Nissin Di622 Flash (available for Nikon and Canon)
Once in a while, great products come out in the market that not only offers quality but also great value. The Nissin Di622 external camera flash, available for both Canon and Nikon mounts is just that. While most OEM products are well worth their weight in dollars, many camera equipment are beyond the beginnere27s limited budget.
With repeated advice in my site to beginners to get a flash before anything else after their first camera kit, it’s about time that we review a low-cost, high-quality flashgun that’s out in the market today.
The Nissin Speedlite Di622 is manufactured by one of Japan’s oldest camera flash manufacturers, Nissin Marketing. The Nissin Di622 (Di622 hereon out) is a mid-level flash model for the Nissin brand and it’s intended to match up against the mid-level offerings of Nikon and Canon (SB-600 and 430EXII, respectively) in terms of output and features.
NOTE: AN UPDATED NISSIN Di622 MARK II is available, read my full review here.
First the specs:
Usable camera – CANON digital camera, NIKON digital camera
Guide Number – 44m, 145ft. (ISO 100), 62m, 205ft. (ISO 200)
Variable power 6 levels: Full – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 powers
Flash exposure control E-TTL and E-TTL II for Canon cameras / i-TTL for Nikon cameras
Power source 4X LR6 or equivalent Mi-MH, lithium, oxyride batteries
Recycling time 0.2 -4.7 sec., with fresh alkaline batteries / 0.2 -4 sec., with Ni-MH batteries
Energy saving system 5 minutes to stand-by mode, 30 minutes to shut down
Number of flashes 200-1500 flashes by fresh alkaline batteries
Illumination angle Digital lens : 16mm (14mm with wide angle diffuser) / by zooming reflector to – 18 – 24 – 35 – 47 – 57 – 70mm
Traditional lens : 28mm (20mm with wide angle diffuser) to – 28 – 35 – 50 – 70 – 85 – 105mm
Turning head 90-degrees upward, 90-degrees to the left, 180-degrees to the right
Slave mode Slave sync : with respect to the digital pre-flash system
Power level : same as the variable power above
AF Assist light Infrared LED for distance of 0.7 to 6 meter.
Color temperature 5,600K (same as daylight)
Flash duration 1/800sec. to 1/20,000sec.
Camera contact Hotshoe only (not compatible with the traditional hotshoe system)
Accessories included Shoe stand, pouch
Dimensions 77(W) x 130(D) x103(H) mm / 30(W) x 51(D) x 40(H) inches
Weight 315g (without battery) / 11oz
The main attraction for the Di622 is the cost. At roughly US$150 a unit, it’s at least 40% cheaper than the equivalent Nikon or Canon unit, and it’s fully compatible with each brand’s TTL flash metering system.
You can buy both Mark 2 versions of Canon and Nikon versions with the link below:
The flash is slightly larger than the Nikon/Canon equivalent with a tilt/swivel head and zoom flash head. The head can turn all the way back, which is very helpful when creating directional light when shooting indoors by bouncing off walls. Interestingly, the flash swivels 180-degrees to the right, instead of the usual left. It’s more useful for a flash to swivel to the right when you’re holding the camera vertically as it still allows you to bounce light off the ceiling.
Having a button-less tilt/swivel head makes it easy and fast to switch flashhead direction.
Standard package comes with a flash unit, a carrying pouch, a flash stand, and user’s manual. The lightstand is very useful when you need to use the flash off-camera, more on this later.
The Di622 takes 4 AA batteries, as usual, but Nissin also has their own proprietary battery that allows much faster recyling time (not available in this review). The battery compartment door slides and tilts before opening, so accidental opening of the battery compartment is reduced.
The flash has a built-in diffuser panel that spreads up to 17mm wide angle coverage, while the zoom head covers a 24-105mm range. The flash also has a built-in bounce card, handy when you need to soften your light by bouncing vertically, while still requiring a bounce card to fill in the shadows.
The flash head zooms and unzooms as soon as you turn your lens’ zoom ring. There’s quite an audible noise present when the flash head is zooming internally, unfortunately.
Controls are very simple and straight-forward. There are a total of three buttons at the back with 3 sets of indicator lights. The Mode button functions as an automatic TTL/ Slave mode selector, or as a power adjustment selector. The Power button turns the unit on and off, while the LED indicators are clearly labeled to indicate power levels, pilot light, and TTL indicator.
