Nissin Flash Review: Di622-II

Nissin Di622 Mark II review on cameraThe new Nissin Di622-II flash for Canon or Nikon is an interesting alternative to the 430EX series and the SB-600 / SB-700, respectively. If you are looking for an external flash that doesn’t cost a fortune, the Di622 Mark II might be for you.

There is some compromise to make; you don’t get high speed sync, for example, nor modeling light. But everything whats really needed for good photos is there, in a good quality package.

Compared to the original Nissin Di622 (mk 1), it was upgraded in many ways. The greatest improvement is the addition of a wireless TTL slave mode, which allows remote triggering within the dedicated Canon or Nikon remote flash system, e.g. from a Nikon SB-900 as master or compatible built-in flashes, found in more and more Canon bodies and Nikon cameras such as the D7000.

Introduced in late 2010 and priced at <$200, the model under review is probably the cheapest speedlite today with this remote slave feature (together with the Metz 44 AF-1 which is not available in the US for unknown reasons).

 

Nissin Di-622 II Highlights

  • Very powerful (official GN 32, but GN 37 in testing)
  • One of the lowest price flash with wireless TTL slave mode
  • 5 triggering options for wireless flash (incl mini phone)
  • Super easy to use – “no frills”

 

Compatible Cameras

As of March 2011, the list of compatible Canon cameras comprises the following models: 1D Mark IV, 1D Mark III, 1D Mark II N, 1D Mark II, 5D Mark II, 7D, 5D, 60D, 50D, 40D, 30D, 20D, 10D, 550D (Rebel T2i), 500D (Rebel T1i), 450D (Rebel XSi), 400D (Rebel XTi), 350D (Rebel XT), 300D (Rebel X), 1000D (Rebel XS/Kiss F).

Compatible Nikon bodies include D3X, D3s, D3, D2Xs, D700 (except flash value lock feature), D300s, D300, D200, D90, D80, D70s, D70, D7000, D3100, D3000, D5000, D60, D50, D40X, and the D40.

Visit the Nissin compatbility page for updates and compatibility info on the latest camera bodies, e.g. 600D / T3i, or 1100D, or upcoming Nikon DSLR’s.

Review Contents

Available Flash Modes & Wireless Modes

The “Mode” LED on the back of the flash shows the currently active flash mode or the current wireless setting – it’s a button and indicator at the same time. For the 5 different modes that are offered a total of 4 different colors are being used.

Nissin Di622 Mark II Flash Modes

  • purple indicates the wireless digital TTL slave mode, i.e. Nikon AWL slave mode, or Canon wireless TTL slave. In that mode, the LED battery below the mode light is not used (there is no flash exposure compensation possible on the Nissin)
  • blue stands for simple slave mode “SF”, with the LED lights underneath the mode button as indicator for output level. In the image, the speedlight is set to 1/32 power
  • green for digital TTL slave “SD” where the speedlight ignores pre-flashes to fire in sync with the main flash. The yellow LEDs serve the same function here, i.e. to indicate the current power setting (here 1/8).
  • red for manual mode; it’s also in mode “M” that the battery of yellow LEDs indicate the current output level between 1/32 to 1/1 (full power)
  • The 5th mode finally, which is the default digital TTL mode, is set when the LED is off, so “no color” means you’re in the normal hot shoe TTL. The LEDs show the exposure compensation set on the flash in this mode (an exposure compensation set on the camera is not shown on the flash).

What you don’t get from Nissin are the older Nikon TTL modes: Di622-II does not support the first generation D-TTL and can’t be used with film-based camera bodies either (analog TTL). Same holds true for the Canon version, where the conventional TTL for old analog bodies is missing as well. There’s also no strobo / multi-flash mode available, and also no “auto” mode. The normal photographer doesn’t need any of these.

Di622 II as Wireless Flash

The Nissin Di622 Mark II is the record holder when it comes to triggering options for wireless flash – the dedicated slave mode is the most convenient way, but not the only one.

