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07-26-2016, 08:00 AM   #1
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Using a Yongnuo YN560 IV with a K-3

Okay so.....I've never used an external flash but I want to buy one because the built-in flash doesn't work that well with my DA 18-135mm WR lens.

I've been looking at the Yongnuo flashes and the IV looks pretty good for the price, which is the main reason I'm looking at it. I don't know how to use a flash yet so I don't see a reason to spend a lot of money on my first one. Can you guys give me some pro's and con's of this flash, and if it's a good beginner flash?

I'll mostly be using it for portraits and candids, and maybe sometime in the future for event photography (like in a club). Any help is appreciated

07-26-2016, 08:53 AM   #2
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That flash, on its own, does not seem to me to be a suitable flash for you. It is more suited to a multi-flash situation where its radio transceiver can communicate with other flashes or hotshoe transmitters in the same system. As a starting point for building a system of off-camera flashes it is good, but it's uses on its own, on the camera hotshoe, are limited and may lead to frustration I feel. If used in this way then the operations of both flash and camera will need to be fully manual.

There is a section in my Guide near the start that explains the different flash systems available and some considerations for making choices ... You might find that helpful.. Download from the link in my sig below here .....
07-26-2016, 10:23 AM   #3
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If you want a single manual flash, then buy the mkIII... it's the same minus the radio transmitter part... slightly cheaper...
Then you can expand the system by buying a mkIV and using it to control the III off camera.

If you want P-TTL and HSS however you'll have to look elsewhere.
I'm perfectly happy with my two Yongnuos... fast recharge, reliable, solid build... anything you could wish minus a clearly written instruction booklet!
07-27-2016, 03:27 AM   #4
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How many flashes you want?

07-27-2016, 04:22 AM   #5
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Based on the OP's comment at the start, I believe a P-TTL flash with swivel and tilt is likely to lead to the best results, certainly for the on-camera type of use that was implied. I would start by practising to use it on subjects pointed directly, learn to control the flash exposure and balance with the ambient ......


Then try some sideways bounce for nice directional light. This is based really on the comments that he was a beginner with a flashgun.
07-27-2016, 11:06 AM   #6
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Yes, I'm looking to get my very first external flash unit. For now, I don't have use for triggers, and remote flashes, etc. I also don't have any problem with learning to use a manual flash, as I mostly use manual for capturing photos anyway.

I'd love to buy a Pentax flash, however my budget goes up to about $100 so I'm pretty limited in my choices, so yeah... the Yongnuo flashes might be my best bet.
07-27-2016, 11:15 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
If you want a single manual flash, then buy the mkIII... it's the same minus the radio transmitter part... slightly cheaper...
Then you can expand the system by buying a mkIV and using it to control the III off camera.
I second this. I have a YN-560 III and IV along with some RF-603 II triggers and they work great. It's nice to have the receivers built into the flashes so I only need to put a trigger on the camera, and it's a very affordable system to get into. The only thing lacking is p-TTL, so I also have a Metz 50 AF-1 for when I move around a lot. (You can sometimes find used Metz and Sigma P-TTL flashes for less than $100 on eBay if you keep your eyes open.)
07-28-2016, 08:02 PM   #8
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I love my Yongnuo IV. I say take this over the III, it's only $10 more and give you the option to use it as a controller when you expand.. Yes I use it on manual, it just means we think a little more. I have a friend who is a pro ( a Nikon shooter) and always shoots manual, gave the yongnuo a try and never looked back. He didn't see the need to pay $600 for a flash and solely use it in manual mode. I bought the TX transmitter to use off camera flash and it works like a charm. On camera I bounce it 90% of the time. When bounce is not an option I have a Rogue flash bender. Go for it. You are a manual shooter so who cares about p-ttl. I use it for portraits and events it has never failed me. I use MaHa Powerex batteries. It does have a small flaw, the hotshot lock may slip so if your flash suddenly stops working you may have to readjust it.

07-28-2016, 09:23 PM   #9
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A manual flash seems not the good one for beginners.

My reasons is here

1) it turns the photography to pure manual world. it is fine for some time but tedious for other times.

2) below or over exposure picture make people try again and again for each shoot.

