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Author Topic: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX  (Read 19087 times)

dlleno

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mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« on: April 03, 2013, 03:38:58 PM »
Hi all -- here is a description of my experience with the Yongnuo YN-568EX flash

PART 1 of 3. 

I’ve been investigating ways to improve my off-camera flash capability with additional shoe-mounted strobes to compliment my Canon 580EX ii.  Value is most important to me:  Canon’s new radio wireless system is outstanding, but that doesn’t mean the cost is justified, especially when less expensive alternatives are available to do the job that I need to do. 
To find the system with the right value proposition, I carefully outlined the most important needs including vendor choices, reliability etc, to see if these map to an available solution:  My primary requirements were:

•   ETTL
•   HSS
•   Master-slave ratios  and manual flash settings controlled via the on-camera menu
•   Optical slave, using my 580EX ii as the master
•   On-camera (single) backup for my 580 EX ii

My research led me to the Yongnuo YN-568EX, because the features and technical specs matched my needs well.  I purchased mine from ThePhotoGadget website  http://thephotogadget.com/en/content/yongnuo-yn568ex-high-speed-sync-flash-canon (more about that choice later). 

Test results
The YN-568EX has been well reviewed (see flashavoc.com and lightingrumors.com) so I’ll try not to repeat those results here:  My main area of interest was to evaluate the flash as a slave, for use inside an umbrella or softbox, so this was the starting point of my tests. 
The unit performed flawlessly in all the above-mentioned areas.  For example, the photo below shows my YN-568EX firing in optical slave mode, using ETTL metering, HSS and 8:1 ratio set via the camera menu.  Fantastic!   To obtain the photo below I mounted my 580EX ii master inside an Apollo Orb softbox at camera right.

Part 2 to come


« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 03:50:33 PM by dlleno »

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mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« on: April 03, 2013, 03:38:58 PM »

dlleno

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 03:44:53 PM »
PART 2 of 3:  On the shoe

Putting the flash on the camera hot shoe allowed me to further test its performance as a back-up to my 580 EX ii while comparing the wide angle coverage as well (important for umbrellas and softboxes).    I used the camera menu to dial up 1/64th power and 24mm zoom, and fired a series of test shots against a white wall from  approximately 5 feet away, using a 16mm FF-equivalent lens on the camera.   The following photos show the comparison.

Interestingly enough,  my YN-568EX showed just slightly wider coverage and required a lower power setting (-.3EV) to achieve approximately the same exposure (Note: the 580EX ii photo looks underexposed, comparatively, but bumping the exposure up to +.7 EV was too much).  Of course, these data do not imply anything about total power output; rather, the results show that the zoom settings and power output calibrations between my 580EXii and my YN-568EX do not exactly correlate. 
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 03:50:52 PM by dlleno »

dlleno

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 03:50:02 PM »
PART 3 of 3

Focus on HSS

The importance of a well-implemented high-speed sync feature is critical to me, so I spent considerable time playing with this.  With my subject placed deliberately in front of a brightly-lit window on a sunny day, I set up a three-light configuration:  The sunlight coming in through the window formed the rim light, my 580EX ii Master served as fill, and my YN-568EX slave  served as the key light.  I used 1:4 ratio selected via the camera menu, and set the camera manually to 1/2000th sec shutter and f/2.8.   ETTL properly exposed the subject but the background sky was still too bright:    Raising the shutter speed to 1/8000th sec allowed me to under expose the background enough to make the subject stand out. HSS worked perfectly in concert with the 580EX ii -- very gratifying.   

While on the subject of HSS I wish to highlight the findings of flashhavoc.com, which found the HSS output of the YN-568EX to be on par with the 580EX ii.  This pleased me greatly, as HSS is one of the most important reasons I use speedlites.

