Nex 5, Yongnuo 560 II flash,Nickel-Zn batteries, 1/4 power
Powergenix Nickel-Zinc high(1.6V)-voltage batteries are capable of really quickly recharging a Yongnuo 560 II flash unit. So quickly that, with the flash set at 1/4 power or less, the YN 560-II can successfully optically trigger from the Nex 5's neat little screw-on kit flash directly...despite the Nex 5's preflash. The YN 560-II simply triggers once on the Nex 5 preflash, then fires again on the main Nex 5 flash. Can't really think of an application that takes better advantage of 4 slightly-higher-voltage AA nickel-zinc batteries, than recharging a flash unit super quickly. The nickel-zinc batteries are not particularly high total capacity, they simply can pump out the highest peak watts in this particular kind of device.
Of course the right thing to do is have the flashes controlled by a proper trigger like the Sonia that can ignore the Nex 5 preflash. But some interesting lessons learned in any case. For example, the Nickel-Zinc batteries really are as good as advertised in the quickly-recycle-a-flash department. And the batteries get quite warm will pulling double duty. And if you put the head of the YN 560-II flash at full power against a dark, cheap piece of sports clothing, it will upon firing melt the clothing that is touching the flash lens. Kids don't try this at home. And the Nex 5 flash weighs next to nothing. And the '560's built-in "S2" slave mode to ignore preflashes, truly does not work at all with the Nex 5. And the Powergenix charger nickel-zinc charger is quite intelligent, and is kindest (slowest) to your batteries when you charge 4 cells at once.
Also the Alpha mount 18-55 kit zoom lens at F8, even at the 55mm long end, is just perfectly sharp, despite being hand-held thanks to the flash(probably less than 1/1000th of a second flash duration at 1/4 power). And the Alpha lenses work great with LAEA1 adapter, manual mode and manual flashes in a dark environment--in the sense that the lenses always stay wide open until the moment of exposure, for easiest possible focusing.
And am reminded once again about how neat flashes are when they're bounced off of white ceilings. You get a free soft, cloudy day appearance to photos in the middle of the night. Even ordinary objects can look a little bit special in that perfectly clear light. When can get 5 flashes all properly triggered at full power, this should be quite the banquet room soft light setup.
Why don't you simply set this flash to S2 mode, avoiding triggering preflash?
The Yongnuo can ignore preflash!
RussellInCincinnati: And the '560's built-in "S2" slave mode to ignore preflashes, truly does not work at all with the Nex 5.
cxsparc: Why don't you simply set this flash to S2 mode, avoiding triggering preflash?
The Yongnuo can ignore preflash!
That would be great, except that the '560's built-in "S2" slave mode to ignore preflashes truly does not work at all with the Nex 5.
My vague understanding is that the interval between the Nex preflash and main flash is 160 milliseconds? And that the two flashes would have to occur within 150 milliseconds of each other to trigger the Yongnuo flash in S2 mode? Something like that.
Great, fact-filled post. Thanks!
NEX-5N gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flint-hill/sets/72157628112096830/
Here's 3 Yongnuo 560-II flash units just pointed at the ceiling, sitting on a bannister a couple of feet to the left of the camera. They "zoom" to a fairly narrow beam if you want, great when you only want the light to go straight up rather than spread out like a naked light bulb. They're not properly radio-sync'ed with the Nex 5 yet, but at 1/4 power they work fine with their built-in optical slave sensors, even with the Nex pre-flash.
Alpha mount kit zoom (and the Nex kit lens too come to think of it) works pretty well at the wide end except for some geometric distortion. Lightroom 4 almost automagically takes care of lateral color. But the $41 dollar (e.bay but unused) Alpha 18-55 zoom has much less lateral color than the Nex kit zoom anyway. And the Alpha has less geometric distortion than the Nex variant too, is cross-frame sharper at pretty much every aperture and focal length, and is just a pleasure to use for manual focus in dim light because the diaphragm stays wide open until the last moment.
It's also odd, have read some folks saying how unusable the Alpha kit zoom's manual focusing ring is. Have found manual focusing with the Alpha 18-55 to be really great, short travel, so precise, and no drag. Really like the focus feel a bunch more than my old jewel-like metal lenses. Focus peaking, where have you been all my life?
My 50-cent lunch bag has room in it for a disassembled Nex, Canon FDn 50 F/1.4, Alpha kit zoom, and 5 flashes, white card, infrared remote. So great to have a tiny Nex body, makes it practical for me to carry around a bunch of other likable stuff. In some situations the flashes aren't a weight burden, because they let you get perfect indoor clarity while saving the weight of a tripod.