The Ultimate AmazonBasics VT560 Review! A Sub $30 Flash Unit!

The AmazonBasics range has actually managed to knock out some solid products over the years, essentially when it comes to their photography and videography products and we always see people reaching out about their products. Due to this, we have decided to take a look at their sub $30 flash unit, the VT560 and publish our full AmazonBasics VT560 review.

Now, there is no doubt at all that the entry-level flash unit market is dominated by the Neewer TT560 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) due to it being an excellent little flash unit with a solid reputation within the community. We have actually seen a number of people claim that the Neewer TT560 and the AmazonBasics VT560 are actually the exact same product under different branding al although they are very similar, they do have a few slight changes.

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The easiest difference between the two flash units to see is the different colored LEDs in the power meter but the differences do go beyond this. The main difference and the one that has held the AmazonBasics VT560 back and let the Neewer TT560 push ahead is its build quality. We have lost count of the number of photographers who pick up the AmazonBasics VT560 only to find that it doesn’t even work when they take it out the box.

Another difference is the flash sync protocol used on the VT560 is a legacy protocol that may not actually work with some of your modern camera accessories. This is not actually listed on the information about the AmazonBasics VT560 either so its something you have to find out via either reading reviews or by having problems trying to get the flash sync functionality to work. This third-party report on the VT560 also commends on this problem.

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User Interface And Control System

The photograph above shows the main control system for the AmazonBasics VT560 and as you can see, it uses a very similar control system to the majority of other entry-level flash units. Not only is this system very cheap to produce allowing the manufacturers to keep the price tag down but it is also very easy to learn to operate.

As the AmazonBasics VT560 is a very low price point flash unit, there is a good chance that this may be the first-ever flash unit that people reading this review may be adding to their camera accessories. Knowing that it is very easy to use and learn can often be a large selling point for people picking up their first flash unit who don’t have the time to spend reading over user manuals.

The system is based around a button to increase flash power, a button to decrease flash power, a flash mode selector, a flash mode adjuster, a test flash button, a power switch, and a charging indicator. Additionally, the VT560 also uses an LED-based level indicator to show various of flash settings.

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Performance And Functionality

Now, one thing that entry-level flash units often lack in is performance and features to provide some basic functionality for a flash. Thankfully, the AmazonBasics VT560 is actually pretty solid in all fairness to it and it does pack a fair amount of functionality and some solid performance. The list below covers some of the key features of the VT560 that we feel most of our readers will want to know:-

  • Three flash modes including manual flash mode, slave mode 1 and slave mode 2.
  • Vertical tilt from 0 to 90 degrees.
  • Horizontal panning from 0 to 270 degrees.
  • Eight individual levels of flash brightness.
  • Automatic saving function to retains flash settings.
  • Variable flash recycle time.

Although the flash recycles time on the AmazonBasics VT560 can be changed, its speed and effectiveness definatley depend on the quality of the batteries that you use to power the flash unit. We have seen reports of low-quality batteries taking up to seven seconds to recycle the flash whereas decent quality batteries can do it in less than a second.

In addition to this, when using a quick recycle time on the VT560 the flash unit can end up having some issues with overheating due to the excessive hat that quick recycles times can produce. That said, this is not an issue common to just the VT560 but all entry-level flash units.

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Build Quality And Design

As we mentioned at the top of the article, the AmazonBasics VT560 does have a few problems when it comes to its design and build quality that we will not cover again in this section as we have already been over them. In addition to these issues specific to the flash unit, the VT560 also has the issues commonly found on entry-level flash units.

The main one is that to keep the cost of the flash unit low, the plastics used for the case of the flash unit are not very robust. Although the flash will be able to take a few knocks, if you are in a photography niche where the flash may end up taking a large amount of punishment, we fully expect it to break.

Another common problem with entry-level flash units is that they use the Two by Two battery housing shown in the photograph above rather than the One by Four housing. This can lead to issues in dissipating the heat generated by the batteries when using a faster recycle time as heat transference between the batteries in a Two by Two set up can grow exponentially.

As we said though, this is a common issue with all entry-level flash units and only really happens when you are using a fast recycle time on the flash while rapidly activating it for extended sessions. If you are not planning to activate your flash unit multiple times in quick succession then this probably won’t be a problem for you.

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Our Verdict

That brings our review of the AmazonBasics VT560 flash unit to a close and although it is a pretty popular flash unit, it definatley does have issues that other flash units in the price range do not have. Due to this, we would always recommend the Neewer TT560 (Click here to check for product prices and availability) to our readers over the VT560 as it has all of the benefits of the VT560 with none of its specific drawbacks.

Additionally, the Newer TT560 is one of the most popular entry-level flash units at the time of writing due to it offering some of the best performance going for its price tag. We have no doubt that the TT560 will make a great investment for your camera accessories and help improve the image quality of your flash photography and low light images.

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Image Licensing

Shared under Creative Commons –

dallashangerphoto – Bekah Timm –

Kah Wai Sin – Bella Again –