Yongnuo RF-603N Flash Triggers

I've been sitting on this post for years. It's just a collection of thoughts I've been gathering about my Yongnuo RF-603N radio triggers. I bought them a few years ago and intended to post a review, but never got around to it. But I still have this collection of raw impressions.

The RF-603N has been replaced by the RF-603N II which essentially fixes a handful of issues with the original version that I have. The differences are 1) the on/off switch is now on the side of the trigger so it isn't obscured by the mounted speedlight; 2) the sync speed goes up to a full 1/320 (yea!); and 3), it has a more secure hotshoe. These features pretty much resolve every issue I had with the originals, and at around $35 I'll be upgrading for sure.

Other than the aforementioned improvements with the new model, my impressions of the RF-603N are relevant. So I'll post in raw form in case somebody is interested.
  • Build quality is okay. It's not particularly rugged, but it's not particularly delicate either. Actually better than I expected for the price.
  • The feel of the switches and buttons is decent - positive action with no slop.
  • Battery compartment cover completely detaches, so there's risk of losing it
  • Batteries are standard AAA, so replacements - both alkalines and rechargeables - can be found virtually anywhere.
  • Can't get much simpler to use:
    • Turn the transceivers on
    • Mount one on the camera and one on a speedlight.
    • Set the speedlight to manual mode and adjust its power
    • Shoot your picture
  • Each unit automatically figures out whether its supposed to be the transmitter or the receiver. This makes it pretty fool-proof, except that the transmitter must be mounted on the camera in order for the unit to knows it's supposed to be the transmitter!
  • It's a good thing that they're so simple to use because the manual is terrible
  • Have to turn the receiver on before mounting the speedlight in its hotshoe because the speedlight obscures the on/off switch.
  • No locking foot. All my speedlights have locking mechanisms, as do all my mounting brackets. So for me, it's only a problem for the transceiver that is mounted on the camera. Because of the light weight I'm not worried about it, unless I'm also mounting a speedlight in the transceiver's shoe which I might occasionally do if I wanted to use both manual radio triggering and CLS simultaneously. Possible, but rare.
  • Support manual flash exposure only. No TTL. Worse, no remote power adjustment. So if you need to adjust the flash power, you have to physically change on the flash unit.
  • Shutter trigger is a nice bonus. I have a Nikon ML-L3, but it's infrared and so its triggering is short-range and not very reliable. The RF-603's triggering is very reliable and long-distance.
  • Shutter trigger has a nice half-press focus.
  • On the other hand, there's more lag. In fact, my test show that it lowers the maximum sync speed from 1/320 to 1/200.
  • I didn't want mine rattling around loose in my lighting bag, so I store mine in a small velvet pouch that used to hold a wireless travel mouse. Fits nicely and should prevent scratches and dings. I think a small lens pounch would also work.