After a year of rumors, leaks and some delay, there is much excitement around the YN600EX-RT model which is meant to be the best flash Yongnuo builts. They have adopted the advanced technology of Canon RT and are so compatible with each other, as also similar. Let’s know it closely and compare it thoroughly with the Canon 600EX-RT. (Go to Spanish version)
The remote radio trigger frequency YN E3-RT, went on sale in December 2013, able to control Canon flashes, with this new remote control system (RT), a more advanced system than the others, for its functionality, its quality and safety. While this was happening, from Hong Kong, the first images of a flash unit leaked; a flash identical to the Canon 600EX-RT was made by Yongnuo. Months passed and no confirmation came from Yongnuo, but it seemed close. In the summer the rumors started again with intensity, and finally Yongnuo itself, communicated that the unit would be ready to be release in the fall. To this date no company has been able to overcome the Canon flash on its star category. Priced at around $ 500, it becomes inaccessible to many users. This version of Yongnuo, will cost much less than the Canon, around $ 160-180. Let’s see if the quality and functions are kept at such a low price.
The Canon model is flawless, as always. It has a bigger packaging, with extensive documentation in multiple languages, a padded case with a high quality mini plastic stand and a methacrylate filters support system. Also includes two filters CTO + 1/2 CTO. The Yongnuo model has not copied anything Canon packaging, but has improved his usual style. They have added the RT symbol highlighted in color; have improved their padded case, though thinner and tighter than Canon’s; mini mount for the flash’s shoe, and at last, a manual much more extensive than the usual do at the Chinese brand. It is a pitty, that it remains only in two languages, Chinese and English. We regret that the Yongnuo model does not bring a stand holder, nor does it include CTO filters, which are so useful in the Canon model, as shown in the illustration. The units sold since January 2015 include a translucent diffuser similar but not allowed to enter any filter.
YN 600EX-RT,A Good connection
The amount of the RT radio frequency data system devices is increasing today, and is not thanks to Canon, who was its first developer over two years ago. Canon had promised more models in 2012, when it launched its current flagship flash, the Canon 600EX-RT and its remote trigger ST-E3-RT, but they have not delivered. Yongnuo has since then, launched its twin models, theYN-E3 RT trigger and these days the flash YN600EX-RT, raising the interest on the RT system. In our tests, the compatibility between them is practically complete, even mixing devices of both brands without functions being limited and almost no connection or link failures.
Radio Master Mode. Control other flashes from identical model and the Canon 600EX-RT. Visualizing the recycling information for all drives in real time, thanks to his two-way radio connection.
Radio Slave Mode. The YN600EX flash-RT receives orders from an identical master unit and from the YN-E3-RT radio trigger, or from the 600EX-RT Canon flashes and ST-E3-R CanonTrigger.
Slave Mode, Optical TTL. Receives infrared signals, from any other compatible flashes TTL, with optical remote system, Nikon i-TTL (Sn) or Canon E-TTL (Sc). the same way they did in previous models like the YN568EXII.
Front sensor, Photocell. In manual mode we can synchronize the firing of the flash using its built-in photocell for the slave modes S1 and S2. These latter functions are not in the Canon 600EX-RT, but instead it incorporates the semiautomatic mode previous to TTL, and Ext.M Ext.A that the Canon 580EXII had. It consists of the flash stopping flashing when the photocell detects a correct exposure.
…the Yongnuo incorporates a miniUSB port for the successive firmware updates, the manufacturer will publish on its website
In professional photography we need, not only wireless, also need physical connections, and this unit is well equipped with connectors. Perfect to be part of any professional lighting system. A socket for external batteries that reduces the recycling rate to less than 1 second at maximum power. It also increases the number of possible flashes with a full charge, depending on the capacity of the external battery. It has a standard PC sync connector to synchronize with the camera via cable. On the place where the canon model has a 3.5mm jack (minijack) the Yongnuo incorporates a miniUSB port for the successive firmware updates, the manufacturer will publish it on its website. We miss to update the firmware on the Canon model.
