The YN-500EX is that latest TTL and HSS enabled speedlite from YongNuo, and a smaller version of the current flagship YN-568EX, and currently the lowest priced HSS enabled flash available.
YongNuo have even called the YN-500EX the “Mini YN-568EX” as it has almost exactly the same features and function as the YN-568EX, except for the smaller size, slightly less power, lowest manual power level of 1/64th instead of 1/128th, 270 degree head swivel vs 360 degree, and a regular PC sync port instead of the sub-mini sync socket used in the YN-568EX.
The larger YN-568EX is almost a fully features flash like the top end Canon and Nikon versions, with the exception of an external battery port, and an optic master function (which the very soon to be available YN-568EX II will have), and there are no radio triggers built in like the Canon 600EX-RT .
So I won’t go over all the common features again here, as you can see those in detail in the YN-568EX review. YongNuo kindly sent the YN-500EX over so that we could see how it actually compares to its bigger YN-568EX brother.
- HSS (FP high speed sync) for shutter speeds to 1/8000th of a second
- Good Power – 1/2 a stop less than the top end YN-568EX
- Fast Recycle – from 1.6 – 3 seconds at full power
- Both Canon & Nikon Optic Wireless slave functions built in.
- S1 & S2 simple Manual optic slave – for regular or TTL pre-flash
- Sound Beep – indicates recycle ready and low exposure
- + or – 5 stops of Exposure Compensation in ETTL
- 1/3rd and 1/2 stop Manual power adjustment, even both methods combined
- Compatible with Canon’s built in Flash Control Menu
- PC Sync Port
- Head Swivel 270 degrees
- AF assist light (though centre focus point only)
- Regular simple shoe locking ring – no complex lever system to break
- Settings saved automatically
- Instant switch on/off option
- Fully compatible with the YN-622 TTL and HSS radio triggers.
Design & Build Quality
I’d have to say this is likely the most nicely refined flash YongNuo have made so far. The raised buttons are the easiest to use of any of the YN flashes so far, and the head has a smoother tilt swivel action. The LCD is smaller than the YN-568EX, but still nice and clear.
Power & Recycle
Power is of course the main question, and comparing them side by side the YN-500EX is almost exactly half a stop less than the YN-568EX. Which also puts it around 2/3 of a stop more than the old YN-467 / 468 II, which are certainly looking quite weak in comparison now (and have no HSS capability either).
Full power recycle time can go as low as 1.6 seconds, though around 2.8 to 3 seconds is fair average.
After 40 full power shots in succession, heat protection slowed recycle down to 10 seconds. Where the YN-568EX would do 60 shots before being shut down for a period of minutes to cool down. The slowed recycle being a much better option than being shut down completely.
From around $140 the YN-500EX is a pretty incredible option for anyone starting out with a fully featured HSS enabled on camera flash. No doubt this will be a lot of peoples first flash, but its also just a nice compact flash option as well.
Size and Weight
The YN-500EX is very similar in size and weight to the current Canon 430EX II, which its clearly modeled off. And as nice as the YN-500EX is, I would still much prefer it was styled off completely original designs like the YN-568EX.
The YN-500EX does have quite a significant advantage if a compact flash is what you’re after. I weighed both with batteries in and the YN-568EX was 497 grams v’s only 433 grams for the YN-500EX.
As mentioned the functions are almost exactly the same as the YN-568EX. The YN-500EX screen is smaller but still quite clear, and the layout again is the same, as are the button functions.
The smaller size of the YN-500EX is really suited nicely to smaller DSLR’s, or those without a battery grip. A full size flash is rather top heavy otherwise, where the 500EX is pretty much the ideal balance between size/weight and power.
LCD and Interface
The back lit LCD is clear and simple, though like most others its hard to see if your not looking straight on, particularly looking down on it. But for on camera use its very good.
The buttons are probably the best on a YongNuo flash so far. The semi circular buttons are raised out from the body of the flash, so they are the easiest to access. The top row of buttons have the Nikon style clear faces. They look quite nice and are easy to press, but they are not back lit or any special advantage there otherwise.
YN-622C Radio Triggers
Off camera with the YN-622C (or YN-622N) radio triggers, the YN-500EX are full compatible just like the YN-568EX, having full TTL, HSS, and remote manual power control etc, all through the camera’s flash control menu as seen here.
This is one area its probably a touch choice though between the YN-500EX and the YN-565EX, which are around the same price as the YN-500EX, and with the extra 0.5 stop of power. The YN-565EX doesn’t have HSS, but for off camera use you really want as much power as you can get in HSS anyway. So for the same money its probably better to go with the extra 0.5 stop of power of the YN-565EX, and the possible advantage of an external battery pack port.
If HSS use off camera is important to you, its better to just pay the extra $40 or so and go with the YN-568EX, as that extra 0.5 stop of power is really worth paying that extra for when you need any extra you can get.
On Top Flash
Again on camera use is likely where the YN-500EX has the advantage here, with the YN-622C as well.
