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

The CY-450M is a cheap and cheerful speedlight aimed at off-camera flash users, event photographers and film enthusiasts.

Yinyan Speedlite CY-450M

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?

David Selby
Based in Paris, France, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a quantitative analyst.