YONGNUO – Integrated Flash System Concept

YongNuo System Concept

 

This is post is something of an open letter to YongNuo, so that other people can possibly share their thoughts on the topic as well.

YongNuo have led the way in the past with some popular and groundbreaking products like the RF-602/3 and YN-622 TTL radio triggers.

Though over the last few years YongNuo have been losing a lot of customers to Godox, who are now providing a far more integrated speedlight system, as well as numerous larger compatible strobe options.

And if this is not going to become a complete one horse race, YongNuo really need to get moving on at least 2 things –

 

  • 1. – ONE SIMPLE FULLY INTEGRATED FLASH SYSTEM
  • 2. – A LARGER COMPATIBLE OFF-CAMERA CORDLESS STROBE

 

From my own perspective its often become a bit pointless with all the time it takes to try and explain what does and doesn’t work together within the chaotic (and ever expanding) YongNuo flash and trigger system.

Mainly because once people realize that all of the strobes in the Godox X system simply work together, TTL or Manual, all the speedlites have radio built-in, all master and slave, and all the lights have receiver modes for multiple camera systems, of course they are just going to go with Godox anyway instead.

YongNuo have built up a very large user base over the years though, even of just RF-602/3 users alone. So it seems completely crazy to not open up the system to let those people expand into TTL & HSS etc as they need, rather than steadily losing customers (existing and potential) to other systems.

 

ONE INTEGRATED FLASH SYSTEM

 

YongNuo have evolved into providing 2 mostly separate flash systems, between the TTL and HSS enabled YN-622 system, and the Remote Manual only YN560 / RF-603 system.

To this point YongNuo have slowly allowed some compatibility with the YN-560TX Manual transmitter to fire and control some TTL strobes, though not the other way around. (Leading to an overall confusing and inconvenient system).

So the obvious way to start moving towards one fully integrated system, would be to start with a new YN-622-TX II transmitter, which can fire and control both the TTL and HSS enabled YN-622, and Remote Manual YN560 systems, and at the same time (NOT separate YN-622 & YN560 modes).

The transmitter would ideally add at least 2 more groups (Manual are ok), preferably to be displayed on the LCD all together.

YongNuo System Concept

 

And the next step would then be a radio Master and Slave flash unit, with the same capability to fire and control both the YN-622 and YN560 systems at the same time.

And they would also then include radio slave modes for both the YN-622 and YN560 systems.

That includes both Canon AND Nikon YN-622 radio slave modes in each flash.

 

YongNuo System Concept

 

The Remote Manual only YN560 flashes would continue to provide radio Master and Slave modes as they currently do.

The difference is they can now also be fired and controlled (in Manual Mode) by the TTL & HSS enabled master speedlites, and YN-622-TX II transmitter etc.

So there is now effectively one integrated system of compatible flashes and radio triggers –

 

YongNuo System Concept

 

And all of the unnecessary overlapping flash models would then be phased out. (Otherwise this is just going to add even further again to the current confusion of what is and is not compatible).

Or at the very least, all flash models in the new fully compatible system would be named either YN*22, or YN*60, so people can then at least identify which flash models are fully compatible –

  • TTL / HSS – YN422 / YN522 / YN722 / YN822 / YN922
  • Manual – YN560 / YN660 / YN760 / YN860 / YN960

 

And all Lithium-ion powered speedlites use the SAME BATTERY. (And therefore the same shape flash base if the battery door is part of the battery like with the new YN860Li).

 

The new YN-622-TX II transmitter may not have to follow the traditional YN-622 design either, it could be something completely different, like the ST-E3-RT style options quite popular now.

The main point is that it can display at least 5 groups together, and retain a fast simple user interface.

And the end goal is then to also to have a TTL master speedlite with a similar interface, so that its easy to swap between the two.

 

YongNuo System Concept

 

With any transmitter design of this style though its still highly recommended to angle the screen to around 30 degrees, so that it can still be seen even when the camera is mounted on a tripod at head height.

YongNuo System Concept

 

(Note – The YN822 / YN822Li flashes and YN-622-TX II transmitter shown here do not currently exist, these are just concepts).

 

 

LARGER COMPATIBLE CORDLESS STROBE

 

The other major product YongNuo really need is a larger compatible off-camera cordless strobe option.