The review also covers the other 4 triggering options: the x sync incompatibilities of the predecessor Di622 are gone with the upgrade; the Di622 mark II is working with radio triggers now – even for Canon, finally!

What’s more, you get a PC port with the speedlite, as well as an additional mini phone jack. Plus 2 different optical slave modes.

 

Basic information
Brand Nissin
Model Di622 Mark II
Class mid-range
Cost (USD) 170
First introduction 2010
Successor none yet
Canon compatibility
Compatible with Canon cameras (E-TTL(II)) yes if Canon version
Supported Canon flash modes ETTL(II), M
Canon wireless TTL slave / master yes if Canon version / no
Nikon compatibility
Compatible with Nikon cameras (CLS / i-TTL) yes if Nikon version
Supported Nikon flash modes i-TTL, M
Nikon wireless TTL slave / master yes if Nikon version / no
Manual mode
Manual power settings (on the flash) 1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32

 

Nissin Di622 Mark 2 Flash Front Side Nikon

Supplied Accessories

The Nissin Di622 Mark II is packed in a small cardboard box that offers very little protection. Luckily, it came shipped in 2 layers of bubble wrap and arrived in pristine condition.

Nissin Di622 Mark II box contents

Inside the box you find:

  • the flashgun (GN 32 according to the specs, but stronger in reality)
  • a one-year warranty card (see details below)
  • quick reference card
  • instruction manual on a mini CD
  • flash stand
  • soft bag

The warranty on the card is not issued by Nissin but their distributor “Kingstone Development Co.”. According to the document, the 1-year warranty is valid only in Hong Kong and Macau. I guess it’s due to the fact I bought the flash on eBay before it was really available in the US. My Nissin Di866 came with an official warranty card issued by minox USA on behalf of Nissin Digital, that’s probably how it’s supposed to be normally.

The quick reference card lists the speedlite’s parts and describes powering on and selecting the flash mode in English and Japanese. To learn more, you need to load the document from the mini CD onto your computer and read the PDF version of the full instruction manual (comes in Czech, Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Traditional Chinese, and Ukrainian versions). Each language version has 3-4 pages only and descriptions are limited to the minimum.

The flash stand is of good quality, with a metal thread at the base and a hole for the safety pin on the upper side. The speedlite sits well in the stand, it doesn’t tend to fall easily.

The soft bag, finally, is more of a dust protection than anything else. Very thin, made of a synthetic material, no padding.

The unboxing ceremony can be seen in the video:

Build Quality

The Di622 mark II has the same dimensions as the mark I which means it’s a pretty big flash. It’s not quite as huge as the massive SB-900 from Nikon, but a lot bulkier than the SB-600. The Canon 580EX II and the bigger brother Nissin Di866 (see in photo below on the left) are very close in dimension to the 622 mkII.

Nissin Di622 mark II next to Nissin Di866, almost the same size

Casing

The plastic feels thick and has a nice touch. The finishing of the surfaces is excellent, everything fits very nicely together and there is no creaking or squeakiness.

Flash Foot

Like on most flashes (until recently) you find a plastic foot on the Di622 mark2. On the base of this Nikon version there are the 4 typical Nikon TTL contacts, the center pin for the triggering signal and the other 3 for the digital data transfer. The Nissin has a traditional locking wheel with connected safety pin.

Nissin Di622 Mark II with replaceable plastic foot

The wheel has a good size and nice touch. A wheel is not quite as fast as Nikon’s quick locking lever design, but it allows a very firm connection with the camera hot shoe or a flash stand so it’s actually superior from the safety side of things.

External Interfaces

Apart from the flash foot there are 2 other external interfaces on the flash, both located under a soft rubber cover on the left side. The one is a PC sync port, and the other one is a 3.5mm mini phone jack; both connectors can be used for triggering the flash externally, e.g. with Cactus V4 or Yongnuo RF-602 radio triggers. This works for the Nikon as well as the Canon version.

