The Digital Photo Guy

A Flash of Inspiration

by on Jan.11, 2016, under gear, Monday Morning Tips

More Great Yongnuo Products

A while back, I wrote about my love affair with Yongnuo YN-622C-TX Canon E-TTL compatible triggers and YN-622C transceivers. Back in July 2015, Yongnuo announced a new flash, the YN-685C (for Canon) with an integrated YN-622C. In other words, the 622C transceiver is built into the flash. It wasn’t yet shipping and I had enough doubts about Chinese knock-offs so I didn’t give it a second thought.

After my experience with the YN-622 triggers, I saw that B&H now had the YN-685 on back order, meaning it could be ordered and B&H would ship when they received their shipment. Giddy with excitement, I ordered from B&H and waited like a kid waiting for Christmas. Well, B&H missed the first ship date causing me to go into a tizzy. I had already sold my Canon 550EX flashes and only had one 580EX-II left in my flash stable. I found Adorama listed the YN-685 as “in stock” so I went ahead and ordered one from them.

As soon as the Adorama order was delivered, I spent an hour testing the YN-685 with the YN-622C-TX on my Canon 5D MkII. I’m happy to report that the combo works perfectly in every flash mode including E-TTL (which I hardly ever use,) 1st curtain, 2nd curtain, HSS and Multi-Mode. The control panel and interface are well designed and easy to use although, with the YN-622C-TX on my camera, there’s really no need to walk over to the flash to fiddle with controls.

In a side-by-side comparison, the YN-685 has about 2/3 stops less power than my Canon 580EX-II but at just $109, I can deal with it. Even if the 685 dies in 2 years, I’m still ahead compared to $250 to $300 for a used 580EX-II on Craigslist. Compared to a Canon 600EX-RT for $469, the price delta is laughable.

The only nit I can find is that it’s a bit “porky” compared to the Canon 580EX-II but, then again, the 685 has a complete wireless trigger integrated into it. The 685 feels substantial and well built but only time will tell if it’s as robust as it appears.

It’s scary to think that the Chinese products I deprecated in the not-so-distant past have improved so quickly. I’m too old to be learning Chinese when they take over the world.

Yongnuo685-1   Yongnuo685-2   Yongnuo685-3

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2 Comments for this entry

  • Juan Ramirez

    Excellent write up! I need to grow away from setting the 580EX-II to “auto”! I am sure I can get more out of my flash. Is there some literature you recommend I check into? I know that flash photography is another world in its own! Thanks again! Love your write ups.


    • Lee

      Hi Juan,
      Thanks for being such a long time reader. I’m glad you’re still getting use out of my posts.

      The “Bible” for Canon flash photography is “Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography” by NK Guy. I’ve read my copy 2-3 times from front to back and I still find new things every time. You can get it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

      Once you get out of Auto Mode, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without Manual Flash! Good luck.

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