Beyond the basics

The various features and specs of the YN-568EX are detailed in various other reviews, but here the things I particularly like:

•   The buttons!  They just feel great to me, and the instant-on custom feature is especially good. The orange back-it LCD is easy to read as well. 
•   The build quality is great. In fact, the click adjustment of the head is quite strong, which I like:  My 580EX ii struggles under the load of my large Rogue flashbender, but the YN-568EX does just fine.   
•   The YN-568EX has an audible beep when ready to fire, and a different beep to warn you about underexposure due to insufficient re-cycle time.  This is particularly important when the flash is buried inside of a softbox. 
•   One interesting feature worth mentioning is that you can select up to 5 stops of exposure compensation via the flash controls themselves.  This level of control is not available via the Canon menu system
•   Did I mention that I like the 1/8000th second HSS?


Conclusions

At just over 1/4th of the cost, the YN-568EX is a very attractive and capable alternative to the Canon flagship flash.  While it does not possess master capabilities, the Yongnuo makes a great optical slave flash inside of a softbox or umbrella, for example when combined with my 580EX ii as the master (triggered via my off-camera TTL extension cord).   This configuration is currently my primary use case and particularly appealing to me because it does not require the use of radio triggers.   Ratios and manual operation are controlled via the on-camera menu, without the need to look at or touch either of the flash units. 

Yongnuo has opted not to provide a USB update feature, and I presume this is to keep the cost down.  Consider that to offer end-user installable updates requires more expensive hardware, a software release process, a website for downloads, end-user documentation, and a support process wrapped around all of that.  Instead of offering a higher purchase price up front for such a capability, Yongnuo offers a lower purchase price which allows the customer to bank more money up front for future hardware purchases:  Note that the nearest competition for the YN-568EX is twice the price.

Do I miss the lack of an external power capability?  Not at all -- I prefer the extraordinary portability afforded by AA-powered Speedlites, and I carry enough Sanyo Eneloops to do the job.  The Eneloops also yield a very good recycle time, especially when using multiple strobes. 

I wish now that I had ordered two YN-568EX’s, as I could then install the pair onto a triple flash bracket along with my 580EXii (on an ETTL cord)  to form a three-strobe softbox/umbrella configuration with very short recycle times – all while maintaining full ETTL and HSS capability.

Purchasing from China

I note that there is one influential blogger who specifically recommended against purchasing anything direct from China, citing quality issues and lack of a value-adding U.S based retail channel for customer support.  I found his advice to be inaccurate.

One thing that convinced me to purchase my Yongnuo from ThePhotoGadget was the way the two companies reacted to the discovery that early YN-568EX production units failed to achieve proper TTL exposure at 1/250th shutter speed:  Yongnuo immediately fixed the problem, and customers of ThePhotoGadget received replacement units under warranty.   I thought that was impressive, demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction and product quality.   

Incidentally, I received my flash in eleven days after ordering -- and when they say “price includes shipping” they mean all shipping costs are taken care of, AND the package is sent via US registered mail (signature required).   


END
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 05:21:17 PM by dlleno »

tolya99

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2013, 07:45:53 PM »
interesting. I am considering getting one of those myself to supplement my 5d3 occasionally. one of the things that bothers me is that on eBay they usually listed as compatible with specific canon models. I asked one seller if his flash works with 5d3 and he said it won't, even though it's listed for 5d and 5d2... anyone knows if there really is difference, or seller and I misunderstood each other (sellers English was not great). I am also concerned about buying from China: in case flash arrives dead I would hate to pay for return shipping.

tolya99

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 08:23:15 PM »
thanks. I can only find 550 used and for >$180. and I don't want used flash.
I very seldom use hot shoe flashes, so need a cheap main gun to use once or twice a year and ideally another tiny one for hiking to pitch in in place of the build-in. having trouble picking either...

dlleno

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2013, 08:31:51 PM »
There are many reports of issues with newer cameras. If you have a 5D MkIII then don't get one until they are advertised as working with your camera.