Nissin Di622 Mark II with PC Socket and Mini Phone Jack 3.5mm

The professional Di866 has the PC port as well, but lacks the mini phone jack; however, it features an additional battery pack connector as well as a mini USB port – both are missing on the Di 622 mark2.

Flash Head

The 622 mark2 from Nissin has a rather large flash head, comparable to the Di866, only a bit smaller than the SB-900 from Nikon. The front screen has almost identical dimensions to the Canon 580EX II, but it is a less rounded on the sides. According to user reports about the mark 1 model, the 580EX II diffuser fits, but the diffuser from the Yongnuo 560 does not work together with the Di622 mark II.

Adjustment

There is no release button to be pushed to allow swivel or tilt. The movement feels solid and there are clearly defined notches between the steps. In the horizontal axis with a range between -90 to plus 180 degrees the head is relatively stiff (which is good).

Nissin Di622 Mark II Swivel without Release Button

In the vertical axis the adjustment is easier but still feels reliable. There a position between zero and +90 degrees can be set; a close-up position (typically minus 7 degrees) is not available.

Reflector Card and Wide Flash Panel

The 622 mark 2 features a reflector card and also a wide-flash adapter. With the wide-panel in place, the flash beam coverage starts at 16mm (for full frame = ‘FX’; for APS-C, this covers from around 11mm; for Canon EF-S, this corresponds to about 10mm) according to the specs. In TTL mode, there is no zooming with wide-panel flipped down, which means the zoom reflector always stays in the 24mm position – a smart solution.

Test: Wide Angle Coverage

As can be seen from the light falloff test shot there is certainly some amount of vignetting in the frame, but to a lesser extent than some other speedlights. The SB-600 from Nikon is not better in this discipline but slightly worse, and what’s good about this Nissin flash is that the light spreads across the frame without uneven i.e. hot or dark spots (or the pattern visible in the SB-600 test shot).

Nissin Di622 Mark II wide angle coverage with wide panel

The large reflector, together with the large wide panel are doing a good and solid job here (the vignetting pattern from the Di866 is very similar btw), despite the spec of ‘only’ 16mm wide angle coverage.

Auto Zoom

The flash has a zoom reflector with a range of 24mm to 105mm for full frame cameras. The zoom steps are 16mm with wide-panel, then 24mm, 28, 35, 50, 70, 85 and 105mm.

Auto zoom is fast, not too loud and works fine with the Nikon D90 (some people complained about loud zoom sound on the mark 1 model of the flash, but the noise level on the mark II used for the testing is absolutely within the norms and not above average when compared to some other flashes).

There is no sensor size detection available on the Nissin, which means it always maintains coverage for a full frame sensor: With a 50mm lens on the DX-based Nikon D90 the zoom reflector moves into the 50mm position (while it would still cover the frame at the 70mm setting).

With an APS-C camera this leads to a bit of waste of light, but helps fight light falloff and vignetting at the same time – that’s the same on the SB-600 from Nikon, as well as the bigger brother Di866 from Nissin Digital.

Today there are only a handful of speedlights available that master the sensor size zoom trick, e.g. Nikon’s SB-700, SB-900, the 580-II and 430-II from Canon, and the latest models from Metz (48 AF-1, 50 AF-1 e.g.).

Auto zoom is only active with the flash head in neutral position. As soon as it gets rotated to the side or tilted upwards for bounced flash, the zoom position of the Di622 Mark II gets automatically set to 50mm. This is an approach also used by Canon and Metz.

No manual zoom by default

There is no manual zoom feature on the flash, which is not great for “strobist style” off-camera flash. If used off camera, the Di622 mark II will always go into 35mm reflector position, which is the default when powered on (no matter what had been last used before the powering down).

Manual zoom setting with some tricks

There are a couple of tricks, however, to set a certain zoom position in manual mode “M”.

The first is to attach the flash to your camera hot shoe, zoom the lens to the desired position, and then take the flash off; you’ll discover it stays in the current reflector position, at least until powered off. This is complicated, but it allows selection of all 7 steps from 24 to the maximum of 105mm reflector position.

