Fstoppers Reviews the Yongnuo TTL Flash System

Fstoppers Reviews the Yongnuo TTL Flash System

In the world of off-camera flash, there are two sides: the full manual side and the TTL (through the lens) side. I have always been on the full manual side, because when it comes to triggering a TTL flash off camera, things start to get complicated. In order to trigger the flash, you either need to have an expensive on-camera flash, an expensive TTL radio trigger, or a cumbersome TTL cable. Then, I found the affordable and feature-rich Yongnuo TTL system and instantly fell in love.

The System

In order to get your flash off camera, all you need are two Yongnuo-622n flash transceivers that are compatible with your TTL flash. One transceiver connects to your camera and acts as the trigger, while the second transceiver connects to your flash and acts as the receiver. With this simple $77 solution (not including your flash), you now have the ability to trigger your flash in manual, TTL, use high speed sync, and trigger multiple flashes based on groups and channels (with multiple flashes and triggers). The problem is that you have to adjust the TTL flash power from within the camera settings by using flash compensation and if you want to control the flash power in manual, you are stuck having to adjust it from the flash.

Enter the Yongnuo-622n TX. This transmitter not only gives you the ability to adjust the flash power in manual and TTL, it also gives you the option to adjust the zoom of each flash in addition to all the other features offered in the Yongnuo-622n transceivers. You can also switch from manual to TTL from the transmitter without having to touch your flash.

How It Works

I was surprised by how easy it was to set everything up. All I had to do was plug my flash into the transceiver, plug the transmitter into my camera, make sure my flash was set to TTL (I don't think the flash has to be in TTL for Canon users), and then confirm that the transceiver and trigger were on the same channel. After this quick process, everything just worked. The buttons on the transmitter are all very straightforward and it’s easy to figure out how to change all the settings.

The transceiver has three buttons and a switch on the unit: one button to cycle through the groups, one button to cycle through the channels, a test button, and a switch to power the device on and off.

The dedicated TX transmitter has a button for everything you can control from the unit and each setting is displayed on the screen. This means no diving into menus and settings to view or change a parameter. Each button works by pressing it to select what option you want to change, then using the directional pad to change the setting.  When changing flash power, you use the directional pad horizontally to change by full stops and vertically to change by third stops. It’s all very intuitive and easy to grasp.

When using the unit, I never once had an issue with the flash not firing or being out of range. Granted, I have never had a reason to get crazy far distances away from my flash, but I never had an issue with it being across a field or having the flash be inside while I was outside.

Build Quality

The build is what’s to be expected when dealing with cheaper products. They don't feel flimsy by any means, but they don't feel exceptionally rugged either. The glossy coating of the transceivers gets scuffed easily, but this doesn’t affect performance; so, it's not really a concern for me.

The main issue I have is with the TX transmitter. The display uses a clear plastic that seems to be easy to scratch, which leaves me wondering at what point it will become hard to see what is being displayed. After a few months of heavy use, it's still easily viewable, but I can see things going horribly wrong by simply placing it in a pocket with something that is rough or has sharp edges. The plus side is that at $44, I can buy a couple replacements and still be ahead when compared to a PocketWizard. The scratches are also not as prominent when the screen's backlight is on.   

The backlight of the display makes the scratches less noticeable.

Remote Trigger

One added bonus of the transceivers is the ability to remotely trigger your camera's shutter button. They even come with all the cables and connections you need, so there is no need to buy additional accessories. Once you attach a transceiver to your camera and run the cable to your remote port, you simply press the test button on the second transceiver to trip the shutter.

While light painting, I didn't have to keep walking back and forth to my camera. I just held a transceiver in one hand and my painting tool in the other.

What I Like

My favorite feature is the ability to trigger a flash in TTL while also being able to quickly change it to manual without needing to touch my flash. This is useful because TTL seems to work most of the time for me, but there are always those certain instances where it gets tripped up. For these situations, I can quickly and easily switch the flash to manual with a single button.

The next big feature is the ability to still use high speed sync when the flash is set to manual. In all my past days of manual flash, I was always stuck at my camera's sync speed of 1/250th of a second. I wanted to use manual flash, though, because I liked having the consistency of setting a specific flash power and not relying on the fluctuating TTL exposures. But now, I have the ability to use manual flash while also being able to exceed my camera's sync speed. Now, I get the best of both worlds.  Lastly, I can't overlook how relatively cheap the system is. 

TTL kept getting tripped up by the moving arms. A quick switch to manual made it easy to dial in what I needed.

What I Don't Like

My biggest gripe with the entire system is that the on/off switches are too easy to change. I shoot with two cameras and thus, the camera I’m not using is always bumping into my body in one way or the other. This bumping has caused a transceiver to be turned off on a couple of occasions, causing me to miss a few shots before realizing it’s off. Also, they always seem to be in the on position when I get them out of my bag. This could be that they got turned on in the bag from moving around or that I forgot to turn them off. But that brings me to my next issue: they don't have a battery-saving mode when not in use. Instead, both the transceivers and the transmitter will just sit and blink their little LED lights until they are dead. 