Personally, as a budget option I would recommend the Canon 550EX, full functionality with every EOS camera past, present and future, for around $125.


pause and check the website:  they are advertized working with the 5D3 and many others

"Compatibility

     Wireless TTL Slave mode: 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
    Hot shoe TTL mode: Canon 1Dx, 1Ds series, 1D series, 5DIII, 5DII, 5D, 7D, 650D/T4i, 600D/T3i, 550D/T2i, 500D/T1i, 450D/Xsi, 400D/Xti, 1100D, 1000D, 60D, 50D, 40D
    Not compatible with 20D, 30D" 


Part of my experience was landing on a reputable supplier.  I wouldn't trust any of  the ebay stores (except for thephotogadget.  read the reviews), nor would I trust the stores selling on amazon.  Order direct from thetphotogadget.  Avoid all the others becasue you won't know what inventory they've been storing up, and  you might get one with the old "1/250th shutter" problem and no way to return it.  ThePhotogadget will accept returns, although its true you have to pay shipping. 

Rat

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 08:35:54 PM »
thanks. I can only find 550 used and for >$180. and I don't want used flash.
I very seldom use hot shoe flashes, so need a cheap main gun to use once or twice a year and ideally another tiny one for hiking to pitch in in place of the build-in. having trouble picking either...

Once or twice a year? Don't spend top dollar. Then, only Canons and the 568 support HSS and you'd need that for shutter speeds over 1/200s. The 568 should be usable as a slave with a Canon 90EX and your 5D3's menu system... there's your mini flash. Home and dry for less than 300 bucks. Although I would spend that money on a real (albeit second-hand) 580EX II. Might be less than ideal for you.

-edit-
Wait a second - you imply the 5D3 has a built-in flash. It doesn't. What gives?
Fed up with brandism.

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 08:35:54 PM »

dlleno

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 08:36:11 PM »
thanks. I can only find 550 used and for >$180. and I don't want used flash.
I very seldom use hot shoe flashes, so need a cheap main gun to use once or twice a year and ideally another tiny one for hiking to pitch in in place of the build-in. having trouble picking either...

for a new flash under $200 you have but  few options.  in fact, the 568 is the only one that comes to mind as a candidate.  If you read widely you will find that all experiences with thephotogadget are positive - including the situations where folks were hit with the dreaded "over exposure at 1/250th" problem.   

the Phottix is probably a very good bet, but its twice the price of the Yongnuo.  Others are emerging as folks figure out how to reverse engineer Canons system.  no complaints here;  in fact I just ordered two more!

Pi

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 08:52:38 PM »
Do I see a mechanical On-off switch there? I hate the electronic on-off button on the YN-560 II. They warn you to remove the batteries after use to prevent drain, and I have the feeling that the battery door is about to break every time I close it.

dlleno

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2013, 09:02:36 PM »
Do I see a mechanical On-off switch there? I hate the electronic on-off button on the YN-560 II. They warn you to remove the batteries after use to prevent drain, and I have the feeling that the battery door is about to break every time I close it.

from flashhavoc:

"New Body Design

Instead of just adding HSS to the previous YN-565EX TTL flash model (which was a close copy of the Canon 580EX II body and LCD screen), YongNuo have designed a completely new original body for the 568EX, and its mostly all the better for it. It has a large clear LCD and nice solid plastic control buttons, no more spongy rubber ones. The body had a nice square shape with matt textured finish, and its actually all just a little bit smaller than the previous 565/580EXII."

The on-off button is electronic; hold it down to turn on or off, so if you are alergic to that, then you would be dissapointed.  I have no such alergies and I don't store batteries in my flashguns anyway -- batts belong in those little yellow thingies where you can instantly tell which ones are charged by the way you put them in :-O

http://www.amazon.com/Storacell-Powerpax-Battery-Caddy-Yellow/dp/B004YG7JXW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1365037328&sr=8-3&keywords=AA+battery+holder



the battery door on the 568 is quite good.

Pi

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2013, 09:21:58 PM »
Expect huge depreciation on third party flashes. 550EX's sell for between $120 and $150 on eBay almost every day, there will never be an issue using them on EOS cameras, that piece of mind alone is worth the money to me over a Yongnuo.