Construction, YN600 EX-RT vs Canon 600EX-RT
We have already commented that Yongnuo has improved its quality protocols and manufacturing methods. So you can be sure that its appearance is very neat and impressive, clearly well made of quality plastic, maybe not as much as the Canon device, but very well put together. It leaves the impression that this unit will last long. Of the design, we will not value it, because it is identical to Canons; an almost exact copy in the inside and especially in the outside of the “top end” flash of the Japanese firm.
The keypad is different from other models of the brand, because like the rest of the unit, the keypad is accurate to the Canon flash. The backlit buttons are perfect for working in situations of darkness. It would have been desirable to mark the text function on the keypad, as the Canon flash does, and even the YongnuoYN E3-RT Remote Shutter, this way the buttons are very easily found in the dark and have a very nice, soft, rubbery and fuctional feel. The wheel does not feel as good and the center button turns with the wheel, it’s an aesthetic detail more than anything else, that has not been achieved 100% as some other things.
The metallic Shoe, which serves to anchor the camera comes with a quick locking system. It is very effective to remove the drive and put the camera on a flexible way, but slightly coarser than the Canon flash, but perfectly functional. In these units we tested, we have found that the shoe is a bit smaller than in the models of Canon, allowing some slack in the adjustment to the camera. Nothing serious at first, but that could cause a failure of timely communication between camera and flash when they are physically coupled. Also the orientation of the AF assistance beam can be slightly off. Something that is easily corrected.
…the keypad is exact to the Canon flash. The backlit buttons are perfect for working in situations of maximum darkness
The head Yongnuo’s model has no twist lock system, which the Canon model incorporates, even Shanny flashes do. This lock is missed, especially if you use heavy light modifiers attached to the flash head. Yongnuo’s model has a larger head than previous models, enough to support the weight of almost any modifier, but beware, you shoud try first, because if the switch is too heavy, the head could give in and rotate.
Other functions and features not incorporated in the Yongnuo Model. The system of filters to change temperatures. In addition to not bringing the methacrylate mounting, it lacks of sensors to tell the flash which type of filter you have placed on the head. In the Canon model, sensors can confirm with the camera, a compensation of temperature, because it wether you’ve placed a CTO or CTB filter. The Canon filter holder is placed manually and while we could put it in the Yongnuo flash, if we acquired it separately, the flash will not know wether you have placed filter having no sensor.
Flash Software and Display
More than a meter away is almost impossible to distinguish the Yongnuo from the Canon unit, but there are various differences that we can see and check inside and out. The Yongnuo firmware is still maturing. Of the units that we have for testing, one has an older version of firmware, we assume, as it is a preproduction Test model, and have detected some kind of fault in the radio links, which is easily solved as follows : We turn off the unit, we extract the batteries for one or two minutes and then turn the units back on, everything works again without any trouble. As they are devices that upgrade themselves via firmware, we know that we will have improved versions, as soon as the renewed and corrected versions are released. Fixing bugs and stabilizing the entire system.
The YN600EX-RT incorporates a screen with good resolution, bigger than the “Shanny” model and almost equal to the Canon model. The distribution of the control interface is almost the same in both Canon and Yongnuo. The most obvious difference between them is that the display of the Yongnuo does not change color depending on the connection mode. The Canon model indicates if it is in slave mode or master mode depending on the color backlit display. Functionally, the most notable is the Yongnuo includes a permanent battery indicator when we are in local mode, without external connection, while the Canon only shows the battery symbol when they have been emptied. In the YN600EX-RT there are not Ext.A and M. modes Ext., instead they have included classics Yongnuo slave modes Sn, Sc, S1 and S2, all well integrated and easy to read as we see in the following examples.
We submit the flash units, both Canon and Yongnuo, to a series of benchmark tests to see how they perform. The following images and data show the comparisons. For example the actual power measured with photometer. Recycling time to full power firing. The stability of the flash in TTL and Manual modes. Accuracy of the color temperature of the flash at different powers. Consumption of batteries. Support AF, format and scope. How light is distributed through the zoom flash. Finally the real extent of radiofrequency and infrared flash over another identical unit.
