I had the opportunity to test the new Nissin Di866 flash which if you didn’t know what it was you would think is a Nikon SB900. It has a very similar look and size to Nikon’s top flash. Nissin is a company from Japan that makes aftermarket flashes for many manufacturers. The Di866 can be found for Nikon or Canon utilizing their proprietary TTL systems. For an aftermarket flash that is a good feature to have.
At my first glance of the flash it looked pretty neat. It had a good range, good swivel and even a modeling light just like the Nikon SB800. There is a full color LCD on the back of the flash which may not be that great for batteries but a cool feature of the LCD display is if you have the flash mounted sideways the LCD will turn so it is always right side up. This can be disabled to help save batteries as well.
One up for Nissin is the battery pack. Instead of just dropping batteries into the unit you remove a holster for 4 AA batteries. This could be good if you get extra holsters to easily swap batteries when on the job.
Now for the uh oh…
During my first testing I changed the default setting from TTL to Manual and the entire flash froze. I could not change settings, test fire or even turn the flash off. I had to pull the batteries.
I took the Nissin flash to the live shoot I had recently, put a Honl Snoot on it and even at a low power setting the flash still took a long time to recharge causing a few under exposed shots. After happening way too many times I switched to my Nikon SB900 and went on with the day.
That is a big fail for Nissin. Sorry, but your flash needs some speed to keep up with a photographer.
Check out this small video I made using the Flip camera. Please don’t mind the blurry as it doesn’t focus well close up.
Note to self: I need a video camera
Thanks for reading and happy shooting,