YongNuo Off-camera Shoe Cord SC-28A
For a Nikon TTL Off-Camera Shoe Cord, there is the SC-17 (discontinued), its replacement, the SC-28, and the luxury model SC-29 (with an AF-assist light so that you still have AF-assist when you move your Speedlight out of the hot-shoe). The SC-28 usually retails for around USD 60.
However, a number of eBay vendors offer after-market copies of the 10 feet / 3 meter long Nikon SC-28 for around USD 30 (Amazon sells a similar clone, known as the Opteka i-TTL cord) for even less. (Search eBay for this item.)
How usable is this Chinese clone of Nikon's Off-camera Shoe Cord SC-28? Read on to find out.
Nikon SC-28 cord clone
I ordered one from from a Hong Kong-based eBay vendor and paid USD 30, including shipping. There are cheaper vendors, but I wanted one with a high turnover and 100 % rating.
No brand was listed in the auction, but when the item arrived, the box said YongNuo Digital SC-28B TTL Remote Cord, while the cord itself was stamped YongNuo SC-28A. YongNuo is the brand name for a line of products manufactured by ShenZhen YongNuo Photographic Equipment Co. Ltd., a Chinese company that designs and produces photographic electronic equipment.
I have no idea what the difference is between the A and B models.
The image below shows the cord from four different angles. The box at the Speedlight end of the cord is fitted with two three-pin connectors that fans out to Nikon's older TTL-system (pre CLS). I have not tested these, since I haven't got any equipment that uses this type of connector. At the bottom of the box at the Speedlight end, there is a a hole with a standard BSW 1/4"x20 metal thread for mounting om stand/bracket (top right), The box at the camera end of the cord is fitted with a locking lever similar to the locking switch on the original Nikon SC-28 (bottom left). The hot-shoe for attaching the cord to the camera is metal (bottom right).
However, the first unit I received did not work right. The locking lever was loose and whenever I touched the lever, the flash mounted in the hot-shoe at the other end of the cord would fire.
I immediately contacted the seller and described the problem. In the reply, I was told to open the device and see if the problem could be fixed without making a return necessary. The photo below shows the inside of the faulty unit.
Inspecting the inside, I could not see any loose wires, dry joints, or anything else simple to fix. Too me, it looks like the problem has a mechanical cause: The locking lever assembly, shown at the rear in the photo, is loose. The metal rod that is part of the locking assembly moves laterally when the lever is pushed. This small movement somehow creates a short circuit below the small circuit board under the red and green wire, and this short circuit triggers random flashes.
I returned the unit, and ten days later, I received a replacement. The replacement worked fine, and I've been using it for around three months now without an issue.
The first Off-camera Shoe Cord I received had an electrical or mechanical fault. This demonstrates that quality control may be an issue with equipment manufactured in China. However, the replacement unit was quickly dispatched from Hong Kong, and the replacement cord was in good order.
For a cost USD 30, including shipping from Hong-Kong, this Chinese cord is in my opinion very good value.