3) this make people lost patient very soon for flash. it make more trouble than its usage.

so I tend to use a manual+TTL flash to suit my need.
07-28-2016, 11:06 PM   #10
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I think that's right Andy. It needs careful consideration of the real life shooting scenarios, and the practical workflow needed to cope well in those situations. But there's a strict budget, and the OP seems keen to get going and start experimenting. If he enjoys using flash them no doubt he can expand the system over time to cover a wider range of situations.

---------- Post added 29-07-16 at 06:19 ----------

For me, again based on the original post, shooting flash on-camera for portraits, candids and at events, presumably using bounce a lot, and doing that while manipulating camera manual exposure plus manual flash power control .... Well, that doesn't sound like much fun really.
08-03-2016, 01:15 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by andy888 Quote
A manual flash seems not the good one for beginners.
Everyone has their own preferences and is of course entitled to their own opinion.

However, I think manual flash photography is not only the choice of many professionals but in particular suitable for beginners. Why? Because it nothing could be simpler for "up" when it is too dark and "down" when it is too bright. Done; that's your training.

With P-TTL you have
  • I want to use that flash off-camera but I don't know how to set its channel. The procedure is not in the camera manual, it is in the flash manual, right? Oh, I have to pair flash and camera, really?
  • What mode do I set my camera to? What are the rules for P-mode when the program line is set to "Normal"?
  • Am I allowed to use "Av" mode or was that not supported?
  • I'm using an A-lens. That's OK, isn't it? Or did support for A-lenses stop at a certain point. Was my camera model made before or after?
  • I'm trying to adjust the shutter speed, but the camera won't let me. Why?
  • I changed the ISO line to fast but nothing changes. Is that normal? Does that happen on all camera models?
  • My picture is a bit overexposed when I use direct flash and pretty well underexposed when I used bounced flash. Is there anything I can do?
  • Should I use flash exposure compensation on the camera or on the flash?
  • My images are way overexposed. Why? Am I too close for the metering to work? Do I need to disengage Auto ISO?
  • My images are way underexposed. Are these flash reflections irritating the camera meter?
  • Optical triggerring just worked so nicely a moment ago. Now I'm having trouble. What shall I do now?
  • My sister has fast reflexes and always closes her eye-lids when the pre-flash occurs. How do I get a shot of her with open eyes?
  • I better find this 60+ page flash guide that tells me how to cope with P-TTL... (no offence to all the brave P-TTL guide authors out there, but you have to admit a simpler topic could be dealt with a smaller guide, right? )
Note that one of the most popular flash photography guides, i.e, "Strobist 101", tells people to set their flashes to manual mode. Not because the author hates TTL or cannot afford TTL equipment, but because manual flash photography is simpler; easier to learn for beginners.


QuoteOriginally posted by andy888 Quote
1) it turns the photography to pure manual world. it is fine for some time but tedious for other times.
It is not only "fine for some time", it can often be the much more reliable approach that delivers consistent and predictable results.

It is not "tedious" at all, in particular when you have remote power control. Your "second" reason is the same criticism again:

QuoteOriginally posted by andy888 Quote
2) below or over exposure picture make people try again and again for each shoot.
A flash typically supports 8 power settings that are separated by a stop. Even as a beginner you can just first try the middle power level and then adjust up or down, hitting the middle of the upper or lower range. From there it is at most one more adjustment till you have set the right power level. That's not "again and again".

With a bit of experience, you get in the right ballpark straight away and perhaps do one more adjustment after that.

Automatic flash exposure is very useful when you have very dynamic conditions with subjects changing quickly or changing their distance to the flash quickly. One typically gets a useful exposure from automatic exposure systems in such circumstances. They typically won't have anything to do with artistic vision or refinement, but they'll get you the shot. If that kind of "gun-and-run" approach is your thing then automatic flash exposure is just the ticket for you. For everything were speed isn't paramount, manual adjustments are much preferred. Hint: When you use flash exposure compensation, that's a manual adjustment as well.

QuoteOriginally posted by andy888 Quote
3) this make people lost patient very soon for flash. it make more trouble than its usage.
Not at all.

