YN-622 as an AF Assist Light

Looking for a stand alone AF Assist Light to use by itself, or with other radio triggers that don’t have one?  Well YongNuo already have one available of sorts in the YN-622 –

YongNuo YN-622C

The inexpensive YN-622 are now fairly legendary, highly capable, TTL wireless radio triggers. But for less than $50 per unit, you can afford to forget about what they were designed for, and use one just as a stand alone AF assist light on the camera. Or with other radio transmitters mounted on top.

The YN-622 may not be the absolute ideal stand alone AF light, but after years of harassing manufacturers to make a purpose built unit, its becoming pretty obvious that’s not going to happen now. (Not by the current radio trigger manufacturers anyway, as its simply not in their interest to provide solutions for the opposition). So for now the YN-622 are really the best current inexpensive solution for Canon and Nikon owners.

 

YN-622C AF Light

 

The YN-622 AF light itself is mainly designed for just center focus point (though you may squeeze a few more in there), but the lazer style contrast line pattern is very sharp and bright compared to the Canon/Nikon offerings. So for a center focus point use I find its actually a very capable AF light. (Much better than regular torches without contrast projection, not to mention much less clumsy).

The main catch with the 622 though is that the TTL pass though hotshoe on top is not strictly a direct pass through. This means that any TTL information is running through the YN-622’s processor, not directly passed straight through from camera to the device mounted on top. So basically any TTL capable device mounted on top still needs to cooperate and communicate with the YN-622, and not just the camera.

So basic manual triggers mounted on top are generally fine, but any units with TTL capability may have limitations. Though there are some good results with the Pixel King Pro and Phottix Odin as noted bellow.

 

Manual Triggers

 

Phottix Strato II on YN-622C for AF Assist

 

Most basic manual triggers appear to work fine on top of the YN-622 pass through hotshoe. I tested a number of transmitters on top of the YN-622C previously and didn’t see any issues there. Considering very few of the manual triggers have any AF assist light built in, this can be seriously handy.

(One exception I know of that doesn’t work is the Godox cells II, but that is a specialized manual trigger with HSS capability, and known not to work on anything but directly mounted on the camera hotshoe).

YN-622C settings – I don’t think there are any settings to worry about here with manual triggers, just make sure the YN-622 and well seated in the camera hotshoe, and the likewise the transmitter mounted on top of the YN-622 hotshoe. Also the YN-622 must be switched on for the transmitter on top to work. That can be easy to miss at the start, but you soon get used to checking that first if the flash is not firing.

I have only tested these with the Canon version YN-622C, if anyone runs across any compatibility issues with the Nikon version YN-622N please let us know, thanks.

 

Pixel King Pro

 

Pixel King on YN-622C for AF Assist

 

The trick with the Pixel King Pro is simply to mount the YN-622C on top of the King Pro’s pass through hotshoe (instead of the other way around this time).

There may be some limited functionality with the King Pro mounted on top of the YN-622C instead, but with the YN-622C on top I get full functionality with the King Pro. And its much better to have the YN-622C on top anyway, because if that is switched off, or has any issues, its not blocking signal between the camera and King Pro.

So with the Canon version at least I get full functionality with the King Pro, ETTL, Remote Manual, HSS, and Second Curtain Sync.

The Nikon version King Pro is quite different though, as that takes control of the slave flashes, always set to TTL. So there is some possibility the Nikon version may have more limited function. If anyone can provide feedback on this it would be very appreciated thanks.

YN-622c settings – Again I don’t think there are any settings to worry about on the YN-622C while its mounted on top of the King Pro. You can switch the YN-622C on and off as needed for the AF light, and the King Pro functions as normal.

Because the AF light is mounted a little higher, within about a meter of the subject it may be a bit too high for the cameras center focus point. I found I could just loosen the YN-622C foot locking ring off just a little bit and it would tilt down fairly easily. A light rubber band wrapped around both triggers would likely do the trick to pull the light down a little if you were working that close often. Otherwise the YN-622C AF light generally works great on top of the King Pro.

 

Phottix Odin

 

Phottix Odin on YN-622C for AF Assist

 

With the Phottix Odin I get full function with Remote Manual, HSS, and Second Curtain Sync, just No TTL function.

Again I have only tested with the Canon version, but the Nikon version Odin works in a similar manner, so that is at least promising for Nikon. Although there is no TTL function with this set up, I’m still thrilled that Remote Manual, HSS, and SCS, are working great on top of the YN-622C.

I have tried the Odin’s like this before, but with very limited success. And I’m not 100% sure that its not also due to later firmware, or that I’m using the later V1.5 model Odin now, but I’m pretty sure the main issue was that I simply did not have the Odin seated all the way in the YN-622C hotshoe. Something was catching, and I never quite pushed the Odin all the way on properly. They are working very consistently together like this now though.

