Canon 600 Ex Rt Speedlite Yongnuo or Cactus?
If you are on the market for a Canon 600 Ex Rt Speedlite or a more affordable alternative like a Yongnuo speedlite or a Cactus RF-60 speedlite, then you may be in for a surprise…
In the video below, you’ll discover a head to head comparison of the Canon 600 Ex Rt Speedlite vs the Yongnuo YN560 II and the Cactus RF-60. You’ll see visual comparisons of these three speedlites using the same Westcott Rapid Box Duo portable flash modifier.
Check out the video and see if you can guess which speedlite was used for each portrait?
Let me know what you were thinking prior to watching the video? Did you think you would see a difference in the quality of light from these three different speedlites? Before this test, I was under the impression that you would be able to see a visual difference in the quality of light from the more affordable flash guns. You always hear people saying things like, “you get what you pay for” and I thought going into this challenge that I would see a quality difference.
Were you thinking the same thing? Let’s have a closer look at another one of the images from the video. What Speedlite do you think was used for this Head shot?
Yes, it is a Cactus RF-60 speedlite and it looks pretty comparable to the last strobe used. Where you’ll see a difference in the more affordable portable flashes is in the features, reliability and the light color consistency from shot to shot. The cheaper flashes color temperature will be a little inconsistent from image to image which could be a problem if you are a Wedding shooter. It would mean quite a few color adjustments with your raw files possibly and then would slow down your editing.
The Cactus RF-60 speedlite also feels a little cheaper in your hand but if you are on a budget it works pretty well with the Cactus V6 trigger system. The Cactus V6 trigger system allows you to control the Cactus speedlite right from the top of your camera. That is a huge bonus especially if your speedlite is mounted up high and out of your reach. If you’ve ever had your flash mounted up high and you hand to struggle overtime you want to make an adjustment then you know how important it is to be able to adjust your flash from the top of your camera.
Here’s another image below taken with the same speedlite modifier the Westcott Rapid Box Duo, can you tell which portable flash we used for this portrait image?
Yes, it is the Yongnuo YN 560 II and again you can’t really spot a visual difference and it is a pretty decent replica of the Canon 600 Ex Rt. They have a newer version out now called the Yongnuo YN 600 Ex Rt. Once again it does feel like it has a slightly cheaper build quality and some people may have concerns about reliability and missing a shot. But from my testing it worked perfectly fine for me.
If you are looking for a flash that is similar to the Canon 600 Ex Rt but you don’t want to spend the money then the Yongnuo flashes are the closest thing you will find. One thing I did notice though was the speedlite recycle rate did seem a little bit slower than the refresh rate of the Canon 600 Ex Rt and it also made a rather unpleasant high pitch tone while recharging.
I wouldn’t say the noise was unbearable but you will definitely notice it so if you are shooting in an environment like a Church it may not be the ideal choice for you.
On the other hand I have heard other people rave about how good they are for the price and like anything it comes down to price performance ratio and how much you plan on using them. If reliability is your primary concern then I would suggest going with the Canon 600 Ex Rt.
Now for the last image test, which speed light do you think we used for this head shot?
Yes, it is the canon 600 ex rt speedlite with the Westcott Rapid Box Duo with a Octa shape. If you are unfamiliar with the Westcott Rapid Box it allows you to mount up to 2 speedlites for extra power or a faster refresh rate. You may be wondering when you may actually need two speedlite for a portrait shoot and a quick example is if you are shooting outdoors on a sunny day then an extra speedlite would give you one extra stop of light. One stop doesn’t sound like a lot but it could make a difference and you will fell more secure knowing you have a little extra power to fall back on.
Using two speed lights both at half power will also recharge or refresh faster between shots allowing you to shoot images at a faster pace than if you only had one speedlite. If you are stuck waiting for your flash to recharge between shots it could kill the vibe of your Photo Shoot and you may miss an important shot.
When you think of those two advantages of having two portable flashes mounted vs one single speedlite then the Westcott Rapid Box Duo begins to make more sense as a go to portable light modifier.
The Octa shaped modifier also comes with 2 layers of diffusion and a silver interior for more power output and added contrast compared to a white interior. Some people do prefer a white interior for skin tones but you can get pretty decent results for portraits with the Rapid Box Duo.
It is currently my top speed light modifier for Portraits, you will find that it gives you a really pleasing soft quality to the light if you are between two to three feet away from your subject. Of course if you are shooting full body then you will have to back your strobe further like 6 feet way for a wider spread of the light.
Keep in mind the further you back up your light the harder or harsher the light becomes unless you increase the size of the modifier you are using. The size plus the distance greatly effects the quality of your Portrait lighting. Having said that it isn’t always practical to bring a 7 foot umbrella on an outdoor shoot on a windy day which is why I like the size and versatility of the Westcott Rapid Box Duo.
Another great feature is that it pops open like and umbrella and the dual speedlite bracket attaches to the mount rather quickly. Compared to how long it takes to set up the Westcott 35 Zeppelin which has 16 torsion rods setting up the Westcott Rapid Box Duo is a breeze. Don’t underestimate the time it will take you to set up a modifier on a location shoot. It will put a damper on your shoot if you have to struggle with a complicated modifier in front of paying customers.
Of course let’s not forget budget concerns, If you are looking for a Canon 600 Ex Rt Speedlite or a cheaper alternative on the pocket book like a Yongnuo speedlite or a Cactus speedlite, then you will have to consider the build quality and the reliability factor. You will have to also consider the cost of the Canon trigger system which is also more expensive than the Cactus V6 system or the Yongnuo’s trigger system.
If you have two Canon 600 Ex Rt speedlites you can have one mounted on your camera to fire the off camera flash but then you are looking at an added cost for firing your strobe that way. Not to mention if you feel like you need a second strobe for a hair light then you are out of luck.
Before you decide make sure you figure out the cost of a complete system, it might end up costing you more than you have put aside.
Although some people swear by the Canon trigger system the Ste-3 I find it just too expensive to justify in investing in one. Instead I use the Paul c Buff Cyber Sync system and I use the CSRB+ to trigger my Canon 600 Ex Rt flashes. Unfortunately you will not be able to adjust your flash settings from your camera with that set up so a cheaper alternative that I mentioned previously is the Cactus V6 trigger system that works with a wide range of third part flashes.
Now the bad news I have heard some people complain about the reliability of the Cactus V6 system, it’s worked great for me in the past but it is something you may want to consider before you make the leap.
I wish you the best in your search for the ideal speedlite system and why don’t you leave a comment below and let me know what you have decided to choose.
Is the Canon 600 ex rt? The Yongnuo or the Cactus RF-60? Don’t forget to give the Westcott Rapid Box a serious look as well because the modifier you use has a lot to do with the look of your final images as well.
If you are a fan of Beauty Dishes you should check out the Mola Demi 22 inch white beauty dish it provides a fantastic quality of light for Portraits and fashion but you will have to use a special mount if you want to use it with your speed lights.
If you want to brush up on your lighting and retouching you should check out my Check out my Portrait Lighting and Retouching Course Click Here
If you are a speedlite shooter you may also want to check out my article on Speed Light Photography Portrait Lighting.
One last thing, before you go make sure you leave your thoughts in the comment box below this post and if you found this article on Canon 600 Ex Rt Speedlite Yongnuo or Cactus helpful. Please share this post with your fellow photographers by using one of the sharing links below.