With the release of the Godox AD200/eVOLV its likely many companies like YongNuo may also be looking into something like that already as well.

Though its worth mentioning the one strobe that is likely to have the largest market, while covering the most needs, is still a 300 – 360Ws compact cordless strobe, with a good 20+ Watt LED modelling light.

So that the one cordless strobe can double as a good studio light as well as a location strobe.

That is the strobe many people are still waiting for, and has been the biggest opportunity still missing so far. The one good strobe would cover a large part of the market, there doesn’t need to be a huge range of different strobes in a system to compete.

 

I have posted a 360Ws cordless strobe suggestion previously which suits the current Godox flash system.

Though particularly for a company starting out with a first cordless strobe, I would keep it very straight forward, with a built-in Bowen’s S-type modifier mount, and compact light stand swivel built-in.

The minimum size would be limited by the diameter of the S-type mount, though if everything else was kept inside that 120mm diameter cylinder area, this could still provide a nice compact unit for transport etc.

 

 

Then concentrate on the main important features –

  • Approx 360Ws
  • 20+ Watt 5600K LED Modeling light
  • Good Color consistency
  • Compact as Possible (Within Reason)
  • Fan Cooled
  • IGBT, TTL / HSS & Remote Manual Options

 

For location use a regular / smaller battery keeps the complete unit from being top heavy up high on a light stand.

While a larger battery could also be made available for studio use where the LED modeling light and fan are running more often.

 

 

A nice compact reflector option with removable diffuser disc cover, and compatible grid options would also be nice.

 

 

 

And this 300 – 360Ws strobe format should then fit somewhere nicely between the AD200/eVOLV, and a full size 600Ws cordless strobe.

Still much easier to manage on location for wedding and portrait photographers etc than a heavy full size 600Ws cordless strobe.

 

 

And so finally we would have the complete integrated system with larger strobe options included –

And ideally at least the larger TTL strobes would also include the Canon RT radio slave mode along with Canon and Nikon RF slave modes.

The RT radio slave modes would certainly be desirable in the TTL speedlites as well.

.

29 Comments
  1. Dan Martin 3 months ago

    These concepts look real nice. Especially the compact strobe. Are these anywhere close to reality??

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 3 months ago

      Hi Dan,

      Sorry, no, these are just my concepts. I haven’t shown them to YongNuo before.

      With the popularity of the AD200 I’m sure they would have attracted YongNuo’s attention, though I really don’t know if they have anything in the works.

      Regarding integrating the radio systems, I don’t think they have any intention of doing that unless we all really try and get that message across.

      As it is now though, people are voting with their wallet anyway. YongNuo need to start getting serious about a well organised flash ecosystem.

      • Author
        Flash Havoc 3 months ago

        I should add, the YongNuo lead engineer does read the site and comments, he replied to a comment just a week or so ago.

        And if you are listening, I would recommend reading this post on the same subject as well.

        I do agree that Yongnuo absolutely need to do something to organise their speedlight lineup to unite everything under a single banner. Or completely phase out the older systems and introduce something fresh that’s at least somewhat backwards compatible with each of their existing systems until they die off completely.

        Their lineup now is just far too fragmented to be able to recommend anything. And this is the main reason why I no longer recommend Yongnuo. After Yongnuo started to release different communication systems for different flashes and triggers, those people I’d recommended Yongnuo to were coming back to me that they bought some other Yongnuo product and it wouldn’t work with what they had. After seeing what they’d now purchased, I was the one who had to tell them it never would.

        They simply expected that two pieces of kit from the same manufacturer would talk to each other. It’s a logical assumption to make, as proven by Godox (and Elinchrom, and Profoto, and countless other companies). Their stuff all works together. Sure, you might have to update your old 433Mhz triggers to 2.4Ghz triggers for your first generation lights to work with the new system. But what you don’t have to do is buy a whole new set of lights.

        • John Wilson 3 months ago

          Very interesting article. Made me think…

          I think there’s an argument for rethinking small (GN 60 or so) off camera flashes. At the moment your only option is to buy flash which works on camera and use it off camera. My guess is that if a photographer owns more than one small flash at most one of them will ever be used on camera.

