I shoot Canon and just about everything I own bears their logo. I’m not a fanboy, but more often than not, if Canon makes it, it’s usually going to be better than a competitor’s offering and worth the extra cost. Usually.

Yongnuo’s flash units are an exception to this rule. They’re good and you can get them at a fraction of the cost of a Canon Speedlite. The Yongnuo YN-568EX II is big, solid, and hefty. Its look and feel says quality, with a fit and finish equal to anything Canon is making. It has ETTL, HSS, and a nice audible chirp to let you know it recycled and is ready to fire again. When coupled with the Yongnuo wireless triggers, it’s a very versatile setup and a system with 3 flashes and wireless triggers can be built for the price of a single Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT.

The Yongnuo will do everything that an amateur or pro/am photographer wants and its controls are simpler than Canon’s, making it a good choice for someone new to strobist photography. And take it from me, the Canon 600-series Speedlite’s control system is nothing short of intimidating—I own three 600’s along with the Canon ST‑E3‑RT Wireless TTL flash controller. Having used both systems for some time now, I couldn’t honestly recommend the Canon’s to anyone but working photographers or hardcore hobbyists.

Check out the Yongnuo. At this price point, you can’t go wrong. And keep in mind that the Yongnuo (and most other flashes for that matter) can be used as optical slaves should you decide to transition to Canons down the road.