Yongnuo YN460-II Flashgun Review

Yongnuo YN460-II front

Price and availability

Yongnuo are essentially a cheap and cheerful accessory maker for camera gear. From what I know, they are a Chinese brand, but the items are bought in by eBay sellers, therefore making them available in the UK. They have started to become more well known since the strobist market grew, and are now an acceptable budget option for those looking to get in to off-camera flash.

There are a number of different flashes available from Yongnuo, with the 460-II being one of the newer, but cheaper versions. They do have TTL flashguns, and others with more functionality. However, the 460-II is completely manual.

I paid around £35 for mine so they should be available for around that. Now this is fairly cheap for a flashgun, meaning there wasn’t much loss if this flash turned out to be a waste of time.

Packaging

Now depending on who you order from the delivery time may differ. However, I received mine very quickly. The flash comes in a small Nikon-like box, containing the flash itself, a soft carrying pouch and a small stand. It is all packaged surprisingly well, so there were no concerns of any damage in transit.

Build quality

Upon first inspection, the build quality of the 460-II was surprisingly good. I gave it a thorough inspection, twisting and turning the head quite a lot to see how it got on. The only thing that could be called a little flimsy is the battery cover. However, considering how little this part of the unit will be used, I was very pleased with the overall quality of such a cheap flash.

Functions

Being a simple flash, with no TTL functionality, the 460-II can only be used in manual mode. The rear of the flash shows the three functions available, manual and two slave modes. There is also a row of LEDs that denote the power that the flash is set to, which is adjustable via the +/- button. Along with an on/off button and a pilot light, this makes up the entire rear of the flash unit. Switching between functions is obviously very simple, and i’ve found the basic layout to help when you want to simply adjust the power, especially when compared to some of the more complicated flashguns out there.

The head of the 460-II can be turned a full 180 degrees to face backwards, as well as point directly upwards. This is great for bouncing the flash and directing it through a light diffuser. The movement is smooth, and i have no worries that it is going to suddenly fall apart while doing this.

A couple of great little features that the 460-II has is the built-in bounce card and wide angle diffuser. A couple of things you’d expect on an expensive flash, but a welcome bonus on something so cheap.

It’s important to mention that the 460-II secures itself to your hotshot with a screw fitting, meaning tightening and loosening the unit is fairly easy, but over tightening can sometimes be an issue.

In-use

So far i’ve had no real issues bar one (see below). The unit is slightly smaller than other flashguns i’ve used, which is a bonus for traveling, but the power is more than enough for me. The recycle times can be an issue with weaker batteries, but i’ve found a freshly charged set give surprisingly good recycle times.

All in all I’m very happy with this flash. It is a very simple unit, and for the price it can’t really be beaten. I actually showed mine to a professional photographer that i know fairly well, and he was so impressed. He used SB900’s whenever he isn’t in the studio, but after seeing the little Yongnuo he noted down the name so he could order some himself.

Issues

I had my first 460-II for a couple of weeks before I had an issue with it. Everything turned on just fine, but it wouldn’t flash. I contacted the seller of the unit and they immediately sent out a replacement. The replacement has worked flawlessly every since.

Now, once I had the replacement I began looking in to why the first one died. After reading lots about it on various websites, I decided to open it up and have a look. Now it turned out to be nothing that I had read about, and was simply a loose wire. I reattached the wire and secured it with some electrical tape. This original flash has now been working perfectly ever since. I definitely wouldn’t have opened up a £300 Nikon/Canon flash, but with a £35 flash i had no problems doing this.

New Year – New Kit

Well hello, you.

It’s been a while since i’ve put anything up on here, so for anyone who cares, i’m sorry. I’d like to say i’ve been very busy, and although i have, i’m sure there was time to enter something on to here. I’m not going to bore you with any excuses, but will simply soldier on.

Right, it’s 2012, hooray. This is the year i take better photos and generally become a photographer, and not someone who takes photos. With this in mind, i have invested in some new equipment to get me going. This kit has been a long time coming, and i’m kind of annoyed i didn’t buy it sooner. But never mind that.

Right, the new kit i have gotten isn’t exactly anything special, but here is it.

Nikon D90

Bought one of these second hand for a very good price. It is a very dated camera now, but one that i think is still excellent. It has all the bells and whistles i will ever want from a camera at the moment, and still holds a candle to the newer cameras out there. The way i see it is there is no point in buying a more expensive body if i’m not making money from photography. I’ll save the money for glass, thank you very much. Anyway, my new camera has only done around 5,000 actuations, and therefore is like new. Everything works, and i couldn’t be happier. Now i just need to put a grip on it to sort out it’s tiny size.

Yongnuo YN460-II 

This, if you didn’t know, is a flashgun. Yongnuo are a cheap and cheerful manufacturer who mainly sell their stuff on eBay. Now before you say anything, they actually have a fairly good reputation in the photography community. Couple that with their very good prices and i thought i’d give it a go. I paid around £35 delivered for mine, and couldn’t be more satisfied. It is fully manual, meaning you have to adjust the power yourself, but i would be doing this anyway. This also means it doesn’t support TTL, like Nikon flashes do. But i’ll mostly be using this off camera anyway, so doesn’t bother me so much.

Yongnuo RF-603

These are flash triggers/receivers, and allow me to remotely fire my flash from my camera. Now the D90 can use it’s onboard flash in commander mode, meaning it can fire a remote flash without the need for triggers. However, with the Yongnuo flash i’ve found this to be a little unreliable, and these triggers allow me to fire from over 100m away. Why i’d ever want that i don’t know, but it’s nice to have it.

Konig light stand

This, i think, is a crazy bargain. It is a simply light stand, that can be used for a number of things. All i will be using it for is to hold my flashgun somewhere away from my camera, along with an umbrella or similar. It does this job well, and without fuss. All for the grand price of around £10 delivered. Check out 7dayshop or Amazon, they both have it at similar prices. Bargain of the century. I’ll no doubt be buying another one soon.

White shoot through umbrella

This is another bargain. Yes you can buy expensive umbrellas that are possibly better, but for £5 delivered these are just too cheap to miss. They can be bought at this price from a number of places, and are very good for what they are.

I also bought a Manfrotto light adapter, which allows me to mount my umbrella and flash however i want. Could have gone for an off brand one of these, but this is something i’ll likely keep forever.

Anyway, i’ll stop boring you with this rubbish. With any luck i’ll be posting up a short piece about a couple of photos i managed to get with this new kit.