A few photographers have asked me about the Yongnuo YN-560 II speedlight. When I need to need to use a flash in TTL mode I will use a Nikon flash. When I need to use multiple flashes for a lighting set up I will use my Yongnuo flashes in manual model. I have 2 of the $60 Yongnuo YN-560 II flashes. A third version has been released: the Yongnuo YN-560 III.
The YN560 II uses an LCD screen. The screen shows you the MODE you're in, the POWER level, and the ZOOM level. The backlight turns on automatically whenever any button is pressed.
The YN560 II includes: MANUAL, SLAVE 1, SLAVE 2, and MULTI. The slave modes will let you trigger the flash with another flash. The difference between S1 and S2 is that in S1 mode your built in flash will fire in Manual mode and there is no TTL preflash. In S2 mode, the TTL preflash is ignored. The MULTI mode allows firing a series of rapid flashes with a shutter release to produce a stroboscopic effect in the resulting picture. You can set the power level to 1/1 (full power) down to 128. The zoom range is from 24mm to 105mm. There are two dedicated buttoms for zooming up or zooming down.
The YN-560 flash has a swivel (180 degrees to one side, 90 degrees to the other side) and tilt head. There is an audio indicator for flash ready/low battery. There is an external port for battery power and a PC sync port. The flash is powered by 4 AA batteries.
The YN-560 II has a metal flash foot. This feature was added to all Yongnuo speedlights back in January 2011. It has one electrical pin in the foot center.
The wide-angle diffuser panel is a thick platic screen that folds into the flash head. Also built into the head is a pull out reflector card. This card is useful for bouncing flash with the speedlight on the camera.
The YN-560 II is great for beginners who are doing off camera flash work. It may not have the power and all the features of some of the higher end Nikon speedlights, but it has all the features that you need for basic off-camera flash work with an easy to use interface. For half of the price of a Nikon SB-700 you could buy two of the YN-560 II's and a set of RF 602 or RF-603 triggers. I highly recommend this speedlight. ~ Danny Stygion