Nissin Di622 Mark II Flash Gun
A powerful and affordably-priced external flash for Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras.The Nissin Di622 Mark II flash gun, which was announced at Photokina in September 2010, improves on an earlier model by adding Wireless TTL remote capabilities and the ability to be used as a slave flash with multiple flash units (including studio flash systems). This model sits in the middle of the Nissin flash range and is for DSLR cameras only. Its light output, coverage and controllability of the flash head make it ideal for photo enthusiasts. . . [more]
The Nissin Di622 Mark II flash gun, which was announced at Photokina in September 2010, improves on an earlier model by adding Wireless TTL remote capabilities and the ability to be used as a slave flash with multiple flash units (including studio flash systems). This model sits in the middle of the Nissin flash range and is for DSLR cameras only. Its light output, coverage and controllability of the flash head make it ideal for photo enthusiasts.
Designed to illuminate the same field of view as a 24-105mm lens, it can be extended to 16mm coverage with the wide angle diffuser, which pulls out from just above the flash head. The guide number in metres (which represents the maximum distance covered by the flash light)at ISO 100 ranges from 25 at 24mm to 35 at 50mm and 44 at 105mm, which is as much as most non-professional photographers will require.
The distribution of the light is automatically adjusted for the lens focal length by a built-in stepping motor that synchronises with the lens movement as the focal length is changed. Users can also choose from one of the six variable powers to suit different types of subjects.
Compatible with Canon’s E-TTL, E-TTLII and Nikon’s i-TTL digital through-the-lens flash systems, it is straightforward to operate. Just clip the clash onto the camera’s hot-shoe, switch it on and you’re ready to shoot. The light from the flash is controlled automatically by the camera and the built-in electronics in the Di622 Mark II.
The Di622 Mark II is supplied with a soft fabric pouch and an 8 cm CD containing the User’s Manual in PDF format. The manual is a single double-page spread with a small typeface so it’s advantageous to read it on a computer screen where it can be enlarged to a comfortable size. It covers most facets of the flash and is straightforward and easy to understand.
Build and Ergonomics
Although lacking some refinements, the Di622 Mark II is generally well built for its price. Made from black plastic, it has a matte surface that provides a secure grip. The mounting foot attaches securely to the camera’s hot-shoe and is held in place by a large locking ring that is easy to turn and doesn’t require much force to keep the flash in place.
Front view of the Nissin Di622 Mark II. (Source: Nissin.)
The bounce and swivel flash head moves across a series of click stops. There are five stops as you raise the head to the vertical position and nine as it is moved through 270 degrees from facing towards the right to pointing directly backwards.
Rear view showing the controls panel. (Source: Nissin.)
An internal mechanism also ‘zooms’ the flash tube as the camera’s lens is zoomed in and out, covering a focal length range from 24mm to 105mm in 35mm format. Manual zooming of the head is not supported and the zoom position defaults to 50mm when the Di622 Mark II is used off-camera or when the head is tilted or swivelled.
We have some reservations about the cover to the battery compartment, which can be difficult to open. Its attachment tethering is loose and appears to be a little flimsy and vulnerable to damage it it’s knocked while it’s open. However, the cover to the combined mini-jack and a PC-sync port, which is made from matte black rubber, appears to be more securely tethered and pushes in to lie flush with the side panel.
Pull-out diffuser and reflector panels are installed in the top of the flash head, where they sit almost flush with the front of the flash. The leading edge of these panels is quite narrow but they’re not too difficult to set up. Both panels can be pulled out together, the diffuser flipping down to cover the flash head. Alternatively, you can slide the reflector out on its own.
The rear panel carries the main controls, including the on/off button and a slider for adjusting output levels. When you switch the power on, the pilot lamp above the on/off button glows red, turning green when the capacitor is powered up and the flash is ready for use. You can fire a test flash by pressing the cover over the pilot lamp.
Above the output levels slider is a mode select button for toggling between the various flash modes. The default setting is TTL Auto, which has no coloured indicator LED. You can toggle through the Manual (red), SD (green) and SF (blue) settings to the Wireless (purple) mode before returning to TTL Auto.
The SD and SF modes are used when the Di622 Mark II is used as a slave unit in a wireless flash system. The SD (Slave Digital) mode synchronises with a digital pre-flash system where the master flash is a TTL unit. The SF (Slave Film) mode is for analogue flash systems, while the Wireless mode is used when the flash is part of a wireless remote system. The master flash must be set at Channel 1 group A in wireless remote mode.
You can lock the flash exposure with the camera’s flash exposure lock button (FEL on Canon or AE-L on Nikon). This ensures the flash exposure remains unchanged if you change the aperture or zoom the lens in and out. You can also set a customised power level, which will be memorised and automatically seta as a default. Both settings are handy when the flash is used for fill-in lighting with backlit subjects.
