RF-602 2.4gHz Wireless System Review

I apologize this has been so long in the making...life got very busy during our final semester in Seoul, what with selling off our belongings, shipping things home, packing our 11 suitcases, taking care of our little one, finishing up my grading, wrapping up my classroom, finishing up my Grad school course...this review definitely took a backseat.

These have been reviewed in many other places, and I can only confirm and verify what others have said about them. There's really nothing new to add.

As I mentioned in an old blog post, they work well. Boy do they ever! These cheap, long-range, wireless flash triggers for Nikon (and other brands) are reliable, have a long battery life, and are well built, certainly not as robust as the Pocket Wizards or PCB's CyberSyncs, but they can take a beating or two. I should know, because I've dropped mine a number of times, and I've taken them apart, and they're still going.

     I now have 6 triggers & two receivers...

I’ve had them for a number of months now, and they haven’t let me down once. The maximum range is a bit difficult to determine, but it appears that they can easily handle 200-300ft (see Hugo Vincent's post). That’s not bad, especially if you only use off camera flash for portrait and street photography. I can't really see myself needing a greater range than that to take pictures of kids and their parents, let alone bees. If you do wildlife photography requiring a trigger range in the thousands of feet, then these triggers aren't for you--there are triggers our there that give you a much greater range. Still, for the price, these can't be beat.  

The transmitter is plastic with a metal hotshoe, allowing you to change it from one camera to another without worrying that it might break. That's a big bonus to people who shoot film, dx, and fx (Nikon) as you can use the same transmitter on all cameras, and not worry about whether it will break or work with your gear. They take a CR2 battery, a battery which costs about $2.50 (see Ebay) to replace—and they’re supposed to last up to 20,000 triggers, so you’ll get plenty of usage before you need to replace them. The only issue I've come across with my trigger is the push button uses a peg that may slip inside the casing...what this means is it may fail to trigger via the button. No biggie--it's an easy fix to glue it, or use silicon to get it to stay in place...the cool thing is it can still be triggered via the hot-shoe and the pc-sync terminal. A nice touch on Yongnuo's part if you ask me.


The receivers are plastic, including the shoe. You have to be pretty darn careful if you're mounting them on something that doesn't give much leeway (such as this umbrella stand). The plastic can get worn and cracked if you force it too much into a metal mount that doesn't allow you to modify its width.

This is one of the puzzling things about this wireless system. They designed the transmitter to last a long time, but the receivers aren't built as nicely. The good news is there are several ways to mount the receivers: one way would be to mount it via a cable to your flash or monolight and let it dangle or use a wizard bracket like the Kurbster’s setup; another way would be to use a cable and mount them to your flash using Velcro (which is what I plan to eventually do); and a third way is to continue mounting your flash directly onto the receiver, but instead of relying on the receiver's shoe you use the built-in 3/4” threading found on its underbelly. That’s versatility for very little money. They take two AAA batteries which are easily found just about anywhere on this planet.  


A word of caution...if you plan to travel abroad with these triggers, know that you are not allowed to bring them in carry-on. Nearly all airlines (I think all, actually) prohibit radio transmitters of any kind aboard the cabin. You can place them in checked baggage, just make sure to take the batteries out. And don't worry about the batteries, the CR2's and AAA's are available just about anywhere in the world. If you are heading to a place where you can't find CR2's just bring a couple of sealed packs with you in your checked luggage. Again, please be careful about bringing these aboard the cabin, as they'll most likely be confiscated. As per this discussion, these things can be used to trigger all kinds of things besides flashes.

If you’re in Korea you should definitely order these RF-602’s and avoid the wireless triggers available there (Flashwaves/Firefox). The Flashwaves, Firefox, and whatever other brands are sold in Seoul are way overpriced. Last time I checked the Flashwaves were being sold for 160,000W for one transmitter and one receiver. I paid $80US (100,000W) with free shipping for three receivers and one transmitter (my original kit). Be smart and save your money. The price is still well below the amount at which Korea customs will charge duty, so no duty or import fees on this system, at least in Seoul.

Are they cheap? You betcha! Are they durable? Yes. Are they user friendly? Yes. There’s no need to read the manual—they’re that easy to figure out. Are they reliable? Definitely! Would I recommend this wireless trigger system? Absolutely! You not only get a wireless flash system, they can also double as a wireless shutter trigger! How cool is that? Sadly my D40x doesn’t have the right connection to allow me to do that, but my D700 does, and I plan to test it out to see how well it works at distances beyond 200ft.

I store my triggers, based on this BLZPHotos' recommendation, inside a Nintendo DS case. Works like a charm.
Now that I have six receivers I'm on the hunt for a better storage solution...I think the one the Kurbster uses may be a good one (it looks like a fishing tackle box). I'm sure there are nice options out there, so I'm still on the lookout.

Sometime this summer I plan to see how much range this wireless system actually has without mods...my hunch is on a clear day, without any interference, these things have a range greater than 200ft...once we head RVing this summer I'm sure we'll find a place where we can test these out without any interference...I may even try one of the antenna mods floating around to push the limits of these triggers.


Anyway, here are the pros and cons about this wireless trigger system:

Pros:
Best Bang for the buck
Reliable & Versatile (at least for Nikon)
Great range indoors
Very responsive
Can be used across Nikon's range of cameras from film SLRs to top-end DSLRs
Universal triggers will work with any "modern" flash (including monolights/studio lights), as long as they're under 12V.
Easy to modify to allow longer antenna for greater range

Cons:
Button issues on transmitter (but they have two other ways to fire besides the button, so it's not a huge issue)
Plastic shoe mount on triggers (again, can be overcome by using cables or the threaded hole beneath the shoe)
CR2's can be expensive if you don't shop around

Conclusions:
Buy them! They're the best bang for your buck! Yeah, they may not last as long as Flashwaves, PCB's Cybersyncs or Pocket Wizards, but they're cheap to replace, and for the price of one trigger and receiver for those other systems you can get way more triggers and receivers to play around with. A great option for those of you just getting into the off-camera flash game.