          There are a couple of features of an on camera flash which are of no or of very limited use off camera. The hot shoe is the obvious one but the tilting and rotating head is not really necessary. If the hot shoe could be omitted from the flash the manufacturing cost would be slightly reduced but the main benefit would be in reduced inventory costs. Being camera vendor specific having different hot shoe versions means that the manufacture, distributor and dealer need to juggle stocks up to 5 different variants of each flash. The tilting and rotating head must add to manufacturing cost and probably impacts the reliability of the device.

          Making an off camera specific flash would decrease the cost to the manufacturer and the distribution chain, increase the reliability of the device, reduce the size and weight of the device and allow the device to be marketed to the photographer as a “future proof” device which doesn’t have to be replaced if they switch camera brand.

          I’m imagining the form factor to be like a mini AD200 with a fixed fresnel head (probably it would have to zoom). It would support TTL and HSS and be available in 4 AA cell and Li-ion versions. Priced at or slightly above the TT600 and V850 class devices.

          Another advantage to doing this is that the manufacturer would be able to make the on camera flashes a premium device. Freed from the constraint that the price has to be cheap enough for people to buy multiple copies to use off camera the compromises that this imposes one the device design can be removed.

  2. peter 3 months ago

    Good article, thanks.

  3. Armin 3 months ago

    Full ack! Thanks!

  4. Richard 3 months ago

    Very good article, thanks.

    There’s one thing missing though. Any manufacturer that wants to get serious and progress beyond the speedlites market needs a business model that includes local service and support, which is expensive. Yongnuo doesn’t have this (they’re not the only ones) but it hardly matters when the product is so cheap it’s effectively disposable.

    That’s not the case with with higher end strobes costing £500-plus, and service and repairs are especially important given how accident prone location flash working can be. No enthusiast or professional wants to ship their gear off on a slow boat to China for an unknown period at unknown cost.

    Richard

  5. Eric 3 months ago

    I was a fan of Yong Nuo but recently with Godox’s direction i am starting to jump the fence.

    Yong nuo provided me with affordable and reliable flash with remote control trigger. the 560 IV 560TX 602 combination made it possible for me to grow from an on cam photographer, to an off cam portable studio photographer.

    But now my direction is to go outdoors daytime which requires me to have stronger remote control flash, while maintaining my run and gun 2 bag set up.

    With the introduction of the AD200 and the B2 adapter, Godox currently has the lead. And whenever some one asks me what flash to buy, now i recommend Godox. Because I know that the Godox ecosystem can adjust to whatever that person needs.

    Imagine you are a new photographer, starting from an on cam flash (V860ii).
    Then decided to go off cam with X-Pro
    Then decided that you need more power (AD200)
    Then decided to go Studio (AD600) or buy another AD200 with B2
    At this point, you have 3 strobes as Main, Fill, and Hair light controlled by 1 remote with TTL
    As you go to the next step, you do not need to replace your gear. All the items I stated just integrates with your need.

    The only dislike i had about Godox is the form factor and menu structure of the remote transmitter. but the X-Pro answered that concern.

    By the way, thanks flash havoc for being updated with all strobe related news. this is my goto site whenever i want to see whats new. I always get GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) just looking at the review, except the Godox A1…

  6. the flasher 3 months ago

    The answer is simple….. Yongnuo should use their experience of cloning canon products (eg: 50mm lens) and simply copy Godox.

  7. Becker 3 months ago

    I started with Yongnuo 622 some time ago, added a set of 560 flashes and the TX trigger because of price.
    Then I switched from Canon to MFT and the 560 is still working fine. But sometimes HSS and TTL is a good thing, so I added a Godox flash and trigger for Olympus a few weeks ago. Both are working fine and as described in the article the option to use smaller and bigger flashes is great. I think I will give away all the Yongnuo stuff and buy some additional Godox flashes. If there will be another camera system I just need a new trigger…

    You are right, Yongnuo loose the race, if not reacting quickly…

  8. Dieter 3 months ago

    I am an hobbyist since a long time and used on camera flash so far.

    With entering in digital photography and getting acquainted with the Yongnuo brand, I, as many other
    photographers, could afford off-camera flash with multiple flashes.
    That means, I could purchase at first two YN-560 II with RF-603 II triggers, followed by a couple of YN560-III with 560-TX and some further 560-IV models.

