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. This is an awesome article, thanks very much. I recently shot a wedding (as a guest) with an XPro2 & the EF42 and I must say that I am very disappointed with Fuji’s implementation of the Ef-42. There is something wrong with the mounting, even when you screw it tight there is a possibility that the flash will come off (with a bit of a tug).

    I will definitely look for this Yongnuo. Thank you again.

  2. I have been contemplating switching from Canon DSLR to Fuji mirrorless. Would the Yongnuo flashes made for Canon work on an XT1 or X-pro body?

  3. Hi jim can phottex atlas II trigger be used to fire my sb800 flash im using a fuji xA2, im into flash photography for my kids 1 light setup and im new with this fuji cameras …as far as i could remember nikons are the ones who made fuji cameras like the old fuji film cameras right..or maybe im wrong haha

  4. I’m using Fujifilm X-A1, is it possible to put on the yn560iv to the hotshoe directly and use it? Or must use the trigger to control the flash?

  5. Might be a stupid question but would I be able to use a canon speedlite 430 ex ii on a Fuji X-T1?

    I’m actually waiting for the X-T2 before switching from canon but assume answer will be the same. Trying to figure how much stuff I need to sell

  6. Hi Jim,
    Just recently purchased the Yongnuo YN560III Speedlite and the RF-603 Remote Trigger. The flash works perfect mounted on my Fuji Xt10, but I can’t get it to work with the trigger. Do I need another trigger to use the flash in remote mode..? Not too tech savvy… 🙂

  7. Nice article Jim. I have an XT-1 and a nissin i40, which worked well…except for one “minor” issue…I would sporadic partial frame exposure when using the recommended sync speed of 1/180 on the XT-1. When I slow the shutter speed to, say, 1/235, all is well. I have since upgraded to an X-Pro2, and have the same issue, when using the nissin i40 with the highest flash sync speed of 1/250. (My dealer thought it was because of underpowered alkaline batteries, so he replaced them with Varta High Energy 1.5 Volt.) Since the same issue occurs across two bodies, with the flash being the common denominator, I’m wondering if the nissin 40 is at fault?
    Thank you.

  8. Hi, I’m wondering which flash should I buy for my Fuji x100s that is powerful enough to use for candid shots of subjects quite close up on a bright summers day as to highlight them and draw them into the picture ? Something powerful yet compact would suffice.

  9. Hi, based on your recommendation I purchased a YN560IV and RF603NII trigger. Neither the flash nor the trigger work on my Fujifilm X-M1 or X-E1. What am I doing wrong?!!!

  10. Is the trigger can works on fuji entry level camera like fuji XA2 ? Hope u can answer 🙂

  11. Very interesting discussion!
    Can somebody help me understanding if I can use Yongnuo YN-568EX Speedlite Flash TTL with X-pro1 camera?
    Txs in advance!
    Valerio

  12. No!!! I bought a Sunpak pz42x reading this beautifull article that is not based on tested facts and the result is: no! No ttl on fuji x-e2!
    I will return this ugly flash.

  13. Rich Phela photography

    Hi Jim
    Can you definitively say that yongnuo’ s set (meant for canon) will work with my Fuji xt10 and a Meike 50mm f2.0 manual lens ?
    Many thanks

  14. Jim,

    I am making the switch from Nikon to Fuji xt3 this week. I am so excited and thank u all your articles.

    What are your thoughts on the new Fuji flash system? Do u think it is worth the extra money?

  15. I am wondering with the 560 III/IV that if I have lets say, the IV on my XT1 hotshoe for bounce flash, when I take a picture with the XT1 will it both:

    1. Fire the bounce flash on camera
    2. Also fire the other 560 flashes around the room wirelessly?

    I am getting the impression this DOESNT work? I am trying to eliminate the need to get the TX Trigger. I want to just buy 3 flashes (all 560 IVs) put one on camera as a master (but also bounce flash) and have the other 2 in slave mode receiving signal when I take a picture with the xT1. Does this work?

    1. It is totally worth it to by the TX trigger. You can change all groups flash power from the camera. This is invaluable when flashes are in soft boxes, etc.

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