The YN-560 III is the latest version of YongNuo’s flagship manual speeedlite, and its the first all manual speedlite with a radio trigger receiver built in for firing the flash reliably off camera. Compatible with both the existing and very popular RF-603 II, RF-603 and RF-602 radio triggers.
UPDATE – 26th June 2014 - YongNuo have now released the YN560-TX tranmitter unit, which provides remote manual power control, and remote flash zoom, with the YN-560 III flashes. All via the radio receiver already built directly into the YN-560 III flashes.
This is one flash I really don’t need to talk up, as YongNuo have had are hard time keeping up with demand as it is. And for good reason.
Canon where basically the first to recently introduce radio based remote triggering into their own speedlite system, which has been extremely successful. But that is a relatively high priced full TTL system, where the YN-560 III is just a simple manual flash with a basic receiver (just to fire the flash) built in, and selling from around just
$85 (now $70) each.
The built in receiver of the YN-560 III has big practical advantages, because you simply don’t have a lot of extra pieces of gear and extra batteries to constantly transport, organise, set up and manage. That’s all built into the flash. So all you need is the one small transmitter unit to fire as many flashes as you like. Of course it saves money too without all those extra receivers and batteries.
Another big advantage is that you don’t have anything mounted to the foot of the flash making it higher in umbrellas and generally less stable. Or alternatively extra cords (to go wrong) and receivers dangling around.
I say this flash is changing the game, not only due to the practical conveniences mentioned above, but also because its already having an impact on the way people consider their gear and radio trigger selection as well.
And furthermore, built in triggering is one thing, but many people are also waiting for remote manual power control in a simple manual flash like this.
UPDATE – 26th June 2014 - YongNuo have now released the YN560-TX, which provides remote manual power control, and remote flash zoom, with the YN-560 III flashes. All through the radio receiver already built directly into the YN-560 III flashes.
Power and Recycle Time
The YN-560 range of speedlites are full power flashes generally around just 0.2 to 0.3 of a stop lower power than the top end Canon Nikon alternatives. With pretty fast recycle times around 2.8 seconds at full power, and 1.2 seconds with an external battery back (for which they have a High Voltage battery port). Power adjustment range from 1/128th to Full, with 1/3rd or 1/2 stop fine adjustments. Also full zoom head from 24mm to 105mm.
One important thing I did note straight away, (at least over the MK I YN-560, I’m not sure about the MK II), is that the overheat protection is much better on this model. The 560 III will fire 20 full power shots consecutively, and then slow down to a 15 second recycle before you can take 3 more shots consecutively, and then a 15 second break again. Where the original 560 goes straight into a long shut down if you hit 20 shots continuously, which can be a real problem. For me this update alone is enough practical reason to seriously consider the YN-560 III over the original 560 model.
Compared to the YongNuo’s current YN-568EX Flagship TTL speedlite, the YN-560 III doesn’t have quite as big a screen, and it is rather more busy. But its still quite nice, and reasonably easy to see the power levels, which are really the main thing you would be concerned about in general use.
Looking a little closer at the display there a couple of new additions over the previous MK II model. In the top right hand corner is the new RF trigger symbol showing the built in radio RX receiver mode is enabled. And in the lower left corner is the radio channel selection number and corresponding dip switch graphic (also indicating the RX mode is enabled).
As usual I put the this unit to the idiot test (I’m the idiot), to see how far I could get navigating the interface and operating the flash without looking at the instruction manual first. The added trigger modes do start to make this a little tricky, considering this is really just a simple manual flash. But I did manage to muddle my way through everything, except for the custom functions which are a bit hard to guess. Even there I found the RF-602 / 3 selection which is the only thing that’s vital really to be able to use the flash.
Manual Power Adjustments
Manual power adjustment is made in full stops via the left and right curved buttons, and 1/2 and / or 1/3rd stop fine adjustments are independent using the up and down curved buttons. These are hard plastic buttons now which work well, the days of mushy rubber buttons are fortunately over. They are still a lot more fiddly than an off camera should be these days (where you simply want to bump the power levels up and down as easily as possible), but they do the job fine.
