Review: Shanny SN600EX-RF Flash (Canon TTL)

When you think about great third party flash options, what you immediately think about are both Phottix and Yongnuo–but if you haven’t checked out Shanny then you should. They’re not anywhere as popular as the others and providing that everyone and their mother suddenly think that they can grab a factory in China and throw their name on a product, it’s tough to get through all the rest. However, Shanny does a couple of things that in many ways are very true to Canon’s own interface and also much more simplistic for the user.

At the same time though, they’re not perfect–and some things may straight drive you insane when you’re on a shoot.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples (1 of 5)ISO 1601-1600 sec at f - 2.5

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Consistent color output
  • Fairly simple to use the system
  • Automatic switch over to HSS is blowing my mind with how awesome it is
  • Pretty incredible battery life
  • Built very well
  • TTL output is very consistent

Cons

  • Provided hot shoe foot stand is a piece of crap
  • You’ll need to go through Canon’s menu system to change settings like exposure compensation, power adjustment, etc. This can cause a major slowdown in the middle of a shoot
  • Unfortunately the transceivers can’t transmit TTL information with Phottix or Canon flashes.

Gear Used

The Shanny SN600EX-RF was used with the Shanny SN-E3-RF, the Canon 6D, Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art, Tamron 85mm f1.8 Di VC, Sigma 85mm f1.4, and the Zeiss 50mm f1.4 Milvus lens. The flash was often shot bare or with the Phottix Luna Octabank.

Tech Specs

You’re honestly best off getting them here.

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (3 of 12)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.0

On the outside, the Shanny SN600EX-RF looks much like many other flashes and in truth it really is. where most of the differences come from has to do with the way that they’re used.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (4 of 12)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.0

The Shanny SN600EX-RF has an interesting front face. What you’ll find is the optical slave sensor, the branding and the other major important legal stuff under the head. The head of this flash pivots, tilts and swings like most flashes.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (5 of 12)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.0

On the side of the Shanny SN600EX-RF are two ways that you can connect with one of them being a PC Sync port. The little buttons on the side of the flash head need to be pressed in to make the head raise, lower, swing, etc.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (6 of 12)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.0

The back of the flash is where the business end is. Here you’ll control lots of the parameters if you aren’t connected via the radio. This area and the buttons are very well built and the large LCD screen displays loads and loads of information to you.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (2 of 12)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.0

The Shanny SN600EX-RF and the transceiver are both built extremely well. One night I shot with them in the rain and at another point my beauty dish hack was connected to the flash which both took a tumble of around six feet. The flash kept working with no problems.

What sucks is the hot shoe foot stand–I’ve never seen one more shoddy and during the tumble the entire fastening on the stand basically ripped out and became useless. The flash shot foot itself was fine but I needed to switch to other stands.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (12 of 12)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 2.0

That LCD screen display is super confused with more information on there than you could possibly think. You’ll need to sit there and look at it all carefully. For the most part though, the trigger lets you control the flash through the Canon menu system. It’s much easier for you to use that method than go through this. Combine this with the fact that the trigger doesn’t really let you control the flash directly and you’ll face a life of constantly needing to go into Canon’s speedlight menu system.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (7 of 12)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.0

The transceiver is interesting in that it has a full hot shoe. Unfortunately, I can’t control Canon or Phottix flashes using this shoe. It’s weird despite it all being based on Canon’s TTL system.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (9 of 12)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.0

The side of the transceiver has switches on it that help you with the specific settings. Here you see the on/off switch and the transmitter or receiver mode switch.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (10 of 12)ISO 4001-320 sec at f - 2.0

The other side has the USB port, sync port, and group setting. Below all this you’ll see the hot shoe foot to connect to your camera.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny SNEX600-EF product images (11 of 12)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 2.0

The LCD screen on the transmitter lets you change the channels, trigger the test flash and illuminate the screen. That’s all.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples portraits (1 of 4)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 2.8

Using the system overall is pretty simple to do, but the way that you go about it is very backwards. To change anything you mostly need to go through the Canon menu system. My preferred way of shooting is with the wide angle diffuser on the flash and either shooting bare, with a Rogue Flash fender or in the Phottix Luna Octabank.

Combined with the Octabank you can create some beautiful images.

One of my favorite features about this flash has to do with the automatic transfer over to HSS when you go beyond the designated shutter speed with your camera. It’s awesome, simple and the first time you do it you’ll have your mind blown.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples (2 of 5)ISO 1601-800 sec at f - 2.5

One of the best things about this flash is that no matter what, it’s going to be super color consistent. In fact, of any TTL hot shoe flash you’ll find that the best color consistency is right here. Then when you combine this with either a solid light modifier or a set white balance you’ll be ready to rock your shoot. What that translates into is you focusing more on just working with your model, subject, or client.

It’s such a nice feeling rather than needing to press the HSS button on the Odin or something else specifically. Sure, it sounds pompous but when you and the model are in a rhythm when shooting and you need to press the button then recompose and focus it can throw off the train of thought just a bit. Plus, not everyone is a model; if you’re doing headshots you’ll need to be doing a lot of directing and one less thing to worry about is always nice.

In practice, getting the settings right the first time around is done before you actually start shooting.

Here are more of the images that I shot with this flash.

EXIF DATA IS IN TACT.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples (3 of 5)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 3.5

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples (4 of 5)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples (5 of 5)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples portraits (2 of 4)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples portraits (3 of 4)ISO 1001-500 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples portraits (4 of 4)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 3.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Shanny EX600 EF flash samples portraits extra (1 of 1)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 1.8

Conclusions

Likes

  • Beautiful and color consistent light output
  • Built well
  • Automatic integration to HSS
  • Radio transmission is consistent and reliable

Dislikes

  • The hot shoe stand is crap
  • Takes a tad too long to go through the Canon menu system to do what you need.

Does Shanny have some advantages over the Phottix, Canon and Yongnuo systems? It sure as heck does and it mostly has to do with the simplicity and the integration into Canon’s system on top of the automatic HSS. It’s quite good and the radio transmission is more reliable than Phottix and Yongnuo. That’s not to say that the others are bad at all; they’re not. But I consistently never had a problem with the Shanny products.

Phoblographer-Star-rating

The Shanny SN600EX-RF Flash receives five out of five stars. They’re quite good and if you’re not shooting people then you’ve got zero things to complain about here. Phottix is still my favorite overall though. Want one? They’re available on Amazon; but if you buy in the USA then you’ll get a 1 year warranty.