Wednesday, November 30, 2011

YN565EX on External Power


One of the selling points for the YN565EX is that it can be used with an external power supply.  As shown above, the standard Canon three prong power connection is next to the old style “PC” flash connection and protected by a rubber cover.  As reported previously, I have a Pixel TD-381 external battery pack; I wanted to see how well it worked with the YN565EX flash. 


As expected, the TD-381 simply plugged right into the YN565EX and worked fine.  My TD-381 is fitted with NiMh batteries.  I recharged the batteries and made a few simple recycle time tests with the YN565EX.

A few years ago I began to use the XNote Timer as a stopwatch to get approximate timing for shutter lag, flash recycle, etc.  I again photographed the XNote Timer to get an idea of the recycle time for the YN565EX with and without the TD-381 power pack. 

With four freshly recharged NiMh batteries, the YN565 can get off five full power flashes in about 10.7 seconds.  When powered by the TD-381, recycle time is reduced such that five flashes can be done in about 6 seconds.  As reported previously, the YN565EX recycles somewhat faster than the Canon 580EXII when both are powered by internal batteries; however, when connected to the TD-381 power pack, the recycle time is about the same.

On a somewhat related note, I used the YN565EX as a slave flash driven by the 580EX II mounted on a Canon 7D camera over the Thanksgiving Holidays.  It worked well.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

PAW 47

OS Beach


Although in fits of sprinkles, the rain fell just often enough that I cowered under a roof on a pier instead of taking the long beach walk that was planned.  While waiting, I practiced my BIF (Birds in Flight) photography without much success.  Eventually I noticed this nice,  even though somewhat static, scene and zoomed the 100-400mm lens on the 7D to this composition.  The result was processed from RAW in ACR but otherwise pretty much untouched and not cropped.

To some, this may be a cluttered picture but to me this is a vertical format with a horizontal top.  The horizontal portion is another pier in the background and a bridge even farther in the background.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

PAW 46

Ski Side Flowers

Even in south Louisiana, the hibiscus flower wraps up in itself at night and sleeps while awaiting early sun beams.  I know this but still was surprised to find sleeping flowers this morning.  After all, the sun was up even though somewhat hidden by clouds and fog.  Suddenly realizing that I had no photos of sleeping hibiscus flowers, I retrieved my 7D and got this shot.

As usual, shot in RAW and processed with Adobe Camera RAW before cropping for composition.

Friday, November 18, 2011

YN565EX and the G12

YN565EX with G12 and 580EX

The G12 and any large flash become an ungainly, but sometimes useful, combination.  In my introductory remarks about the YN565EX, I noted that it was not purchased for use on the G12 and implied that there were problems. Indeed, the YN565EX should be considered as incompatible with the G12; however, it does work on the G12 in certain modes. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

The YN565EX does not work at all – that is, does not even flash – when the G12 is in manual flash mode. This was completely unexpected. I expected some kind of odd ball behavior but it never crossed my mind that the YN565EX would not fire at all when mounted on the G12. Curious, I tried the YN565EX on my G9 only to find the same behavior (after changing batteries in the G9). Next, I tried the YN565EX on the G6 and G3 and discovered that the YN565EX is completely incompatible with those older G series cameras.

On the positive side, the YN565EX does work on the G12 when the G12 is in P, Tv or Av mode. The YN565EX zooms with the G12 zoom and Flash Exposure Compensation can be controlled either by the YN565EX or by the G12. The YN565EX seems to work in either direct or bounce orientation (I say “seems” to work because I did not attempt to check the accuracy of the flash exposure). Again, I’ll comment that the YN565EX is noticeably louder than the 580EX II when flashing. Also, to my eye, the YN565EX produces a more noticeable pre-flash when used on the G12. I would not be confident in using the YN565EX mounted on the G12.

