Yongnuo 460II Flash & RF603 radio trigger review

The Yongnuo 460II flash unit is an outstandingly inexpensive flash unit, simple to operate, but only works in fully manual mode.

460II-20140218-IMG_3469

Build Quality – the build quality is better than one might expect for such a cheap unit. It’s not as well made as flashes costing ten times what it costs, but the quality is adequate and certainly good for the budget price.

Function – the flash unit is dead simple. There is an on/off button, a rocker switch to adjust the power level, and a ‘mode’ switch that lets you change between the hot shoe triggering the flash or using the flash as an optical slave unit. There’s not much to read in the piece of paper that constitutes a manual, but the use of the flash is quite obvious. There is no TTL metering function at all.

The guide number of 38 is a little optimistic, but there is adequate light for most applications.

The head fully tilts and swivels, and you can pull out a wide-angle adaptor and bounce card from to top of the head

The obvious partner for this unit is the Yongnuo RF602 or 603 radio trigger. The 603 is the later model and can also be used as a remote shutter release. The 603 unit is a transceiver – it does not matter which you mount on the camera or flash, whereas the 602 unit has send and receive units. In terms of operation, just put one unit on your camera, and another under each flash, and turn them on. In my experience with them the only time they have not worked was when I had forgotten to turn one on, or had incorrect settings on the camera. The on/off switch is poorly located – it’s hard to turn on when mounted under the flash unit, but not impossible.

Overall there is a lot to like about this flash and the trigger unit. It’s very simple. It just works. It doesn’t connect to your camera’s metering system, but that also contributes to its simplicity and certainly is a factor in the low cost.

And that is ultimately the reason for recommending it – for significantly less than the cost of a flash unit from the major manufactures, (even less than the cost of a used Canon or Nikon flash!) you could buy two of these units as well as three 603 triggers.  And that’s what makes this flash so special: its easy to use, and you can afford more of them.

However I do have one word of warning – I purchased two of these units and one was defective. Fortunately I purchased from a reputable dealer (john Thompson) and he replaced the defective one immediately. Possibly the quality control on these units is not what it should be, so make sure that you purchase form someone who will replace a defective unit if you have that problem.

If you are looking for a flash to use mounted on your camera this is probably not the one (but why would you want to use a flash mounted on your camera?), and if you have infinite amounts of money there are also better choices, but for a budget-oriented multiple off-camera flash set up this unit hits the spot.

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About Phil Davison

Photographer, musician and filmmaker.

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