I then went ahead and tried to (while Ettl was active) shoot at f/1.8 and it was still OVER POWERING with light. So stopped the shutter down to f/5.6 (so basically 10X less light was going through to the sensor). And that's fine, but again... I like the shallow depth of field. I like the Yongnuo's... but not if they aren't going to work right. So I am going to see if I can get an exchange and hope the next set works better.
Seriously... am I expecting something out of the ordinary for ETTL menu to be functional immediately after turning the devices on? It seems like an ordinary expectation.
Like PbD Like PbD said, it sounds like you're overpowering the exposure. I’m kind of surprised, unless you’re shooting the strobe bare. I don’t think I’ve ever bottomed out a flash when using modifiers. Are you using a modifier? ISO 100?
But reducing the amount of light isn’t really an issue (usually it’s the opposite), especially if you want soft light. Just put another modifier in-between the flash and your main. It can be anything: a translucent piece of plastic (like from a milk jug), a tissue (don’t drape it on the flash – FIRE), a piece of tracing paper, etc. If you want hard light then just pick up a sample set of Rosco gels and use the ND filters – or buy a sheet of it. Or move the light further away, or bounce it, etc. You should have plenty of options no matter what look you’re going for.