Review: Yongnuo RF-603N

As I’ve been learning more about lighting in the past few months, I’ve started running into line-of-sight issues trying to trigger my flashes. After a little research it seemed Pocket Wizards were the best, but there’s no way I can justify that kind of cost. Enter the Yonguno RF-603N.

At a fraction of the cost, if they sucked I wasn’t out a whole lot of money; so I took a gamble and I got 4 transceivers, and 8AAA batteries for about $88.

So, the Features (I won’t bore you with technicalities, that’s what Google is for):

  • Each device receives and transmits.
  • They take normal AAA batteries.
  • They have two shoes, a male and female, which are metal (I think the 602s were plastic)
  • They can also act as a remote trigger with the supplied cable that fits perfectly into my D7000. (I bought a $13 remote trigger that broke off in my camera!)
  • A Hilarious user’s manual.

Ok, so how do all of those features come together? Awesomely. Seeing as Pocket Wizards cost 15x more, these are really awesome! I’m pretty sure I’m biased since I’ve never used any other RF trigger, but these are awesome.

They feel well put together. The battery door doesn’t feel like it’ll snap if I have a bowl of Wheaties one day and it’s nice and snug on the camera and on a flash. The included cable fits nicely in my camera and doesn’t break off when you pull it out… It has a half press kinda shutter button so you can focus when it’s operating as a remote release. And it works at whatever speed setting I have it set at, so S, Cl, Ch, MUP, etc…

It claims that it has a range of 100 meters. That’s crap. Maybe in the vacuum of never-never land, but here on earth, I got about 50 feet of reliable triggering. Now mind you, that 50 feet is eyeballed seeing as I don’t have a measuring tape that long, but it’s plenty far enough for me.

Well, it’s not all Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and SweetTarts, there are sacrifices you make at this price point. i-TTL does not work through these. That’s not a huge issue most of the time since I like to shoot in Manual mode, in controlled situations. Now if I’m shooting at a wedding where the situation is anything but controlled, I don’t know if I’ll be able to use these… This also means the AF-assist doesn’t work. This is almost as big an issue as the i-TTL…
The X-sync speed on these off camera is 1/200s reliably with slight shutter clipping at 1/250. On camera, it’s 1/320 and 1/400.

Another minor issue I have with it is the placement of the on/off switch. Unless you’re Kristen Wiig on the Lawrence Welk Show, it’s very difficult to turn them on or off while on the flash. If they had just swapped the logo and the switch there wouldn’t have been an issue. Instead, I have to take the flash off the trigger and turn it on/off and put it back on. I know, I’m lazy.

So to wrap things up, here are some pros and cons for you lazier folks like me:

Pros:

  • Cheap.
  • Really cheap.
  • Can double as a remote trigger.

Cons:

  • No i-TTL pass through.
  • No AF-assist when a flash is attached.
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2 thoughts on “Review: Yongnuo RF-603N

    • Ever since I got the Phottix Stratos I rarely use these anymore. Having TTL pass-through is extremely useful. Having control over groups is also really useful. Only down side is they are twice the price of the Yongnuos. That said, I’d recommend saving up for the Stratos unless you dont have any TTL flashes.
      How hard would it be to hire an native English speaker to read over the manual? Although, it wouldnt be nearly as enjoyable to read it…

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