Yinyan CY-450M manual flashgun mixes the new and the old

A cursory skim through eBay listings will reveal Yinyan of China is a company more used to producing old-fashioned, digicam-frying flashguns that allow no user control whatsoever. They have their place: I praised their miniature CY-20 flash for its bare-bones simplicity when used with compact mirrorless cameras. However, it looks like the manufacturer has upped its game (though that might not be saying much) with the new Speedlite CY-450M.

Yinyan Speedlite CY-450M

This is a manual flashgun, suitable for off-camera flash enthusiasts or events photographers on a budget. Since some Chinese flashes seem to have recurring issues with the zoom head motors breaking down, Yinyan have opted for a purely mechanical fresnel head that you operate by hand. The controls also seem to favour longevity over bells and whistles, with a more basic “idiot lights”-based display based on LED indicators, rather than a fancy LCD screen.

Yinyan Speedlite CY-450M

One of the more unusual things found in the Yinyan CY-450M is the old-fashioned non-TTL auto mode. Though not as accurate as the latest through-the-lens-metered automatic modes, this can be useful in a pinch (for example, at events) and means you don’t need a dedicated flash for each brand of shooter. Used off-camera, if you play with the settings enough you could get a ghetto “wireless non-TTL auto” set-up on the go.

Key features

  • Guide number of 36 (85mm, Iso 100)
  • 0.2–3.0 second recycle time
  • Four modes: M, A, S and SD
    • M: manual power adjustment, from full to 1/64
    • A: non-TTL automatic mode, from f/2 to f/5.6
    • S: basic optical slave mode
    • SD: optical slave mode that ignores TTL pre-flashes
  • Zoom head
    • Manually-adjustable fresnel: 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm focal lengths
    • Swivels left 180° and right 130°
    • Tilts vertically to 90°
    • Flip out diffuser and bounce card
  • LED indicator control panel
  • Overheating protection
  • Plastic hotshoe foot

Yinyan Speedlite CY-450M plastic foot

How much? Around US$63 per unit, available from the Focalprice and Fancy Cost gadget stores. While this price is not bad per se, for the same money you could net yourself a Yongnuo YN-560II or Triopo TR-960II, both of which have finer power adjustment, swish LCD screens, PC sync ports, stroboscopic mode and external power inputs. Which would you pick?

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