High Speed Sync with YN560 flash

For me and those who love YN560s for strobist, the only thing missing in these cheap flashes is High Speed Sync (HSS) capability.

There are two basis ways to use flash: on-camera and off-camera.  The simple, but unique way to do HSS on-camera is using a flash with HSS capability. In other words, there’s no way to do HSS on-camera with YN560-III. But who cares about on-camera flash for strobist?

When it comes to off-camera, there are three ways to do HSS. Two of them are related to a flash capable of HSS which will be remotely triggered by either a pair of radio trigger supporting HSS, or another flash supporting HSS in master mode. These are ways that most people know and use for off-camera HSS.

There is the way that Callum Winton has used to do HSS with studio strobe. In the experiment, he set the SB900, which is a flash supporting HSS, at the lowest power and fired it at 1/8000s. Obviously at such high speed sync and small power, the flash itself had no effect to the image, but it still can trigger the optical slave of the studio strobe. Then he turned the optical slave on and finally got a bright and clean image. That is how he made a studio strobe sync at 1/8000s.

When being attached to Nikon D700, the YN560-III syncs at a maximum speed of 1/320s. Like the studio strobe, the YN560-III doesn’t support HSS, but it has a really sensitive built-in optical slave trigger inheriting from YN560. So can we use the above method for studio strobe to make the YN560-III sync faster than 1/320s?

Yes, we can! I did make the YN560-III sync at the shutter speed 1/8000s and now I show you how to do that.

 I attach the Metz 50AF-1, which is a flash capable of HSS, on the Nikon D700. The power of the Metz 50AF-1 is set to minimum power (i.e. 1/128). The YN560-III is placed in front of the camera with its optical slave sensor facing the head of the Metz 50AF-1.

At first the YN560-III is turned off to see the impact of the Metz 50AF-1 only. At 1/320s, the output at 1/128 power of the Metz 50AF-1 is quite weak but we can see clearly its effect on the image. When I increase the shutter speed, the power of the Metz 50AF-1 drops out severely. At the shutter speed of 1/8000s, there is almost no effect from the Metz 50AF-1. 

Then I repeat the above shootings with the YN560-III turned on and set to FULL POWER. The YN560-III has two optical slave modes: S1 and S2. The difference between them is that in S2 mode, the TTL preflash is ignored. Since I set the Metz 50AF-1 in manual mode, there is no TTL preflash fired. So the two slave mode S1 and S2 of the YN560-III will work exactly the same. In this case, I set the YN560-III in S1 mode. 

I also start at 1/320s of shutter speed. The image is completely overexposed due to the light from the YN560-III. Then I go to high speed sync. At the shutter speed of 1/1000s, the overall image is darker as expected. But the image is clean from edge to edge. I increase the shutter speed to 1/4000s and 1/8000s. Again, the image get darker, but the illumination in the image is even and there is no dark area on the frame at all. This means I did make the YN560-III completely sync at 1/8000s.

Through the histograms, we see that the flash power just drops a little bit when the shutter speed increases from 1/4000s to 1/8000s.

So, we can do off-camera HSS with the YN560-III by using any flash capable of HSS as optical trigger.

I also test with the YN560-II and just like its successor, the YN560-II can also sync at 1/8000s. The only difference is that the YN560-II seems a bit more powerful than the YN560-III. When using both flashes, the power does increase, but just by a small gap.

Note that in the test, the Metz 50AF-1, which is used as a trigger, is set to manual mode. Hence S1 and S2 mode in the YN560-III can be used interchangeable. In case you set the Metz 50AF-1 to TTL mode, only S2 mode in the YN560-III can be used to make the YN560-III sync with the camera.

Some might wonder why it makes sense to do HSS with a flash like YN560-III while we need another flash capable of HSS to trigger it after all. Well, let’s think this way. HSS eats a lot of flash power. You can partly overcome this by placing the flash at very close distance to the subject. But it’s inconvenient and in most cases you need to gang up a number of powerful flashes to compensate the power loss from HSS. A single HSS flash is expensive, not to mention a bunch of them. Furthermore, to trigger the flashes, you need either a professional flash supporting HSS in master mode or several HSS radio trigger. These all are expensive and you end up needing thousands of dollars to do HSS flash in the normal way.

The YN560-III flashes are quite powerful and featured with high sensitive optical slave sensors. Most importantly, they are cheap and that makes it possible to buy three of four of them at the same time. The flash used to trigger these YN560-IIIs doesn’t need to be a professional flash featured wireless master mode working in HSS but just any flash capable of HSS.

So my solution for HSS flash in daylight is buying a not so expensive flash supporting HSS and a bunch of YN560-III flashes. I won’t say it’s cheap, but it’s the cheapest way to go HSS flash anyway.

You might prefer to use ND filters and that’s fine. I also have a lot of ND filters and I don’t intend to throw out all of them. I don't intend to shoot at 1/8000s either since there will be a dramatic loss of flash power. But things are still OK at shutter speeds of 1/400s or 1/800s. Many times I attach a 3-stops ND filter to a fast lens to shoot outdoor portrait and find that 3 stops is not enough. In these cases, I would rather go to HSS and have more control over the shutter speed than adding another 2-stops ND filter, or stopping down two f-stops and losing the beautiful bokeh.

I'm not a professional photographer. I even can't call myself photographer. Above I just share my experience when trying to do HSS with the YN560-III. If you have any comments please add them below.

