If you want a macro ring flash (one that works like a standard strobe/flash as opposed to a continuous light source) that is jam packed full of features and also affordable you need look no further than the Yongnuo YN-14EX macro flash.
At first glance the YN-14EX looks like the (far more expensive) Canon MR14-EX, and when you get up close and personal the similarities don’t stop there. The YN-14EX is virtually identical to the MR14-EX in every way, other than build quality.
Yep, the only difference is in the build quality and this is where the Yongnuo macro ring flash falls over, compared to the Canon MR-14EX that is. The Canon feels sturdier, feels more solid and is clearly made from higher grade materials, but given cost of the Canon this is to be expected. In the UK the Canon MR-14EX retails at just under £450. For £450 I can buy 5 Yongnuo YN14-EX units and still have enough money left over to buy a decent sized Chinese takeout for me and the wife, although I would probably use the money to buy rechargeable batteries (to power the units) and a charger. Compared to the Canon MR-14EX the YN-14EX is ridiculously cheap and an absolute bargain. Want the biggest bang for your buck? The YN-14EX is it.
Okay, the YN-14EX may not be built to the same high standards as the Canon MR-14EX but this doesn’t mean the YN-14EX isn’t any good. The YN-14EX is pretty solid, well built and sturdy and actually not that far behind Canon. In fact, given the ridiculously low price of the Yongnuo ring light it is easy to see that it is much better value than the Canon MR-14EX, and we all like value for money right?
The YN-14EX has all the same features as the genuine Canon ring flash including full manual mode, ETTL, flash exposure compensation (in 1/3 stop increments), adjustable lighting ratios and continuous light if needed. The YN-14EX has everything you need to light the subject the way you want to.
Thanks to the user friendly interface and layout using the YN-14EX is simple and intuitive. It is so easy, in fact, you won’t need to consult the user guide/instruction manual in order to get it working. The Yn-14EX is so simple you will be up and running in no time at all.
The YN-14EX is supplied with 3 adaptor rings (52mm, 58mm and 67mm) so it can be used with many lenses, and not just macro lenses. If the lens you intend to use it with isn’t one of the above you have to use step up or step down rings, which you can buy for little money from Amazon or your local camera shop of course.
Fitting the YN-14EX is simple and involves inserting the main body in to the camera’s hot shoe, screwing the correct size adaptor ring on the end of the lens and then clipping the light unit on the adaptor ring. The light unit locks firmly in to place with a satisfying “click” and once together everything is nice and secure. The lighting unit doesn’t swivel around the lens like with cheaper macro ring flash units so slippage isn’t a problem.
The YN-14EX I also supplied with its own protective carry case, which given the cost of the ring flash surprised me somewhat. Budget products seldom come with any accessories (although they are usually available for an extra cost) so to have this is really cool. Given the case comes free it is good quality and a nice bit of kit. It is also the perfect size for the YN-14EX, i.e. a nice tight fit so the contents doesn’t move around (and potentially get damaged) but not so tight that getting everything in the case is a mission.
Overall the Yongnuo YN-14EX is an excellent macro ring flash and one I highly recommend. Before I bought the YN-14EX I have to say I was a bit sceptical, I mean how can a ring flash a fifth of the cost of the genuine Canon ring flash be any good? The low price seemed to be too cheap, and too good to be true. The other issue that concerned me slightly was that the Yongnuo YN-14EX is made in and shipped directly from China. I had been stung with cheap Chinese goods before, a few years back however I thought I would take a punt and buy the YN-14EX and boy am I glad I did. It is an excellent bit of kit that has taken my macro photography to the next level.
A flash is an essential bit of kit for macro photography however a standard speed light isn’t up to the task. In my experience the only way to light macro subjects is with a ring flash and the Yongnuo YN-14EX is the perfect product. I shoot a Canon however the YN-14EX is available for other cameras to, which is great news for all Nikon users.
Other macro photography related articles you may find interesting
“Using a super zoom lens for macro photography” is an articles proving you don’t necessarily need a macro lens to take macro and extreme close up photos. In fact, there are times when a super zoom lens will be more useful.
“Macro photography - shooting insects” is an article dedicated to shooting macro photos of insects, mini beasts and all other tiny critters. If you are looking for some tips and tricks to improve your insect shots this may well be what you are looking for.
“Best macro lens for Canon cameras” is an article detailing the best macro lenses for Canon shooters currently available. If you are considering buying a macro lens don’t make your final decision (and part with your hard earned cash) until you have had a look at this.
“Macro photography on the cheap” is an article that shows you don’t have to spend loads of money to capture awesome macro photos.
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