But I didn’t get the YN565EX for direct mounting on the G12; I got it for use in the Canon wireless system. The G12 does not have its own internal wireless controller as does the 7D but the 580EX II can act as the master, or controlling, flash. My first attempts to set the 580EX II as the master flash were unsuccessful and I was beginning to think that the 580EX II was itself incompatible with the G12. Then I discovered that the G12 requires a menu setting to enable the Canon wireless system. As soon as the wireless system was enabled in the G12 menu, the 580EX II immediately became the master flash. Alas, the YN565EX did not respond to the 580EX II as a master when the 580EX II was mounted on the G12.

In my frustration, I got out a Canon 420EX and set it to slave flash mode using the same settings as the YN565EX. Side-by-side with the YN565EX, the 420EX responded to the 580EX II as expected but the YN565EX did not. More frustrated, I removed the 580EX II from the G12 and placed it on the 7D, noting that the settings did not change. When triggered by the 7D, both the YN565EX and the 420EX fired as expected -- end of compatibility tests.

Well, almost the end of compatibility tests. In optical slave flash mode, the YN565EX does respond to the G12 internal flash and also to the 580EX II when mounted on the G12.  The YN565EX also responds to the simple Yongnuo RF-602 wireless trigger. These are very useful features.

My conclusion is that although the YN565EX is not totally incompatible with the G12, it is best to declare the YN565EX as being incompatible and therefore avoid the frustration of attempting to remember which settings and modes work and which do not. I won’t be using the YN565EX with my G series cameras except as an optical slave flash or with the RF-602 trigger.

… but I’m still OK with having purchased the YN565EX.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clone Batteries Kaput!

Canon G3 and G9 Cameras

My G9 became a (mostly) unused spare camera when I got my G12 even though the G9 is used on occasion to photograph the G12 and its accessories. As part of testing the compatibility of the YN565EX flash, I put it on the G9 only to discover that the G9 battery was dead. No problem, I had spares. Whoops, that spare was usable but weak so I tried yet another spare battery and this one was usable. Then I noticed that the weak batteries were both clones whereas the usable battery was the original Canon battery.

For camera batteries, I follow a philosophy of one in the camera, one in the pocket and one on the charger. As this practice is both debatable and expensive, I usually use inexpensive cloned batteries. Most of the time I get those clones from (I have no affiliation with Sterlingtek except as a customer).

The next step, of course, was to recharge the weak cloned batteries; however, the charger changed from “charging” to “charged” all too quickly for both batteries so something was not quite right. After only a few shots and screen displays the G9 again indicated that the batteries were weak.

This post is really not a rant or even a gripe. These particular batteries, NB2L Li-ion, were purchased as spares almost exactly four years ago (I write the purchase date on the batteries). It does seem strange for both clones to go bad at the same time. Perhaps the lack of use was a contributing factor? I know that the G9 was used on July 4th this year and also that all the G9 batteries were recharged before a vacation in mid-July.

The problem does not appear to be with the G9 or the battery charger because the original Canon battery works and charges fine. On the other hand, what if the original battery is on its last legs? Even though the G9 is not used very often, I want it to be available so after a few minutes of internal debate, I placed an order with Sterlingtek for two NB2L batteries ($30 plus shipping).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

PAW 45

Soccer Game 7

Soccer season is over for the five year olds and the kids got to run through the “tunnel” one last time.  I’m pretty sure that running through the tunnel is their favorite part of the game.  Interestingly, I don’t recall any of the kids asking whether their team won or lost the game.

Shooting the kids soccer game has been a learning experience for me.  My best approach seems to be with the 7D, 15-85mm lens, ISO 800, JPEG only, daylight white balance, AI focus using 9 center focus points, and rapid fire in manual exposure mode at f8 and (usually) about 1/640 second.  I simply follow the ball and shoot in bursts.  The result is not exactly sports journalism quality but produces decent snapshots.

I decided to shot in JPEG (“Faithful”) for the soccer games because my plan was to make a slide show as a gift for the coaches and parents (and my granddaughter).  I wanted the photos to have a consistent appearance without my having to process hundreds of shots from RAW.  This approach worked out fairly well and the slide show was appreciated.