I also wish you could use the camera in bulb mode with the transceivers as a remote trigger. It seems that it only recognizes a single press and not a hold; so, using this setup, you are limited to the shutter speeds that are available in your camera. Lastly, while build quality is acceptable, I do wish they didn't scratch so easily.

Conclusion

The Yongnuo system is a very capable and affordable option for getting your flash off camera. Add in the fact that you get TTL and high speed sync and it’s a definite win. The few cons that I have seen, to me, are not worth the added expense of getting a higher-end system.

Are you team TTL or team manual? What flash trigger system do you use?

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72 Comments

I wish they'd replace the PC jack with a 3.5mm jack. Who wants to use a PC connector anymore!?!?
I also wish there was a 1/4-20 thread on the receivers, for more mounting options.
Other than that, I absolutely love my set.

Learned the hard way on the weekend that they don't like water when a gust of wind caught the light stand :-\

Subhankar Barai's picture

My 622Ns have gone through two falls with the wind pushing my octabox and lightstand down; once on concrete and first contact with the concrete was on the 622N. The batteries came out but works flawless even after that.
But I have found one issue on the TX...
I have two 622N-TX but the PC sync port does not seem to work on any of those. Whereas my multiple 622N’s PC sync port works flawlessly. Has anyone faced this issue with the PC sync port on TX?
While using the 622N-TX on camera and a speedlight on the L-bracket attached to the camera, I had to use 622N to trigger the flash on the bracket. Instead I just want to use the PC Sync cord to trigger the speedlight on the bracket attached to the camera and control other remote flashes on lightstands from the 622N-TX.
The workaround that I have found is to use a Pixel TF-322 adapter on my camera hotshoe and the 622NTX goes on top of it. The PC-Sync Cord goes out of the Pixel adapter to the speedlight on the bracket and the TX controls the rest of the speedlights on lightstands. But the speedlight on the bracket works only when on Manual mode, when used in this configuration.

Robert Johnson's picture

2.5MM Shutter release interface: Wireless shutter release function. Not pc sync port. Taken from the manual which can be found here: http://yongnuo.com.cn/usermanual/pdf/YN-622N-TX_Usermanua_EN_CN.pdf

Chris Adval's picture

I have the 602s and 622s, both work great as a combo or by themselves. Had them for years, no issues other than losing some pieces (battery covers).

There is one big Con:
I bought 2 pair of these flash triggers about two years ago and they worked really great until Canon brought their firmware update for my 5D III (from 1.2.1 to 1.2.3). After updating my camera to the new firmware the flash triggers only worked as dumb manual triggers. No TTL any more!!!
I asked the selling company and they told me that the triggers cannot be updated so the only way to use them with TTL was to stay on firmware 1.2.1 on my Canon.
So in the future I will never buy any triggers without USB-port and the possibility to update their firmware to match my camera.
I like Yongnuo but that was really disappointing!

William Nelsen's picture

Great review Jason! I feel the same way about these units. For the price and functionality you can't beat them. I have played with the distance on these units in the open. With line of sight, the range was about 83 meters or almost 275 feet. Pretty impressive if you ask me. Battery management is key for this kind of a system though. I use the reliable and cost effective Ikea rechargeable AA's (4 for $5.99). To keep things simple I have a red pouch for dead batteries and a green for charged.

Hey guys anyone who cal help please, I receantly bought aYN568EX with the the YN622N-TX Controller and YN622N transceiver ..but I can not get it to work on my Nikon D750.. anyone that know how can I fix this ?? thanks..

Vince Arredondo's picture

Jason, great article! I have a question, have you experimented any issues misfiring due to the TX wasn't "sitting" correctly on the hot shoe? I was doing some tests and I faced this. I moved a little bit the TX, it did good connection and it was good to go. I have a D750. Thank you man!

Jason Vinson's picture

yup the D750 has a funky hot shoe. My process is to put the transmitter all the way into the hot shoe and then drop down the locking pin. once the locking pin is dropped, pull back on the transmitter and you will hear a click as the lock pin fully seats into the hot shoe. doing this I never have a problem.

I have 4 pieces of Yonnuo 622N Transceivers. I shoot with 2 cameras most of the time.

My setup:

I use 2 Transceivers one on each Camera body's hotshoe, and put a Nikon SB900 on top of the 622N on both.

On the other hand, I also setup 2 light stands and connect 2 additional transceivers on each light stand and use off branded speedlights on each stand.

I use channel 1 on all 4 Transceivers, because, I want to use the lights on the stands with both cameras simultaneously.

However, my problem is: When I take a photo with one Camera body, the SB 900 on the second camera body also fires off instantly, because my Transceiver is receiving the signal. How can I control this situation? When I click the shutter on one body, I want to fire the flash on the hot shoe and also the 2 flashes on the light stands, but my Flash on the second body also fires at the same time.

I wanted to set the 622N on the camera bodies to act as ONLY as Transmitters and NOT receivers. How can i do this?

Thank you for your help in advance

so if my father has a canon trigger and 5 receivers can I purchase a Nikon transmitter and fire his flashes