Friday, April 13, 2012

YN-560II Syncs with Nikon CLS Without Limits

We previously posted an article showing that it is possible to sync the original YN-560 with a popup flash as commander and a Nikon SB-800.  However, there were limits to the shutter speed that could be used.

BFP reader XiaoLi Zhang tested the Yongnuo YN-560 II's ability to sync with Nikon's wireless flash and found that the YN-560II can sync with virtually no limits!  Hit the jump to see the remarkable results of XiaoLi's tests.

XiaoLi has a Nikon D7000 and two Nikon CLS-compatible speedlights (SB-700 & SB-900), and he wanted to add two more flashes for special effects (i.e. background light & rim light) while using SB-900 and SB-700 as key & fill light.  Because the rim light and background light would be used primarily in manual mode, XiaoLi considered at the YN560II for this purpose. 

Initially, I let XiaoLi know about the results of our previous test, showing that it is possible to sync the YN-560 with Nikon's wireless flash system, but that there were significant limits, such as the flash sync mode and shutter speed.  I had not tested the YN-560II, nor had I used more than one Nikon CLS flash and more than one manual slave flash. 

XiaoLi did a test using his Nikon D7000, SB-900 and SB-700, using different modes for SB-900, SB-700, and YN560II, as well as front/rear sync, shutter speed combinations. Here were his results:

1. Simple optical trigger with TTL.
D7000 popup: TTL, 
YN560II: S2 (digital slave)
SB-700: SU-4, 
SB-900: SU-4
Result: all flashes fire

2. Simple optical trigger with manual flash.
D7000 popup: M, 
YN560II: S1 (non-digital slave) 
Result: all flashes fire

3. CLS + YN-560II in S1 (non-digital slave mode)
D7000 popup: commander only, 
YN560II: S1,
SB-900 (group A) & SB-700 (group B) in either TTL or M
Result: SB-900 and SB-700 do not fire (no matter front or rear sync)

So far everything is as expected.  Here's where it gets interesting....
4. CLS with two channels (Group A and B), YN-560II in digital slave mode.
D7000 popup: commander only, 
YN560II: S2, 
SB-900 (group A) & SB-700 (group B) in either TTL or M
Result: all flashes fire (no matter front or rear sync), with two instances when SB-900 & SB-700 don't fire.  XiaoLi tried shutter speeds between 1/10-1/400s, YN560II will sync up to 1/320s, at 1/400s YN560II doesn't fire.

5. CLS with one channel (Group A or B), YN-560II in digital slave mode.
D7000 popup: commander only, 
YN560II: S2, 
SB-900 & SB-700 in the same group (A or B), TTL or M
Result: all flashes fire (no matter front or rear sync).

I found it surprising that XiaoLi was able to sync at up to 1/3 stop faster than the natural sync speed of the D7000.  But the story doesn't stop there.  I later requested XiaoLi to try using the YN560II at full power rather than low power (he was using 1/128).

Here was his protocol in this second round of tests:
"I ran a quick test today with all three flashes in full power M (also run SB-900 in TTL to confirm flashes will still fire in TTL & M combination, in this case I don't have power control of the TTL flash). I want to have both audio and visual confirmation of whether the flashes fire, so I have to use a 9-stop ND filter to block a lot light. ...
Anyway, the results are in all the following cases
1.YN560II: S2 M 1/1; SB-900: group A, M 1/1; SB-700: group B, M 1/1
2.YN560II: S2 M 1/1; SB-900: group A, TTL +3 Ev; SB-700: group B, M 1/1
3.YN560II: S2 M 1/1; SB-900 & 700: group A, TTL +3 Ev or M 1/1"

And here are his amazing results:
"Shutter speed between 1/250 to 1/8000 (max of my D7000), in all cases all three flashes will always fire. I am surprised that in my last test in low power output (1/128) YN560II only sync up to 1/320s yet at full power YN560II sync all the way up to 1/8000s." 

