / master function will likely follow at some point as well.
And one of the biggest advantages of the YouPro Pro6 and Pixel King Pro (and now SN-E3-RF) is their range advantage over most other ETTL radio triggers like the YN-622C etc. The real working range can be around double that of other ETTL triggers, and close to that of many 2.4GHz fully manual radio triggers.
The lack of current flash control interface is quite a step backwards from the other current transmitter alternatives though. And another inconvenience is that flash settings are not remembered when the transmitter is turned off. There is no AF assist light provided either.
Otherwise the SN-E3-RF do function quite well. Either using the SN600C-RF as the slave flash, or other ETTL flashes mounted on SN-E3-RF receivers, the ETTL exposures all appear to be as they should. HSS, Second Curtain Sync, etc all work as they should, and the system appears simple, stable, and reliable, operating without misfires etc.
Having said that, its always going to be hard to compete with the well established YongNuo YN-622C at this level. Function wise the YN-622C for Canon are very well refined and supported. YongNuo literally can and do fix issues overnight. There are a lot of intricacies to this system that are likely to be better supported with the YN-622C.
So although the SN-E3-RF and SN600C-RF are a nice system if you’re happy to accept them for what they are, they may not be the best option to rush into just yet if you’re after a longer term expanding system.
The Shanny SN-E3-RF transceivers have similar function to the original YongNuo YN-622C.
They were originally designed by YouPro as a lower priced alternative to the YN-622C. While adding some physical upgrades to the unit, like better Channel and Group buttons, and even an attached battery door which can not be lost.
As well as adding an all important USB port for firmware updates, and more reliable mini-phone sync port instead of a PC sync port.
Like the Pixel King Pro the case even has a metal frame inside making the hotshoe on top more secure (though the foot is still a bit sloppy when mounted in a camera hotshoe).
The SN-E3-RF do have an LCD screen on the rear panel, though all control of the flashes functions still needs to be made through the Canon camera’s Flash Control Menu (which has it limitations).
- Up to 200m range (safe working range generally around 60m)
- ETTL Ratios set from the camera menu (ALL/ A:B/ A:B C)
- FEC, FEL
- Remote Manual Power Control – in 3 groups from the camera menu
- HSS (High Speed Sync) up to 1/8000th (with compatible flashes)
- Pass Through Hotshoe – Allows ETTL or Manual Flash On Camera
- Test Fire Button on TX – Allows light meter use in remote manual
- Second Curtain Sync
- Remote Flash Zoom Setting from the camera menu
- 15 Channels
- USB Port for firmware updates
- Mini-phone Sync Port
- Attached Battery Door can not be lost
- LCD Screen with Battery Level Indicator
- Transceivers means there are back up transmitter units
- Regular AA batteries
- No Flash Control Interface (Canon flash control menu is limited)
- No Focus Assist light on the Tx
- No Memory of flash settings (groups, channels etc are remembered)
- ETTL Ratios limited to 1:1, 1:2, style ratios instead of FEC via groups (like YN-622C-TX etc)
- Mixing ETTL and manual groups is not possible via the camera menu
- Turning a group off remotely in Remote Manual is limited to choosing A:B or A:B:C
- No Supersync Timing Adjustment
- Locking rings are smaller than ideal
- No shutter release feature (not uncommon with ETTL triggers)
- Safe trigger voltage not specified (likely up to 60 volts as Pixel triggers generally specify)
- No Sync cords provided
- Canon 1100D, 1200D,
- 350D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 700D,
- 60D*, 70D, 7D, 7DII, 6D, 5D II, 5DIII, 1D X/1D C
- (NOT suitable for Canon 1D II, 1Ds II, 1D )
- * Using the Canon 60D “Wireless Function” in the camera menu must be Enabled.
- The applicable of other cameras has not yet been tested.
- CANON – All Canon EX Flashes.
- YONGNUO – YN-568EX
- PIXEL – X650C
- NISSIN – DI866 II
- MEIKI – MK-600, MK-580, MK-300
- VOKING – VK550, VK580
The SN-E3-RF provide a back lit LCD screen on the rear panel. Though all this mainly displays is the Group and Channel selection (something simple switches can otherwise do just as well). A battery level indicator is a handy feature though.
There is also a Lock button option to lock the interface. This is handy to stop the channels being changed accidentally (a common issue with the original YN-622C).