To set 24mm, there is also another, simpler trick: in mode M, pull out the wide-panel, which leads to the head moving into 24mm-position, and fold it back in. The reflector will stay in 24mm.

To set 50mm, swivel/tilt the flash head out of center position which leads the flash head move into bounce flash setting of 50mm, as described already above. Like for the 24mm trick, the zoom reflector does also not go back to 35 until powered off and back on.

To change the head back to 35mm in manual mode, either power the flash off and back on, or cycle once through all flash modes and back into “M”.

Unfortunately, these tricks don’t work in AWL = wireless TTL mode. Here, you can either have 35mm coverage, or 35mm with wide panel, but neither 50 nor 24mm (nor 16mm).

In general, there is no memory built into the flash that would store the last settings, which means it always starts up in TTL mode, with 35mm zoom, and it is always in minimum power when switched to mode “M” – same for the 2 other slave modes.

Nissin Di622 Mark II vs Nikon SB-600

Di-622 II Review: Operation

Controls

The flash is operated with 5 hard plastic buttons.

  • On/Off on the bottom right
  • Pilot button (test flash)
  • Mode button (with color coded LED, see next section)
  • Combined Plus / Minus button

The buttons are maybe a tiny bit wiggly but it’s hardly noticeable. The On/Off button, Pilot button and the combined Plus/Minus buttons have well defined pressure points.

Nissin Di622 Mark II with Controls, Mode Selector, LEDs

A little drawback is the small size of the “Mode” button and the stiffness – a bigger button would have been nicer and easier to operate. The “Mode” and “Pilot” button are illuminated, but not the others.

Information Display

Interestingly the new Nissin middle class lacks the LCD display that you find on the competition from Canon or Nikon, at least when you look at the Canon 430EX II. Another Canon competitor is the new 320EX, and this new “hybrid” photo-video flash has no LCD panel either.

Nissin Di622 Mark II LEDs info panel

What you see on the back side is a battery of yellow LEDs, similar to the Yongnuo flashes, as well as a color coded LED displaying the flash mode, and finally a green flash ready light – green shows “ready”, red shows “not fully recycled yet”. A flashing red light signals standby mode.

Customization

The flash is easy to use despite the lack of a digital information display. A big plus is that i-TTL slave mode is so easy to set – much easier than on the Nikon SB-600 and also the Canon 430 EX II, in fact.

On the other side there is also less customization possible – the modes described above are pretty much everything you can set on the speedlight (with exception of the output calibration, which will be described later). This modesty helps with the ease of use, but also limits the fine tuning; you can’t alter the standby behavior, for example.

Power Supply

Nissin’s Di 622 mark2 is powered by 4 alkaline or NiMH batteries in AA size. The battery compartment is located on the right side. Unfortunately, Nissin does not use the removable battery magazine from Di466 / Di866 on the 622-II. Instead, you get traditional battery loading. As noted before, there is no external battery pack connector on the flash, so you need to rely on the 4 cells in the battery compartment.

To open the battery door, slide down the cover and then swing open towards the front side. The battery door is not among the best designs on the market today. It feels more solid than the simple Yongnuo solutions, but it’s not as good as the usual Nikon design. The hinge is a bit rough and the door doesn’t open really wide, unless you pull it a bit upwards for the last piece.

Nissin Di 622 Mark II Battery Compartment

The polarity sticker is clearly visible and easy to read, which is a plus. But there is no divider in the compartment, which makes it difficult to get the batteries into correct position at first (this can be seen in the unboxing video above). Once you learn the right technique, which means the right angle of holding the flash and the right order of inserting the cells, battery loading is easy.

Test: Flash Recycling Times (4.9 / 3.7 sec)

Modern flashes have full-power recycle times between 2 and 6 seconds, depending on their maximum power and battery type. Speedlights.net recycle times are tested according to ISO 2827; see details.

