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) 
SB-700:SU-4, 
SB-900:SU-4
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!