Most speedlights come with an AF assist beam. This beam helps your camera focus in low light. Nikon and Sony cameras also have an AF assist beam built into the bodies, Canon cameras, however, do not. So, if you are a Canon user, the only way to get the benefits of an AF assist beam is to have a big speedlight on your camera. At least, it used to be.


Yongnuo, the maker of many budget speedlights, has apparently seen the need for such a device for Canon users and has developed a new AF Assist accessory. The new YN12AF is a hot shoe mounted accessory that can basically be described as a speedlight AF assist beam. It is small, light, and has an internal battery charged via USB. It is a much more attractive alternative to having to lug around a speedlight on your camera just for the benefit of an AF assist beam.

[REWIND: Yongnuo RF-603 II Triggers Announced]

I am sure some of you are wondering if the AF assist beam really helps all that much. Surely, Canon does not think so since they have not built one into their bodies. The video below does a good job in showing the necessity of an AF assist beam.

The video itself is a battle between the Nikon D600 and Canon 6D, but if you skip to 11:40 for the low light test you will get a really good idea of why having an AF assist beam is useful.

Did you see how much faster the D600 was at focusing in the low light than the 6D when using its AF assist beam? How about the improvement from the 6D once the speedlight was added with the assist beam?

That is what this Yongnuo accessory is trying to do, give you better low light AF performance with your Canon camera.

No availability or Pricing has been released yet, but reports suggest that it will likely be an item in the $20 range. Definitely worth the benefits, in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on this device? If you are a Canon user, do you see yourself buying a device like this to help with your low light focusing? Share your thoughts in a comment below.