The 622 Mark II from Nissin is one of the strongest speedlites tested so far, but not one of the fastest. Recycling time is not really slow with 4.9 seconds using fresh alkaline batteries (1.613 volts) and .1 seconds faster than the specs, but a time in the 5 seconds range is simply the price you pay for the large amount of energy involved. Nikon SB-900 and Canon 580EX II are not faster.

With NiMH, things speed up: the average time here is 3.7 seconds, which is 1.3 seconds less.

Nissin Di622 Mark II Recycle Times alkaline and NiMH

The times displayed above are the maximum recycle times by the way. At lower output settings than ‘full’ the time between flashes is certainly shorter, and given the high power of the Nissin, you’ll be OK with less than full power in almost all scenarios. Watch here the video for the alkaline recycle test results:

Overheating Protection

The mark 1 model of the flash didn’t have any overheating protection, and a few users reported about ‘overcooking’ their flash resulting in evil smell and even black stains on the front screen or wide-panel; in general, these things don’t happen in normal use, but only when the flash is fired at full power for an extend time.

The upgraded Di622 Mark 2 doesn’t seem to have overheating protection either, so maybe have an eye on your unit when using it heavily. There is absolutely no reason for panic, however, and this is also no deal breaker in my opinion. Just keep it in mind.

Test: Flash Output and Guide Number

The guide number (GN) of an electronic flash is a measure of the maximum light output – visit the test details page to learn more.

Official Specification

Nissin’s own specifications state as guide number for the Di622 Mark II “44m, 145ft. (ISO 100), 62m, 205ft. (ISO 200)”. 44 is quite a lot already, and 62 is a really big number; it means sufficient exposure at a distance of 15 meters at f4.0, or even 22 meters at f2.8.

Unfortunately, and as can be seen from the instruction manual, this is GN for 105mm. At 35mm, the standard wide angle setting, GN is in normal regions: the official spec is 32, which means it’s in the range of a Canon 430EX II (31) and Nikon SB-600 (30), and already one class above the SB-700 (GN 28).

Nissin Di622 Mark II guide number 32 at 35mm

Flash Meter Results

When it comes to guide numbers, the manufacturer specs and reality don’t always align. Therefore, guide number is tested for every speedlight under review by Speedlights.net.

As always, guide number tests were performed for different models together and with 60 seconds wait time between shots. The image below shows the Di622 Mark II between Yongnuo YN467, Nissin Di866, and SB-600 from Nikon.

Nissin Di622 Mark II with YN467 Di866 Nikon SB600

The flash meter reads a very strong f22 + 4/10 (equals f26) for the Di622 Mark2 which puts it right in the range of the big guns from Nikon and Canon. The 48 AF-1 from Metz is .3 stops behind, the SB-600 is already half a stop less powerful, and the Yongnuo TTL flashes are at the bottom of the table (you’d also find the Nikon SB-400 there).

Model Light meter reading
Nissin Di866 f22 +7/10
Canon 580EX II f22 +6/10
Nissin Di622 Mark II f22 +4/10
Nikon SB-900 f22 +3/10
Sunpak PZ42X f22 +3/10
Metz 48 AF-1 f22 +1/10
Nikon SB-600 f16 +9/10
Yongnuo YN-465 f16 +5/10
Yongnuo YN-468 f11 +7/10

 

In terms of maximum power there is no shortage as can be seen from these values: what can be done with the middle class flashes from Nikon and Canon can also be achieved with this Nissin.

Guide Number Table

The calculated guide number is obtained by adding exactly 1 f-stop to the flash meter test results. Learn more about this method on the test details page.

The test shows that the Di622 Mark II clearly surpasses its specifications. At 35mm the calculated guide number equals 37 which is 5 points higher than the Nissin specification of 32, at 24mm it is still at 31, and at full zoom of 105mm you get guide number 50 (official spec has GN 44).

The following table shows guide number test results together with manufacturer specs in brackets for different reflector positions and output levels from full power down to the minimum setting of 1/32.

