Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nissin Flash Di466 Review

I have been googling for Nissis Di466 review for sometime and it seems that not much of people write review about this flash. After extensive research, finally I bought this flash for my Nikon D40 (Beginner DSLR, great for family photo shooter). I used this flash for my friend's wedding and the results are satisfactory.

Before that, initially I wanted to get the Nikon SB-400 flash but due to the price point, I find it's hard for me to put down the investment. Until I found this Nissin flash, which gives me a new life for flash photography. Hence, this review will have some comparison with the Nikon option.

Click the link below for specification.

Di466 Advantage
  1. Cheap – Nikon SB-400 costs RM450; Nissin Di466 costs RM355 (current price has gone up to RM385). I got the flash from a famous online photography store in Malaysia.
  2. Build in reflector and diffuser - This will save me to get a diffuser or save some time to DIY a reflector. I know, DIY reflector doesn't cost much but I rather have it built in.
  3. Remote trigger (without TTL/Manual flash) - I won't be using this feature but it's a plus for having it just in case I need it in future.
  4. Adjustable default flash compensation value - Nissin flash allow to set and memory the default flash compensation value. If the default value is underexposed for my taste, I can increased the compensation by +0.5 in the firmware. Therefore, no need to re-adjust the value whenever I power on it.
  5. Flash compensation button – By having the flash compensation button built on the flash, it really helps me to adjust the setting fast. As I know, adjust the flash compensation in Nikon D40 is a hassle (2 button pressed simultaneously plus thumb dial) and I can't adjust the setting in split second with the example below.
Overexposed photo (in wedding dinner) while they having a cheer.

Flash compensation -1.5 in split second. Underexposed but can be edited using Nikon Active D Ligthing.

Di466 Disadvantage
  1. 4 batteries – The flash required 4 batteries, therefore I need to pull out extra cash to get the batteries. As for SB-400, only 2 batteries required. However, I don't think 4 batteries is a big minus point for this flash.
  2. Weight & Size – Since it require 4 batteries, the size and weight is slightly larger and heavier than SB-400. But it doesn't matter much for me. Perhaps my wife might find it too much to handle.
  3. Non-flash shooting – I need to press the power off button on the flash for non-flash photo (press the button for 2 seconds) instead of using in camera control. I think this same goes to SB-400.
  4. No horizontal swivel head - I shoot horizontal in door photo most of the time, which only required the flash to point upwards. That's all I need, therefore this really not a minus point for me.
  5. No advance wireless remote trigger/Creative Lighting System - I used this flash only for family photo. No studio setup or any advance lighting required. Nikon D40 also does not come with remote commander. Again, this is not a minus point for me.
  6. Default flash compensation is underexposed - See direct flash comparison below.
Direct Flash Comparison
I have made a comparison between the built-in camera flash and Nissin flash. Below are the result and the flash compensation is increased using control on the flash instead. The first photo focus is different from the rest as I didn't check properly on the photos. However, the camera setting used are the same for all photos (ISO 800, 1/60s, f5.6, TTL flash).


Built-in Flash


+0.0 Flash Compensation (underexposed)


+0.5 Flash Compensation


+1.0 Flash Compensation


+1.5 Flash Compensation (overexposed)

Conclusion
In the direct flash comparison, the default setting for the nissin flash seems to be underexposed (Therefore, always check the photo and make necessary adjustment but I doubt anyone would use direct flash most of the time. Or I can set the firmware to default +0.5 to save some time). The +0.5 and +1.0 flash compensation result looks the same (Not sure whether this is a defect, but I think I lost a 0.5 stop option for the flash). Furthermore, I found Nissin produced slight warmer and much better lighting. The built-in flash's result looks balanced but I prefer result from Nissin flash.

With the feature comparison above, I think the Nissin Di466 has overthrown the Nikon SB-400 in terms of price and feature. If you are planning to get SB-400, check out Di466 before you make your final decision because it's a steal.

Final Note
  1. Always check your photo after each shot. Although the flash recycle time took 4 seconds for full powered flash (people might argue it's slow) but it a good chance to take this time to check the photo whether it exposed correctly.
  2. Crop for vertical perspective - Since the flash does not swivel on horizontal direction, keep shooting in horizontal perspective and crop the photo later in vertical using editor. This saves you to spend time to swivel the flash head instead of focus shooting photo.
  3. Off camera flash TTL system – The flash does not have build in TTL wireless control. However that doesn't mean to put you off from off camera flash with TTL setting. Nissin has a hot shoe wire (purchase separately) that allow this flash to fire off camera flash with TTL.
  4. Bounce flash will cause some photo with incorrect exposure - Factor including ceiling distance/surface and camera set up (apeture/shutter/iso/zoom length). This applies to all flash system.
Nikon D40 + Nissin Di466 Image


Sample Photos
Father's day Dinner

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice review sir, im planning to buy this flash for my d40, have you ever used its slave mode for off camera flash? using the built in flash of the d40 as master? thanks :)

Ivan said...

I will try to put a test on the remote trigger but I find it is a rare chance to use this feature on most of my occasion. I'll create an article for this once I got it tested.

Yoon Lee said...

I have 2 units of this myself. Been using them for about a year, mostly off camera. They work great off camera indoors. I especially like the fact that you can choose to trigger them from a TTL or manual flash unlike its bigger brother, the Di622.

However, my experience with them outdoors is mixed. They are not so reliable in sunlight, rather a bit of a hit or miss.

The Di622 about RM450-RM500 can tilt and swivel (so is better for on camera use vs the Di466) but can only be triggered off camera by a TTL (ie with pre-flash) flash. Manual mode flash wouldn't work.

Ivan, u should try to use your Di622 off camera as a key light and the camera flash as a fill light. You subjects will love you for it.

Hope this helps.

Yoon Lee

Yoon Lee said...

Sorry, I mean Di466 not Di622 in my last sentence addressed to Ivan.

Yoon Lee

Ivan said...

Yoon Lee, thanks for the tip.

I also found some discussions regarding the remote trigger is not as reliable (under sunlight) for this flash. Nevertheless i find it is a good start to pick up indoor remote flash photography. :)

matt said...

hi,

how does the AF assist of di466 work? Center focus point only or any focus point?

does this work with cheap wireless triggers?

thanks!

Ivan said...

@matt

The AF Assist is just only a red LED in the center on the flash body. So I guess it's center focus point only AF assist. Well, if you compared the AF assist with the build-in camera assist lamp, I think they are function the same. (If you really need AF assists seriously, expecially for low light photo shot, i suggest you get a mini LED torch. Much brigther for AF assist.)

I have checked the online forum and a lot cheap wireless triggers does not work with Nissin flash. If you need wireless flash for your shot, i suggest you get the Nikon CLS system (except the SB-400 which does not have CLS), which recommended by most forumers.

Anonymous said...

Nice review. I've just bought a Di466 for my Panasonic GF1 and am impressed with it, especially the build quality. I had bought a Metz 36 AF-5, but was very unimpressed at its features and the quality was poor.

Anonymous said...

nice review, a have the same flash and wondering how the remote trigger works i need it for my macro photography but dont have an idea how it works can u please teach me how? thanks a bunch

Ivan said...

I'm not into macro photography but the suitable flash I know is either a ring flash or Nikon R1C1 flash system (expensive). So I assume you're using the Nissin as a slave unit. You can set the slave mode by pressing the LED just beside "M/S1/S2" until it turn green. Place the flash and fire the main flash (more information can be found in the manual). Please note that the wireless trigger doesn't work well under bright sunlight. I hope this helps.