A Hobbyist Photographer's Wish List by Juro Malazo

A Hobbyist Photographer’s Wish List, Item #3: YN-560II Speedlight + RF-603 Triggers + Sanyo Eneloop XX

It’s become quite customary for most people to wish for things during the Christmas season. Some dream of driving off in a new car, some want to get their hands on the latest smartphone, and some others, like me, have wish for gear…photography gear, that is.

I’ve also got a wish list of sorts, arranged from the most affordable to the most expensive. I’ll be posting the items on the list over the next few days, with item #1 to be revealed on Christmas day.
The most recent post I did on this 10 part series was several days ago, having failed to write up and schedule posts for items number 1 to 4 (Item number 1 was supposed to be revealed last week on the 25th).

Before the year draws to a close, I’d like to finish this series. Today, Items 4, 3, 2 and 1 will all be revealed…one at a time. ^_^

Previously, I posted Item #4, the Benro A500F Tripod + BH1 Ballhead.

Now let’s look at Item #3, which is a basic strobist kit. I’m thinking of the Yongnuo YN-560II Speedlight, powered by Sanyo Eneloop Black Batteries and wirelessly triggered by the Yongnuo RF-603. I found an [local] online seller that sells the YN-560II for P2,800 and the RF-603 for P1,700 and another one that sells the Sanyo Eneloop XX Batteries with Charger for P1,400.

Yongnuo YN-560II [image source: amazon.com]
Yongnuo RF-603 [image source: amazon.com]
Sanyo Eneloop XX Batteries with Charger [image source: amazon.com]

I’ve wanted to try out flash photography for a quite some time now. My interest in it grew after searching for the topic over the web and stumbling upon two Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera episodes of DigitalRev featuring David Hobby and Zack Arias.

Being one that’s starting out in street photography, I spend some time looking at others’ work and reading about how they do it. I’ve found out that some actually shoot street portraits, either candid or posed, with an off-camera flash (one such example is Zack Arias in the video I linked above). I haven’t really completely gotten over the fears of shooting street, occasionally finding myself chickening out and missing the shot of a potentially interesting subject, so shooting with candids using the flash is something I’d probably try out when I gain more confidence.

Shooting portraits is something I’m also being more interested in, especially since it’s what I like doing out on the streets. Having a flash would definitely give me a lot more possibilities with creatively shooting people.

My LX5, like almost all cameras, has a built-in flash that’s better than not having anything when you really need one, but it has its limits as well. It’s limited not only in power, but also in flexibility. It’s on the camera, which means I can’t move it around.

I researched about flashes, which ones are compatible with my LX5 and the advantages and disadvantages of interesting prospects. I read through and watched reviews about these and came to choose the Yongnuo YN-560 Mark/Version 2.

The YN-560II is a relatively inexpensive flash that could hold its own against more expensive units. This updated version has an improved optical sensor over the first one. The most recent version, the Mark III, is pretty much the same, except it’s got a built-in wireless receiver. It’s fully manual, has two optical slave modes (one is for use with TTL cameras, like my LX5) and a multi mode (which I don’t really yet understand).

While the YN-560II can be triggered by my on-camera flash via its optical slave, having a trigger (wired or wireless) would allow me to shoot with just the YN-560II not have to worry about the built-in flash getting into the shot when I don’t want it to. It would also mean more flexibility, because it could fire without seeing the on-camera flash.

The Yongnuo RF-603 is an inexpensive wireless transceiver that comes as a pair when bought. Reviews have been positive, and seems more than adequate for the way I think I’d use it.

Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries have a good reputation among photographers, and I’ve found out that the XX batteries seem more suited for use with photographic gear like a flash. I can’t imagine relying on non-rechargeable batteries for a speedlight. I’ve found a bundle of 4 Sanyo Eneloop XX batteries with the MQR06  charger which is also affordable and seems to be perfect for my needs.

So there you have it: Item #3 on my wish list, a basic strobist kit (Yongnuo YN-560II Speedlight + Yongnuo RF-603 Radio Triggers + Sanyo Eneloop XX Batteries with Charger) that could be bought for a total of P5,900.

Do you own a Yongnuo Speedlight? A radio trigger? How do you use them?


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