Quick hands-on with the Yongnuo YN-622C
We received two sets of the Yongnuo YN-622C, a wireless flash triggering system compatible with Canon E-TTL. Given the number of different functions offered by these remotes (as the 28-page instruction manual attests) this article is not a full review, but a teaser of what’s to come. It will take more time to test each feature, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses and make a formal analysis. We will be testing the triggers in real-life scenarios, including studio sessions with various compatible Canon flashes.
As mentioned in our FAQ, at this stage Yongnuo have not planned to make versions of the YN-622 for other camera brands. It does not surprise me that the firm chose to focus on Canon first, since until the introduction of the ST-E3-RT and 600EX-RT Canon’s wireless E-TTL was fairly rudimentary compared to Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS). The market for improvements to E-TTL wireless transmission is a solid one, especially when you consider the pricing of Canon’s own RT system.
For a complete list of the functions of the YN-622C, please refer to this article.
Note: We recommend buying from local distributors in your country or region. That way, any problems you encounter can be dealt with by your nearby dealer under warranty, rather than having to liaise with one on another continent (in this case Asia).
The YN-622C (so far) are sold in pairs for around $100 (£65). These radio devices are actually “transceivers”, which means they can act as either transmitters or receivers. Mount one on the camera and it switches to transmitter mode, while taking a shot or pressing the test button will tell all other units nearby to become receivers.
The build quality surprised me because I’ve previously used Yongnuo RF-603s on Nikon cameras and they were pretty decent in this area, albeit not bombproof. The quality of plastic used is very good and does not flex when pressure is applied to it. It does not have that cheap plastic feeling. The buttons and switches are good quality too, so in this respect my impression is very, very positive.
One of the features I was most pleased to find on the YN-622C is an integrated autofocus assist lamp, which for cameras like the Canon EOS 5D and 5D Mark II is very welcome (as on these cameras Canon have not built in their own AF-assist lamps). Of course this beam has the same limitations as the AF light found in flashes (580EX, 580EX II, 430EX, 430 EX II, 600EX-RT etc).
At close range, the beam can miss the mark, making it less useful, but I still think it’s great that these triggers have this function. There is a novel application for the YN622: now my 5D has a focus-assist lamp even when not using flash (when doing sessions in ambient light, without flash) without having to mount a speedlight in the hotshoe. If, on the other hand, you do not want this feature, you can disable it from the camera menus.
Yongnuo are also to be commended for making these transceivers run on AA batteries (a pair per unit). You can find these everywhere in disposable and rechargeable variants. Universally available batteries like this should be the industry standard, but sadly some manufacturers still make radio transmitters accepting obscure, hard-to-find power sources.
Something that makes the YN-622C’s distinctive is their size. When I say they are big, they are big, but this profile is projected horizontally (forward) over the lens where it doesn’t get in the way and is perfectly manageable.
The hotshoe feet are of good quality metal, with no indication of them straining under the weight of a speedlight. There were no signs of flexing when pressure was applied, unlike cheap and nasty plastic that creaks when squeezed by hand. Since this transceiver is designed to attach to the camera hotshoe, the E-TTL information goes into it that would usually be sent to a Master flash (580EX, ST-E2, 600EX etc).
Mounting the YN-622C directly on my 5D (classic, i.e. Mark I) the maximum sync speed was 1/200 second with my Jinbei DC-600, which left my presently surprised. What normally happens with studio lights (not just the DC600) is that the 5D only manages 1/160 second at maximum, even with a sync cable connecting the camera directly to the flashes. As a result, these radio transmitters become ever more attractive to people like me who still have the EOS 5D or 5D Mark II, cameras normally limited to 1/160 second sync speed.
I can also say that I’ve never had any problems with the YN622C when it comes to interference. Even when they are close to each other, there are no issues (more than can be said for the Cactus V5, for example). The 5D Classic is usually susceptible to radio interference on the sensor causing banding in the final image, but I can say that this is not a problem here either.
OK, that’s all I can say for now until I finish doing the comprehensive testing and cover all 28 pages of the instruction booklet. Stay tuned. Can’t wait? Buy your own and see if it arrives first!