New Technology Aiding Photographers

After 30 years in this business, I’ve seen and used a lot of elaborate lighting systems, both in the studio and on location.  This usually involves many large hardshell cases full of studio strobe lights, and assistants to carry them.  As the digital age progresses, however, we are finding that the power and versatility of the lowly speed light, or flash, has improved so dramatically it is making huge change in the amount and weight of gear we must carry to get the job done right.  Most of these are still limited to small setups or single person (or couples) location work, but much of what we do encompasses those kinds of assignments.

The lo-n-n-n–g awaited Youngnuo 622C-TX (Canon) controller arrived today, direct from Hong Kong via DHL.  I say long awaited, because when rumors of it’s existence started last summer, I wanted one then – as in right now.  Originally, and to keep the equipment budget under control, I had passed on my first choice, the much more expensive Phottix Odin system, giving up (I thought) the LCD control panel.  After having resigned myself to doing without, the announcement of the TX was too good to be true – for nearly a year of delayed availability.  In all sincerity, I must say, even before the TX unit, it was clear that the 622 transceivers are the best I’ve ever used, including Paul Buff’s Cyber Syncs and Pocket Wizard Plus II’s.  I even had the original Pocket Wizards, back in the 90’s.  Wireless is good!

After ordering, it was about 7 days to delivery today.  Not bad; across half the world in a couple of days for about $24 more, and worth it to me.  The unit itself was about $52, ordered off of Flash Havoc.  Total (the thing I actually wrote down) was $75.89.

I’ve only messed with it for a bit, and taken some photos to give some perspective on it, but this is by no means a comprehensive report.  It’s my impressions as I unpacked and played.

The unit looks exactly like the partner YN622Cs I already have, except it has an LCD face and control buttons on top.

The instructions are, as expected, Yongnuo’s traditionally bad translations, so consider them a partial guide and just play.  It does say in the booklet to use 1.5v alkaline batteries, so I did.  In my transceivers I use 1.2v Eneloops, but I have read that Yongnuo feels the 1.5 volt alkalines give more reliable performance.  I’ll see as time goes along.

The package arrived in a DHL yellow padded pouch, or envelope, with a bundle of yellow taped box inside.  Once that was opened, the black and red Yongnuo box was revealed, containing the control unit, instructions and two cables for connection to cameras not having a hot shoe.

As you can see, the transmitter does not require much of a footprint when attached.

On the very back is a PC terminal for cameras requiring that connection, as well as a mini-USB port to the right side, for connection to a computer in order to update firmware, a very thoughtful touch.

On the left is a mini RCA jack.

On top you’ll see, from the bottom center and proceeding clockwise, a test button which will fire all your speedlights, if they are designated as “on” on the controller.  The beauty of this is that lights can be powered up, but prohibited from firing if you choose, right from the TX control panel. It also reveals what channels and groups are on the remote units by flashing their indicators.

Next around is the GR (Group) selection.  The Asterisk (*) indicates that it doubles as a multi function button, a point not elaborated on.  Then there is the Mode button, which seems to be mainly for choosing groups, TTL, Multi or Manual.

The Sync/FN button selects Regular (front curtain)sync, Rear Curtain or HSS.  There are Custom Function options I have not yet explored.

Zoom/CH is another I’ve used only to change my Channels

The Power button is more securely located than the side mounted buttons of the 622C

The Select/Set button group adjusts power levels in full or 1/3 stops, locks the settings, etc.

In use, you can choose A,B or C designated units, and adjust their power output using the Select/Set button array in the center.

So far, with only a little playing around, I found the controls pretty intuitive, and the potential incredibly high and very useful as we move to lighter and more compact auxiliary lighting in the digital age.

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