PFRE readers that are polishing their multiple off-camera flash technique know from reading Scott Hargis's eBook or watching his video series, or just hanging out in the PFRE flickr group, that even though Nikon discontinued the SB-80dx flash late in 2003 this flash is still the most used manual flash by real estate photographers. It's popular because it has really sensitive built-in optical slave triggers, it's reliable and they are easy to purchase online. You can almost always find a SB-80dx or two at keh or ebay or even Amazon. The only problem is that the demand for these little buggers are driving the price up! A couple of years ago you could easily get one for $130. Nowadays the going price is more like $170 and I've heard some say they've paid over $200 for a SB-80dx.
Yongnuo has been working at making a SB-80dx like flash for quite a while now. The YN560 (circa 2010) came close but as David Hobby explains it had some reliability, build quality and interface issues. Yongnuo engineers must have read David's post because in late 2011 they brought out an improved version, the YN560-II. Here's a review of it. And here is another.
I just got a YN560-II to see how it compares to the SB-80dx. On the surface, to me it looks pretty comparable feature wise, even though it is less than half the price ($82 at Amazon) of a SB-80dx. Of course the key question is the YN560-II as reliable as the SB-80dx. I don't know, I haven't had mine long enough to tell. The questions is how has Yongnuo done with their quality control? If it's as reliable, the YN560-II could save a bunch of money!
I would like to hear from readers using the YN560-II. Have you found of any problems with this flash. So far, I haven't. This kind of question is better answered by the experience of a large group. Anyone out there using this flash? Leave us a comment.