The Digital Photo Guy

Yongnuo YN14-EX-C Ring Flash Review

by on Sep.11, 2016, under Articles, Lightroom, Monday Morning Tips, Photos

Another Yongnuo Flash Review!

Those who have followed my blog for a while (Thank you!) have read my previous posts about Yongnuo flashes and probably wondered if I have a financial stake in the company. My glowing reviews of the YN685 Canon E-TTL compatible flashes and Yongnuo 622 triggers even embarrassed me at times because I came off like some paid shill. So far, the Yongnuo flashes (I now own three) and triggers have proven to be reliable, durable and well built.

When I needed a ring flash for macro work, I turned to the Yongnuo YN14-EX-C. At $99 from B&H, it was too good to pass up compared to the Canon MR-14EX II for $499. My first impressions are that it’s quite well built. I’ll update this post if I find the build quality is an issue. Of course, build quality is secondary to light quality so let’s first look at “real” photos.

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The 1st and 3rd photos are originals of my “model” Ms Stick, as in Western Walking Stick bug common in Arizona. This pretty specimen was hanging around our back porch so I enlisted her assistance in producing this MMT (Monday Morning Tip.) I forgot to make a photo of the entire bug to give you some idea of it’s size but the head is no more than 1.5mm to 2mm across so it’s a small critter. BTW, Ms Stick was not injured in the process of making these photos. I did, however, put her in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to sedate her.

The 2nd photo is a crop of its eye. The photo was made with THIS setup. I didn’t want to “nuke” the bug so I dialed back the ring flash to 1/32 power and opened the aperture to f/2.8. It probably didn’t make a huge difference but notice the extremely shallow DoF. The 4th photo is a crop of the mandible from the 3rd image showing fine hairs.

In both images, the light was even and smooth. I didn’t get a chance to experiment too much as the bug was recovering from its cold-induced stupor and I didn’t want to stress it again. Bottom line, I think the Yongnuo YN14-EX-C ring flash is an excellent device for $99.

The flash supports both Canon E-TTL and Manual Mode. I prefer Manual (M) because it gives finer control over the lighting but when using Ratios in E-TTL, I can quickly dial in adjustment using FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation.) One offers better control while the other is more convenient. It also supports 2nd Curtain, FEB (Flash Exposure Bracketing) and has Modeling Lights.

These are photos of a US nickel coin. The 1st one is with the YN14 set to E-TTL (Auto) and ratio set to 1:1. This will probably be the last photo I ever make in E-TTL. Compare this to the 2nd photo where I set it to Manual and dialed in the power I wanted. I think you’ll agree the manual setting has better contrast.

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These next two demonstrate the advantage of independent control over the left and right sides. Notice how the shadow along the rim shifts from left to right depending on which side is stronger. This helps emphasize important features on your subject.

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This 3rd set was made with the Canon 100/2.8 plus all 3 Kenko extension tubes for a maximum of 68mm. The total magnification is now about 1:1.7. This set really shows the difference between a 1:1 flash and a 2:1 flash. The 1:1 is great for illustration or forensic purposes while the shadowed one is preferred for artistic purposes. The ratios can be as much as 1:8 or 8:1 depending on how much shadow you want.

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