YN-622c settings – If the camera used has a flash control menu, you have to be mindful of the YN-622C setting set through the camera menu as well. If you want to use HSS or Second Curtain Sync, that has to be set on the YN-622C as well (through the camera menu), not just on the Odin transmitter. If they don’t match the Odin transmitter will keep bouncing back to whatever the camera/YN622C are set to.

The is not really an issue in practice, as long as you are aware of it. I just leave the camera/YN-622C set to HSS, and that way it will allow high shutter speeds (with HSS), but as soon as you go bellow the cameras X-sync speed it automatically turns HSS off on the flash (and back on again as needed). Setting Second Curtain Sync must be done in the camera menu, and “wireless mode” must be disabled in the flash control menu (as that is what the YN-622C requires for SCS operation). The Odin function as normal then with Second Curtain Sync.

Otherwise these work great together in Remote Manual (the Canon version at least). Phottix have recently released the Mitros + flash with Odin transmitter built in, so that will be the main AF assist light option (which will work in TTL as well) but the YN-622C combination is still a great option to have for the Odin transmitter if remote manual is mainly all you’re after.

 

Canon ST-E3-RT

 

From most reports the Canon ST-E3-RT doesn’t work on top of the YN-622C, but YongNuo have released their own YN-E3-RT transmitter, which has a built in AF-assist light, and is directly compatible with the Canon RT system. So that is a direct substitute for Canon’s ST-E3-RT, and likely at a lower price. So the YN-E3-RT would be much more preferable to stacking transmitters like this when avoidable.

 

PocketWizard TT1/TT5

 

I haven’t tested the PocketWizard TT1 or TT5 with YN-622C on top, so would be interested to hear any results. At best this would be very limited though, as without an AC3 zone controller (or master flash) mounted on top of the TT1 or TT5 on camera, there is one TTL group available only. The chance of any function after stacking an AC3 on top of the YN-622, on top of a TT1/TT5, I would imagine would be pretty slim.

 

 

YN-622 Price and Availability –

 

YN-622 are originally sold in pairs from around $85, though some sellers do offer single units around $45 – $50.

YN-622C  Pair –  Canon – Amazon FulfilledUK
YN-622N  Pair – Nikon – Amazon FulfilledUK

YN-622C  Single –  Canon – AmazonUK
YN-622N Single – Nikon – Amazon FulfilledUK

 

Purchasing from a local seller on Amazon, or Amazon Fulfilled, is often the proffered method, as you receive the triggers fast, and Amazon provide an excellent 30 day no hassle fast exchange if there are any issues. Purchasing from China may be a little cheaper sometimes, but postage times can be long, and if there is an issue return shipping from China can also be costly and time consuming.

YN-622C for Canon Review
YN-622N for Nikon Overview

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30 Comments
  1. the Flasher 4 years ago

    great article as usual.

    I wanted to buy the Odins but lack of AF assist light is a deal breaker for me. I don’t understand why manufacturers don’t think its necessary?

    Your article should have read “throw away your other triggers and just use the 622’s instead ” 🙂

    I’m glad Yongnuo have seen sense. Their AF is great but a bit annoying if there are 2 photographers in the same room using the 622 triggers as the AF pattern is sometimes visible in the photos of the opposite camera.

    I wonder if they could change the frequency to IR spectrum so it would be invisible to the human eye but the camera could still “see it”……. my camcorders have this function?

    Anyway I’m patiently waiting for the upcoming “main event”………new stuff from YN

    Have you any other nuggets of info regarding the up coming 622TX or YN- ST-E3??????

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Flasher,

      I’d say Canon just left it off the ST-E3-RT to cut costs, (and likely to help encourage you to buy the higher end bodies with better low light focus). But for other Chinese manufacturers this is something they are only just starting to develop. So AF lights are not something that’s easily available or well refined at this point. But it certainly doesn’t help that Canon set a bad example for them to follow by leaving it off.

      I’m not sure about the IR, it would really depend on the cameras auto focus technology / ability. These AF lights can actually cause some camera/lenses to back or front focus, so there’s really a lot more to learn and refine in this area.

      No new news on the YN gear at this point. I’d say they are pretty busy just trying to get the gear out at the moment, as it all appears to be running a bit behind now. Thanks.

      • cuitlahuac alcaraz 10 months ago

        yeah, i have the YN 622N on my D800 regardless what lens I use, i always get back focus or miss focus

    • Ben 4 years ago

      I think if they used the IR spectrum, it will still show on the second shooter as something like a hotspot. since the SLRs can pick-up IR…. e.g. Photography with R72 IR filter

  2. frederic 4 years ago

    Using the autofocus assist light is well on the YN-622 ?
    I can not find any test videos on the internet. it’s a shame. somoene could help?
    Can we do the focus easIly in the darkness with a YN-622?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Frederic.