RX mode is similar, though you can only select one Group for the receiver (which is normal).
Otherwise the SN-E3-RF’s interface has no control of the flashes functions, and all of this needs to be adjusted through the cameras Flash Control Menu.
In fact the group selection buttons are basically redundant when used as a transmitter, as the cameras Flash Control Menu will override any group settings selected on the triggers interface anyway.
Even with the latest model cameras the Canon Flash Control Menu is limited in function, and considerably slower to adjust than transmitter units with their own interface like the YN-622C-TX or Pixel King Pro etc. And ETTL and Remote Manual groups can not be mixed, you can only select either all ETTL or all Manual groups.
In Remote Manual Mode three separate groups can be adjusted individually. Though tweaking power levels for a number of groups can really get tedious this way. And its also not easy to turn a particular group ON or OFF. The only options are groups A:B, and A:B:C switched on.
In ETTL the only option to set individual groups to different output levels are the old ratio options. An A:B group ratio, and group C set separately as a background light (group C must not be directed at the subject).
FEC adjustments from the camera will effect all groups globally.
Other than the rather large step backwards using the camera’s Flash Control Menu feels like after using transmitter units like the YN-622C-TX, the other main inconvenience I find with the SN-E3-RF transmitter is that it does not memorise the flash settings or power levels etc previously set after the transmitter is switched off.
I’m not sure if there is another way to do this, though I generally just switch the transmitter off quickly to set an ambient exposure level without the flashes in the image. Then when the transmitter is switched back on the flash control menu goes back to default ETTL settings and any power levels previously set are lost.
So this becomes a tedious process of resetting the camera menu back to Manual flash, wireless function on, A:B:C ratio on, and then resetting the power levels again.
On the SN-E3-RF case Group buttons are easy to access, and a USB port and standard mini-phone sync port are provided.
The other side of the case provides a lanyard strap loop, and simple ON – OFF and TX – RX switches, which are recessed nicely and difficult to bump off position accidentally.
The SN-E3-RF’s battery door is fixed to the trigger case so that it can not be lost. And a 1/4″ 20 threaded mounting hole is supplied on the base of the case as well.
A flash can be mounted on the SN-E3-RT’s pass through hotshoe, and used in full ETTL or Manual.
This would be best for casual use only though, as the transmitter foot does still have some movement in the camera hotshoe. And recent flashes with a transmitter and master function built in are really a much better long term option for flash on camera flash use anyway.
Shanny SN600C-RF flashes are built on the same flash platform as the recent SN600SC (full review here) and all of the other current Shanny flash models, though now with a 2.4GHz SN-E3-RF compatible radio receiver unit conveniently built inside.
Another important addition is a USB port for firmware updates now mounted directly in the flashes battery compartment.
As the SN600C-RF have a radio receiver built inside, there are no Canon or Nikon Optic Wireless master of slave modes included (basic S1 and S2 optic slave modes are still included though).
Otherwise the SN600C-RF provide the same impressive full power speedlite, with ETTL, HSS, Manual, fast recycle times, and external HV Battery Port. Please see the SN600SC review for a full run down of the flash features and functions.
- Full Power – GN 62m (ISO 100 / 200mm)
- HSS to 1/8000th
- Flash Mode – ETTL /M / Multi
- 1st Curtain Sync / 2nd Curtain Sync
- FEC / FEB – 1/3rd Increments (±3 stops)
- Manual Flash – 1/128 – 1/1 output control (1/3rd increments)
- 20-200mm Auto and Manual Flash Zoom
- 2.4GHz Radio Receiver – Compatible with SN-E3-RF Transceiver
- S1 & S2 Basic Optic Slave Modes
- Full power recycle – from 1.8 seconds
- Supports Multiple Flash Groups
- Radio Channels – 1 to 15
- Supports Canon Flash Control Menus
- Custom Functions
- Sound Prompt
- Heat Protection
- LCD Back Light Can be Kept On
- Crop Sensor Auto Zoom Option
- AF Assist Light
- Full 360 Degree Swivel and Tilt Head (With Tilt Lock Button)
- Large Clear Dot Matrix LCD Screen
- Canon Like Interface
- Fast Clamping Metal Foot with Locking Pin (And Clamps Well)
- Good Build Quality
- External Battery Port
- USB Port for Firmware Updates
- PC Sync Port
- No RT System Compatibility
- No Canon or Nikon Optic Wireless Slave Modes
- No Flash Distance Scale
- AF Assist Light is Good, But Not Great
- Canon 1100D, 1200D,
- 350D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 650D, 700D,
- 60D, 70D, 7D, 7DII, 6D, 5D II, 5DIII, 1D X/1D C
- (NOT suitable for Canon 1D II, 1Ds II, 1D )
- The applicable of other cameras has not yet been tested.