There is no "trouble" with manual flash photography. There can be a speed disadvantage, but there is no "trouble". On the contrary, all the 60+ page flash guide complexity of P-TTL wizardry is completely avoided.

Personally, I'd advise a beginner to learn flash photography with manual flash power control. One can still try to master the often undocumented logic of various automatic P-TTL support systems later on, if one has the inclination and the need to do so, but in order to wrap one's head around how flash works (relation to shutter speed, what sync-speed is, etc.) it is much easier to start simple.

Last edited by Class A; 08-03-2016 at 02:03 AM.
08-03-2016, 02:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Everyone has their own preferences and is of course entitled to their own opinion.

However, I think manual flash photography is not only the choice of many professionals but in particular suitable for beginners. Why? Because it nothing could be simpler for "up" when it is too dark and "down" when it is too bright. Done; that's your training.

*snip*
I couldn't have said it better if I tried for two years straight
08-03-2016, 03:43 AM   #13
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Hey, can we get some accuracy around here!? The Guide's 90 pages, thank you very much ...


hmmm, now I wonder how many negative points about manual flash, the systems, triggers, compatibilities, communication problems, reliability, quality, instructions comprehension, HSS/2nd curtain sync problems etc etc could we construct based on members questions here over the years .... ?

---------- Post added 03-08-16 at 10:54 ----------

And Class A ... How often do you use a single manual flash on your hotshoe, bouncing for light quality, as you dynamically work an event or fluid portraits....

---------- Post added 03-08-16 at 11:01 ----------

You mention the professionals ... I've got one book in front of me, 'On-Camera Flash' by Neil van Niekerk . It's all about a single hot-shoe flash approach, for weddings, events, outdoor portraits when things are moving a bit. This is what I read that the OP was looking at doing from his original post.

There is some passing mention of Manual flash in this book ... The PAID thing, and a small section at the end about 'OFF Camera Manual Flash' ..... But, apart this this, the ENTIRE book is full example shots and explanations about on-camera TTL flash.

Last edited by mcgregni; 08-03-2016 at 04:04 AM.
08-03-2016, 04:04 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Hey, can we get some accuracy around here!? The Guide's 90 pages, thank you very much ...


hmmm, now I wonder how many negative points about manual flash, the systems, triggers, compatibilities, communication problems, reliability, quality, instructions comprehension, HSS/2nd curtain sync problems etc etc could we construct based on members questions here over the years .... ?

---------- Post added 03-08-16 at 10:54 ----------

And Class A ... How often do you use a single manual flash on your hotshoe, bouncing for light quality, as you dynamically work an event or fluid portraits....
I could answers a part of those questions...

I find the YN radio system to be quite convenient and reliable... I've not bought yet the TN with three-lines display but I'm using a mkIV, which offers a scaled-down version of that. I immagine the dedicated transmitter to be even easier to use.

No issues with radiofrequency transmission, some issues with light triggering using the measly pop-up as a trigger, but that's related to the inverse square law and the "power" of the puny thing... and those would be there with TTL as well, can't change physics.

As far as reliability is concerned, I've used two YN for some time without a hitch, build quality is very good and sturdy.

Instructions are the weak point there... the initial pairing and setup was a trial and error thing... and the poor writing of the Engrish user manual didn't help... I've synthesized the process in a little tutorial which I posted here some time ago, it's not difficult at all once you find something telling you which key does what.

After that, setting power and zoom remotely becomes a breeze, you get a feel for the amount of power needed almost instantly and it's only a matter of devising a flash setup that gets you the light you want, but that's the same you'll have to do with all flashes, even TTL ones!

The single biggest gotcha I get with manual flashes is when I clumsily set shutter speed above 1/180 and then wonder for a couple of minutes why the hell the flash isn't firing... I'd have liked more if the camera fired anyway, the ensuing banding would have been a fast reminder.
08-03-2016, 04:17 AM   #15
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Lets be careful that we are comparing like for like. ...I don't recall the OP saying he was going to buy multiple flashes to create a radio remote manual flash system ...

I use manual as well of course, when it suits and I'm happy to agree that is often the case with multiple slave flashes and more complex set ups.... No dispute there. But is that what the OP was intending?
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