      As mentioned, the YN-622 AF light is mainly only for the center focus point only. But its brighter and sharper than Canon/Nikon AF lights which cover a larger area. So for Center focus point use it worls very well.

      You can see an example of the pattern here (though its larger than seen there, unless you are very close to the subject). Thanks.

      • frederic 4 years ago

        you convinced me … I ordered one on the bay.
        I had a big trouble focusing in the dark. I’ll keep you posted on my next test.
        otherwise, there is some news about controller YN-560 tx? I have 3 yn-560iii, and I look forward !

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 years ago

          Hi Frederic,

          Ok thanks, I’m trying to get an update on the YN-560 III transmitter (among other things), but its starting to sound like they have put it off until next year.

          • Mike 4 years ago

            Ouch. Talk about rolling out the carpet and then pulling it from under our feet. Santa won’t be happy about this.

          • loveboy 4 years ago

            Damn, that is disappointing. Still no sign of the 603-ii either.

            They were ahead of the curve with the 560iii, shame they’re falling further and further behind others in the field, at least on the manual control side of things.

  3. frederic 4 years ago

    I have received and tested YongNuo 622 on my Canon 6d, with yn-603 above, and a remote yn-560iii, the result is amazing! and what price?!
    it’s a pity I can not have control of the second curtain of the yn-560iii.
    the only big problem is that the assist led is too above the central collimator at short distance.
    I look forward to the YN-560 tx for the second curtain.

    • frederic 4 years ago

      here is my setup for my tests, it is efficient, not heavy, not too expensive (excluding 6d of course)
      http://frederic.pro/forum-imgs/canon-yongnuo-603-622.jpg
      and here is a test, which I call the ‘test rat’. it is simple, it involves taking a photo of a bronze sculpture of a rat in a very similar room in the dark.
      I used back button focus, hit the rat with the AF Assist led below the rat and locked focus, recomposed, then took the shot.
      light is only flash
      http://frederic.pro/forum-imgs/test-rat-1.jpg
      http://frederic.pro/forum-imgs/test-rat-2.jpg
      bye

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Frederic,

      Thanks for that, yes sometimes I have to loosen the locking ring on the YN-622C foot a little and push it down a bit at the front to lower the AF beam.

      I’m not sure what is happening with the transmitter for the YN-560 III at the moment, and YongNuo appear to be quite behind with a number of triggers now. But I don’t think it would have second curtain sync as that would require TTL communication with the camera, and I would think this will be a more simple remote manual trigger system.

      The price of TTL YN-565EX are dropping bellow $100 now (and the YN-560 III price starting to rise). So it may be better to go for YN-565EX and the YN-622C. Which will ensure SCS,and TTL and remote manual (now). Thanks.

  4. Armand 4 years ago

    I have a 6D + YN-560 III. I didn’t realize until recently while shooting a dimly lit event that the YN-560 III did not have an AF assist beam. Is it possible to mount the YN-560 III directly on to the YN-622C’s hot shoe so as to use the YN-622C just for the AF assist lamp?

    If that works, I am wondering if it does not just make more sense to get a 565 EX II that has the AF assist lamp built in? But then, I hear that Yongnuo’s AF assist lamps aren’t the best… is that true?

    (Funny side note, I have all the parts in Fredrick’s setup photo, minus the YN-622C)

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 4 years ago

      Hi Armand,

      Yes you could use a YN-622C just for the AF assist light (with the YN-560 III mounted on top).

      But as you mention, it would make more sense to use a YN-565EX / II instead. The problem with mounting large flashes on top of a pass through hotshoe is that the shoes get beaten around as you try to swivel the flash head. And eventually the contacts become unreliable.

      That wouldn’t be as much of an issue with a manual only flash, but its still much better to mount the flash directly to the camera shoe when possible. And the YN-565EX would give you ETTL as well, which can be a big bonus for an on-camera flash.

      The YongNuo AF lights are not brilliant, but they do the job mainly for the center focus point. If they line up with a focus point they are actually stronger than the Canon etc lights. If they don’t cover a particular focus point though, they won’t do anything. You may need to move the flash / trigger a little in the shoe until the beam lines up with the focus point.

      The $299 Phottix Mitros is likely the lowest price full size flash with the full horizontal and vertical beam AF assist lights like Canon use. So for $100 or so the YongNuo flash and AF light is much better than no AF assist. Thanks.

      • Armand 4 years ago

        Thanks for that valuable feedback Flash Havoc,
        I think I will go with the 565.
        Is there any difference or reason I would not get the 565 EX II?

        • Author
          Flash Havoc 4 years ago

          Hi Armand,

          YongNuo are saying the YN-565EX II function is exactly the same as the original YN-565EX.

          There is definitely no optic wireless Master mode added (as people are often expecting, because that was the main change from the YN-568EX to the YN-568EX II).