I was standing on the sidelines of the small (these are five year olds) soccer field for all the games.  For portions of a few games, I used my 70-200 lens at f2.8 to get head shots during the action.  Most of the time, the 200mm was too long.  Something along the lines of 24-135, f4 would have been great.

Wait ‘til next year!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

YN565EX and the 7D

7D and YN565EX

My YN565EX performs as expected on and with my Canon 7D. The YN565EX does not have high speed sync and cannot function as the master flash for the Canon wireless system but the lack of those two features was expected. Otherwise, the YN565EX seems to work well with the 7D. In fact, the easiest way to describe the YN565EX is that it is almost a Canon 580EX II.

YN565EX with G12 and 580EX

YN565EX with G12 and 580EX

While playing around with the YN565EX and Canon 580EX II, I realized that the YN565EX is perceptibly louder and sounds a bit “harder” as well when it flashes. The sound and volume is not particularly objectionable but is definitely noticeable when the two flashes are activated side-by-side. On the positive side, I found that the YN565EX recycles a bit faster than the 580EX II. With one flash in each hand, I manually triggered them at the same time and watched the ready lights. Both flashes were in manual mode and flashing at full power. The YN565EX ready light always lit first – even after swapping batteries. This may be nothing more than an indication that the YN565EX ready light comes on at a different point than does the 580EX II; even so, it is sort of reassuring.

To get the (first) photo of the 7D with mounted and flashing YN565EX, the camera was turned off and the flash was set to optical trigger (SL 1) at lowest power (1/128). The picture was taken with my G12 using its manual internal flash set to minimum power. A YN460-II, also in SL 1 mode, was placed outside my homemade light tent as the main light. The YN565EX (and YN460-II) work well in both SL 1 and SL 2 (ignores Canon pre-flash) modes.

On the 7D, the YN565EX works as expected. Again, there is no high speed sync and the YN565EX cannot be used as the master flash in Canon’s wireless system. The YN565EX zooms with the 7D lens (15-85mm Canon in this case) and indicates the true focal length (not the 35mm equivalent) on its display.

Off-camera, the YN565EX could be triggered wirelessly by the built-in flash of the 7D or by the 580EX II mounted on the 7D. Exposure compensation on the 7D was passed along to the YN565EX. Using the 580EX II mounted on the 7D as the “A” flash and designating the YN565EX as the “B” flash, the flash ratios could be set in the 7D system.

The YN565EX and RF-602 were used to make my most recent PAW (and many more that day) so this combination works well together (shame on Yongnuo if they did not!).

My intention is not to use the YN565EX mounted on the 7D but as a second flash with Canon’s wireless system or as a manual flash to be triggered by my Yongnuo RF-602 wireless triggers. The YN565EX seems to meet my requirements and expectations.

Next, the YN565EX and the Canon G12 …

Sunday, November 6, 2011

PAW 44


Strictly speaking, my granddaughter is the photographer for this shot but since I helped by setting up the lights, camera, the remote triggers, etc., I don’t feel bad about using it for PAW 44.

Today was picture day for our extended family.  I set up flash through umbrellas in our garage and triggered them with Yongnuo RF-602s.  The backdrop was a painter’s drop cloth (canvas) from Home Depot.  Camera was the 7D with a 50mm Canon set at f4, 1/250 second, ISO 100.

This was the first time that I’ve really used the Yongnuo YN565EX with the RF-602 other than a brief test.  It worked well.  Power setting was 1/4. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It’s one thing for the fast recycling NiZn batteries to fail and another thing for the failure to occur at Grandparents’ Day!  After unexpected problems in mid-August, I sorted through my NiZn batteries with a volt meter, discarded a few and gave the remaining ones another try. A month later, I used those batteries at my granddaughter’s birthday party and my confidence in NiZn returned.  Today, six weeks later, two of the four batteries in the 580EX II (right, not yet using the YN565EX mounted on my 7D) let me down.

