Best Speedlight Flash Options for Fuji Cameras

Mounting a normal-sized speedlight on a little Fuji camera looks hilarious. It's like a sumo riding on a goat.
Mounting a normal-sized speedlight on a tiny little Fuji camera looks hilarious. It's like a sumo riding a goat.

When I look at a new camera system, my first questions are about the lens system and the flash system, and THEN I'll consider the actual camera itself.

The main reason why I avoided the Sony camera system a few years ago (this is no longer an issue) is because their “standard” hotshoe was, well, not standard.

So when I decided to take a hard look at switching to Fuji from my Nikon full-frame camera, the flash system was one of the first things I tested.

I was surprised and relieved to find how well Fuji cameras handle flash systems from other manufacturers, which was a major reason why I ended up making the switch.

All Fuji cameras I have tested use standard hotshoes that are capable of working with third-party flash triggers and speedlights.

That's the good news! But there are some drawbacks to using flash on the Fuji system, which we'll dive into later.

First, let's have a look at the Fuji flash system and see how it compares with the stuff from other major manufacturers, then we'll consider third party flash systems like Phottix, Yongnuo, and others.

In the end, I'll give my conclusion on the best flash system for my Fuji XT1 mirrorless camera.

Fuji's Own Flash System

There isn't much good to say about the Fuji's own flash system except for three things

  1. It's inexpensive;
  2. I like the ingenious little pop-up flash on the Fuji XT1;
  3. And it will make you laugh every time you see a humungous Speedlight mounted to the hotshoe of a tiny little mirrorless camera.

It looks like a sumo wrestler riding on a goat.

Fuji produces four speedlights, but only one of them has any real use for anything other than simple on-camera flash: the Fujifilm EF-42 Speedlight flash.

The funny thing about that (two funny things in one article, whew!), is that Fuji didn't even produce the Fujifilm EF-42 flash (at time of writing). 

It's actually just a Sunpak PZ42X flash with a Fuji logo bolted on it and a higher price tag. That's it.

You'll also notice that Sunpak produces the flash for all of the major camera brands—except Fuji.

Why? Because it DOES produce the flash, just under a different brand name.

So if you really want to have the official Fuji Speedlight on your camera, then do yourself a favor.

Just buy a Sunpak PZ42X and put a piece of electrical tape over the logo so nobody finds out your big secret.

Best Speedlight Flash Options for Fuji Cameras

Fujifilm EF-42 Shoe Mount Flash

PZ42X Flash for Nikon Digital Cameras

Noticing any “subtle” similarities? It's because the Fuji flash is really just a Sunpak flash with a different logo on it.

Props to Fujifilm for having a better product image.

Sunpak's official image for the flash is a little overexposed and the plastic reflects the light of the flash. Tsk tsk.

Yongnuo Flashes on Fuji Cameras

Yongnuo is my flash of choice for my Fuji XT1.

I've been using Yongnuo flashes since before it was even cool to use Yongnuo flashes.

These little $70 flashes are extremely powerful, simple to use, and have a robust system around them for full feature flash photography.

Yongnuo is a Chinese company that makes inexpensive knock-offs of Canon flashes that are compatible with any brand of camera.

In the Yongnuo lineup, the most popular flash by far is the YN-560 line.

Right now the current model is the YN-560 IV.

This flash is all manual, has a strong power output, is easy to use, and is very reliable.

Reliability is something I really admire about Yongnuo.

The original YN-560 was plagued with issues, but since then the company has made these inexpensive flashes very dependable.

Sometimes it can be a trick to get the settings all right to make a trigger and flash sync together, but I don't think I've ever had a misfire with Yongnuo flashes when I have them set up correctly.

The system works well, and the radio signal can fire from a LONG distance away!

The big question is if you need high-speed sync and ETTL. 

While Yongnuo does make speedlights with these features, they don't make any for the Fuji system.

For me, that isn't a limitation at all. High-speed sync seems like a must-have technology in a flash until you actually shoot with it and realize that the power output is so low that it rarely makes sense.

And for me personally, I find ETTL to be significantly more complicated and slow than using manual flash in most situations.

If you want to learn more about why this is, it's really worth the time to read my flash photography basics series of articles.

