Good Enough Lighting Options Under $Z

Wireless TTL and High Speed Sync are features that have triggered upgrade cycles.

There’s constantly new innovative light gear being released. Which means there is a constant stream of used gear being put up for sale.

It’s challenging to know what to look for and if it is a good deal.

I’m only interested in speedlights with wireless controls. I do not want to deal with additional batteries for triggers or using optical slaves.

A huge bonus goes to anything that can do high speed sync. A transmitter that can control strobes is preferable.

A S-Type Bowens mount bracket allows speedlites to be used with Bowens modifiers.

3 Yongnuo YN560 IV flashes setup to take photos on a seamless white background.
3 light setup for a seamless white background.

Uses the Yongnuo YN560-TX wireless trigger. Also works with the YN560 III and YN660. RF-603 and RF-605 triggeres also work with the transmitter. RF-605 can be put into groups.

It can act as a transmitter on it’s own. It can only control 3 groups of flashes.

The tabs on a battery door broke. I was able to buy a replacement battery door. Swapping it out required pressing down a tab with a screwdriver.

They’re wireless, have worked for years, use AA batteries, and cost ~$45 used.

Beyond that, I’ve never felt the need for a faster recharge rate or more power. High speed sync would be nice, but if needed, I would use Godox AD200’s.

Uses the same trigger as the YN560 IV. Does not have a built-in transmitter, only a receiver.

The prices are only ~$5 cheaper.

Uses the same wireless trigger as the YN560 III/IV.

The interface has been overhauled. I’m not sure what other improvements it has over the YN560IV.

They are in short supply used on eBay. ~$10 more expensive.

LightPix Labs FlashQ Q20II taken in a light kit
webp conversion of a jpeg from the setup above

Uses 2 AA batteries, has a tiny wireless transmitter, and a flippy head. There are tiny gels for it, what’s not to love?

This is a popular choice for smaller cameras that don’t have a built in flash. For examples, the Ricoh GR III.

Thanks to lithium ion batteries, there are small, light, portable, self contained options.

Godox AD200 Strobe
Godox AD200 Strobe kit in case.

The value proposition from Godox is in my opinion, impossible to beat. Specifically, the AD series of strobes.

Adorama distributes Godox gear in the US under the “Flashpoint XPLOR” branding. If you want better warranty support, I would suggest buying from Adorama.

Einstein with Cyber Commander and SyberSync Transceiver
Einstein with Cyber Commander and SyberSync Transceiver

The Einsteins are worth getting for their short flash duration. The wireless trigger system feels a bit antiquated with the dongles and flash trigger.

They can be found used for around half MSRP, which makes them a great value.

The AlienBees are a good option for a studio setup that doesn’t need to move. They are less than $180 used.

I have found their light modifiers to be very good quality and easy to deploy.

I absolutely hate the Balcar mount. Lining up the little claws and getting them all to engage is a gigantic pain. Thankfully the mounting plates can easily be switched out for Bowens.

A surprising number of people in China think they can make a better COB LED light than the competition.

For 60W or 100W lights, my recommendation is to buy a good used deal.

Godox has a series of lights with increasing wattage: SL-60W, 100W, 150W, 200W versions.

All of these should be possible to find for under $100. Look for bundled items like batteries or other accessories.

Some of the models that can be battery powered also have wall adapters with d-tap connectors.


  • Amaran 60D
  • Godox SLB60W
  • Zhiyun Molus
  • Andoer Tri-Color LED
  • Shunyi 60W

No Battery:

  • Neewer CB60 60W
  • Neewer SL60W
  • Godox SL-60W