Recommendations for cheaper 3rd party flashes

roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member
edited November 2013 in Other Manufacturers

I am thinking about getting a flash, but didn't want to spend a ton of money on a Nikon version. What would you recommend for cheaper 3rd party options? I was looking at the Yongnuo YN-468 II, is that a good option? Are there better options in the cheap-ish range? What am I sacrificing in going with a flash like this?

Thank you for the advice, I don't know much about this so I appreciate learning from you all!

Comments

  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Phottix Mitros TTL for Nikon - I picked one up (and will a couple more up), and it works just like the Nikon's (a bit easier in my opinion) and is very well built. Has all the main options as the Nikon, HSS, ITTL, etc. They are anywhere from $250-$300. Well worth it and I haven't found any sacrifice in it at all.

    I haven't used anything else but Nikon's line. Sb-900s (used) are going for around $300-$320 and are still good options as well.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member

    Thanks TaoTeJared!

    I was looking for a bit cheaper. The Yongnuo is in the ~$100 range. Any feedback on that model? Any others in the $100 range to consider? Thank you!

  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    I have a Nissin Di866. Love it.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,199Moderator
    @proudgeek: More info please - CLS? HSS? iTTL?
    Always learning.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    $100 range? I haven't even ever seen any sold in stores for that low. I would be afraid of throwing away good money at bad for anything under $250. I'm sure they exist but I doubt they would be worth it. When I was looking recently, I had a Yongnuo marked, (they have about 6 or 7 recent models so you need the model to compare) and that one was in the $350ish range and was comparable to Nikkon's.

    The keys I look for is High speed sync (1/4000+), GN equal to a sb-900 (158ft/48m at iso 200), and there are some good reviews. iTTL (different from just plain TTL) is also a factor - Basically CLS controol.

    I have heard some good things about the Nissin Di866 mk II but that is north of $300 as well.
    Lumopro® LP180 has a great manual flash for about $200. I have read many great reviews on it. Again though, it is Manual only.

    It comes down to how you are going to use a flash or how advanced you are with using flashes. If you are really skilled and set your flashes to manual mode, you can get buy with almost any flash.

    If you are beginning, or shoot just iTTL you probably should consider a Nikon flash to start. SB-600, 700, 800, 900, 910 are the models that are CLS. Any of those flashes are good to start with.

    I spend more to get the CLS since I have the Phottix Odin system (similar to pocket wizards) and I can change any flash settings from my camera. It makes things smoother since I use boxes where the flashes are inside and I would have to pull the diffuser off for any little change. Ehh who am I kidding, I'm lazy and it is nice and easy to controol stuff from afar;)
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    it all depends how strong flash you need. I just got a used sb-400 for less than $80 w/shipping. works great on d800 whenever I don't need too much power.
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    edited November 2013
    Mine works both on the hot shoe mount in TTL mode as well as a remote slave to the body in command mode. I think it can also work as a commander for other remote flashes, but I've never tried this.

    Post edited by proudgeek on
  • roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member
    I hear you, TaoTeJared. I am considering the Yongnuo YN-468 II i-TTL, which seems to get decent reviews and is only $86. It says it has a guide number of 33 and is TTL for Nikon.

    Anyone tried the Yongnuo YN-468 II?


  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I check out speedlights.net & strobist.com for reviews on lighting stuff. Generally you get some good user experiences. The issue I have always had looking at Yongnuo is that I have never been able to find what model is ranked higher than another, which is the newest, etc. From what little I looked into them, there are big differences/ improvements on newer models. Also they have released cheaper and really handicapped flashes recently as well. Some use the "MK xx" and some use numbers in series to indicate newer models. There are actually "MK II&III" series that are better than their "5xx" series. And all of them are around $100. The 56x series seem to be much better for not that much more. I just don't trust companies where they make things so confusing that you can't tell what your getting. I also have seen many reviews for other flashes where the users moved from a Yongnuo X flash and Flash B was so much better.

    Most flashes are ok, but as adamz said, it is the end use that is more important in determining if it is good for you or not.

    At a minimum I would try to figure out when your flash was released and see if there is a newer model at the same price.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • JuergenJuergen Posts: 315Member
    I own 3 YN 560's. Simple to operate and doing their job. Built quality is not comparable to Nikon 910, but still acceptable. I have no regrets for having bought them.
    Jürgen
    D4, D800E, Nikon 1 J2, 600 f/4, trinity, PC-E 45, PC-E 24, 105, 50 f/1,8g, 85 f/1,4, Sigma 150-500
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 1,000Member
    I have a grey market 910.
    Recommend it as its a little cheaper but still gets you the best Nikon flash. What sucks about flash, is that when you need it, you really need it so no regrets in getting the 910. The AF assist is helpful at night when shooting with a DX body is near impossible.
  • roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member

    I was just about to buy the Yongnuo YN-565EX, which seemed great, more power than the other Yongnuos, TTL, even optical and CLS slave modes (I think). http://speedlights.net/2011/08/28/yongnuo-yn-565-ex-flash-review/

    That is until I found on our old forum that it might not work with the d800:
    http://nikonrumors.com/forum/topic.php?id=7001 and http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3261470
    Anyone try a 565EX on a D800 recently?

    Any other flash recommendations for about $150? I know that is cheap, but I don't know anything about flash photography, so I wanted to get an inexpensive flash, find some good learning resources, and try to learn how to use flashes on and off-camera.