The lack of menu and LCD allows quick selection of the different options available for the flash and it’s incredibly simple to use in dark areas unlike flash units with monitors.
The flash performs really well with a wide range of subjects. There is a hint of underexposure but not too much that it’s noticeable in most photographs. TTL system works well and is very reliable. The camera can control the flash compensation amount and you can use flash exposure lock on your camera as well to lock exposure on the Di622.
The flash recycles quickly and produces even and consistent output even at 6+fps burst frames.
One of the special features of the Di622 is the ability to work off-cam via wireless optical mode. The Di622 can be triggered either by optical means (a primary flash burst) such as a pop-up flash or another flash gun; or via TTL pulse signal coming from a flash commander/master (not IR).
In the example below, a Canon 550EX unit was set to Master with its flash power set to “Off”, meaning that the flash will only send out a pulse signal to trigger other flashes without firing a light itself. The Di622 worked reliably indoors even through line-of-sight obstacles.
Here you can see the Di622 firing off-camera via remote master. Note that no light is coming from the axis of the lens as the flash on the the camera mounted flash is only acting as a signal master, and not another flash unit.
The next photo shows the on-camera flash set to fire, while the Di622 still supplies the light from the left side of the subject.
The wireless optical (via flash) triggering works well even outdoors with obstacles. The photo below shows the Di622 placed at around 25ft from the camera and no misfires were detected in 20 consecutive shots.
If you have other multiple flashes available, you can configure the flashes to fire off each other optically and produce creative lighting for your subjects. Do note, however, that the flash tends to enter a battery-saving, stand-by mode in 30-seconds if the flash doesn’t detect any signal while off-camera.
Note that the Di622 will fire via optical or TTL pulse signal, but it cannot be used with a standard center-pin radio trigger system as the circuitry is designed differently. It will not work with Flash Waves, Pocket Wizards, Skyports, Cactus, etc. Lastly, it’ll not work with IR master devices like the Canon ST-E2 and the Nikon SU-800. The flash DOES NOT meter the scene via TTL, just responds to signals for triggering.
NOTE: AN UPDATED NISSIN Di622 MARK II is available, it’s RF trigger COMPATIBLE, read my full review here.
You can trigger the Di622 with traditional RF triggers if you’re handy with a soldering iron, feel free to try this page (registration may be required, written in Tagalog), or these two videos (part 1, part 2) – Warning, warranty will be void and I won’t be resposible if your flash gets damaged, try it at your own risk.
The Nissin Di622 is well made and works as advertised. If you’re after more power and a unit that can trigger with standard radio triggers without modifications, there is a higher-end model called Nissin Di866 available, which we’ll review in the future.
Returning to the flash review…
Last negative would be that the Nissin Di622 doesn’t offer high-speed sync where you can use your flash beyond your camera’s sync speed.
If you’re after an on-camera flash that doesn’t break the bank, the Nissin Di622 is tough to match in performance and value. It’s a real workhorse used successfully by pros and amateurs alike. While it lacks certain OEM features like the Nikon CLS or Canon Wireless ETTL ratio syncronization, most 3rd party flashes at this price range don’t offer these OEM features either.
The Metz/Sigma counterparts are more expensive, but they do offer ratio-based iTTL/eTTL metering, however (thanks to some forum folks at PotN for providing me these info).
If budget isn’t an issue, I’d recommend you to get an OEM flash, however, the price difference is quite great and sometimes, the differences are not as significant in real-life applications. In most on-camera cases, all you’ll need is a sturdy flash that can swivel and bounce, provides consistent exposures, recycles quickly, and built solidly for your day-to-day shots and even serious event coverage, the Nissin is hard to beat.
Final note and update: As of Feb 2010, the NIKON MOUNT versions can utilize standard radio triggers like Pocket Wizards, Flashwaves, YongNuo, Cactus, etc. The Canon mount haven’t been updated and CANNOT use standard RF triggers.
Nissin Di622 Mark II Versions
|Nissin ND622MKII-N Speedlite Di 622 Mark II Flash System for Nikon (Black)|
|Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce OM-C Flash Diffuser for Nissin Di622 Flashes|
|Phottix Strato 2.4 GHz Wireless 4 in 1 Trigger Set for Canon|
|HonlPhoto Sample Starter Color Correction Gel Kit|
NOTE: A REVIEW FOR THE UPDATED NISSIN Di622 MARK II FLASH is available.
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