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06-02-2012, 06:27 AM   #1
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"manual" flashguns

I want to replace my Sunpak auto260 which has recently died. This has a nominal GN of about 32, I believe. I have been triggering it with a Cactus and I am very happy to continue doing this. I will not pay the exorbitant price of a dedicated flash simply because it bears the name of the maker of the camera and my needs are met by the expedient I have adopted.

I have been looking at the web and my attention has been taken by the Godox TT560 and the Yong Nuo YN560. The former is rated by the maker at GN38 and the latter at GN58 but I suspect that the numbers are NOT COMPARABLE. In a review of the YN560 I read that the reviewer assesses the actual GN at 34 rather than "the official 39" - so this person has presumably obtained the figure of 39 also from some official source. Quite a contrast between 39 and 58 and both ultimately from the manufacturer, presumably!

I think all makers should observe a standard protocol and always give a figure based on a standardised sensitivity and coverage - say 100 ISO and 55 degree field - for comparision, whatever other data they might or might not also choose to advertise as selling points.

Any information would be appreciated on these or any other comparable flashguns.

Is anyone aquainted with both the TT560 and YN560 (and maybe the YN460 also) so as to be able to compare the two (or three)?


Last edited by Kendrick Pereira; 06-02-2012 at 06:31 AM. Reason: clerical error
06-02-2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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No experience with either.

Compare the GN at 50mm (for film/ff) and ISO100 to know which one is actually the stronger flash; most manufacturers do actually specify that as well (at least in the manual, usually also on the website / in the catalog). The whole trick lays in the zoom heads that concentrate the light more if a longer lens is used.

Example (for the Pentax AF540)

GN45 at 50mm (34mm), GN39 at 35mm (24mm) GN35 at 28mm (19mm), GN54 at 85mm (58mm). Focal length for film/ff and between brackets for dSLR with 1.5 crop.

Compare it with a Metz 45 (no zoom head) that has a GN of 45 at 35mm (film) and longer; the Metz is physically the stronger flash but will only have a GN advantage if you shoot between 35mm and 50mm on film (between 24 and 35mm on a dSLR); at 50mm both are equal and after that the AF540 wins because it can concentrate the light. The Metz looses about a stop when you go to 28mm (film) / 18mm (dslr) and will loose there a little as well.

Which of the two is the more useful one with regards to GN? Probably the AF540 because it wins at both the wide and the long side.

I've never heard of the Godox, the YongNuo 560 is well regarded but there were issues with it in combination with the K5 (and maybe K-r); they might have been solved or not.

Hope this helps in some way to determine which flash you need to get.
06-02-2012, 04:21 PM   #3
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YN560 is fantastic for its price... I never had a P-TTL flash but of my current 3 manual flashes it's the one that sees most use and is always always in my bag...
Some say the QC on the Yongnuo's is not great but the only time I've ever had a problem with mine has been me being stoopid and forgetting that the camera has a 1/180th sync... Duh!!
My copy is solid and works great both on and off camera (using Cactus V4's)

My second most used manual flash is Vivitar 285hv... Great, rediculously easy to use but less in the way of control and has no swivel feature for on-camera use - The light is produces is pretty awesome though...

My girlfriend uses my old YN460 on her Fuji-HS10... Again, very easy to use - VERY SMALL - Nowhere near as powerful as the YN560 but a good little gun if portability is an issue for you (sometimes small is good)
06-02-2012, 04:30 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Compare the GN at 50mm (for film/ff) and ISO100 to know which one is actually the stronger flash; most manufacturers do actually specify that as well (at least in the manual, usually also on the website / in the catalog). The whole trick lays in the zoom heads that concentrate the light more if a longer lens is used.
Thanks for your response. Yes, I thought that the figures are not comparable because they are for different coverage hence my,
"I think all makers should observe a standard protocol and always give a figure based on a standardised sensitivity and coverage - say 100 ISO and 55 degree field - for comparision, whatever other data they might or might not also choose to advertise as selling points." My point is that the two makers should specify a GN for a standardised coverage - but don't. That is to say Godox do not tell you what coverage they are specifying for and YongNuo only specify a GN for "105mm" without even specifying whether this means "equivalent to 105mm with 35mm full frame format" or 105mm with some other format.