    I also own a couple of TTL- speedlights with a 622-controller and meanwhile four 622-RX as receiver (they are not too expensive so they are well suited as a birthday gift 😉 ). Sometimes I stick my 560-TX manual flash controller and one of the 622 receiver together to be able to use the two systems combined. So far, so good, as I go alone.

    Most of my photo buddies use Canon, while I’m using Nikon, and that is where my problem starts.

    On a photowalk when photographing outdoors and I once found a good setup and lighting on location, I took my shots. But as soon as one of the other photographers wanted to do his shots, it turnes out that nothing of our Yongnuo gear is compatible. Our Idea was, to turn off the 560-TX on the Nikon and to turn on the 560-TX on his Canon and the rest ist business as usual. But nothing happend, both systems seem to be incompatible.

    Not only we have to change the light-setup (the positioning of the speedlights, softboxes etc.), we have to change the speedlights themselfes too.

    For the 622-system with its TTL-signals I can probably understand this, but with a fully manual system?

    In a youtube-video I have seen some photographers making outdoor portraits. Even if they used different
    Camera brands with a dedicated flash trigger for each brand, but they all used the same Godox AD360 in a
    softbox, which was verry impressing to me.

    Already before I saw this video I was looking for a strobe with more power than a speedlight can provide, and was hoping, Yongnuo will be able to offer soon.

    But since that day I have stopped thinking obout purchasing more YN gear. My next step will definitely be into Godox gear. One AD 360 II with X1N, followed by one or two TT685, maybe AD 200 or two, that seems to bee the combo I will be lucky with for the next years.

    And no doubt in staying compatible for future and other camera brands.

  9. Ricardo Gomez 3 months ago

    I wrote an article along the same lines a while ago. The photography business just didn’t make any sense to sometimes. But when I realized that there are people who come from the film era and when competition wasn’t so fierce. Any change and you had to drag them kicking and screaming. I was in I.T. for decades and it was just a given that things would change. Usually, for the better.

    This is changing. I didn’t invest in a full-blown lighting ecosystem because no one served my needs.

    Profoto and I was willing to save to get them. But no speedlites? I did lots of location work in many conditions my first few years and ONE speedlite in a small to medium light modifier can do wonders. If you use HSS, you can use one speedlite for many applications. Why not make your own speedlite and get that business too?

    Then there is Phottix. A great in-between solution from Profoto and the Chinese knock-offs. I thought for sure that was going to be my system. I loved their triggers/transmitters and their speedlites looked to be great units. But I thought the separate battery-head design was a mistake. I know the reasoning. But if I want a location system, I definitely don’t want that. But then, they had a good ecosystem. I was going to hold-off as long as possible. I just felt someone would ‘get it’. And that was Godox.

    I had admired their AD360/180s for a long time. Loved the bare-bulb aspect. But I thought their wireless system was archaic. No way I would set wireless with dip-switches. That’s not going to look good in front of a client. I think when things started changing is when they started upgrading their wireless systems and released their AD600s. Not only that, but you can get an AC adapter for the AD600! Finally, finally! I know why manufacturers don’t do this: so people have to buy studio AND location lights. I’m hoping Godox figures it’s better to have lots of clients rather than milking fewer of them. They are it for me.

    Yongnuo can be in trouble if they don’t do something fast. They seem to have a huge user-base. It’s their fight to lose.

    What’s another problem that someone else mentioned is support. And for me, image as well. As a pro, support is important. If something stops working, units are inexpensive enough to have a spare. But I don’t want something I’ve sent in for repair, I want it back in a reasonable amount of time. Not sure how that works with vendors with Godox and Yongnuo.

    And why hasn’t Yongnuo upgraded their website? It’s absolutely atrocious. I can find someone in High School that could do vast improvements to it. No way, amateur or pro, it doesn’t instill me with much confidence as something to invest in.

  10. Russ 3 months ago

    The article is right on the money. While the proposal, with it’s sheer level of detail, is terrific, the two main fundamental points about what Yongnuo needs to change are not at all new to most current (or former) Yongnuo flash users.

