At the end of 2019, Yongnuo launched a TTL flash with a built-in trigger and modeling light as an option on the market. This “chip” allowed the flash to be used as a video light if necessary and as a TTL in normal shooting mode. Thus, Yongnuo managed to make a universal automatic flash with a fairly rich functionality, in which I will introduce you today.
- Factory packaging
- Technical specifications
- Appearance and features
- pilot light
- Working with other Yongnuo flashes
A typical flash pack from Yongnuo. The color scheme, as well as the location of the features, remain unchanged from model to model. The only difference is the new logo in the upper right half.
Like any other Yongnuo flash, the YN650EX-RF comes with a case for storage and carrying, a foot and an instruction manual.
- Guide number: 60 (at ISO 100 and 200mm)
- Zoom: 28, 35, 50, 70, 80, 105, 135, 150, 200mm
- Tilt angles: 90 degrees up, 7 degrees down, 180 degrees left and 180 degrees right
- Batteries: 4 AA batteries
- Color temperature: 5600K
- Pulse duration: 1/200 s at 1/1 power, 1/20.000 s at 1/128 power
- Number of power setting levels: 8 main levels, each of which (except 1/1) can be adjusted by +0.3, or +0.7
- Connectors: hot shoe with a set of sync contacts, PC connector, connector for external power supply, USB port for firmware update, tripod socket (near the PC connector)
- Distance of work of the built-in radio synchronizer: 100 meters
- Weight: 430 grams
Appearance and features
The Yongnuo YN650EX-RF flash is the manufacturer’s first flash with a built-in RF series trigger for slave or master operation. It also features a built-in LED light to use the flash as a video light.
This model can control the following flashes and synchronizers via radio: YN650EX-RF, YN320EX, YN685 II, YN685, YN720, YN560 IV, YN560 III, YN660, YN862, YN968C, YN860Li — flashes, RF605, RF603 (II), RF602 — synchronizers .
Body materials, color and appearance is an integral part of all budget flashes from Yongnuo. Therefore, if among your photographic equipment there are lighting devices of the brand, then the YN650EX-RF will not stand out against the general background. Except for the round top head and the lack of a white reflective card.
Flash control is performed using the scroll wheel in the center. The rest of the controls have a transparent base that glows blue when power is applied to the flash.
Instead of the power button, there is now a rotary switch with an intermediate position Lock. I like this implementation of a simple power button more than a long hold, as is implemented on other Yongnuo flashes.
The sides are equipped with a tray for four AA cells (work is possible both from ordinary 1.2V batteries and from 1.5V batteries) and a lot of connectors hidden behind the plugs:
- PC sync port
- microUSB for firmware update
- connector for additional power supply
The thread for attaching the flash to a tripod stands apart (also covered with a rubber plug).
The rotation of the upper block is carried out in the following way:
- vertical position — 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 degrees
- horizontal position — 180 degrees in both directions
In the horizontal position, marks are provided for 60, 75, 90, 120 and 150 degrees. The rotation is carried out with characteristic clicks. The move is pretty tight.
Since the Yongnuo YN650EX-RF TTL flash is equipped with a built-in synchronizer, the front unit turned out to be quite massive. The range of the synchronizer is up to 100m with line of sight.
Fixing the flash is carried out using a convenient slider. This mount is much more convenient than a regular threaded skirt. Hot shoe with sync contacts for Canon EOS cameras. But if your camera has ignition on the central contact, then in manual mode you can also operate this flash.
A special feature of this flash is the modeling light, which is represented by 24 LEDs arranged in an outer circle. Brightness adjustment occurs in the range from 1 to 100% in 1% increments. At maximum brightness, this light allows you to reduce shutter speed by 2 stops. The only caveat is that it is impossible to use pilot light and pulsed light at the same time, as well as control the first one using a radio channel.
To turn on the modeling light, you must hold down the power button at the top of the flash head. Implemented not very convenient, but false positives are completely excluded.
When turned on, the LCD screen enters modeling light mode, displaying the current charge level and power as 100%. Power change occurs by rotating the scroll wheel.
An illustrative example of the operation of a pilot light in the range of 1–50-100% brightness (shutter speed, respectively, 1/6, 1/10, 1/40):
Since the Yongnuo YN650EX-RF is a fairly functional flash and the presence of a pilot light is far from the only feature, the built-in synchronizer will allow you to control other flashes thanks to synchronizers.
The change of Slave/Master modes is quite intuitive, and the choice of zoom range is 28, 35, 50, 70, 80, 105, 135, 150, 200 mm, which will give a huge field for implementing your ideas.
Yongnuo also equipped its flash with advanced settings in which you can set exposure bracketing, autofocus backlight, display backlight off time, etc. A complete list can be found in the user manual.
Working with other Yongnuo flashes
Yongnuo YN650EX-RF is far from my first flash and the desire to try something new always takes over. My first introduction was the YN560-II, which is a fully manual flash and has been helping me since 2013. After an increase in needs and other technical implementations, a TTL flash YN565EX III was purchased, which helps me out to this day. There are no complaints about the work of Yongnuo flashes, they are quite simple, and most importantly, strong (YN560-II fell many times from a height of more than 1m and got off with a slight fright). Therefore, depending on your needs, you can choose any of the available Yongnuo flash models, since the price tag for original Canon flashes has become incredibly expensive.
When creating a circuit in which there are RF-603C synchronizers, the YN650EX-RF can be switched to slave flash mode and get a more complex cut-off pattern.
Once again, Yongnuo was able to make a universal solution that is equipped with rich functionality and at the same time costs an order of magnitude cheaper than Canon equipment. The Yongnuo YN650EX-RF TTL flash received a pilot / video light, which is useful for creating specific conditions, and the presence of a TTL mode will allow you not to be distracted from the main shooting. At the same time, the flash does not have a standard reflector and does not allow controlling the pilot light via a radio channel.