The Setup I Recommend for Fuji Flash

I'd buy one or two YN-560IV flashes and a YN560TX trigger.

The flashes can be used on the hotshoe of the camera or off the camera by putting the YN560TX on the hotshoe of the camera to trigger the flashes wirelessly.

When you go to buy your YN560IV and the YN560TX trigger, DO NOT WORRY that the listing doesn't specifically say it's for Fuji. 

Just go ahead and buy the Nikon version. 

I've personally tested it and I promise the Nikon version will work JUST FINE on Fuji.

The links above ARE to the correct models you'll need to get this to work.

If you have any trouble getting your Fuji camera to fire the flash, be sure to check out my YN560 HELP article!

You can get it at this link: https://improvephotography.com/42218/yn560-tutorial/

The small "x" next to the 180 on the shutter speed dial on the Fuji XT1 denotes that it is the max flash sync speed.
The small “x” next to the 180 on the shutter speed dial on the Fuji XT1 denotes that it is the max flash sync speed.

The Real Problem with Flash Photography on Fuji Cameras

One of my biggest complaints about the Fuji system is the very slow flash sync speed.

The flash sync speed is the fastest shutter speed at which the camera can shoot while still exposing the entire frame with the flash.

The flash sync speed on most fuji cameras is just 1/180, whereas most cameras can go up to 1/200, 1/250, or sometimes even 1/320.  

That makes a huge difference for a photographer who wants to use flash in the daylight.

However, one possible solution for this problem is to simply use a neutral density filter.

79 thoughts on “Best Speedlight Flash Options for Fuji Cameras”

  1. Hi Jim. Thanks so much for this article, I’ve been struggling with this very thing. I have a YN560TX scheduled for delivery today (after hearing your comment on a podcast I went to the gear recommendations section).

    One concern- the body of this article says to get the Nikon version, but the links here and in the gear recommendations send to the “C” version for Canon. Do you think that is the problem with the my flash not picking up the trigger from the RF 603 C II ? If so, I’m guessing I’ll need to return the YN560TX that’s arriving today. I’m interested in your thoughts.

    Also, the link from the email to “email the author” is broken. I had to come to the Improve Photography site to get this to you. :-/

  2. @Amy – I think the Canon version also works fine, but I haven’t tested it with the Fuji. It will likely work the same.

    1. I have the Canon version of the 560IV and Transmitter. The flash works perfectly off the hotshoe as well as remotely, but keep in mind, the hot shoe won’t trigger when the 560IV is in wireless RX mode. I set it back to Manual (M) mode and the hotshoe triggers it just as well!

    2. COLIN LIVINGSTONE

      Hi Jim, Great article by the way. Im using the older Yongnuo rf-603c on my X-E2 and off camera flash which works fine. However when I switch to X-T1 the remotes wont connect, what am I doing wrong

      1. Hi Colin, I have the same problem. The article Jim referred you to does not help. Thanks anyway Jim. It doesn’t help because there is a difference between the X-T1 and other Fuji cameras. I suspect the X-T1 does not send enough voltage to the hotshoe. There is talk online about hot wiring the rf 603 to get it to work for the xt-1. The Xt-1 does work with the YN560 tx trigger, but that wasn’t your question was it? I don’t think the rf 603 will work with the XT-1. They do, however, work with my Xpro-1 and apparently your X-E2 and probably other Fuji cameras, but not the with the XT-1. However, we both do have the Canon version. Maybe the Nikon version of the rf 603 will work with our XT-1. Any one out there have any luck with this?

  3. Thanks for this article!!! I’ve been researching for hours and you answered everything! Thanks again

  4. I used the YN-560IV on my Fuji x30 to shoot at a friend’s wedding, in that camera and I suspect the same is true for the x100 series you can shoot at higher speeds, because the fixed lenes use leaf-shutters.

  5. Anthony, would you please elaborate. I just purchased an X30 and know nothing about how to use a hotshoe based flash with it.

  6. Great breakdown of this capability.
    Curious if you (or any readers) can comment on experiences or the pros/cons of using Phottix products instead.
    Saw them being used on the X-T1 at a trade show.

