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.

Content

  • Fac­to­ry pack­ag­ing
  • Equip­ment
  • Tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tions
  • Appear­ance and fea­tures
  • pilot light
  • Pos­si­bil­i­ties
  • Work­ing with oth­er Yongn­uo flash­es
  • Con­clu­sion
Factory packaging

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.

Equipment

Like any oth­er Yongn­uo flash, the YN650EX-RF comes with a case for stor­age and car­ry­ing, a foot and an instruc­tion man­u­al.

Technical specifications
  • 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.

pilot light

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):

Possibilities

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.

Conclusion

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.