At the end of December 2014 and the beginning of January 2015 I ignored the advice of my gurus and purchased Fifteen (15) Younguo YN560-III Speedlites. As of January 2016 Five (5) of those flashes have failed. Yea, that's 33% in one year!
I'll start off by saying that I'm not a review site. But I will occasionally pass along my experience with gear that has let me down or gear that I quite like. I buy everything with my own money and tend to be more critical than forgiving. And I'll never recommend something that I don't really, really believe in. Cause I'd be bummed if you bought something based on my recommendation and it let you down.
So what caused me to sell my stable of trusty Nikon SB-80DXs and replace them with the Youngnuo YN560-III completely ignoring the sage advice of Scott Hargis? That would be the Yongnuo YN560-TX Transmitter / Flash Controller.
This was the siren song that caught me. This flash controller has the ability to wirelessly control up to 6 different groups of off camera flashes from the camera. So not only could I easily adjust the flash just off camera to the left, say. But I could adjust the ones lighting the dining room and kitchen from the camera. Even the light stand or two on the outside deck that might be bringing light in through the windows. And the kicker flashes lighting up the cabinets doors. This was too perfect of a system for me to resist. My thought was that this could be a pretty darn nice time saver as opposed to moving around from room to room changing each flash power manually.
I admit that I didn't do a PHD thesis research job and relied on the overwhelmingly positive reviews from Amazon.
And things went exactly as planned for most of the year. Then during one commercial shoot I was having trouble with a flash constantly over exposing the room where it was placed. Changing setting at the Yongnuo YN560-TX had no effect. So I tried changing it manually and firing the flash using slave mode. Still no change. So I change the flash out with one of my backups and finished up the shoot.
I sort of forgot about the problem for a bit since my kit was back up to full strength having substituted in a backup. But then the same thing happened again to another flash. Again I grabbed another flash to fill in and finished up the job. But now I was getting a bit annoyed. It took me less than 5 minutes of google time back at home to find out that my situation was not unique.
It turns out that this failure isn't uncommon as my situation had proven. Now down 5 flashes I've been forced to start fazing out the Youngnuo YN560-III since they just aren't reliable enough for my small business and commercial needs.
Oto Von Brismark is said to have state:
“Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
I can see where I landed on this choice. Live and learn I guess. Live and learn.