    1. I am having also a Nissan i40 coming. What are you using as a trigger for remote flashing? Would the Yongnuo 560 TX work?

    2. The nissin i40 is a great option especially since it will link with the camera exposure metering when hot shoe mounted but at 3-4x the $

  7. Dave J. I am using my X-T1 with Photix Strato II (5in1 – Canon version). I have one transceiver and two receivers. One receiver goes on Fujifilm EF-42 the other on Lumopro LP-180. You can set each receiver to A , B , C , D zone. And you can switch on/off any zone on the transceiver individually, allowing you to turn on/off any zone you want. They use 2 AAA batteries. It work without a problem for me. I have been using it for about an year now. However, if I should buy again, probably, I would be looking for something, which would allow me to adjust the flash power directly from the transceiver on the camera. There is also a transceiver, receiver system on the market which passes TTL for Fuji wirelessly. This option was not available when I was buying. I don’t remember the brand name, but when you will search for it you will find it. It is many more expensive though.

    1. I have an x100t and am adding an x-pro2. My phottix transceiver does not fit the x100 hot shoe. I’m hoping it fits the x-pro. I even contacted phottix and asked if their strato system would work with a Fuji – equivocally NO they say. I have a lot of third party equipment compatible w Nikon that I’d like to use with the Fuji. Any advice? Ps. I don’t know when this discussion started so my question may be too late. It’s August 12 2016. Thanks for any help.

  8. Hi… I have a question about the Sunpak PZ42X … It has TTL? because I’m looking for a “non brand” model, but only found for canon, nikon, sony…

  9. I usually don’t use TTL, but my wife does, so I need a TTL flash. So does the Sunpak flash for Nikon also work with Fuji’s TTL?

  10. Have 2 youngnuo 560 III. Both fire at full power, no matter how I set it, which seems to be more common issue for these speedlights than one might think. Would not recumbent them for any use.

    1. This is indeed a common issue and indicated a faulty component. If you google around you will find the instructions on how to repair them if they are off warranty. I bought 3 of them and one had this issue.

  11. Another system worth considering for Fuji is the Cactus. Cactus V6 triggers are manual, but give you remote control of flash power, something most other systems don’t. They can control flashes in four groups and the radio channel is switchable.

    The Cactus RF-60 flash guns are similar to Yongnuo but have a V6 transceiver built in, so no need to mount each flash on a receiver. They also have a 1/4-20 socket on the side, allowing them to be mounted directly on a flash bracket with no need for a cold shoe (often a point of failure resulting in your flash falling to the floor).

    Another big plus with V6 triggers is that they work with many brands of TTL flashgun, including Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Metz, and Panasonic.

    So if you are switching to Fuji from a conventional DSLR you can keep using your existing flash guns!

    I have been using them for weddings and events for over a year now and highly recommend them. The only downside is that they are slightly bulky and obscure the shutter speed dial on Fuji cameras – nit a huge problem as you normally preset the shutter speed anyway when using flash.

    http://www.cactus-image.com

  12. Oh – my Yongnuo YN568EX II doesn’t ETTL with my Fuji XT1 with 18-55mm lens, it simply doesn’t recognize the aperture changing. Tried with a Canon, no problem there … so the kit seem to just not work with Fuji XT1 / 18-55mm lens. That’s disappointing.

    1. I have updated lens and camera firmware. I have put the YN622C into Legacy mode. I have tried other cables linking the YN622CTX to the camera. All to no luck so far…

  13. Hi! While I have read in several websites that canon version of Yongnuo’s should work just fine in Fuji’s XT1, my personal experience is that they did not. I have tried Canon versions of flash and triggers, and this is what I have found:
    . Flash for Canon works mounted in Fuji.
    . You cannot triggered remotely using RF wireless shutters.

    i do use know Yongnuo’s line made for NIKON, and they work flawlessly. Flash, remote shutters, command shutter, I recommended going directly to controller, they are far more convenient than RF triggers.

  14. The Link you have for the YN560TX Trigger is the CANON Version of the Trigger and the Flash Link is for the NIKON.
    Should I order them like this for the FUJIFILM X-T1 or buy both NIKON Versions of the Trigger and Flashgun.

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