    But Yongnuo seems to have been stubbornly ignoring both key points for quite a while. It’s scary to think how big Yongnuo might currently be if they hadn’t given away such a large part of the market (after a great strong initial start!).

    We can only hope!

  11. Eric 2 months ago

    The only saving grace that I can think of for Yong Nuo is a remote transmitter that can communicate to all.

    It has a 605 transmitter and a iTTL.

    And finally, it has an iTTL to 605 converter which allows a TTL function to be converted to a manual adjust slave for YN560 type flash.

    Unfortunately with this setup, you can only select one transmitter type per group (group A = iTTL, B= 605, etc…)

  12. Rah 2 months ago

    I bought several 560 and a 560 TX like three-four years ago. I used this system for in door corporate stuff on a very regular basis. Umbrellas, softboxes, rim light, snoots. The whole show. Works fine. Very easy to set up, very easy to use, very reliable. If my bateries run out, I just grab another flash gun from my bag. This gear was very inexpensive but turned out to be an incredibly great investment. Not to mention that the whole kit doesn’t even require a 18 wheeler to go on location. Thank you Yongnuo for what you did. You helped my photography greatly.

    Then, I decided to experiment with out door corporate pictures. I discovered I needed more power and could do with TTL every now and then. So I bought the 622-II triggers and the 622 TX in order to “recycle” my good old Canon 580 EX. I also bought a couple of additional YN 668 EX II to add some watts to fire power. I did that because, as of now, there is no Yongnuo strobe à la Flashpoint/Xplor, i.e. a 600 W HSS/TTL portable big gun.

    At the moment, my situation is not exactly satisfactory. My bunched TTL menagery doesn’t really deliver enough power for sunny days and F1.4 tango. Plus, it’s kind of cumbersome when I want to herd these animals in the modeler corrals. I had anticipated that this would be my limitation but decided to go with it anyway because it would be a inexpensive transitory step pending . . . the arrival of a Yongnuo on-location strobe.

    With all this said, evidently, I think it would be good for Yongnuo to walk toward the next maturation step : an inexpensive workhorse 600 W/TTL/HSS/manual strobe and final integration of the trigger line-up.

    PS: Got to add that Flash Havoc is really a great site. Very usefull information. I never invest a dollar in light without first checking what these guys have to say.

  13. Marcus 2 months ago

    One feature I would find extremely helpful in the new system would be that the trigger would indicate (beep/flash) when all remote flashes are ready. I’ve lost thousands of shots taken when one or more flash wasn’t ready. And YN already have this functionality on one of their Canon compatible flashes, so it shouldn’t be hard for them to replicate it to their new system.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 months ago

      Hi Marcus,

      Yes, that’s built into the Canon RT radio protocol. That’s more of a complex 2 way communication with the transmitter though, so its likely not easy at all to add that to the YN-622 radio system.

      The Jinbei/ORLIT strobes have an RT radio mode in their strobes like the RT 610 etc, though this is separate radio mode that does not run at the same time as the RF radio modes. And if YongNuo were ever to add the RT mode to their YN-622 strobes it would likely be the same situation.

  14. Andy 2 months ago

    Its time for Yongnuo to up their design/technology game as very well drawn out above. I am a MFT shooter with a mixture of 560 III and IV speed lights most are doubled up in large soft boxes . I can not explain my dislike for the design 560TX. I would be willing to purchase a new redesigned universal trigger, if anyone at yongnuo reads this please update the design to a horizontal LCD orientation or an 30 degree angled LCD display. I feel based on size alone of the 560tx it should have been made into a small GN flash. I have never really looked into Godox for flashes, but after looking at the X pro c it really appeals to me. In contrast the X1’s LCD “looks” a bit small for my liking, then again who am I, just an amateur photographer on the internet some where in the united states. More importantly I am a consumer…and as a consumer I do have a choice as to which company gets most all of my money…or atlas as much as I can hide from my wife. 🙂

  15. Rob Tobin 2 months ago

    I was a big Yongnuo fan. ( Four YN600XRT and YNE3RT + external Battery packs)
    That system would have cost a lot more using Canon original gear.
    I now use Godox – Two AD200 with the Yongnuo as fillers.
    I totally agree with you regarding output and Godox has addressed this with their Duel head AD200 Bowens bracket
    My main reason for changing was the integrated battery .Why have a wireless setup and still get tangled by battery packs.
    The final move to Godox will be to get rid of that poorly made X1T-C trigger for the new one.
    I think both the companies ,by being keenly priced have allowed photographers to extend their abilities and take shots that wouldn’t have been possible without leaf shutters.