The Di622 Mark II includes a built-in system that conserves battery power. When the flash is camera-mounted it will automatically switch the flash to stand-by mode when it is unused for two minutes.
In stand-by mode, the pilot lamp blinks every two seconds and the flash can be re-activated by pressing any button. If the flash remains unused for 30 minutes, the power will be turned completely off to prevent current leakage from the batteries.
When the flash is used in slave or remote mode the stand-by mode is disabled. In addition, the delay before automatic switch-off is expended to 60 minutes. Power is restored by pressing the on/off button.
The only features that appear to be missing are a high-speed sync mode that enables the flash to be used with shutter speeds faster than the camera’s sync speed and the more sophisticated controls (like multi-channel grouping and power adjustments), provided by Nikon and Canon’s latest systems.
We tested the Di622 Mark II on the Canon EOS 40D and EOS 5D camera bodies and found it worked equally well with both cameras. Full E-TTL support enabled us to use the flash in auto mode and obtain correctly exposed shots when the flash head was pointed directly at the subject.
In low light levels, we estimate it under-exposed between 0.3EV and 0.7 EV (respectively) when bounced off the reflector and/or a ceiling or wall more than 1.5 metres from the subject.
These images show the Di622 Mark II used on the Canon EOS 40D as a direct flash (left) and the under-exposure that occurred when the flash light was bounced off a beige wall roughly one metre from the subject (right).
The AF-Assist light was pretty feeble and not much help for focusing in very low light levels. And it doesn’t cover all the AF points in either camera’s AF sensor array, which can be problematic when you want to illuminate off-centre subjects.
However, the diffuser provided a pleasing softening of the light output, which could also be adjusted on the flash itself (although this was seldom necessary). An example is shown below.
Pulling the diffuser panel over the flash head softened the light without removing the catch lights in the subject’s eyes.
Where the flash was used as a fill-in light and ambient light levels were relatively high, the additional light provided by the flash was subtle. However, the TTL exposure system delivered excellent results for both direct and bounced flash and with the diffuser. The Di622 Mark II also provided plenty of control over the balance between flash and ambient lighting, as shown in the illustrations below.
Taken in bright ambient lighting with the flash head pointing directly at the subject. (Note the shadows on the background.)
Taken with the flash head pointing at the white ceiling approximately 1.5 metres above the subject. (Note the shadow-free background.)
Taken with the flash head pointing directly at the subject and the diffuser pulled down over the flash head.
Where the flash was used as the main light source (for example, when shooting after dark), its influence was more emphatic. Nevertheless, bouncing the light produced excellent light diffusion, although using the diffuser with the flash pointing at the subject failed to provide adequate softening for background shadows, as shown in the illustrations below.
Taken in subdued lighting with the flash head pointing directly at the subject. (Note the shadows on the background.)
Taken with the flash head pointing at the white ceiling approximately 1.5 metres above the subject. (Note the shadow-free background but altered direction of the light.)
Taken with the flash head pointing directly at the subject and the diffuser pulled down over the flash head. The light is softened but the background shadows remain.
Recycling was relatively fast with the default settings in normal shooting conditions. However, we measured a delay of 4.3 seconds when the flash was used at full power in very low light levels to illuminate a distant subject.
As we didn’t have other flash units, we were unable to test the Di622 Mark II in a wireless flash set-up.
Buy this flash if:
– You require a powerful, easy-to-use flash gun for a Canon or Nikon DSLR camera.
– You need an affordable and versatile flash gun that can be used as an off-camera slave flash or as part of a wireless-controlled set-up.
– You could benefit from its flexibility and adjustability.
Don’t buy this flash:
– For a film SLR camera.
Camera TTL support: Canon, Nikon
Guide number (ISO 100/m): 25 at 24mm, 35 at 50mm, 44 at 105mm
Focal length coverage (35mm equiv.): 24-105mm
Bounce head: 90/180 degrees up, right, left
Wide angle diffuser: 16mm
Recycle time: 0.1-4.7 sec. with fresh Alkaline batteries
Flash duration TTL mode: 1/800 to 1/30000 sec.
Power supply: 4x AA batteries (Alkaline, NiMH or Lithium)
Auto power off: 30 mins.
Stand-by mode: 2 mins.
Wireless remote flash: Digital slave
EV compensation on flash: -1.5 to +1.5 in 1/2 EV steps
Control panel: LED
Accessories: Soft pouch, flash stand with tripod screw
Dimensions: 130 x77 x103 mm
Weight (without batteries): 315 grams
Rating (out of 10):
- Build: 8.5
- Ease of use: 9.0
- Features: 8.5
- Versatility: 8.5
- OVERALL: 9.0