I was after a replacement for my Canon 580EX II Speedlite and came across the Nissin Di866 Professional. 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