It might be possible to work back from "105mm" to some other specific coverage but I don't know the calculation and would not trust it anyway without actual experimental confirmation. I expect a fresnel lens is positioned in front of the strobe and the separation between lens and strobe is increased to concentrate the light. Clearly some light must be lost unless the lens is of very generous size but just how much loss there would be would vary with the size and focal length of the fresnel lens and the consequent degree of separation required.

I tried to access the manual for the YongNuo but was not successful.

Whether the GN advertised by the maker is justified or not is another consideration. One reviewer found by experiment that his YN560 warranted a GN of 34 as compared with the maker's 39 - a quick calculation on my calculator runs out at 4.25m compared with 4.88m for f/8 [or f/8.5 compared with f/9.75 for 4m] which is nearly 1/3 or 1/4 difference in light output, depending on whether the proportion is based on the lower or higher output. I should be most appreciative of any comparison based on actual experience, if anyone has had experience of these flashguns or any other similar ones.

06-02-2012, 04:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
YN560 is fantastic for its price... I never had a P-TTL flash but of my current 3 manual flashes it's the one that sees most use and is always always in my bag...
Some say the QC on the Yongnuo's is not great but the only time I've ever had a problem with mine has been me being stoopid and forgetting that the camera has a 1/180th sync... Duh!!
My copy is solid and works great both on and off camera (using Cactus V4's)

My second most used manual flash is Vivitar 285hv... Great, rediculously easy to use but less in the way of control and has no swivel feature for on-camera use - The light is produces is pretty awesome though...

My girlfriend uses my old YN460 on her Fuji-HS10... Again, very easy to use - VERY SMALL - Nowhere near as powerful as the YN560 but a good little gun if portability is an issue for you (sometimes small is good)
Thanks, David. I too have Cactus V4's.

How does the light output of the Vivitar you mention compare with the YN560?

Also, how does the YN460 compare with its big brother for light output? You mention it is nowhere near as powerful but can you give any experience-based figures for comparison?

Last edited by Kendrick Pereira; 06-02-2012 at 04:38 PM. Reason: add something
06-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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I managed to download the manual through the link at the bottom of YONGNUO, photographic equipment, camera accessories, flash light, camera remote control, speedlite, photo equipment, LED photo light, flash trigger, camera wireless remote control, TTL cord

The GN / focal lengths are
15@14mm
28@24mm
30@28mm
39@35mm
42@50mm
50@70mm
53@80mm
58@105mm

Although it is not stated, those numbers are usually specified for 35mm / full frame. Pentax does specify them in their manual for the different formats (FF/dSLR/645).

On a side note (no offence intended): you state that you're not prepared to pay for a name. The consequence might be that, e.g. due to sample variation in components, the spec is not always achieved for 100%. And by the way, one bad apple does not always indicate a bad product; did your reviewer test 100 of them and they were all GN34?

Last edited by sterretje; 06-02-2012 at 05:53 PM.
06-02-2012, 05:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kendrick Pereira Quote
How does the light output of the Vivitar you mention compare with the YN560?
As far as power goes they're pretty similar in output at 1/1 ... The head of the vivitar is much bigger though and the light seems to (at least to my eyes) 'spread' wider... The YN560 trumps the 285hv on controllability, (The viv has only 4 power settings) and build quallity... It's also more packable than the Vivitar...

If I had to choose one it'd be the Yongnuo no question but the are instances where (using umbrellas - although I can't put my finger quite on why) I prefer the vivitar...
06-04-2012, 01:46 AM   #8
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Thanks sterretje and Dave for your posts.

The listing of GN against focal length is just what I needed to clarify the significance of the figures.

I am sure the reviewer was only commenting on his own YN560. However, though published claims may be a bit steeper than they should be the bottom line is performance and if that is good enough it's good enough. If Dave feels that the Vivitar 285hv and the YN560 are pretty similar in light output that indicates that the latter is bright enough for the price. It seems that the YN tends to be a little cheaper. B&H, the online supplier recommended on this forum, does not stock YN products. Pity.

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