Power at ISO100 & 200mm:
Batteries Consumption , 1 cycle:
(SANYO/PANASONIC Eneloop AA)
Recycling flash (1/1):
93m. (Ext.) / 20m. (Int.)
150-200 pw. at (1/1)
0,90 sec. (Ext. batt Propac PB820)
98m. (Ext.) / 21m. (Int.)
75-100 pw. at (1/1)
1,90 sec. (*)
0,90 sec. (Ext. batt Propac PB820)
Stability in TTL flash:
Shots with error <1/3EV:
OK (very precise)
OK (very precise)
Depending on the power:
Yongnuo model is stable like a Canon model, on successive intensity flashes and even more stable in color temperature. They tend to slightly bluing both models, as shown in the right RGB records. In high power shots are very similar, though the Canon model on less powerful flashes of 1/16 cools more than the Yongnuo.
Light distribution by value of Zoom Flash (Manual).
(35mm camera lens)
Format and extent of AF system helps:
Factory Specifications YN 600EX-RT
(Available in Fotoalpesa, Spain)
• RT System and Canon group GR mode. “FullDuplex” Connection Radio 2.4 Ghz 16 channels
• 100% compatible with the wireless signal YN-E3-RT and RT-Canon 600EX / ST-E3-RT
• High speed synchronization HSS TTL 1/8000.
• Second Curtain Sync
• HSS, TTL, M, MULTI and GR flash modes
• 5 separate groups A, B, C, D and E
• Bracketing Functions FEC, FEV
• Optical Remote for Canon and Nikon, compatible with S1 and S2.
• Trigger Mode Set-top, master and slave mode wireless, Sc, Sn, S1 and S2.
• Zoom flash, auto and manual covered 20 ~ 200 mm.
• Autosave function settings (Fn) with the flash off; customizable by the user.
• Ultrafast recycling system, compatible with external power sources.
• Flash time of 1/200 sec. ~ 1 / 20,000 sec.
• Manual control of 8 units. Power 1/128 ~ 1/1 and 29 more levels in thirds.
• PC Sync Port
• Micro USB port for firmware update
• Hot shoe with metallic quick lock
• Acoustic indicators of “status”
• Backlit LCD display.
• Reach over 100m. (25m. Inside)
• Safe Mode to save energy and overheat protection
• 7º~90º Head rotates vertically and horizontally 0º~360º degrees.
• Power supply 4 x AA batteries (alkaline or Ni-MH).
• Size 62 × 78 × 214mm (deployed) Weight 430gr.
Packaging content YN 600EX-RT:
• 1 x flash Speedlite YN 600EX-RT
• 1 x Padded Bag
• 1 x Mini Stand
• 1 x Manual in English & Chinese
• 1 x Translucent diffuser
• Simple operation, good for pro and advanced user.
• Sync with RT Canon and Yongnuo devices
• Includes slave modes Sn, Sc, S1 & S2.
• FEB & Color Temperature very accurate
• Firmware upgrade via USB.
• Recycle rate very fast*
• “M” Mode supports in cameras with shoe
• Manual, must include more languages.
• It becomes very hot in intensive use.
• Option “Linked Shoot” is unavailable
• Realiability firmware (low compatibility)
• Hot shoe loosely
Conclusion (UPDATED January 2, 2015)
After some disappointment with the first units, with some small manufacturing faults, we have rediscovered a few weeks later with the model as it should have been from the beginning. Was so great the expectation created around this model that had left to us wanting more, and finally now with Yongnuo improvements in the production line, we are very satisfied. We continue to see a “little failure” on the YN600EX-RT, as battery consumption, which is still high. We love its delicacy, its appearance, its software, its color temperature color calibration, which is so fine that improves the Canon 600EX-RT. It has a very wide compatibility and connectivity, zoom and exposure settings quite accurate TTL and etc … issues, all very positive. But the negatives are also important. We can not forget that during the stress tests, the first units were disappointing, partly because at full power the three units we tested suffered from electrical instability. The new units since late December are coming to stores are not suffering from this problem and we are very satisfied with the response that the manufacturer has had. Flashes now are stable in virtually 100% of the shots. We believe that the recycle rate was too fast. This caused both excessive consumption of batteries as flash instability, always in high demand situations (shooting 1/1) and lower powers that was already perfect. Yonguno reviewed this recycle rate, and now changes retaining and stabilizing electronics unit. In the first shots the recycling rate is very fast, less than 2 sec. As they we shoot, the recycled rate increases. Avoiding the overexertion of the unit.
