You probably have done your research online and the fact that you stumbled on this review, more than likely you’re not looking at the more expensive Pocket Wizards. Well, like many others, I figured that because a large number of people on the Strobist community are using the Yongnuo RF-603, I had to try it for myself.
For its price under $30, you get two trigger/receiver/transceiver and a shutter release cable. These do take two AAA batteries each, so as always with my electronic equipment, attached the Eneloop batteries and they work perfectly.
I. TEST ONE Wireless Flash Trigger (Transceiver on Camera, Receiver on Flash)
Attached one to the hotshoe mount of my Canon DSLR (note: If you are buying this for a Canon, make sure you choose the right version, Rebel or non-Rebel) and turned on the power. I tried this on the Txi series and a 70D and they worked perfectly.
Before you attach the flash, turn on the other receiver. (note: This is one thing that many people don’t like and this is a matter of convenience and is subjective to the individual. The problem is that the on/off button is right on top of the unit and if you attached to your flash, if you have bigger fingers, you can’t turn it on and off with the small gap between the flash and the receiver. You need to detach your flash, turn it on then attach it. You just have to get into the habit of turning it on, before putting the flash on).
Attached the other to a flash and with the flash on, you will see two lights. I went ahead and took a picture and sure enough, each picture, a flash went off and you can see a red light on the receiver to show that it is receiving the message.
I will say that I tried this on a Canon Speedlite, worked perfectly, even an older Speedlite 199A from the late ’70s worked. Tried it on a Yongnuo flash, worked perfectly. Tried it on a Sunpak DigiFlash 2800, it didn’t work. Looking at the strobist community, the majority of a lot of modern flashes do work but I would definitely research if your flash works on the RF-603. You may find information that it works on a RF-602 (the previous version) and if that is the case, more than likely it will work on the 603.
I tested it from various locations and it worked perfectly! So, first test was a success!
Also, I just want to add that with some flashes that are high on voltage and you DON’T want to put on our camera hot shoe, you can you them on these 603’s without risking your camera.
II. TEST TWO – Wireless Flash/Studio Flash Trigger Sync
This was pretty much a test of multiple flash as I did purchase two pairs of the RF-603. And sure enough, with each flash having its own receiver, I was able to trigger the slave flash perfectly with my Canon DSLR’s.
Second test was a success! Note: I don’t have Alienbees or high-end strobe lights, but you may want to do research on the strobe community for reviews.
III. TEST THREE – Wired/Wireless Remote Shutter Release
I do a lot of Macro and there are times where I can get a shot right if I press the trigger on my own. You need a wired or wireless trigger and I tested it without one, it worked. Connected the shutter release cable from my DSLR to the trigger, worked perfectly.
So, third test was a success.
Sure enough, the Yongnuo RF-603’s worked perfectly. The question is how long will they last, I don’t know but others have had situations ala YMMV. While these are just minimal tests and short duration photography work using this kit, so far, everything has worked perfectly.
It’s important to note that people do have a problem with the location of the on/off button and one just has to remember to turn it on before attaching the flash. The other is that there is no mechanism lock on the shoe foot. So, if you are putting these on a bracket/light stand, you just want to make sure that you be careful. Also, do your research online and watch videos online to see how people were able to overcome that problem. But it’s a simple fix.
I also have to add that the transceiver must be on the camera’s hot shoe to work. I know some people don’t like that…so, it’s up to you. I don’t mind it on my camera hotshoe.
And last, just remember that if you go through buying this kit, purchase it for the right Canon camera as there are two different versions available.
Overall, this is a fantastic kit for those on a budget. Do you get what you pay for? I can tell you that you are getting way than your money’s worth as you are getting two in a kit and they do the job perfectly. If you want reliability, then there is the more expensive Pocket Wizards which are over $200+ and higher for just one.
So, it all comes down to your budget. For me, the Yongnuo RF-603 works perfectly for me for now and it allows me to focus my budget towards better glass.