Saturday, January 12, 2013

Yongnuo RF-603 + Olympus OM-D

OM-D + RF-603 working happily, excuse the quality, picture taken with my phone
During my DSLR sale, I kept all of my lighting equipment, one of my recent purchases were a couple of YN RF-603 wireless triggering kits (Canon 5D version), I never had a chance to use them on a real shoot with the 5D, however I tested them and they worked as advertised. I bought 2 kits, so I had 4 transceivers, they can trigger 3 flashes from the 5D, and they could be used to trigger the camera wirelessly as well.


Anyway, that's not the point, when I bought the OMD, I ordered an FL600R flash as my TTL, on-camera bounce flash, and I had a couple of YN-560 II powerful manual flashes to be used in lighting setups. I kept the RF-603 kit when I wanted to trigger all three flashes for setup shots, I know the YN-560 II flashes have optical triggers, and the Olympus FL600R can can be controlled remotely from the OMD, but I wanted the reliability of wireless triggers, especially if there are line of sight issues. When I tested the RF-603 triggers, I discovered they don't work with Olympus, I had totally forgot that I bought the Canon version, hmm, I thought, that's a bummer, let's see what I can find on the interwebz. Hit the jump to find out.


First thing, I went to Amazon and checked if Yongnuo made a version of the triggers for Olympus, nope, they don't, so, let's search for "Olympus OM-D and YN RF-603", I found a few results, and it took me a while to stumble on this trigger-saving thread on dpreview.


DISCLAIMER: All the coming methodology and modifications are done under the guidance of The Ginger Avenger's post on dpreview, full credit on this discovery is his, what I want to show is how it worked out on the Olympus OM-D specifically.


I checked his method and found it fairly simple that I didn't worry about breaking my trigger, I followed the instructions on his post, but kept all the pins on my trigger, and put a sticker on it to differentiate it from the others.


Trigger taken apart, I thought first of connecting a wire between the springs of the two concerned pins

Then I decided against it, as it might move around and cause a short or something

Soldering done in 10 seconds

Then a little bit of filing to lower the height, since the pins would be pushing against it

Assembly was very easy, and it worked very well from the first try as you can see below, see that red light? The OMD triggered the flash while taking this picture, that's why you can see the red light, otherwise it would be green during standby.



I found a few replies on the original post stating various sync speed issues, I was worried, the OMD has a maximum sync speed of 1/250, and I am happy to report it worked absolutely well up to 1/200, not too bad, that's the same as my 5D sync speed.


Sync speed, starting from 1/200 on the left, up to 1/500 on the right

Now I can trigger any 3 flashes reliably (my brother & friends have Canon flashes, so I can trigger those with the RF-603 and trigger the YN-560II via the built-in optical slave, for 5 light setups). One more benefit, the modified trigger can be used as a receiver on other flashes, in case I need to use all 4 transceivers on a Canon system.


Finally, I did a burst rate test, the flash recycling time would be a bottle neck, but I wanted to see how fast the triggers could go, so I turned the flash power down to 1/64, and fired away with the OMD at 9 fps, then I did another test at 1/16 power. Here are the results, I was using Sanyo Eneloops on the flash:


  • 1/64 Power: first frame ok, second frame black, then the next 14 frames were ok. An amazing result, didn't think the flash and the trigger can keep up with 9 fps, could be very useful for water drops photography.
  • 1/16 Power: first frame ok, second frame black, 6 frames ok, 4 black frames, then the last one was ok. Respectable, but I wonder about the regular black second frame.

All the close-up shots were taken hand-held with the incredibly versatile 12-50 lens, used in macro mode.


UPDATE: I successfully modified the Canon version of the RF-603 release cable to remotely trigger my OM-D, and it works great.





  1. I need your help. I bought a pair of YN RF-603C tranceivers.

    Its written in the manual that it can work as both trigger and receiver. In my setup, I want to trigger a (YN560II + RF603) with the other RF603.

    I can trigger the flash when I attach the other RF603 to my camera hotshoe. But, I want to trigger the flash wirelessly using the shutter button at RF603 without attaching it to the hotshoe.

    Is there anyway I can do that ?

    Reason for this setup -
    Canon doesn't support off camera external flash triggering at 2nd curtain. Hence I need the setup to trigger the flash manually just before the 2nd curtain closes.

    1. Hi Soumasree. I hope you don't mind if I chime in. I found this related post on the flickr strobist group:

      So it seems you need another Canon body to mount the RF603 in order for it to act as a transmitter. Or short the pins so that the RF603 thinks it is mounted on a Canon body.

      A possible workaround is to insert the transmitter on your camera at the moment you want it to trigger the remote flash (I'm assuming you're using a long exposure). That should cause the transmitter to send out a triggering signal. If it doesn't, after it is inserted you can press the test button on the transmitter to "test-fire" the slave flash.

      Another possible workaround MAY be to use a piece of paper to block just the main pin on the transmitter (don't block the other pins) then mount it on the camera. I don't know if the RF603 will see the TTL pins and think it is mounted on the camera body and switch it to transmitter mode. If it does work, then you just press the test button on the transmitter when you want to trigger the slave.

      Best regards,

    2. Well, I don't know how to add anything more than what Mic said, I am sorry, but I merely followed an online guide to do the pin thing, maybe you could try to contact the skilled person who came up with this trick (linked above) and see if he can be of help.

  2. HI,
    another trick to use Olympus TTL wireless mode with radio transmitters seems to be these Aokatec transmitters, which are in reality optical/radio converters. The idea seems pretty promising, a discussion already started here:

  3. Thanks for the tip, I will follow the discussion.

  4. Nice pictures... I'm currently waiting for some triggers for my 4/3 gear and planning to do this change.

    I've searched and been unable to locate a pinout for the Olympus hot-shoe, so I'm slightly concerned about shorting the two pins together as they correspond to pins on the camera. I think I'll be looking at an alternative way to provide contact just to the one pin needed to support the Olympus.

    1. Aha, I get what you're saying, so you want to connect the yellow wire (shown in the picture above) to the bottom pin directly, instead of connecting it through the pin above. It might work, but I am not really sure.

      The above has been working flawlessly until now.

    2. Exactly right...I'm pretty sure it will work, and I have the triggers now, so will be making the change soon. I'll report back here when I have.

    3. Ok, made the modifications and all working fine. Can't post pictures here, so you can see at if you're interested. Used my phone, so the pics aren't as good as yours, but you'll get the idea.

    4. That's swell, thanks for reporting back, the pictures are clear enough, if you don't mind I would like to add your pictures and post here, thanks for sharing.

    5. No problem... feel free to repost the pics

  5. Does this mean you were able to control your FL600R via the camera, or did you have to set it to manual?

    1. Nope, all manual. The RF-603 is a manual trigger only.

      You can control the FL600R with the OMD built-in flash.

  6. Love your site.

    Did you use wire under your solder?

    1. Thanks, I didn't use a wire, just this solder is enough. Did you see part two where I modifierd the release cable so that it worked as a trigger to my camera? I will update this post with the link.

  7. If I'm not mistaken, a more elegant solution (only slightly dearer) is to use the Aputure Trigmaster Plus (or Plus II):

    1. Thanks for the link. I already had the Yongnuo ones, so I had to do something.

  8. I have an OM D, Can this soldering be done for the 603 Nikon version trigger to work with OmD in similar fashion?

  9. Check the dpreview link at the beginning of my post, you will find someone who successfully converted his Nikon version, he connected it differently however. Just check the dpreview thread.


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