YongNuo have released the long awaited updated RF-603 II manual flash triggers, and they are now available.
The RF-603 II are the follow up to the original and very popular inexpensive RF-603 flash triggers. And the MK II finally rectify many of the basic shortcomings of the original RF603 and RF-602 triggers.
The original RF-602 (released back in mid 2009) were the first really good reliable inexpensive manual flash triggers. But the RF-602 always had their shortcomings though too, and the later RF-603, while rectifying a few issues and adding some features, also added more obvious shortcomings as well.
The RF-603 II now look to finally rectify most of those issues, providing what should be a very capable and convenient trigger now for the low price point.
If you’re after a transmitter unit for the popular YN-560 III manual flash (which has an RF-603 receiver built in), the RF-603 II will definitely be the best option for now, at least until the dedicated YN-560 transmitter does eventually arrive.
Improved Features –
- Higher Sync Speeds, up to 1/320th (RF-602 were slow, RF-603 were very slow)
- Locking Rings on trigger foot (RF-603 and flash on top would fall off the camera)
- Pass Through Hotshoe now usable (see point above) though still manual only no TTL
- Power Switch Finally Moved to the Side (was blocked by the flash on 602 & 603)
- Compatible with non Canon/Nikon and single firing pin cameras (RF-603 was not)
- Test Fire Button works off the camera hotshoe (for taking light meter readings) (RF-603 did not)
- 300v Safe Trigger Voltage (for hotshoe and PC sync port) (602/603 where low 12 volt safe limit)
Not Improved –
- PC sync port instead of a reliable 3.5mm mini-phone jack (why oh why… still after all this time?)
Sync Speed –
Low sync speed was always one of the main shortcomings of the RF-602, and even worse with the RF-603. Now that this is improved with the RF-603 II, it simply means you should be able to get a clean frame without any shutter (or black band) showing in the frame at your cameras maximum sync speed (1/250th etc). Though the Canon 5D series sometimes have to drop to 1/160th even with an instant sync cord.
YongNuo are stating this as 1/320th maximum. But that figure relates to cameras with regular X-sync speed. Using a camera with an electronic shutter the RF-602 would achieve up to around 1/800th, and RF-602 1/600th. Many faster triggers would do 1/1200th plus, and that’s likely closer to where the RF-603 II would be now as well.
Locking Rings –
The original RF-603 has no locking rings on the foot. This was a major oversight now that a flash could be mounted on top of the transmitter on the camera. They would both simply fall off the camera hotshoe! The RF-603 II now has locking ring and locking pin.
The RF-603 II is still manual pass through hotshoe only though (the extra contacts seen on the hotshoe are only for the flash wake up feature).
This is being picky, but we know the cut outs around locking rings makes them very hard on your fingers, and other triggers have already gone this way, and started going back again to full rings where possible. Just one cut out does the trick to access the screws underneath when needed. Batteries are standard AAA.
Power and TX / TRX Switch –
Firstly the power switch has finally been moved to the side of the case, so that you don’t have to remove the flash from the trigger to switch it on and off like the RF-602 and 603 require. This alone would enough reason for many people to want to update.
More significant functionally though is the new TX – TRX option switch. The RF-603 are transceivers, meaning they are the same unit for transmitter and receiver, and can switch automatically between transmitting and receiving mode. This ability caused a number of extra issues in the original RF-603 though, like not being able to fire on non Canon/Nikon cameras, or fire the test fire button off the camera hotshoe.
So to help resolve these issues YongNuo have added a switch to the new FR-603 II allowing you to set them as either TX or TRX. TX being set to transmitter mode only, and TRX as self switching. TX mode is used when the transmitter is held in hand for taking light meter readings with the test fire button, or when used as transmitter only on the camera. If using combined flash and shutter release TRX mode would be used. Receivers would always need to be set to TRX.
Shutter Release –
One of the big advantages of the RF-603 (due to transceiver design) has always been the combined camera shutter release ability. You can fire the camera with an RF-603 used as a wireless remote shutter release, as well as fire remote flashes at the same time, with just the one radio trigger attached to the camera. Where as most non transceivers require 2 separate triggers attached to the camera to do this. So the RF-603 offer a neater solution connected to the camera, and one trigger unit less cost.
This is where the TRX mode would also be used with the RF-603 II attached to the camera (via both the hotshoe, and a cord to a the cameras shutter release).
This also means you have backup transmitter, receiver, and shutter release units, as they are all the same unit and interchangeable.
Compatible with Non Canon / Nikon and Single Firing Pin Cameras –
With the rise of alternate brand mirrorless cameras its becoming increasingly important for radio triggers to be as universal, and compatible, as possible with non Canon/Nikon and single firing pin cameras.
The original RF-603 would not fire at all unless attached to a Canon or Nikon camera with full TTL contacts on the hotshoe. The RF-603 II will now work on most cameras provided they have a standard (non Sony) style hotshoe.
The flash wake up feature will not work on non Canon/Nikon cameras though.
- Type: FSK 2.4GHz wireless remote control system
- Transmission distance: 100cm
- Channels: 16 channels
- Shutter release: half-press, full-press
- Shutter interface: 2.5mm socket
- Studio flash light interface: standard PC socket
- Max Sync Speed: 1/320 second
- Battery: AAA x 2(3V)
The RF603 II come in separate Canon RF-603C II , and Nikon RF-603N II versions.
Canon and Nikon versions are required for the flash wake up feature though. Apart from that the Canon and Nikon versions can work together.
The Canon RF-603 II are available with LS-2.5, C1 or C3 shutter release cords, and Nikon N1 or N3 cords.
The RF-603 II are also backward compatible with the original RF-603 (but not the RF-602).
MORE VERSION DETAILS - Click to Expand
— Canon 70D / 60D / 700D / 650D / 600D / 550D / 500D / 450D / 400D / 350D / 300D / 1200D/ 1100D / 1000D /
— Pentax K20D / K200D / K10D / K100D,
— Samsung GX-20 / GX-10
— Canon 1D / 1DS / 5D / 6D/ 7D / 50D / 40D / 30D / 20D / 10D
— D810 / D800 / D700 / D300 / D2X / D2H / D200 / D1H / D1X / D3X / D3
— N90s / F5 / F6 / F100
— Fuji Film: S5 Pro / S3 Pro
— Kodak: DSC-14N
— Nikon D90 / D600 / D7100 / D7000 / D5100 / D5000 / D3100 / D3000
Compared To –
The RF-603 II are looking like a very decent (and long overdue) update this time, and a great upgrade for the many RF-603 owners looking to expand their existing system.
Although there is probably nothing especially groundbreaking about the RF-603 II at this stage, apart from the old PC sync port, and lack of TTL pass through hotshoe, the RF-603 II likely do offer the most features and function now at this base price point.
Radio triggers are fast being built into lights now though, and with their own small ecosystem of compatible lights and triggers. Currently the YN-560 III manual flash is the main option with an RF-603 compatible receiver built in. There will be a dedicated YN-560 transmitter coming at some stage though, the RF-603 can then still be used as additional receivers to fire other flashes as well.
If you’re mainly just after a transmitter for the YN-560 III though, the RF-603 II will definitely be the best option for now, until the dedicated transmitter does eventually arrive.
The RF-603 system is not directly compatible with YongNuo’s other popular YN-622, or now Canon compatible RT systems. So you can see how this can make choosing a simple radio trigger as much about considering a complete system now.
Price and Availability –
The RF-603 II are available now from around $36 a pair –
YongNuo – Website