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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 21 Jan 2010 (Thursday) 16:53
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A review of the Nissin Di866 Professional flash

 
troypiggo
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Jan 21, 2010 16:53 |  #1

I was after a replacement for my Canon 580EX II Speedlite (external link) and came across the Nissin Di866 Professional (external link). Reading the specs, it appeared to be very similar to the 580EX II at around half the cost. My usual practice is to search POTN for reviews or comments about equipment before I buy, but not much turned up on this flash. I decided to purchase it regardless and thought I'd post a review here, hoping it will help others in future.

It comes in both Canon and Nikon models. Since it most closely aligns with the Canon 580EX II for us Canon users, I'll compare features between the two and use the 580EX II as a sort of benchmark.

The Di866 is 134x74x110mm and weighs 380g, while the 580EXII is 134x76x114mm and weighs 375g. Weights are without batteries. Very close match.

In the box is the flash, a soft case, a stand with tripod screw, a fold-out sheet with quick instructions (as opposed to the small book you get with the 580EXII), and a CD-ROM presumably with a detailed manual and software for firmware updates (not sure, haven't looked yet, haven't needed to).

The build quality is surprisingly good. I wouldn't say it's as good as the 580EXII, but might come close to the 430EX. The hot-shoe foot is plastic, not metal like the 580EXII, but everything feels sturdy and don't really have any concerns.

Here's the main features I lifted from each manufacturers' website. Not sure if I'll get a chance to test all of them.

Things it does that the 580EX II does:
- Similar Guide Number, advertised as 60m/198ft at ISO100 & 105mm (580EXII GN is 58m same settings);
- E-TTL II compatible;
- Manual power from 1/1 down to 1/128 in 1/3 steps;
- Auto zoom control;
- AF Assist beam;
- Flash Exposure Lock;
- Flash Exposure Bracketing;
- High speed sync;
- Rear curtain sync;
- Head rotation 90 degrees for bounce, 180 degrees swivel;
- Wireless remote master and slave capability, compatible with Canon's system;
- Stroboscopic flash output from 1/8 to 1/128 power at 90Hz (580EXII can go from 1/4 to 1/128 power at frequency range 1-199Hz). I probably won't test this. I've never used this feature on any flash before.;
- External power pack socket;
- PC socket;
- Built-in catch-light reflector and wide screen panel; and
- 4xAA batteries.

Things it does that the 580EX II doesn't do:
- Sub-flash provides some fill light while bouncing the main flash. It's supposedly 12m ISO100 according to one site I read;
- Auto exposure mode;
- Firmware can be updated via USB connection; and
- You can calibrate the TTL settings.

Things it doesn't do that the 580EX II does:
- Dust and water resistant body; and
- Metal quick lock and release foot (the Di866 has a plastic foot and is similar to the 430EX one).

I found the colour LCD menu simple to navigate. By that, I mean I'm not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I didn't need to refer to the manual at all to navigate around the menu and figure out how to do everything. The display automatically rotates if you have the flash horizontal instead of vertical.

The above are just my initial impressions and observations. I intend to do some testing on the weekend and will post results and piccies then. Some of the tests I intend to do are:

- compare full power output with the 580EXII. I don't have a lightmeter, so this is about all I can think of.
- test the master and slave reliability
- test the max sync speed
- have a look at the effects of the subflash
- compare the zoom spreads to the 580EXII
- see if 580EXII accessories, like better beamer, fit
- compare recycle times with the 580EXII


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troypiggo
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Jan 21, 2010 16:53 |  #2

Ok, so I did some testing today but ran out of time for anything comprehensive.

The master/slave worked well in combination with the 580EXII. Just as good as the 580EXII/430EX combination. I guess the same rules would apply that it'd be a bit hit and miss outdoors in direct sunlight, and you need direct line of sight between the master and slave.

The max sync speed was around 1/250s with my 40D and CyberSyncs. I can get around 1/320s with the 580EXII.

