YN568EX Thoughts

A year ago. I needed a backup flash so I started looking into flashes and I found the YN568EX. It supported basically the majority of the features that my Canon 580EXII had except for master IR and auto thyroister mode. Which I could care less about. I have since bought a second YN568EX for use.

Issues:
The first issue I ran into was on my first YN568EX that I got. There was an issue that existed in the 2012 models of the flash but has since been fixed since I believe May 2013. This means that if on a Canon 60D you tried to take a picture before the flash had a fully charged capacitor it would lock the camera up and thrown an err20… I about had a heart attack when this first happened. I thought my camera was dead. A simple reboot of the camera will fix the issue. The work around was I would just listen for the ready beep before firing the flash again. Issue would come into play at weddings or events where the beep would be very distracting. The second issue I ran into was the door on the newer version of the flash. There is a documented issue with the newer YN568EXII. It seems in the newer date YN568EX it may suffer from the same issue. From a small fall the door broke on the new YN568EX. I easily got the door replaced for 5$ a door from china.

Features:

The YN568EX was the first flash from China with HSS. it can sync up to 1/8000. although remember this will significantly cut the flash power so really it is not that useful at that fast. If you add this in combination with the YN622C you get a useful combination in fast moving off camera environments like weddings. Also you are able to do HSS to knock the sun some. However to really make this useful I feel you need at least 2 flashes. I put them on a phottix multibom 16′ when outside. It works quite well.

You have all the normal features you would have with a canon flash. Like full E-TTL communication. You can adjust the FEC from camera with a quick nudge of the arrow left and right. Left for a lower power , right for a higher power. Normally when bouncing flash I need to be at about +1 fec to get the proper exposure. This is not much different than the Canon 580EXII which I have to do the same some.

The main feature the flash is missing is an external battery pack port. This is not a deal killer for me but some people it is. Also they decided to use a 2.5mm sync port instead of a 3.5mm or PC. This sort of makes it tough for those who have widely used PC cables, or the main new way of 3.5mm mono plug.

One of the positive features is also the IR and popup commander slaves. That accepts both Canon E-TTL and Nikon i-TTL signals. This is very useful because on weddings my other photographer normally shoots Nikon so when we needed an extra flash I was able to do an i-TTL slave for them.

In use:

In practice the flash performs really well. I have actually used it the same if not more than my Canon 580EXII. I really like the beep in non sound sensitive locations. The main settings are quick to change like FEC and zoom. It sorta is tricky remembering how to switch the channels and the group in i-TTL or E-TTL slave. The interface in regards to changing settings could be clearer. Also the custom function names are cryptic.

Conclusions:

Over all it is a good flash for the price. The build quality is ok but not extravagant. It performs well in use. I would suggest it to any one who is looking for an entry level TTL flash with HSS. The big negatives I found is that enough bugs were not worked out, causing one of my flashes to fail on my Canon 60D. Instead of shipping it back which would of cost a ton I ended up waiting for the bug to be fixed and buying a new one.

Cactus V6 Trigger in Beta Test Phase

This is a preview of the Future Cactus V6 trigger system from Beta and Alpha testing. Full review to come later.

History of cactus:
So some people don’t understand why theses are not a certain brand. Cactus over the years has centered its self around brand agnostic philosophy. This is good because I have and work with people who have multiple brand equipment. I always thought ok so they will always stick with one pin firing, and not get into anything to complicated. I was wrong. They were able to innovate and create a multi vendor comparable hot shoe to allow ttl passthrough for multiple vendors “canon, fuji-film, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Pentax”. In addition the multi shoe or what they call the MSS “Multi System Shoe” supports manual power control to most major Nikon, Canon, and Pentax flashes. They do however need to have analog or digital ttl pins for power control. This system is more of a platform so more features may come later via firmware. Who knows. To me the sky’s the limit. However they want to stay backwards compatable.

It is a very cool much more to come. However Cactus surprised me by saying you can share the majority of the features. Note there are going to be more however I believe what we have so far gives a good over view of the product at its current state.

Cactus V6 Preliminary features: *This may change*

*Wireless Manual Power Control to a list of current and previous Canon, Pentax, and Nikon compatible flashes. Flash profiles are included for some of the most popular flashes on the market. More can be added later via updates.

*Full manipulation of power levels to 1/10, 1/3, 1/2 EV stops.

*LoPower Mode fires flash for extremely short duration of time.

*Absolute Power Mode benchmarks power output of different flash models to same light intensity.

*TTL pass-through with Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Fujifilm via one single unit.

*Built-in Optical Trigger enabling pre-flash triggering.

*Group Control up to 4 groups

*Relay Mode triggers camera shutter and flash in sync

*Delay Timer configurable from 1ms to 10 seconds

*Mini-USB port for optional power supply and firmware update

More to come on this in the V6 review in the next few months.

Note: the images of the v6 are from a Alpha build, and physical features will change like finish and possible other physical features.

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Flash Profiles:** Yes you can mix brands and types in one setup*

The flash profiles currently on the v6 are and note this is an alpha build of trigger so the list will expand. This was just preliminary what was provided for the testers. Even after the release currently the profiles will be added to this list from my understanding for years and years to come.

Pentax Profiles:

Cactus AF 45P, AF 50P

Metz 36AF-5, 44AF-1, 50AF-1, 58AF-2

Pentax AF360FGZ, AF540FGZ

Canon Profiles:

Canon: 320EX, 430EX, 540EZ, 580EX2, 600EX

Cactus: AF 45C, AF 50C

Metz: 36AF-5, 44AF-1, 50AF-1, 52AF-1, 58AF-1, 58AF-2

Nisson Di866, MG8000

Godox 860c

Sigma EF-500

Youngnuo 568EX2 (568EX works also with this I tested with mine.)

Nikon i-TTL Profiles:

Nikon :SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB900, SB910

Cactus: AF-45N AF-50N

Metz: 36AF-5, 44AF-1, 50AF-1, 58AF-2

Nisson: Di700, Di866

Sigma: EF530

Nikon A-TTL Profiles:

Nikon: SB-24, SB28

As you see in this picture I am controlling a Canon 580EXII 2x YN568EX and a Nikon SB24 which has now been taken out of retirement. :)

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You can see here how each profile will be displayed on the slave transceiver.

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In action video Note: Plan on doing a better video later
You can watch a video here showing how to power adjust the flashes.

Setup from the video:
Cactus RF60 on Group A
YN568EX on a Cactus V6 on group B

Cactus V6 to change power.

You will see that I am able to hold down the group A button and change the power on RF60 on the right. Then hold down the button on Group B for the YN568EX on the Cactus V6 and change group b on the left. I then release both buttons and it changed both groups and kept the ratios set on each group. You will notice it is very quick to change settings.