In the image above you can see between the “MODE” button and “TRIGGER Mode” button (the 2nd & 3rd buttons in the row of 4), there is GRP printed (meaning group). This group function currently has no use, and is one of the reasons a new transmitter unit (also enabling groups) is very likely to come at some stage.
Triggering Mode Button
Pressing the TRIGGER Mode button (the 3rd button in the row of 4) scrolls through the method of triggering the flash, M (or manual) is triggering through the flash foot or PC sync port, S1 is basic optic slave, S2 is basic optic slave with TTL pre-flash ignore, and the last is the built in RX radio receiver mode.
Once you are in the Radio Trigger Mode (where the the channel dip switch graphic is always displayed) you can then press the mode button to scroll through M – manual, Multi – strobing mode, and the mystery “- -” mode.
The mystery “- -” mode currently has no function -
So this is the mode we suspect may well be enabled down the track via a new transmitter unit, very possibly allowing remote manual power adjustment. Again this is only speculation at this point, but there are strong signs there.
UPDATE – 26th June 2014 - This mode is related to the now released the YN560-TX transmitter unit, which provides remote manual power control for the YN-560 III.
Channel Dip Switches
The Channel dip switch graphic indicator is a clever idea, showing you clearly how to set the dip switch positions on the RF-602 or 603 transmitter unit to correspond with the channel number. As you adjust the channel up and down on the flash the dip switch positions change to correspond. Click on the animation below to see the full 16 channel position table.
RF-602 / 3 Selection
To select either RF-602 or RF-603 radio trigger compatibility, you will need to go into the custom functions and change the selection there. RF-603 is the default setting. The flash does remember your previous choice though, so you don’t have to keep setting this.
I’m really quite surprised to say the range with the YN-560 III’s built in radio receiver, is at the least as good as the external receiver, and I’d have to say most of the time even better.
I set the YN-560 III up with an RF-602 receiver attached to the flash foot, and both the internal receiver and the RF-602 receiver easily reached 100 metres line of sight. But placing the transmitter behind my back (only about an inch away) sorts out the better performing triggers pretty quickly, and the built in receiver in the YN-560 III fairly consistently outperformed the external RF-602 receiver. Both were still getting at least 50 meters there, which is still very good range while obstructed.
So building the receiver into the flash body doesn’t appear to have had any negative effect on range at all that I can see at this stage. My other concern was that low battery power levels in the flash may cause lower reliability with the triggers, but I ran the flash until the batteries were empty and this didn’t cause any misfire issues. The built in receiver looks to be a very convenient advantage so far.
The YN-560 III has the same High Voltage battery port, and PC sync port as the previous YN-560 models. The HV battery port is very welcome, as an inexpensive external pack can speed up recycle to just 1.2 seconds, and run for 400 to 500 shots. The Flagship YN-568EX TTL flash is unfortunately missing this important feature, so its really a big advantage to have this HV port in an inexpensive manual flash. This HV port uses the Canon compatible plug and cords.
The PC sync port is the standard screwlock PC sync. YongNuo have moved on to miniphone sockets in the YN-568EX, so this is a bit out of date, though with the inbuilt radio receiver it may not get used too often now anyway.
The battery compartment and door has been well sorted out since the first 560 model, its very fast and easy to operate having its own sliding track. Batteries are the standard 4 AA’s. NiMH or Eneeloops perform the best.
The flash foot is a single firing pin, and strong metal base with a nice large and simple locking ring and locking pin.
Another big advantage of the built in receiver is the lack of any extra receivers on the flash foot, which normally add height and leverage, creating a weak point and stress on the foot when mounting the flash. Mounting directly to the foot frees up the flash to be mounted in any position, on its side etc without any stress.
The bracket shown above is the new Multi Boom 16″ now produced by Phottix.
UPDATE – 26th June 2014 - YongNuo have now released the YN560-TX transmitter unit, which provides remote manual power control, and remote flash zoom, with the YN-560 III flashes. All through the radio receiver already built directly into the YN-560 III flashes.
YN-622C / YN-622N
By far the biggest question I already get, is what does all this mean for the popular YongNuo YN-622 TTL triggers?. Are they compatible with the YN-560 III?, if not why not?. Should I buy the YN-622, or YN-560 III and RF-602.