I’m always carrying on about how pass through hotshoes are not really going to hold up to extended use with a flash on camera. But the smaller size and weight of the YN-500EX is certainly a decent advantage over the much more top heavy YN-568EX or similar full size flashes.
The YN-500EX’s head tilts and swivels with much less force than the YN-568EX as well, which means you don’t twist the hotshoe connections around as badly either, which is generally most of the problem with pass throughs. If swiveling the flash head with one hand you would still need to do it very gently though to avoid any problems.
The YN-500EX has just the one simple screw lock PC sync port. I’m not sure why YongNuo didn’t go with the sub-mini port like the YN-568EX, but maybe this flash was designed earlier than the YN-568EX.
Again YongNuo have the battery compartment and door well sorted out from a long time ago now. So its very fast and easy to change batteries. The door even has very large ridges on the outside so that your sure to get a good grip with your thumb.
The flash foot is metal, and the locking ring large and easy to secure, with locking pin as well.
All the later YN flashes come with a fairly nice velcro flap pouch now. One thing that has still been missing though is any form of belt attachment loop on the back. YongNuo have now added a small loop to the side, which seems a little like a half hearted attempt at providing some way to hang the pouch. Though I’m not sure it would be of much use to hang off a belt like that.
Please also see the full YN-568EX review for more detail of the features and functions, as the YN-500EX shares most of those, and I didn’t want to repeat them all here.
Circuit design – Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT)
Guide No. – 53 (ISO 100, 105mm)
Flash mode – TTL, M, Multi
Wireless trigger – N’s & C’s wireless system, S1, S2 pre-flash-canceled mode
Wireless triggering distance – 20~25m indoor, 10~15m outdoor
Slave groups – 3 (A, B, C,) Channels – 4
Zoom range – auto, 24, 28, 35, 50, 70, 80, 105mm
Vertical rotation angle – -7~90 degrees
Horizontal rotation angle – 0~270 degrees
Power supply – 4×AAsize batteries (Alkaline or Ni-MH are usable)
Lighting times – 100~1500 times (AA alkaline cell used)
Recycle time – approx 3s (AA alkaline cell used)
Color temperature – 5600k
Flash time – 1/200s~1/20000s
Flash control – 7 levels of output control (1/64~1/1), 26 levels of fine tuning
External interface – hot shoe, 2.5mm PC port
Additional features – High-Speed Sync, Rear-Curtain Sync, FEC, FEB, FEV, electronic flash head zooming, manual zoom, modeling flash, sound prompt, advanced setting, automatically saving setting, PC port, power saving mode and over heat protection.
Dimensions – 62 * 72 * 165mm (Extended state)
Net weight – 315g
- Accessories Flash light (1), protecting bag (1), mini stand (1) and manual (1)
On the Camera Hotshoe with TTL mode -
Canon 1Dx, 1Ds series, 1D series, 5DIII, 5DII, 5D, 7D, 60D, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, 650D/T4i, 600D/T3i, 550D/T2i, 500D/T1i, 450D/Xsi, 400D/Xti, 350D, 1100D, 1000D.
Compatible cameras but without Flash Control Menus – 1Ds II, 1Ds, 1D II, 1D, 5D, 30D, 20D, 10D, 400D, 350D, 300D.
Optic Wireless TTL Slave to -
Canon 5DIII, 7D, 60D, 600D, 650D, Yongnuo ST-E2, Canon 580EX II
Nikon SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, Commander SU-800,
Camera with CLS i-TTL system:D4, D3x, D3s, D3, D2x, D700, D300s, D300, D200, D7000, D90, D80
If you’re starting out looking for a budget priced and fully featured on camera flash, the YN-500EX is quite simply the most bang for buck you’re going to find. Its currently the lowest priced HSS flash available. But even without the HSS its a nice flash for the price, very much worth paying the extra price over the older and cheaper YN-468 II etc.
For many people the main question will be if its better to just pay the extra $40 for the full size YN-568EX. For off camera use I would say that’s pretty definitely the case, as you want as much power as possible with HSS, and $40 is just not that much more or an extra 0.5 stops.
But for on-camera use the compact flash can be an advantage, and if anything the YN-500EX is even a nicer flash to use than the YN-568EX. As a more compact option I like the the YN-500EX a lot. And if this flash may even be stretching the budget, its well worth doing that over the YN-468 II, and I wouldn’t feel like you’re missing much over the bigger flash.
For mainly off camera use (on the YN-622C radio trigger), at the same price, the YN-565EX may be a better option as that has the power of the YN-568EX and an external battery port which can be very handy.
Price and Availability
The YN-500EX is available in the Canon version, from around $140, with Nikon version to come.
Purchasing for a local seller on Amazon, or Amazon Fulfilled, is a very good option as you receiver the flash fast, and have 30 days no hassles fast exchange or refund if there are any issues, possibly saving a lot of time and expense returning to China otherwise.
YongNuo – Website