You cannot go wrong with manual third party flashes. There is no compatibility issue and no depreciation issues either - they are so cheap.  I can fire such a flash with my smartphone (I guess, I have not tried it  :) ).

Rat

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2013, 09:28:09 PM »
Do I see a mechanical On-off switch there? I hate the electronic on-off button on the YN-560 II. They warn you to remove the batteries after use to prevent drain, and I have the feeling that the battery door is about to break every time I close it.

On the 568, there is a custom setting to change the button behavior to instant-on/off instead of having to hold it down for 2s. Big improvement :)

As to the compatibility: for that money, you can ditch the flash when you ditch your camera.
Fed up with brandism.

tolya99

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2013, 10:01:53 PM »
Expect huge depreciation on third party flashes. 550EX's sell for between $120 and $150 on eBay almost every day, there will never be an issue using them on EOS cameras, that piece of mind alone is worth the money to me over a Yongnuo.

You cannot go wrong with manual third party flashes. There is no compatibility issue and no depreciation issues either - they are so cheap.  I can fire such a flash with my smartphone (I guess, I have not tried it  :) ).

can you recommend a tiny and cheap flash of the sort for traveling? really to sub for missing build-in for fill flash, nothing fancy.

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2013, 10:01:53 PM »

Pi

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2013, 11:43:04 PM »
can you recommend a tiny and cheap flash of the sort for traveling? really to sub for missing build-in for fill flash, nothing fancy.

The 270 EX II. I got two of those from the Canon refurbished store two weeks ago, $115, or so, each.

Another one is the 90EX but that one is underpowered. Both support ETTLII, and the 90EX can be used as an optical master.

dlleno

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 07:34:25 AM »
Compatibility is going to be an ever increasing problem for third party flash manufacturers, sure they can update new production, after they have reverse engineered the tweaks Canon do to stymy them, but that does nothing for the dealer stock and flashes already sold, especially if they don't have a way to update the firmware in them, ie no micro usb port.

Expect huge depreciation on third party flashes. 550EX's sell for between $120 and $150 on eBay almost every day, there will never be an issue using them on EOS cameras, that piece of mind alone is worth the money to me over a Yongnuo.

Don't think for one second I am a third party hater, I highly recommend Yongnuo triggers, the 602's I use have been 100% reliable for two years, the 603's are a great upgrade to them too.

no argument here. in fact, this is the very point and value proposition of the yonguo 568EX, in my opinion.  When you buy Canon you are making a substantial long term investment "up front" to obtain guarenteed compatibility and good resale value.  For $167 delivered via registered mail, you are making a relatively meger investment up front for the Yongnuo, in return  for a product that meets your immediate needs now.  For that price you can buy it again and again over the next several years, and every time you do that you get a new flash tube.  The key to this kind of investement, in my opinion, is to bring in one flash unit and test. if it doesn't work, send it back and you're only out the cost of return shipping for the experiment. If it works, buy more if you need them..   frankly if it were not for my discovery of thephotogadget, I would have put my $510 towards one 600EX-rt instead of three Yonguos.  But the Yongnuos give me extraordinary flexibility -- with a total of four flashguns I can load them up in softboxes, gang them up to fight the sun like Syl Arena does, or spread them around and light up a room from different locations, gell them for effect, etc. 

The more expensive third party flashguns like the new Odins are a connundrum to me.  way too expensive to qualify as a cost-effective alternative to the genuine article, in my opinion.  the value proposition is just not there for me.    yes, you get USB updates for bug fixes and compatibility updates in the field, and every time you update your flash you decide to keep wearing out the  cheep flashtube therin.   yes, you get an external power connection, so the new Ondin is starting to look more like a real 580EX ii.    But by the time you spend $400 on a third party 580 EX ii clone with the hope of future compatibiltgy you'd be better off buying a real 580EX ii with guarenteed compatibility.    or better yet, spend $150  more and buy a 600-rt. 

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Re: mini review: Yongnuo 568EX
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 07:34:25 AM »