I don't have any photos to share with the sub-flash, but it certainly does help fill in shadows when using the bounce flash. The sub-flash can be set from 1/1 down to 1/32 power.

Recycle times were definitely a little slower than the 580EXII. I'd say the 580EXII was recycling from a full power burst around 1/2 to 2/3 the time of the Di866.

At this stage I've yet to test the full power output comparison. Not sure of the most elegant way to do this without a lightmeter. Any ideas?

Conclusion:

Fantastic value - you get nearly all the features of the 580EXII at just over half the cost. Sync speed and recycle times are a little slower than the 580EXII, and the build quality is good but not quite the same. Overall I'm pretty happy with it and would definitely recommend it. I'll be keeping it instead of buying another 580EXII.


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themadman
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Jan 21, 2010 16:57 |  #3

Question: The 580EX II and 430EX II use a different frequency for the charging noise so the human ear cannot hear it, when older flashes, like the 40EX, has a high pitched charge up noise. Does this flash have a charge up noise?


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aerosmith9110
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Jan 21, 2010 17:03 |  #4

It does have FEB :D

and just to add if you got a canon version buy a cannon flash power pack. if you got a nikon buy the nikon flash power pack ( not the SD - 9 ).

Sub flash is a little bright even at the lowest setting ( for me ) already emailed nissin about this..


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msowsun
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Jan 21, 2010 17:11 |  #5

troypiggo wrote in post #9442661 (external link)
Things it does that the 580EX II doesn't do:

- Auto exposure mode;

The 580EX II also has Auto exposure mode.

Can the Di866 access the in-camera flash menu on Digic III and Digic IV cameras?


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troypiggo
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Jan 21, 2010 17:33 |  #6

themadman wrote in post #9442684 (external link)
Question: The 580EX II and 430EX II use a different frequency for the charging noise so the human ear cannot hear it, when older flashes, like the 40EX, has a high pitched charge up noise. Does this flash have a charge up noise?

Pretty sure it doesn't. But I do have a bit of a high frequency hearing issue. And my wife is an audiologist. I'll ask her if she hears anything when I get home.

aerosmith9110 wrote in post #9442712 (external link)
It does have FEB :D
...

Cool. Thanks for confirming that. I'll update my post.

msowsun wrote in post #9442751 (external link)
The 580EX II also has Auto exposure mode.

Can the Di866 access the in-camera flash menu on Digic III and Digic IV cameras?

Sorry. The features were lifted off each manufacturer's website, and the Canon one I used mustn't have listed it. And to be honest, I've never used it in any mode other than ETTL and Manual. I'll have to check into your questions and get back to you. Don't have it with me at the moment.


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themadman
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Jan 21, 2010 17:40 |  #7

Looking forward to your review, might sell a 430EX and replace with that! Well.. depending on the review =P


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TMR ­ Design
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Jan 21, 2010 17:49 as a reply to  @ themadman's post |  #8

The external battery pack and cable are insanely expensive. Unless I'm missing something I can't find a Yongnuo or inexpensive pack that uses AA's.

The flash itself does look good and seems to have quite a nice feature set but the recycle time is not that fast and the only way to speed it up is to use an external battery pack.

Do you know if there is solution other than the $500 pack I'm finding?


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themadman
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Jan 21, 2010 17:56 |  #9

TMR Design wrote in post #9443022 (external link)
The external battery pack and cable are insanely expensive. Unless I'm missing something I can't find a Yongnuo or inexpensive pack that uses AA's.

The flash itself does look good and seems to have quite a nice feature set but the recycle time is not that fast and the only way to speed it up is to use an external battery pack.

Do you know if there is solution other than the $500 pack I'm finding?

Umm all Yongnuo battery packs use AA's...