UPDATE – 4th July 2014 – The YN-622C and YN-560 III are not directly compatible, though this is currently going through some changes as seen here.
Using Other Radio Triggers
If you already own another set of manual radio triggers, you may be able to combine those as well. Many of the good flash triggers have a pass through hotshoe on top of the transmitter. So if you already have Phottix Strato II, Commlite T320, Cactus V5 etc, you can simply add one of the directly compatible YN-560TX / RF-603 II / RF-602 transmitter units on top of your existing transmitters pass through hotshoe. So you can still fire your existing flashes and receivers, as well as the new YN-560 III flashes all together.
If you don’t have a pass through hotshoe on your existing radio triggers (like the PocketWizard Plus III / II / X) you can use the RF-603 II and mount your other radio transmitter on top of that. Again firing all your existing flashes and receivers, as well as the new YN-560 III flashes all together.
TTL Flash On Camera
MORE DETAIL - Click to Expand
Many wedding and event photographers like to use a TTL flash on camera, and then fire some off camera manual flashes as well. Either to help light up a room, or to light, or rim light the subjects etc.
In this case the flash is taking up the camera hotshoe, so the RF-602 / 3 needs to be connected to the cameras PC sync port via a sync cord. Unfortunately the current RF-602, RF-603, or RF-603 II transmitters do not have an input sync port to plug into directly. So a hotshoe to sync cord is needed to attach to the transmitter foot. That sync cord is then plugged into the cameras PC sync port. (The very original RF-602 Tx did have an input PC sync port).
Bellow is just an example where I have used a straight bracket under the camera, allowing the RF-602 transmitter to mount down to the side near the cameras sync port. Ideally I would velcro the RF-602 transmitter to the side of the on-camera speedlite.
Pass Through Hotshoe Method
If your camera does not have a PC sync port, another option is to use the Meyin RF-604 transmitter which has a TTL pass through hotshoe the flash can be mounted straight on top of. Pass through hotshoes can cause problems after a while when using a heavy flash on top though, and the Myein RF-604 is not the most solid unit to start with. So connecting the transmitter to the cameras PC sync port if possible is the better long term option. The RF-603 II has a manual (not TTL) pass through hotshoe.
If combining YN-622 TTL triggers and receivers as well, you could use the PC sync cord method to connect the RF-603 II TX to the camera , as well as mount the YN-622C on the camera hotshoe, with flash mounted on top of that.
Camera Compatibility -
Being a single firing pin flash the YN-560 III is compatible with most cameras having a standard hotshoe when mounted directly on the camera .
Off camera, and using the YN-560 III’s built in radio receiver, compatibility will depend on the transmitter unit used. Most cameras with a standard hotshoe can be used with the YN560-TX and the RF-603 II transmitter units.
Virtually any camera with a sync connection or standard hotshoe could be used if using some other form of radio triggers to fire the flash off camera.
Circuit design - Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT)
Guide No. - 58 (ISO 100, 105mm)
Flash mode – M, Multi
Trigger Mode – On-camera, S1, S2 pre-flash-cancelled, RX 2.4GHz radio receiver
Wireless triggering distance – 100m(2.4G wireless), Optic 20~25m indoor, 10~15m outdoor
Channels - 16
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 – 8 levels of output control (1/128~1/1), 29 levels of fine tuning
External interface - hot shoe, PC port port, HV battery port
Additional features – electronic flash head zooming, manual zoom, sound prompt, advanced setting, automatically saving setting, PC port, power saving mode and over heat protection.
Dimensions – 60×73×190mm (Extended state)
Net weight - 350g
- Accessories Flash light (1), protecting bag (1), mini stand (1) and manual (1)
- YN-560 III Flash Unit
- Padded Case
- Mini Base Stand
- Instruction Manual
There’s no question the YN-560 III is a great manual flash which offers a lot of convenience and simplicity in an inexpensive package. And its already having an impact on the way many people consider their gear selection, and that’s not even with any remote power control on offer as yet. If YongNuo do introduce remote power control through a new transmitter this may become the most popular flash available.
Price and Availability
The YN-560 III are currently priced from around a very low $75.
YongNuo – Website
POPULAR - AVAILABLE