The YN560TX flash trigger is the long-awaited trigger for the venerable and inexpensive Yongnuo flash system. I have been using Yongnuo speedlights and triggers since before it was cool to use Yongnuo flashes and speedlights. My one complaint for years has been that there was no trigger that would allow me to change the power of the flash from the camera until the YN560TX was finally released.
The Quick Review: The YN560TX trigger allows photographers to wirelessly sync up to 6 groups of flashes and change the power and zoom remotely. The device's build quality is sub-par, but the functionality, reliability, and price are fantastic. For me, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, and this little trigger is now my primary flash trigger for all my shoots.
Need a little more info than that before buying? Let's get started.
The features on this flash trigger are really what set it apart from any other trigger in this price range. The TX can wirelessly sync with up to 6 groups of flashes.
You can also change both the flash brightness (power) and zoom remotely. That's really handy for when you have a flash that fits inside a softbox, have a speedlight up high on a light stand, or when you're doing complex setup with many flashes. If you have to walk around to each flash and change the power after each shot, it becomes a very slow process. Not with the TX!
The range of the signal is extremely good. I had my four year-old son run with the flash down the street and I triggered it from my house. He got all the way to the end of the street (well over 200 meters) and it never missed a shot. So what's the max range? I have no idea. I'll need to move to a longer street before I can do more in-depth testing 🙂 The 2.4ghz antenna in this thing really does an excellent job.
One handy feature of the YN560TX is that you can use it as a remote shutter release for your camera. The side of the TX has a small compartment with a shutter release jack. If you connect a shutter cable from that jack to your camera, you'll be able to trigger the camera remotely. I like it much better than the infrared remotes that you can buy for most camera systems, because it will work outside even in bright sunlight. It's handy to have that ability when you're in a pinch.
The build of the YN560TX is acceptable, but certainly does not have a high-end feel. It's funny, I just read a review from another photographer who described the TX as being “well built with a solid feel.” I wouldn't agree. It feels cheap and plasticy, but adequate to do its job. You don't buy a TX to impress people at the camera club. You buy it because it's an extremely capable and reliable flash trigger that costs next to nothing.
However, the design does at least include a metal hot shoe, which I consider to be mandatory in any flash product. When a flash breaks, it's almost always at the stem of the shoe, so I don't even buy any flash products anymore if they don't have a metal shoe.
My main complaint with the TX design is that it stands upright on the hotshoe and does not fold down like the Paul C. Buff triggers do. That means that if you drop the camera or bump the camera hard enough into something, the TX will likely break in half. That's exactly what happened to one of our readers, Brian Pex, who was able to glue his back together.
While traveling home from a photography workshop in Guilin China, my Yongnuo trigger broke as well, this time from damage to the LCD screen from bumping into other things in my bag.
While I do think the TX could have a bit more sturdy build quality, it's not enough to deter me from using them. I think it's just the kind of thing you have to be a bit careful with. You can't abuse the TX quite like you can abuse the YN560 speedlights (those things are tanks!).
Ease of Use & Reliability
No company makes an easy-to-use flash unit. Period. If you've been doing photography for a while and have used several different flash systems, you're probably used to the complexity, but part of me wishes somebody made a sweet trigger with a nice big touch screen and dead-simple operation. Unfortunately, that doesn't exist. Plan to spend an hour figuring out how the TX works after you buy it. But in reality, it's no worse than any other advanced flash trigger out there. The Canon and Nikon stuff is even more of a mess than the Yongnuo.
The reliability of this trigger is one thing that really attracts me to it. In fact, prior to the TX, I used a very expensive high-end system for flash triggering but got rid of it once I got my hands on a TX and saw how reliable and full-featured it is. I can honestly say than in the last year of using the TX, I've never once had a misfire on the flash (as long as I had my settings correct and the flash recycled). There is no way to fault this thing on reliability.
Unfortunately, the trigger does not have an automatic off feature. I turned on the trigger and left it for 30 minutes, and it stayed on the entire time. While that's handy if you're using a walker and it will take you 30 minutes to get from setting up the flash to get to the camera, it means it will run out of battery much more often because the on/off switch can easily be bumped in a camera bag.
The Yongnuo YN560 TX trigger works on any camera system with a standard hot shoe, including Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony, Pentax, and others. Yes, Sony folks. It even is compatible with your system (cheers!). The Canon and Nikon versions of the YN-560TX hav the extra ETTL contact, but does not work with ETTL. The purpose of the contact is really just to wake the flash. If you are buying a YN560TX for a camera system other than Canon, I recommend getting the Nikon version because of the way the contacts are placed. I used the Nikon YN560TX with my Fuji cameras all the time and it works without any issue.
Without any receiver under the flash, the TX can trigger both the YN560III and the YN560IV flashes. Older flashes or flashes from other camera systems will need a receiver under them in order to fire wirelessly.
Price and Conclusion
While the YN560TX is not a perfect piece of technology (what is?), it's absolutely amazing what Yongnuo has brought to the table for under $50 (check the current price on the Amazon listing for the YN560TX). This is a very full-featured flash trigger that is reliable and powerful at an unbelievable value. I do wish the buttons were a bit more intuitive and that the build quality was a bit more durable, but this is still a tremendous value. Buy the YN560TX on Amazon.