SF-18: http://szyongnuo.en.al​ibaba.com …_Battery_Pack_S​F_18C.html (external link)

Specification:
This external flash battery pack is an external power source for the Canon Speedlight. This Battery Pack can hold 8 AA-type batteries, ensuring a stable power supply for the speedlite, greatly increasing the number of flashes, and reducing recycling time.
Features:
-Protective Case: Protective soft case can be worn on belt or put in a bag; light and easy to carry. The one-way connector plug is designed to avoid mis-connections which can lead to flash unit damage.
1/4'' Thread Screw: Standard thread for tripod mount.
-Performance: The Pack reduces recycling time to less than half of a normal cycle and can give up to double the amount of flashes as the original ( a ). It is suitable for continuous flash use ( b ).
-Convenience: The Pack uses 8 AA batteries (same batteries as flash) and with different connecting plugs, supports most Canon flashes to greatly increase flash capacity. It's ideal for the professional.
Product dimensions: 69mm(w)x158mm(h)x25mm(​d)
Net weight: 170g
Operating Temperature range: 0oC-40oC
Suits: Canon 580EXII 580EX, 550EX, MR-14EX, MT-24EX
Package Includes:
1 x External Flash Battery Pack (batteries not included),
1 x padded protective case,
1 x 1/4 inch screw adaptor & English and Chinese instructions.

SF-17 : http://szyongnuo.en.al​ibaba.com …t_Battery_Pack_​SF_17.html (external link)

Support to be used with:
Canon flash light --- 580 EXII, 580 EX, 550 EX, MR-14EX, MT-24EX
Nikon flash light --- SB-11, SB-20, SB-22, SB-24, SB-25, SB-26, SB-27, SB-28, SB-28DX, SB-80DX, SB800
Sony flash light --- HVL-F56AM
Specification:
External Dimension (WxHxD): 69x158x25mm
Net Weight: 170g
Application Temperature: 0C-40C
Package included: Battery Magazine --- 1 pc
Battery Protection case --- 1 pc
Manual --- 1 pc
AA Battery Type
Number of Flashes (Approx.)
Recycle Time (Approx.)
Alkaline-manganese
250 Times
0.2-5 sec.
Ni-MH
200 Times
0.2-4 sec.
Lithium
700 Times
0.2-7 sec.
* Batteries shall not be provided, but the above types are usable.

Ebay Link for SF-17: http://shop.ebay.com …kw=sf+17++canon​&_osacat=0 (external link)

Ebay link for SF-18: http://shop.ebay.com …ies&_trksid=p32​86.c0.m301 (external link)


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Jan 21, 2010 18:06 |  #10

I think you misunderstood me. I'm aware of those products. I own an SF-18 that I use with my Nikon SB-900 but I don't see anything to indicate that the SF-17 or SF-18 are compatible with the Nissin flash. Can you show me where that is documented?

I wouldn't just assume that a Yongnuo pack for Canon will work with a Nissin for Canon.


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themadman
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Jan 21, 2010 18:17 |  #11

Ah, gotcha, I did misunderstand you. My bad.

EDIT: I looked at photos of the Nissin Di866 external power plug and it looks the same as the Canon one, I am gonna guess the Canon sf-18 battery pack should work.


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Jan 21, 2010 21:40 |  #12

Good start! Looking forward to the details.


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aerosmith9110
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Jan 22, 2010 09:20 |  #13

I confirmed by email to nissin... here is what they said..


> The Di866 has two mount, for Canon and Nikon.
>
> The Di866 Canon mount can be used in Nissin original Power
> Pack PS300 and
> Canon CP-E4.
> The Di866 Nikon mount can be used in Nissin original Power
> Pack PS300 and
> Nikon SD-8A and SD-9. ( not sure on this since site says SD 9 not compatible from what i Remember )


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robojack
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Jan 22, 2010 10:03 |  #14

How much does this flash cost?


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Jan 22, 2010 10:12 |  #15

robojack wrote in post #9447217 (external link)
How much does this flash cost?

http://cgi.ebay.com …&ssPageName=STR​K:MEWAX:IT (external link)


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A review of the Nissin Di866 Professional flash
FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
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