NOTE: the YN560-III must be set to FULL POWER so that they can do HSS.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 17
Bruksbild
By Bruksbild (1 month ago)

I can't get this to work unfortunately. I'm using a 5D mark II and a Canon Speedlite 430EX mark I mounted to the camera. It is set in manual HSS mode at 1/64. I'm triggering a YN-560II set as slave with full power but it starts banding at 1/200. Ergo, no HSS.

I've also tried to trigger it with a Phottix Strato. The transmitter on the camera obviously, the reciever on the Canon 430, still in HSS mode and the YN-560 set as slave but it didn't work either.

Any clues would be much appreciated.

0 upvotes
fotowbert
By fotowbert (1 month ago)

After reading all the comments which include some saying it didn't work, I was actually surprised it worked for me.

I suspect it has to do with the timing of the start of the HSS burst from the hot-shoe flash and how responsive the optical triggering is on the non-HSS flash. I swapped out the YN560III for an old Vivitar 283 with Vivitar SL2 optical slave and the Vivitar's light doesn't register at all with SS above 1/250s. Yet the YN560III's light registers without banding all the way up to 1/8000s.

0 upvotes
fotowbert
By fotowbert (1 month ago)

Got this to work with Nikon D7k, SB600 and YN560III. It certainly overcomes the low light output limitation typical of standard HSS operation!

IMO this works because the YN560III at 1/1 power flash duration of 1/200 sec is longer than the time for the shutter opening to travel across the frame, thus making the remote flash appears as continuous illumination.

To trigger the remote early enough for this to happen the hot-shoe flash is used in HSS mode so it begins emitting light at the start of the exposure instead of waiting for the 1st curtain to be clear of the frame.

0 upvotes
fotowbert
By fotowbert (1 month ago)

Update: The light output comment above is misleading and was mistakenly based upon SB600 at 1/64 power being compared to YN560III at full power. Comparing both units at full power, the SB600 alone in HSS mode vs the YN560 triggered as explained above, resulted in the SB600 alone exposures showing somewhere around 5 stops more light than the YN560III. It looks there is no free lunch when it comes to HSS flash!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Wordsmith9091
By Wordsmith9091 (3 months ago)

I'm not sure if anyone's still checking this post, but I've got a YN560II and I might be about to get a NEX-6, which is HSS capable.

Could I use one of those cheapy optical triggers (like a Seagull) to send a signal at HSS-like speeds and trigger the 560-II the way you're doing with an HSS-capable flash?

0 upvotes
jamesdo
By jamesdo (3 months ago)

With YN560, you neet to set the flash to fullpower so that it can do HSS. If you have any HSS flash, you can use it to trigger the YN560. If you don't have any HSS flash, you still can make the YN560 do HSS by using some HSS trigger like the yn622. But it seems that those HSS triggers are not cheap very much.

With non-hss triger, you can not do HSS with any flash.

0 upvotes
drpete
By drpete (4 months ago)

Simply brilliant!! Thanks so much for the info! Worked perfect with any of my Canon 580's or 430's and triggered the YN560ii in HSS! Exactly what I needed and made this low $ flash a high value in function. Thanks again!

1 upvote
Dall
By Dall (5 months ago)

Hey nice article.

Unfortunately I cant make my YN-560 do as you descripe!

1 upvote
Foluche
By Foluche (5 months ago)

+1
May be there is something magical in combination YN560-III + Metz 50AF-1 at HSS mode? о_0

1 upvote
Dall
By Dall (5 months ago)

Perhaps, course a SB600 and two YN560 II and a Nikon D80, cant! ;)

0 upvotes
jamesdo
By jamesdo (3 months ago)

@Dall
You must set the YN560 to full power so that they can do HSS.

@Foluche
Of course the Metz 50AF-1 must be in HSS mode. I know there some flashes that you need to turn on the HSS mode so that they can do HSS. But with Metz 50AF-1, it's default when you attach it to the camera, which is in HSS mode.

One more thing, there is no magic here cause I can trigger the YN560 do HSS with the built-in flash of the Nikon D700. Of course, the buit-in flash cannot sync over 1/250s, but when you set it to commander mode, and choose the double dash (--) mode so that you can fire the built-in flash at high speed.

0 upvotes
motomanDK
By motomanDK (5 months ago)

Great article and i have tried this with my Sigma EF610 in HSS mode and the 2 YN560III fire as expected, but they are somehow 'off-sync' with the camera/hss flash because the light from the YN560III's doesn't show on the picture.
What am i doing wrong here????

Best regards
Henrik - Denmark

2 upvotes
jamesdo
By jamesdo (3 months ago)

Did you set the YN560 to full power? With HSS flashes you can do HSS at lower power. But with YN560, it can do HSS only when you set it to full power.

0 upvotes
Foluche
By Foluche (5 months ago)

As far as i get, you even doesn't need for HSS on camera flash. All you need is to get shutter speed 1/500 and faster + remote trigger. On some camera this could be achieved with simple radio trigger like YongNuo RF-603. Am I right? Does anyone tried this?

0 upvotes
jamesdo
By jamesdo (5 months ago)

I heard that some camera, like nikon D70, can sync at any speed. But most camera can not. Furthermore, trigger like YN RF-603 only allow the speed of 1/200s or lower. But the story is different with Yongnuo YN622. I'm going to update my article soon to talk about the speed sync with YN622 trigger.

0 upvotes
Foluche
By Foluche (5 months ago)

I am looking forward to hearing from you! You article is pretty amazing. (^_- )

0 upvotes
pixelMario
By pixelMario (6 months ago)

Cheers mate! Very useful :)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 17