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Friday
Sep022011

A Flash On The Cam: Nissin di622 Mk.2 Canon Speedlite Review

(If you can't see the video, please click here.)

No preamble for this review, here's the low-down: With the Nissin di622 mk. 2 you get a powerful flash that can bounce and swivel, and one that you can use as a slave flash for your digital SLR, compact or film camera without having to buy any extra wires, transmitters or gadgets. That's right, as soon as you get one of these great speedlites you can get it out of the box, throw it on a make-shift stand and begin your journey down the road of a strobist.

If you haven't already clicked away to buy one of these flashes,, firstly I'd like to thank the kind folks over at Kenro for sending me a di622 mk. II to play with for the last couple of weeks. I've messed around using the on-camera flash on my Canon 350d, but this is the first time I've done any bounce and swivel work, off-camera or TTL Cord Flash Work.

 IMG_5497

When you unbox a di622 mk2, the first impressions are good. This flash is very well made. I've handled the high-end Canon and Nikon strobes, and the Nissin feels no different. It locks nicely onto it's stand, or the top of an SLR. The buttons are positive and the finish is professional and workman-like. This flash is made for some serious business.

IMG_5381

 As you've heard in the video at the top of this review, having an extra flash on top of, or controlled by, your camera, enables you to control the light falling on your subject, and create more dynamic, flattering and interesting photos in what otherwise could be flat and boring light.

The di622 is available for Canon and Nikon cameras, and is compatible with ETTL and ITTL, so it will work in fully automatic mode when you want it to. This means that the camera will set the exposure to get a good looking back-ground, then it will fire the flash twice, once to judge the exposure for the foreground subject, then again to light it up. This happens so fast that it looks like one flash, and the system works very well, and ensures that in most situations achieving great looking flash photographs is very, very easy.

IMG_5423

You can use the flash in manual mode too, adjusting the power to suit your subject, but where things get really interesting is when you take the flash off the camera.

Use the Nissin SC-01 Universal Shoe Cord, and that will give you ettl (or ittl) flash photography. Simply hold the flash away from the camera and click away, and you'll get great shots almost evry time.

You can however take things further and take the flash completely off the camera. The di622 mk. 2 has a sensor that enables it to detect when the on-camera flash of your dSLR, compact, film or polaroid camera fires, and then the di622 will fire itself.

IMG_5424

 As you can see from these photo's this optical slave system works very well and even in bright sunshine. In the photo below I set my camera up on a tripod in the kitchen, then used it's pop-up flash to fire the Nissin. Even on a fairly bright summers day the system worked right up to our garden wall, about 100 feet away, and would have probably worked at a greater distance if I'd had the room!

Nissin Di622 Mk. 2 Optical Slave Distance Test

You may well want to use the flash in a slightly different way, as I have below. I used the di622 mk 2 to light up a white background, and my on camera flash (and a reflector) to light up my subject. you could use this technique for high-key portraits, or in my case I was attempting to emulate the classic look of certain David Bailey Photographs.

IMAG1849

By now you should be getting the impression of how incredibly versatile the di622 is, and how useful it could be to all photographers.

It's ability to act as a slave for not only dSLR's, but digital compacts, film and instant cameras mean that it can be used with almost all the kit you've got. Fancy adding a hair light to your polaroid photography? The 622 can help you with that. How about adding range to the feeble little flash on your digital compact? The Nissin is there right away. Need fully automatic flash reflected off a ceiling for flattering portraits? You've got it, the di622 could be the flash for you.

IMG_5459

After experimenting with off camera flash for awhile, I decided to put the flash back on the camera and have a look at how bouncing the light in different directions would change the final photograph. 

 In the photos below i tried the following "directions".

On camera, straight on, flat.
On camera, straight on, 90 degres up.
On camera, 90 left, 45 up.
On camera, 45 right, 45 up.
On camera, 90 right, 45 up.
On camera, straight on, flat.
Off camera, high and left, towards subject.
Off camera, high and right, towards subject.

(The photos were converted to black and white to remove the distracting colour casts caused by our beige walls....)

Nissin di622 Mk 2 Flash Test - Bust

(Click here to see the picture bigger)

That brings me almost to the end of this review. I suppose I should mention that the di622 mk 2 has a guide number of 44m, 145ft. (ISO 100), 62m, 205ft. (ISO 200). It runs off 4 aa batteries, has a recycle time of about 4 seconds, and you'll get between 200 and 1500 flashes from a new set of batteries.

Don't worry about the technicals though. The Nissin d622 mkII is simply a powerful, bounce and swivel flash that works incredibly well. You'll be shooting off-camera flash before you know it, and you'll be delving into manual mode without a second thought.

Grab one now!

Cheers, Rob.

Reader Comments (2)

Hi Rob,
I'd been thinking of getting a flash for some time now, and have been looking around the web for reviews etc. After reading your post on this Nissin flash, I knew right away this was the flash for me! So thank you for this review, you helped me make a good decision. Keep up the good work, love to listen to the podcast, too.
My best

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Hi Alistair,

The Nissin flash is great, I especially like the slave flash features.

Thanks for listening to the podcast, and keep in touch!

Thanks, Rob.

September 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterRob_Nunn

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