Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yongnuo YN-465 Speedlite

I really like how the dial works.

A lot of friends ask me for advice when it comes to camera gear. I have been looking for some reasonably priced speedlights that I can recommend. After spending a small fortune on a body and lens, it is hard to fork out the $$ for stuff like flashes, memory cards, etc.

I did a little reading about Yongnuo speedlites. I thought I would give one a shot. I ordered the YN-465 from ebay for $65. This was the most affordable flash that claimed TTL AND manual controls. Note: I order the Nikon version of this flash.

While I more often use my flashes in manual mode, it is great to be able to throw a flash on top of my camera and forget about settings, by putting it into Automatic/TTL mode. 

I had high hopes for the Yongnuo YN465. My biggest concern was: does it really work in TTL mode?

Nikon SB-800 &  Yougnuo YN465.

• TTL - The TTL feature works (more details and sample shots below).
• Build quality is good. It feels solid.
• The round dial is simple to use. I like it a lot. 
• The lights on the back provide simple visual feedback without having to decode information on a screen.

• No optical slave (allows the speedlite to be triggered, by seeing the flash of other speedlites). I knew this going in, but figured TTL was worth the trade-off. Some Yongnuos have built in optical slaves.
• No zoom head. Once again this wasn't a big deal in exchange for TTL. But it would be nice to have.
• The plastic foot seems a flimsy, and the plastic seems a softer than the feet of other flashes I have owned.
• Radiopopper JrX Studio compatibility - no. While the Radiopoppers will trigger these flashes, an RP cube + JrX Studio transmitter won't adjust the output from the transmitter dial. If you don't know what I am talking about. Don't worry about it. But it is a bit of a bummer. 

TTL - Does it really work?
I tried this speedlite on a D90 (18-55mm VR lens). I used the flash in program, aperture priority, and shutter priority modes. I took one picture with the YN-460, and then put an SB-800 on the camera. I know those two speedlights aren't comparable but it I took pictures in a relatively small area, and just wanted to compare TTL ability.

Wow. I was really surprised at how well the Yongnuo flash performed when compared to the Nikon SB-800. There is a lot of technology packed into the SB-800, but the YN465 more than held its own.They actually returned pretty similarly exposed shots. See the examples.

For the price, this speedlite was awesome. I would feel comfortable telling a friend to buy one. However, I am not sure if it is worth not buying a Nikon or Canon flash. You could pick up a used Nikon SB-600 or Canon 430 EX on craigslist for between $150 and $200. But if you want a flash with TTL, and also want to go off camera I think it is a terrific deal. With two Yongnuo speedlites, you could do some pretty creative two light set-ups for half the price of a used Canon/Nikon entry level flash. 


My box didn't fare well in during shipping.

Notice at 1/4 of a second. I had to have a relatively long exposure for the dark room.


  1. Good evening,

    I'm looking into buying this flash and you're review has helped somewhat. Do you know how this flash compares to say the canon speedlites? At the price it is going for on eBay, it seems a little too good to be true!!!

    Any help would be appreciated

    Thank you.


  2. While I haven't personally tried the Canon version of the flash. I have been impressed with the flash on my Nikon. I know people who have tried the Canon version with success.

    It does seem pretty spectacular at that price point, but there are a lot of things that the Yongnuo CAN'T do. For example, all of the recent Nikon flashes can be controlled wirelessly from most Nikon bodies. Modern Nikon flashes have thermal protection from overheating, and a few (SB-800) has a built in optical slave.

    The head DOESN'T ZOOM on these flashes like they do on the Nikon and Canon speedlights.

    Also, their is no rear lcd panel, and feedback from the flash is given just through little led lights.

    When compared to the Nikon and Canon offerings, these speedlights really are "no frills."

    Really all you are getting is ETTL/iTTL and manual controls, but for many people that is all you need, and the definitely the most desirable features.