Now at last, this flash is one of the best units Yongnuo has ever built. With the best value price/quality.
UPDATE: December 1st, 2014.
Yongnuo has updated its firmware (http://www.hkyongnuo.com/e-detaily.php?ID=351), which will improve the stability of the Speedlite in continuous flashes at full output,heat problem in standby state and overheat protection. We will test soon. (v1.6)
UPDATE: December 23, 2014.
Yongnuo has a new update of firmware (http://www.hkyongnuo.com/e-detaily.php?ID=351), (v 1.8) Which will improve the stability of electrical behavior of the Speedlite. They have changed the hardware of the Flash Units. The new ones have gone on sale with this firmware or later, come with a motherboard improved. According Yongnuo said, without electrical or connectivity problems. We hope these units for the first week of January 2015.
UPDATE: January 2, 2015.
The new units are coming from Hong Kong with a higher serial numbers, approximately above YN66000501 should not have the problem we mentioned at the beginning. It is possible that units with lower serial numbers are also in good condition, but if you have a failing drive and serial number is low, we recommend that you send to the manufacturer and fix the problem. The new units will operate in a great way, as we had become accustomed Yongnuo. Fortunately the first batch of units was small, and few customers will be affected. We have updated the performance data on the Review, to be suitable with the current model. The revised model now incorporates a cover with the largest closure and a white diffuser. Which did not have the first units.
UPDATE: February 2, 2015.
Firmware Update ver. 1.8.1 Solves stability issues. Add 64bits support on Windows Vista, Windows 7 & Ultimate/Pro 64bits.
Compatibility in November 2014
TTL mode Canon on camera:
Canon 1DX, serie 1Ds, serie 1D, 5DIII, 5DII, 5D, 7D, 7DII, 70D, 60D, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, 700D, 650D / T4i, 600D / T3i, 550D / T2i, 500D / T1i, 450D / Xsi, 400D / Xti, 350D, 100D, 1100D, 1000D
Slave Mode, Optical Wireless TTL:
Canon 7D 60D 700D 5DIII 650D 600D, Yongnuo ST-E2, Canon 580EX II Nikon SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SU-800, Camera with CLS system i-TTL: D4, D3x, D3s, D3, D2x, D700, D300s, D300, D200, D7000, D90, D80
Master Mode, It can trigger these flash:
YONGNUO: YN568EX II, YN568EX, YN565EX, YN500EX, YN560EX, YN510EX Canon: 600EX-RT, 580EX II, 580EX, 430EX II radio Freq. Triggers TTL Mode 2,4Ghz de Canon ST-E3-RT y YONGNUO YN-E3-RT
These units are available in many stores, but my personal recommendation is you to buy at a local store, with a statutory VAT invoice, so if a problem arises, you have a quick solution to your warranty, without having to wait months for an answer from China and saving the shipping back and forth. A good place to buy products Yongnuo brand in Spain, is the online store Fotoalpesa.FOTOALPESA
You can purchase it from the official stores on YongnuoHK:Yongnuo HK eBay Yongnuo
Tests performed with the following equipment: Cameras: Canon 5D mkIII, – Flashes and Trigger System: YN600EX-RT – Canon 600EX-RT – YN E3-RT If you want to see new “review” or comparatives like this, subscribe to our Facebook page and give “Like” to stay current of new publications.
Translated directly from the Spanish version.