Yongnuo YN360: Buy one.

I am likely getting one or two more also for a portable cordless two or three light set up.

A little background. Recently I have become a lighting obsessed noob. Having practiced at home for months I had success during a recent family reunion with my first real world outing armed only with a $59 budget 3 light kit I picked up from Amazon .

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I was hooked. I then used the proceeds to upgrade my kit by replacing the lightbulbs included with a proper speedlite/trigger set from Yongnuo.

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Yongnuo speedlite/trigger test shots with Pumpkinhead VonWorkoutball.

Lovely. What next? While the lightbulbs had limitations (needs an outlet, not much light, fragile, a bit toasty, etc…) I did grow to like the simplicity. I love my speedlites for their power and versatility and portability, but the experience left me drawn to a solution I could not afford, the Wescott Ice Light. Great product, but at twice what I paid for 3 speedlites and a trigger combined for one it was clearly beyond my reach financially as an occasional semi-pro photographer. I considered a well regarded knock off option, but Yongnuo YN360’s offering added some interesting features neither of the other products, including the original, offered:

  • RGB colors and those in between (purple shown as an example) by allowing each to be adjusted individually.

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  • 5500K and 3200K options individually, but adjustment between the two simultaneously and maximum lighting power made available when both are turned all the way up.

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  • Included yellow modifier snaps on back when not in use via magnets.
  • I also liked that even though the concept was influenced they did not just copy, but actually added real, beneficial design changes.
  • Standard issue tripod mount on the bottom and a carrying case.
  • There is an app available, but the link to access it is broken as of this writing.

It must be noted that there is one downside:

The portability and relative power make for some really cool options. Having no patience once I received the batteries I swung by the house then charged one battery a bit using the included car charger adapter on the way to pick up dinner. While waiting for the food I could wait no longer and gave it a shot. Right away it showed that there was enough power to overtake daylight in some quick test shots I took of my Pentax 645 with my humble little orphan NX300 (The Pentax K-1 is off on an extended warranty spa visit, but more on that when it returns next month.Sigh.Meanwhile I soldier on with the orphan digital and many sundry film cameras.) in the front seat of the thunder wagon aka Dadmobile 3000 (Honda Odyssey) in early evening sun:

With the obvious options of using it resting anywhere, outside and handheld I also had some fun in house with my vintage bridge girder Manfrotto Bogen tripod. Here are some test shots of the Hasselblad with a shot of the simple set up used to achieve them:

Here is another Pumpkinhead Von Workoutball portrait session test with using the YN360 above and angled down about 45 degrees using the Bogen and out of shot is a silver reflector underneath angled up for a bootleg clam shell lighting effect. This was done during the day in a room that gets a good amount of sunlight. For reference I took all shots using aperture priority to see what the relative shutter speeds would be with and without the YN360 and one reflector.

While this is no replacement for a proper speedlite set up there are great advantages also. Between the portability, colors, handheld, easily adjusted intensity, and more I have already conceived of many, many ideas I want to try out when my big boy DSLR returns. Although it is early it does seem an added bonus that battery life is quite good. During regular testing I drained the batteries of my Yongnuo speedlites a couple of times (to be expected), but I have yet to come anywhere near running down a YN360 battery yet. Seeing as two come with the battery set I linked above this means I should get some good battery life in the field.

Once again well done Yongnuo.

-ELW

 

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