  16. Jan 2 months ago

    Nice ..
    It would be better if the speedlight slaves and strobes would work with alle camera models, and the only thing to change would be the transmitter.

  17. Drew 2 months ago

    The Yongnuo YN-685 can be switched between 622 and 603 protocols, so it looks like newer models may provide backwards compatibility with non-TTL/HSS kit.
    But there’s still the basic competitiveness issue with the more powerful Godox kit.

  18. Ron Yeoh 2 months ago

    I’m looking at Godox and their masking feature, which I sometimes need for studio work. Clients sometimes want to change the background color after the studio shoot is done. I’m hoping Yongnuo would come up with this feature, too. I can think of a few more ways to use the masking feature, like getting two lighting setups with two quick shots. Like this technique – https://fstoppers.com/strobe-light/shoot-two-completely-different-lighting-setups-one-push-shutter-button-9308.
    I’d also like them to make an exposed bulb flash that’s smaller and as bright as the Godox AD200. I already own the AD360. Both these China brands have been workhorse reliable stuff. Godox does have has a better quality feel.

  19. Trailboy 1 month ago

    Interesting read.

    I have to admit that unless Yongnuo get up to speed soon, they will lose me as a previously good customer.

    The AD200 is just too tempting.

  20. Craig 4 weeks ago

    Always love your design concepts. I think I like this compact strobe one even more than your previous AD360iii concept. Sure would love to see something available that is similar to either of those! I like the AD200, but I’m holding off getting a second one due to lack of modeling light.

  21. Craig 4 weeks ago

    Btw, I think it would be nice if they just used Sony NP-F style batteries, like how the video light market has standardized on them. Enough with all the expensive proprietary batteries!

  22. McLen 3 weeks ago

    Good article. Makes me want to move to Godox or other similar competitors.
    When Yongnuo gets their product line together, I’ll come back to them. At this point, I’ve spent way too much time researching what flash systems do what, and whether or not they are compatible with my Nikon. Making a purchase decision shouldn’t be this difficult!

  23. Eric 3 weeks ago

    I have the YN560IV, my friend have the godox with TTL. One thing I love about Yong nuo is that it has fewer missed flash (the flash did not go off).

    I saw his dump file. Out of 4 consecutive shots, 1-3 shots have no flash (@1/8 power).

    I only have misfires if the battery nears empty or I have 5-6 consecutive bursts. This is during a debit coverage during the “photo with debutant” segment.

  24. Mike 2 weeks ago

    Thanks for a great article.

    7 years ago, I dipped my toe in the off camera lighting pool with Yongnuo, 602’s and simple dumb 430’s. Amazing quality and reliability for the price.

    I wanted to upgrade to some smart lighting. Was ready to go for the Yongnuo 622 system. Then I read your posting.

    It convinced me to switch to Godox. I got an XPro, 685’s, and and X1R (so I can use my Canon 580 as well). A few more bucks than the Yongnuos would have been, but clearly a better choice. I don’t know if I will ever go for studio lights, but nice to know I can. If the Godox quality and reliability is up to the same standard as Yongnuo this was a great read. Thanks for the insight.

  25. Johnny 1 week ago

    I’ve been a silent reader for a long time, and a Yongnuo customer since 2010, before it became a big player in the game. I’ve had more than a dozen of their products. Over the years I’ve spent TENS OF HOURS researching informations before making orders to check compatibilities… I agree with what have been said here, it should be this hard.
    Everytime a new flash comes out, I just want it to be :
    -Nikon on camera TTL compatible (with a decent red AF-assist)
    -On camera YN560III/IV MASTER
    That’s it. This way I won’t have to put my SB-700 on top of my RF-605 on camera + a 560-TX in my pocket to trigger and activate/change power of the YN-560III/IV.
    This is the one flash that everybody wants (on camera TTL + 560 MASTER), this is the one flash you won’t give us. Please wake up Yongnuo, even as faitful customers, we can’t wait forever.

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