YongNuo have announced the first simple stand alone Auto Focus Assist Light available for Canon cameras in the new YN12AF AF-assistant.
The AF-assistant is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery, which is recharged through a USB cord to any 5V source, like a laptop etc.
With full ETTL contacts on the foot, the AF light can be switched on and off through the camera menu on late model Canon DSLR’s.
There is no locking ring on the AF-assistant’s foot, though it should hold in place reasonably well, as similar RF-602 transmitter units have done in the past. This keeps the AF-assistant very compact and low profile on the camera.
We will have to give the new AF-assistant a try once its available though, as I’ve found the latest AF light in YongNuo’s latest YN-E3-RT transmitter is not as good as earlier versions. This is because YongNuo have increased the size of the pattern projected so far that the cameras AF points can easily fall in between the pattern.
A stand alone AF assist light is one of the main things I had been lobbying manufacturers for from many years ago now. And if I remember correctly YongNuo’s response was that it would not be in their interest to provide such a product.
Ironically the AF-assistant is likely not going to operate on top of any of YongNuo’s current flash triggers like the RF-603 and RF-603 II. That is because they do not have a full TTL pass through hotshoe to provide the signal to turn the AF light on and off as the camera tries to focus.
YongNuo’s TTL triggers like the popular YN-622C, not only have their own AF assist light built-in already, but they can also be used as a stand alone AF assist light as well.
And because they have a TTL pass through hotshoe on top they are much more versatile as an AF light, because radio triggers without their own TTL pass through hotshoe can be mounted on top. I have discussed that in more detail previously in this post.
So the AF-assistant looks like an interesting product, but its not quite the versatile AF light I would have hoped for to use with even YongNuo’s own RF-603 II triggers.
Using the actual RF-603 II case for the AF light, with a pass through hotshoe, AAA batteries, and a simple on-off switch, would have been a more desirable AF light option.
The other suggestion I have always made was to have a double power option/switch for when there were longer distances to the subject.
The YN12AF AF-assistant is at least finally a start though for a stand alone AF Assist Light option.
Price and Availability –
The YN12AF AF-assistant price is not yet know, but I wouldn’t expect more than $20 to $30.
They should be available soon in the YongNuo Ebay Store.