    Thanks all of you, and happy new year to you!
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited January 2014
    I have the Yongnuo YN-560, but I only use it manual and off camera. There is now a Yongnuo YN-560 III with a trigger in it, for RF-602/RF-603 2.4G ultra-long-range wireless price $ 80.-.

    I don't put a non Nikon flash on my camera. I did that once and the flash system of my D300 did not work good anymore, a lot of no flashes with the Nikon CLS system. It turned out that Nikon had to replace the flashcard in the D300. Not that expensive, but because they opened the camera, the sealing was renewed too, then it became expensive.

    So for on camera flash I stick to my SB-800. :(
    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
    Those who say it can't be done, should not interrupt those doing it!
  • BigDogBigDog Posts: 17Member
    edited January 2014
    Kudos for your willingness to venture into flash photography. I did so years ago and it has significantly expanded my photography. It can be done on the cheap but everything is relative. What I don't understand is that you apparently own a D800 but don't want to spend more than $150 for a decent flash? Not even something in the price range of the Nissin or Phottix? At the least, IMO, to get decent power, i-TTL and CLS (off-camera capability - more important than you might think) you are looking at about $300 new. Good luck and I suggest buying one of McNally's books on the subject. Better yet, watch a few of his videos for inspiration.
    Post edited by BigDog on
  • roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member

    @BigDog, the thing is I know very little about flash photography at this point, so I am confused exploring the market. But I want to learn more! Sure, I'd probably get all I need if I bought the SB-910, but I would have never saved up enough for a D800E if I had bought every expensive photo toy I wanted. :)

    I am trying to figure out how much I would need/use TTL and I barely understand CLS at this point. Most of what I am envisioning doing is off-camera, but I don't know how much I will like doing flash photography, so I don't want to spend a lot of money if I don't have to at this point. But if I have to, I can plan for that too.

    So I keep talking myself around in circles. Mainly between an SB-700/Phottix Mitros and a manual flash, like the Yongnuo YN-560 III.
  • hawkdl2hawkdl2 Posts: 56Member
    roombarobot, like you I wanted to explore flash photography a few years ago but did not want to spend the money on Nikon, or other expensive, flashes. Over the past several years I picked up a YN-560 II, a YN-565 EX and a used SB-600. I got the 565 EX just a few months ago and have only used it a few times and I have not tried it in TTL. I paid $200 for the SB-600 off Ebay and $80 and $122 for the 560 and 565, respectively. I have had no problems with any of my flashes, or Cowboy Studio triggers. I would not hesitate to recommend any of these lower cost but feature rich alternatives to a non-pro (like me) to get involved in flash photography.

    I primarily use the flashes in manual mode with my D800, but have played around with the SB600 in TTL and the YN's in manual. I have not yet tried the 565 EX in TTL, but that is why I bought it.

    Coincidently, I have my in-home studio set up for a portrait shoot of some friends this weekend and I plan on testing the 565EX TTL.

  • roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member

    Thanks hawkdl2, please let us know how the 565EX works via TTL. Right now I might be leaning toward the Phottix Mitros.
  • ptrmckyptrmcky Posts: 44Member
    edited January 2014
    I have a few cheap Neewer flashes that I got on Amazon that I use for off camera flash purposes. I have an SB-700 that I got to use on camera, but never ended up using it much. I only bounce the flash when it's mounted on the camera, and I don't use TTL. That may be down to never learning to use it properly, but I just like setting my flash to manual and knowing it's not going to change.

    I'm based in the UK but it looks like they are available in the US fo $40.

    I personally think they are great for the money. They don't zoom or have an AF assist light, but I'm always shooting them through a modifier so it makes no difference to me. I use them all the time at weddings.

    Depending on how use flash these are great.

    Here's a pic of friends using a Neewer into a gold umbrella.

    Belfast Lights
    Post edited by ptrmcky on
  • hawkdl2hawkdl2 Posts: 56Member

    Thanks hawkdl2, please let us know how the 565EX works via TTL. Right now I might be leaning toward the Phottix Mitros.
    It took a bit longer to get to it, but I played around this evening indoors with the 565EX and my D800 and a set of CBS. The flash worked perfectly in manual on the triggers, as expected, but also worked, as far as I can tell, flawlessly in either manual or TTL through CLS. In fact, a bit to my surprise, I could go between M and TTL on CLS and the flash would automatically change modes to compensate and indicate so on its LED. The flash also indicated the flash speed on its LED to what I dialed in on CLS. Overall I'm very impressed.

    Good luck to you with whatever flash you decide to go with.

  • roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member

    OK, this isn't cheap, but it looks like there is a pretty good bundle deal on the new Phottix Mitros+ (which has the built-in wireless receiver) and includes an Odin and a bunch of other things like a umbrella, stand, etc. for $500. It is available several places, including B&H and Adorama = http://www.adorama.com/PH80378.html

    That seems like a lot of flash and the remote system for not too much money. Thoughts on this bundle?

  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    That is a really good deal. I have the Mitros (non RF) flash and really like it. It works with my Sb-900s, all CLS stuff and is really well built. Actually feels more solid than the Sb-900. I'm going to pick a 2nd one up soon.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • roombarobotroombarobot Posts: 201Member

    I got this Phottix Scott Kelby bundle and it seems pretty high quality. It has a nice bag for everything, the umbrella stand seems fine, the flash/umbrella bracket is solid, so it all feels good.

    I haven't had a chance to test the Mitros+ or the Odin yet, but they do appear to be very high quality.

    I am very much looking forward to learning about flash photography!
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