My review of the Yongnuo RF-603C Radio Flash Triggers drew a lot of traffic...and a bit of controversy. Since posting it, I purchased another set of two of these triggers, have used them on literally hundreds of shoots, and have come up with some simple ways of overcoming some of their shortcomings. Read on for an update...
The first issue I dealt with was the Yongnuo's lack of a locking shoe foot or tripod screw, making them challenging to mount on a light stand or tripod, and more than a little bit flimsy. As the image above shows, for mounting on light stands I purchased a couple of Umbrella Adapters with locking hot shoe mounts; since these have their own locking screw, they hold the triggers securely in place (shown above with a Sigma EF-530 DG Super flash attached), and have an umbrella mount as well. The one I use is made by Calumet, but a similar swivel adapter with a locking hot shoe is available from CowboyStudios. With one of these swivel adapters, the triggers sit very securely on any light stand.
For mounting on a tripod, I use my Canon E-TTL off-camera cord, which has a 1/4-inch tripod screw built into the bottom. Though the Canon cord doesn't have a locking shoe, it's shoe is spring-loaded and *very* snug, and the Yongnuo trigger fits into it snugly and stays put.
For speedlights with PC-cord sockets (like the Vivitar 285HV in the image above, mounted on a tripod on the Canon cord), I skip putting the Yongnuo triggers in a hot shoe altogether, and just use the flash's own locking shoe. To securely hold the Yongnuo triggers in place and not have any strain on the PC cord, I put Velcro tabs on my flashes and on the triggers. They stay in place very well, and this setup lets me quickly stick a trigger onto a flash very securely, and also takes care of the problem of the Yongnuo trigger's on/off switch being hard to reach when a flash is mounted in it. Velcro "hook" tabs are on all of my flashes, and "loop" tabs are on the bottom of all of my Yongnuo triggers, as see in the photo below.
I've also put matching Velcro "hook" tabs on all of my studio flashes, for easy mounting of the triggers and no cord strain. It's a great and simple solution.
Speaking of studio use, I used these triggers for all of my Senior Portrait work this past summer -- over 200 studio portrait sessions, and well over 100 outdoor sessions. The good news is I had exactly zero misfires...that's ZERO as in none, zip, nada. In the studio, at the beach, at the park, in my outdoor area at home, from as close as 4 feet from the camera transmitter to as much as 60 feet away, not a single misfire. I've also used them on 6 weddings since getting them, with the same results. There's no longer any question about reliability of these inexpensive triggers -- they work every time.
I purchased a set of Sanyo Eneloop AAA Rechargeable Batteries to use with my Yongnuo triggers as well...I'm happy to report that this combination works very well. I have yet to run down a set of AAAs in one of my triggers on a job, and while I make sure and charge them up before a big shoot like a wedding, for quick jobs I'll just pull them out of the bag where they've been sitting for a few days without a charge, and use them -- they just work.
I have yet to come up with a solution for the non-locking foot when the trigger is mounted in the camera's hot shoe as a transmitter...but the main reason I haven't dealt with that is because it hasn't been a problem for me. The fit in the hot shoes of my two Canon DSLRs is snug, and I haven't had one wiggle, fall out, lose contact, or have any other problem on hundreds of shoots. I *don't* put the transceiver in the hot shoe and then put flash on top of it (which brings up some of the controversy, see below); but for my kind of shooting I can't see a use for that setup anyway, so it's just not an issue.
As for the controversy; I reported in my original review that the transceivers had E-TTL passthrough -- that is, when the transceiver is in the camera's hot shoe, you can mount an E-TTL flash on the transceiver's hot shoe, and get E-TTL functionality from the flash *and* wireless triggering from the transceiver. Some readers pointed out that others have found this does *not* work with Canon-branded flashes...I didn't test that because I don't *have* any Canon-branded flashes. I did test it with a Sigma flash (which is Canon E-TTL compatible), and it did indeed work. But here's the thing: I don't personally see why you'd want to use the transceivers in that configuration anyway. I assumed the on-camera flash in E-TTL mode would get confused by other flashes *not* in E-TTL mode, and not get the correct exposure. So I tested that using my Sigma flash, and that was indeed the case. The Sigma correctly figured out E-TTL flash exposure when it was the only flash firing (in the transceiver's hot shoe mounted on the camera), but when I added radio-triggered non-E-TTL flashes to the mix, since they weren't accounted for when the pre-flash calculated the E-TTL flash exposure, when they all went off flash exposure was not correct. Do your flash in manual mode, even if you mount one on the camera, and this just isn't an issue.
Finally, I've had some snarky comments about how no "pro" photographer would use $30 radio triggers, they'd only use high-end PocketWizards. I personally find such comments elitist and rather silly -- I use what works, and these work. Every time. Since I can buy around 5-6 pairs of these for what a single PocketWizard transceiver would cost, and they do everything I need them to do, I don't consider it "non-professional" to use them...I consider it smart to use them. That way I can spend more money on other things I need
I still recommend these inexpensive little radio poppers. They have their issues, but they're not too hard to work around; they're cheap, and they're very reliable. I love 'em.
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Yongnuo RF-603C Radio Flash Trigger Review