- Shanny SN-E3-RF
The SN600C-RF use the same interface and dot matrix LCD screen as previous Shanny flash models.
Simply press the Wireless button on the very left of the flash to enter the RF radio slave mode.
And once the SN-E3-RF transmitter is switched ON (and set to the same channel as the flash) the LINK light will turn from red to green and the flash is ready to go in RF radio slave mode. Its really as simple as that.
The cameras Flash Control Menu then remotely takes control of the flash functions.
In Remote Manual mode the flash screen becomes a little clearer to read by losing the 2.4GHz RF and SLAVE symbols. The remote manual power level set is shown on the flash screen.
Note that the Zoom setting on the flash above does not match the cameras flash Zoom setting. This is because the SN600C-RF flash have a Zoom Lock custom function allowing the flashes to either retain their own manual setting, or follow what is set on the camera. Be that an auto (to follow the camera lens) or manual Zoom setting.
The camera menu has no option for setting each groups flash Zoom differently though, just one global setting for all remote flashes.
This custom function gives the SN600C-RF flash an advantage over other ETTL flashes mounted on SN-E3-RF receivers, because they will always follow the zoom setting set on the camera.
(The only other option when using Canon flashes is to straighten the flash head, and set the zoom to auto, in which case it will go straight to 50mm while the flash head is positioned straight up.)
So remote Zoom can be tricky with a number of slave flashes, though there are some options to work with.
The other major update to the SN600C-RF flashes is a Micro USB port for firmware updates now provided inside the flashes battery compartment.
The main point of an RF system (as opposed to the Canon RT system Shanny started out with) is that you can use your existing Canon ETTL flashes (and some other third party ETTL flashes) in the system together.
Shanny are testing more third party flashes for compatibility, please see the SN-E3-RT flash compatibility list near the top of this post.
Apart from the note on remote Zoom settings above, flashes mounted on SN-E3-RT receivers function much the same way as the SN600C-RF, and they all appear to work fine together.
Range also appears pretty similar for the SN600C-RF and for flashes mounted on SN-E3-RT receivers.
Viewed in isolation the new Shanny RF system appear to be pretty decent for what they are so far.
Though I personally think Shanny have unfortunately gotten themselves sidetracked with this RF system, when they were doing so well with the Canon RT system they started with (and is in high demand at this point).
Any TTL radio flash system takes a lot of resources to maintain and develop properly. And Shanny now have 2 incompatible radio systems for Canon competing for resources and attention, not to mention competing against themselves for sales (while its Nikon that really needs RF flash systems badly).
I think Shanny have realised a flash with receiver built in alone is not enough to compete with well established systems like the YN-622C, without a comparable transmitter unit to the YN-622C-TX etc. So as far as I understand they are now rushing to release another transmitter for the system (though I wouldn’t bank on anything until they are actually available).
The YN-622C are already well established now though, and function wise they are very well refined and supported (for Canon at least). YongNuo have literally fixed issues overnight when needed. And there are a lot of intricacies to this system that are still likely to be better supported with the YN-622C.
So if you’re after a more serious system to expand on into the future, it may be worth considering carefully before moving into this too quickly, even when Shanny have an enticing radio flash available already.
As they stand now though, the SN-E3-RF and SN600C-RF would really be ideal for people who just want to get a simple flash off camera, and mainly in TTL mode. For that (and apart from the lack of AF Assist Light) this is certainly a very simple and convenient system, and you have a nice fully featured and relatively inexpensive ETTL flash to use on camera when needed as well.
PRICE AND AVIALABILITY
The SN-E3-RF and SN600C-RF are available now, from around $80 for a pair of SN-E3-RF transceivers, and $125 for the SN600C-RF flash unit.
Shanny – Flash Models