Off Camera Flash on a Budget: YN460II

Posted by Las Vegas Photoshoot Locations under

I love these flashes.

Seriously love them. I want them to have my babies.

This is YongNuo's second flash system (460, 460II, 560) with each one surpassing the last in some regards. Let's start with the documented information, the stuff they put on fliers and ads, then get into practical use.

AKA, my new favorite flash. FORTY FREAKING FIVE DOLLARS NEW!

Zoom range: 35mm fixed
GN: 38m (at 35mm, ISO100)
Full power to 1/128 in full and 1/7 steps
Trigger modes: Manual, S1, S2
Manual syncs via hotshoe (on camera, no ttl, or RF trigger)
S1 is standard optical trigger
S2 is optical trigger with pre-flash suppression
4 second recharge (this is what they say, tho with NiMH / NiZN, much faster 1.5 - 2)
Power saving mode
100 full power fires per battery charge.

First impression:
Feels very solid. I bought these after playing around with their big brother, the yn560, and they have a similar feel. They're solid, albeit smaller than their newer models. Buttons are responsive, the only personal concern is the battery door, it slides out, and instead of having pins that cause it to hinge, there's a smaller bracket, it's not a big issue, it just takes a second longer to fasten the door closed. Solid, well built, with an easy to figure out button layout.

Slave and Sync:
I've tested the Optical, Optical with flash suppression and (on and off camera) Hotshoe syncs.
Optical slave mode works as intended, with good range. I had one flash set on my car, and walked down the street. With another flash in my hand set at 105mm and full power, I could trigger the slave at 100ish yards (I just paced it out, but a good distance)
I tested S2 mode, optical with pre-flash suppression. The only flash I could test this with was my onboard flash from my Canon 40D. The onboard triggered the slave at 40 feet (across kitchen into living room) It also triggered at 45 degrees at the same distance, as well as 20 feet, fired in the opposite direction. Both optical modes are robust, and sensitive enough to be very useful.

Practical Power:
When I first saw this flash, i saw the small GN, 38, as opposed to flagship models which have 56/58, and thought to myself "oh no! that's way too weak! However... once you put a flash into a modifier, there's no effective difference between 24mm zoom, 35, and 105, with 35mm zoom being the generic guideline for using a flash in a modifier. This flash has no zoom head, and a constant 35mm spread. Perfect for use in a modifier. I then looked around. The YN560, the big brother to this flash, has a GN of 36 @ 35mm, (canon and nikon have GN of 32/34 for their flagship models at 35mm zoom)

SO.... this "weak" flash has just as much power, if not a tad bit more than flashes ten times its cost.

Comparison: YN560 (top image) vs YN460II (bottom.) ISO 100, 1/160, f/3.5, 10 feet from subject, using a 22" beauty dish with diffusion sock (these settings resulted in black image without flashes):

I got a stand with it :P being a smaller flash, many eBay modifiers should work well, especially most with speedlite brackets. All my softboxes and beauty dishes work just fine.

At this price-point, it's well below my personal "get the warranty" level. However... the manufacturer offers a one year repair/replacement warranty. I got mine for $45.50, the manufacturer charges a few bucks more, $56.99 on their ebay page (both with free shipping.) Cheap enough that it's easy enough to warrant getting a warranty, but $10 more + $20 for shipping to get it back just put it just barely in the "I'll risk it" department.

Final Judgement:

All this for $45???  Personal opinion: Hells yes, get these. They have everything you need, and for those who shoot all manual, nothing you don't. Perfect location kit flashes.

I'll be putting up more information as i put them through their paces over the next few weeks, add to the information above, as well as testing what you guys ask of me.