          What has changed is the LCD screen, which appears to have done away with the flash range scale, allowing the rest of the settings to be displayed larger. A battery level indicator (likely not of much use when using NIHM batteries) and heat protection symbol have also been added.

          YN-565EX LCD Screen
          YN-565EX II LCD Screen

          You mention that you are using a manual flash (YN-560 III) on the camera, so the flash range scale on the original YN-565EX may actually be more helpful for that.

          Its possible the YN-565EX II may have some upgraded components, but then these flashes are often getting small hardware changes we don’t hear on know about anyway.

          Whether there are any added issues I don’t know. I haven’t heard of any yet, though it may be a little too early to tell. The change to the YN-568EX II added an issue with underexposure when bouncing and using Evaluative flash metering.

          That flash had bigger changes though, and hopefully YN learnt from that mistake. So I would expect the YN-565EX II should be pretty safe. Thanks.

  5. cory 3 years ago

    Please help! Has anyone had issues in seeing the bright red infrared crosshairs from the assist beam on their subjects? Its happening to me a lot now with these triggers and other YN products. I can’t find anything online but I can’t imagine I’m the only one with this issue (Its happened on multiple YN products) Thanks in advance for any info

  6. mich734 3 years ago

    Hi,

    I just bought the Yongnuo YN622C and am using it with my Canon 6D and Canon Speedlite 430 EX II. It works just great when the flash is off-camera, but when I use it as an on-top flash, it doesn’t really work. I can’t adjust the settings from my on-camera menu, and the E-TTL function on the flash switches to TTL. I cannot adjust the EC, either with the on-camera menu or on the flash itself. When on TTL mode, it completely over-exposes the image. If I try to keep fiddling with it, the flash stops working altogether. I’ve tried all the troubleshooting suggestions in the manual. Can you suggest anything, or did I end up with a defective unit? (Both transceivers act this way.)

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi mich734,

      Did you do a factory reset on both the units? (and use good alkaline batteries).

      If so, you may have faulty units then unfortunately.

  7. Jz 3 years ago

    i just got the yn-622n of the two item kit one has a working af assist beam and the other doesnt work. I tried doing what the manual says. Hold the af button for less or more than 3 seconds. Nothing helps. Ill probably be replacing them for another kit.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 years ago

      Hi Jz,

      Did you try doing a factory reset on them, as that may help.

      Also try holding your hand over the lense, as sometimes the AF light may not come on if the camera thinks there is enough ambient light. One transmitter could possibly be a little more temperamental in this regard.

  8. Jz 3 years ago

    hi. I got the kit replaced and problem is solved. Im triggering the ad360 and getting af assist beam as intended.

    Both units work. Im happy.

  9. rahul 3 years ago

    Hi

    whats the difference in terms of use as AF light in low light conditions between the
    (1) Yongnuo YN-622C (that you speak of here) [78 EUROS] and the
    (2) Yongnuo YN-622C-TX 1/8000 E-TTL [44 EUROS]

    Cheers
    i think the Yongnuo YN-622C-TX 1/8000 E-TTL works just as well.. though curious about your comments (or anyone elses) – Oh i have a meer mortal Canon 550D but use it with a 50mm 1.4f prime
    cheers

  10. Steve 2 years ago

    SO AWESOME!!!!

    Just tested it with a RF605c on top of a 622c and it worked great! AND I put a YN-565EXII on top of that and it’s firing and triggering all my other strobes with my other RF605c triggers!

    Sure, it’s a little clunky, but I need I flash on the camera in additions to my lights on stands (weddings…DARK). I’m canceling my order for two YN685s which I ONLY NEEDED FOR THE DAMN FOCUS ASSIST LIGHT!
    You rule.

    Sorry for all the CAPSlocking, but I’ve been grinding my teeth on this all weekend after thinking I didn’t have options other than buying new triggers or a couple of new flashes.

    THANKS!

  11. easton 2 years ago

    I have 6 yn622n and only 2 have the af assist beam. At one point they all did though. Any idea how to turn the af assist beam back on?

  12. Serknor 2 years ago

    In case some tried a million things and the af didn’t work. You have to press the Ch/af button for 3 minutes BUT with the radio NOT CONNECTED to the camera. Yes, the button function changes whether it’s on top of the camera or alone.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 years ago

      Thanks for that Serknor, I was not familiar with that function.

  13. Everson Alencar 1 year ago

    Great article, but the comments were a bit more helpfull.
    I do have trouble to turn on AF Assist on YN-622.
    I’ve read the manual a million times and it only says to hold down “CH/AF/+” button for more or less than 3 seconds, but its very confusing. It do not specify if it should be on camera or off camera.

    Somehow I got it to work, but its is very temperamental, suddenly, stops working, and give lots of trouble.

  14. luiz 5 months ago

    st-e2 work af assist?

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