XiaoLi does note that at full power the flash duration is much longer than 1/8000s, therefore even it fires, flash exposure will be lower than full power at the natural sync speed.  Nonetheless, this is an amazing discovery.  Thanks for sharing your results with us, XiaoLi!


  1. Thanks, Mic. Great summary.

    Just some small things regarding sync speed: full power YN560II sync up to 1/8000s as mentioned in the article above.
    2. at other power levels YN560II sync to 1/320s

    note: when varying flash output power, all three speedlight power were changed in concert, didn't try low/high power combinations.

    For indoor use, 1/320s sync speed makes YN560II good supplements for Nikon CLS speedlights; for outdoor use under sunlight, the use of YN560II maybe limit when fast shutter speed is required (unless always on full power). Triggering YN560II with Nikon CLS speedlights have not been tested outdoor.

  2. Thanks for the clarification Xiaoli. And thanks again for taking the time to do the test and share your results.

    Best regards,

  3. Thanks for the info. Considering these. I'm not suprised that it is easier to sync at a full dump. With a full flash these things get a brighter exposure by staying on longer giving you a larger window of time for the camera to sync with. I would however doubt that you are getting a full-full dump of power in your exposure. This is the same for Nikon SB flashes at high-speed flash sync. They sync all the way to 1/8000 but your power is reduced. Thats OK if you are going that fast you probably don't need a full flash anyway.

  4. Great article, thanks!! I'd like to ask one thing: do you know if the 560 II or III can be controlled by the Nikon commander (like setting the output power remotely for example)? What would be the difference in Nikon CLS area between 560 II and III and 560 EX?

    1. Hi! Thanks for visiting our blog!

      The YN560, 560II and 560III cannot be adjusted remotely via the popup commander.

      The YN560EX and 568EX can be adjusted remotely via the popup commander.

      You may want to see our review of the 560EX here

      Best regards,

    2. do you still need to use a radio trigger such as RF-603 in order for the YN560ex to work with the nikon CLS system? I plan on using this and something like an SB-900.

      Also, if I have both of those flashes.... SB-900 and YN 560EX...then does at least one have to be ON camera? Can both be off-camera? And again, then do you need like 3 RF-603 wireless triggers?

      Thank you!

    3. Hi Hyo. Thanks for visiting our blog! You do not need an RF603 in order for the 560EX to work with the Nikon CLS system. Instead the 560EX will be triggered by the commander flash or popup flash.

      [Optional: If you want to use a radio trigger with the 560EX but still retain full CLS functionality, you can do that with an Aokatec AK-TTL or a Radiopopper PX. However, you don't need either of them if you just want to use optical/infrared CLS triggering.]

      You can use both SB900 and 560EX off-camera if your camera body has a built-in popup flash commander (e.g. D70, D70s, D80, D90, D200, D300, D300S, D7000, D600, D700). If your camera body does not have a built-in popup flash commander (e.g. D40, D40x, D50, D60, D3000, D3100, D3200, D5000, D5100, D5200, D3, D3s, D3x, D4) then you need to use the SB900 as a commander on the camera. Alternatively, you can buy an SU-800 commander or another flash with commander capability (e.g. SB700, SB800, SB900, SB910).

      Hope this helps!

      Best regards,

    4. Hi
      I am new to flasy photography and would like to understand this correctly.
      Can I use an 560 III wirelessly to work with a Nikon D7000 without any other accessories?
      If so please let me know the set up

    5. Hi Samit. Yes you can use the 560III with the D7000. There are several combinations that will work:

      1. D7000 popup on manual + 560III on Slave 1 (S1) mode
      2. D7000 popup on TTL + 560III on S2 mode.
      3. D7000 popup as commander + 560III on S2 mode --> this one will work (possibly with limits), but it doesn't make sense unless you're trying to use CLS to command another flash.

      Best regards,


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