Yongnuo is known for its budget speedlights. These speedlights offer great value for money and have been proven reliable over the time. The brand is also known to offer identical features as found in the big manufacturer’s arsenal. Today after a long period of using the company’s latest speedlight, the Yongnuo YN-600EX-RT, I put down my views on the same.

Yongnuo YN600EX-RT

Technical Specifications:

# Guide Number : 60 at ISO 100

# Master & Remote unit for Canon 2.4 GHz RT System / Compatible Canon E-TTL / E-TTL II

# High Speed Sync, 1st & 2nd Curtain Sync

# Auto/Manual Zoom – Range 20-200mm(14mm with wide panel)

# USB Interface for Firmware Upgrade

# Flash Mode – TTL, Manual, Master, Slave, Multi Flash Stroboscopic Mode

# High Temperature Warning & Control

Yongnuo YN600EX-RT FrontIntroduction:

Yongnuo seems to mimic the features of Canon’s Speedlight and the YN-600EX-RT is no different. Canon was the first manufacturer to bring the radio triggering technology to their speedlights. This has opened up a wide avenue of possibilities. It was a killer feature. The Yongnuo YN 600EX-RT not only copies the serial number from Canon but also takes the killer Radio Triggering from his big brother. All this at a fraction of price(Rs.13,500/-).

Out-of-Box:

Yongnuo provides a mini stand, a user manual and of course the speedlight wrapped in a nice black pouch. The pouch is exactly identical to that provided by Canon for their 600EXRT. This all is packed securely in a double layered cardboard box.

Yongnuo YN600EX-RT BackBuild Quality:

The speedlight feels rugged in hand. It is identical to the Canon 600EXRT. Both feel exactly the same & there is just a minor difference. The dials & buttons on the Canon are simply well built than Yongnuo which feel plasticky. They do not inspire confidence. The small panel which houses the ports is also of poor quality and could have been better. The rubber gasket covering the hotshoe is not secure enough that it doesn’t stays in place and overtime could easily be lost.

The Yongnuo YN 600 EXRT once slipped from my hand(approx 4.5 feet) and crashed onto a concrete pavement somersaulting in process. Apart from minor scratches to the unit, the speedlight did not suffer any damage and it worked flawlessly.

The other time, I had the Yongnuo YN 600 EX-RT up at a height of around 2 feet acting as a slave. It slipped and again landed on the concrete pavement below. This time however, the inbuilt flash tube broke. Simply swapping the broken flash tube made the speedlight functional again. This definitely proves the Yongnuo is built well.

Performance:

Yongnuo YN600EX-RT Back Panel

At GN 60, the Yongnuo YN 600 EX-RT packs in a great deal of power. With such power, it is able to provide ample illumination for most scenarios. The flash had no problem overpowering the ambient on a cloudy day. Pack in two of these and you could overpower the ambience on a sunny day. The recharge time is super fast even at full power and used with high capacity Eneloop XX 2500 mAh batteries provided terrific performance.

The controls are a little tricky to get used to as this is not a simple enough flash. The tons of features it packs requires one to spend some time before one is able to operate the unit with confidence.

The Yongnuo YN 600 EX-RT worked flawlessly in ETTL mode on Canon 1200D, 60D, 7D Mark II, 5D Mark III. The exposures were consistent and so was the colour. The AF assist LED’s are bright so to help lock onto subject even in low light. The slave performance was consistent as well. The flash triggered perfectly with the Canon 600 EX-RT being the master or with the inbuilt flash on Canon 60D. One is able to wirelessly change the flash output whether in ETTL/Manual mode from the camera. This flash can also be used in groups for creative lighting effects and worked flawlessly.

The zoom head feature works perfectly in AUTO/Manual mode and can be used for creative purposes. Pulling out the inbuilt wide panel will automatically set the flash head zoom setting at 14mm. This helps in effective utilization of flash power and is a good feature. The lock switch on back provides from accidental setting change while in field.

The Negative:

At times, when shooting in hot conditions outdoors, the flash gave the high temperature warning and simply ceased to function until a cooldown. I encountered this quite a few times. Never till date, have I seen this warning firing flash on full power(for a while) so this warning outdoors seemed strange to me.

Also my camera, the Canon 60D produced an Error 20 when I tripped the shutter as the flash was in middle of the recycle. I had to restart the camera to resolve this error. This problem was reoccurred and was reproducible. Perhaps a firmware upgrade would resolve this issue. It is however a huge annoyance as of now.

Compatibility with Canon ST-E3-RT & Canon 600 EX-RT:

I used the Yongnuo YN 600 EX-RT in a Canon setup which consisted of a Canon 600 EX-RT & the Canon Speedlite Transmitter, the ST-E3-RT. The Yongnuo worked without any hiccups. The Canon’s speedlite transmitter was able to communicate with the Yongnuo speedlight seamlessly and so was the Canon’s 600 EX-RT speedlite. This opens up a possibility to include a few yongnuo’s if your budget is tight for the Canon speedlites. Yongnuo deserves credit for this feat as the product sails through this important test. If you are interested, Yongnuo also has their very own speedlight transmitter, the Yongnuo YN-E3-RT which can be used to wirelessly trigger Canon and Yongnuo’s speedlights at a fraction of price. Way to go Yongnuo!

Yongnuo YN 600 EX-RT on Nikon DSLR’s:

As Yongnuo doesn’t has a Nikon version for 600 EX-RT, I decided to slip on the speedlight on a Nikon DSLR. Voila! To my utter amusement, the speedlight worked in ETTL mode on a Nikon DSLR. The exposures were inconsistent but not to a higher degree. Moreover, Nikon DSLR’s were also able to trigger this speedlight for a decent output. Sure, this is not how it is meant to be used. However, if you are a Nikon user and need a speedlight for a crunch moment, you can borrow one of these from your friend who uses Canon.

Conclusion:

I have been thoroughly impressed by the Yongnuo YN 600 EX-RT. It is a solid flash with a few chinks in its armour. At the price point, there is nothing which comes close. I would thoroughly recommend this as a secondary flash to those who already own Canon speedlite(s). No harm either in building a speedlight setup on a budget.

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