I admit to not recharging the NiZn batteries last night before using them  today.  I think the last time the batteries were charged was mid-October and they’ve been used for perhaps 10 flashes since that re-charging.  Still, I’m unhappy to get only five flashes from the NiZn batteries today before I noticed my wife waving her arms and mouthing, “The flash is not working!”.  I immediately removed the 580EX II and popped up the little built-in flash in the 7D.  Fortunately, my granddaughter’s small classroom was well lit and, with the 7D set for ISO 1600, the built-in flash generated sufficient fill flash.

Why didn’t I simply change batteries once I realized that the NiZn’s had failed?  Because I foolishly, but intentionally, left my camera bag in the car – that’s why.  I didn’t even drop a spare set of batteries in my pocket.  After all, we were only to be there for an hour. 

Tonight I checked my supply of NiZn batteries.  Of the 13 spare batteries, 2 were bad.  So of 17 total NiZn batteries, 4 were found bad today.  For all I know, the remaining batteries are fine but I no longer have faith in NiZn.

PowerEx 2700 mAh NiMH batteries served me well for several years and were my battery of choice before NiZn.  I’ve also tried Sanyo Eneloop 2000 mAh batteries.  The Eneloop batteries definitely hold a charge longer than the PowerEx but also do not produce quite as many flashes.  My strategy now is to first use PowerEx but to have the Eneloops in my pocket.  Of course, I can’t really bring myself to toss out all those NiZn batteries so I’ll keep them around for a while as unreliable extras.

Signing off to order Eneloops …

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


The Yongnuo YN565EX flash is a near clone of the Canon flagship 580EX II. I say “near clone” because the YN565EX does not look exactly like the 580EX II and is not controlled exactly like the 580EX II. Even so, the YN565EX is obviously intended to be a low cost variation of the 580EX II. Although I already have a 580EX II, you can never have too many and at one-third the price, the YN565EX was well worth investigating. I ordered my YN565EX from ThePhotoGadget and waited more or less patiently during the two week delivery period.

I’ve had good experiences with my Yongnuo YN460-II and use it regularly as an off-camera manually adjusted flash. My intention was and is to use the YN565EX as an ETTL slave unit to be wirelessly triggered and controlled by either my 7D on-camera flash or by the 580EX II. Alternatively, the YN565EX can be triggered as an optical slave or by the RF-602 wireless triggers; however, these simpler alternative triggers do not include ETTL control.

Because my Canon G12 has bugs – undocumented features – in flash mode, I was fully prepared for the YN565EX to be incompatible with the G12. In this I was not disappointed as the YN565EX does display a few quirks when mounted on the G12 (more on this in another post). As I’m always reminding others, flash on the Powershot G is not the same as flash on Canon’s DSLRs.

ThePhotoGadget site and the Yongnuo store but especially Speedlights contain specifics and technical details of the YN565EX so I’ll just say that it is generally expected to perform like a 580EX II. On the other hand, the YN565EX does add the two optical slave trigger modes that have been very useful to me on my 460EX-II.

YN565EXMy YN565EX arrived in a sort of soft and squishy cardboard box but the package inside (top photo) was well protected and undamaged. The flash survived its journey from China apparently intact and undamaged. My quick inspection and abbreviated tests so far indicate that my YN565EX works as it is supposed to work but I’ll have more on this in future posts.

YN565EXAfter a few test shots, I was forced to skim through the instruction manual in order to turn off the very loud and irritating BEEP-BEEP (page 58, custom function 14).

YN565EXThe YN565EX is a nice looking flash and much more robust than the YN460EX II – especially the battery door.  I do prefer the foot locking mechanism of the 580EX II but the more conventional screw lock on the YN565EX is OK.  The YN565EX flash head is swiveled and tilted without having to press and release any locking buttons.  If the friction resistance holds the head in place, this is an advantage -- time will tell.
The controls are just enough different from the 580EX II that I’ll have to remember both systems but, if anything, the YN565EX controls actually seem more intuitive.  Button presses all seem OK to me. 

Next: Using the YN565EX with the Canon 7D