Nissin Di622 mark II guide number test results table

Speedlights Power Index

The light blue bar in the Speedlights.net Power Index shows the official 35mm-GN, and the dark blue bar indicates the test results. Go to the test details page for more information on the Speedlights.net Power Index.

Speedlights.net digital TTL flash power index

Nissin’s Di622 Mark II is a powerhouse of a flash and much stronger than specified. While positioning and pricing indicate mid-range performance, you get a guide number on professional level really.

Test: Effective Output Range

There are 6 possible settings for manual output adjustment which means a 5 stop range. This range is confirmed in the test with a measured 4.9 stops between f22 + 4/10 at full power and f4.0 +5/10 at the 1/32 level.

Nissin Di622 Mark II output range spec Output range from tests
5 stops 4.9 stops

 

Test: Continuous Shooting Output

The capacitor storing the flash energy needs time to fully recharge after each shot; if the next flash is fired before that, the shot will have less energy than 100% – that’s the downside of showing the “flash ready” light too early. On the upside, the wait gets shorter and the frequency of shooting can be increased.

So there’s a trade-off to make: waiting until the capacitor is really 100% full, or allow firing the next shot at 9x%. The following test reveals how much of a loss there really is in continuous shooting, that means when the flash gets fired at the moment the ready light comes back.

For the Di622 Mark II test unit there is a 4/10 stop loss in rapid fire at the 1/1 setting which is average: There is still guide number 32 available in this scenario, and this is higher than the 2 Nikon speedlights in the same test.

Model Calc. guide number at 60 sec wait Calc. guide number at continuous fire Difference in f-stops
Nissin Di866 40.8 34.3 -5/10
Nissin Di622 Mark II 36.8 32.0 -4/10
Nikon SB-900 35.5 29.9 -5/10
Metz 48 AF-1 33.1 29.9 -3/10
Nikon SB-600 30.9 25.1 -6/10
Yongnuo YN-465 26.9 24.3 -3/10

 

Test: Flash Duration

Flash duration is the time between the beginning of the flash and the end of the light emission. Go to the speedlite test methodology page for information on t0.5 versus t0.1 flash durations and the method used here on the site.

Nissin Di-622 II Flash Duration Compared

The table displays metering results for the Nissin Di622 mk2 and other shoe mount flashes. As can be seen there is no real difference between the models below (they all use the same IGBT technology). With 1/375 seconds the Nissin Di622-2 is absolutely in the typical range, if not a bit faster than some of its competitors maybe.

Model t0.1 flash duration metering at 1/1
Nissin Di866 1/200
Nissin Di622 Mark II 1/375
Nikon SB-900 1/230
Metz 48 AF-1 1/230
Nikon SB-600 1/265
Nikon SB-700 1/305
Yongnuo YN-465 1/375

 

t0.1 Flash Duration Times

The next table shows the test results for all partial output levels down to 1/32, which is the lowest available step in manual mode. Nissin specify only 1/1 flash duration, which must be a t0.5 time as can be seen.

Output level Manufacturer spec t0.1 metering
1/1 1/800 1/375
1/2 na 1/1400
1/4 na 1/3000
1/8 na 1/4600
1/16 na 1/6500
1/32 na 1/8000

 

Nissin Di622 Full Tech Specs

Following is a table with specifications and test results for Nissin’s Di622 Mark II flash. More information on TTL and hot shoe specifications can be found on the upcoming on-camera review page.

Model Information
Brand Nissin
Model Di622 Mark II
First introduction 2010
Successor none yet
Output Specs
Guide number spec
(35mm, ISO 100, in meters)
32
Guide number test result 37
Manual power settings 1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32
Flash duration (full power) 1/800
Recycle time spec
(at full power)
5 sec alkaline
Recycle time test result 4.9 sec alkaline, 3.7 sec NiMH
Triggering
Flash foot material, type plastic, standard ISO
PC Sync Port yes
Optical Slave 2 modes (simple mode “SF” and digital TTL mode “SD”)
Other Trigger wireless TTL slave mode, mini phone jack
Trigger Voltage 3.78 V (measured)
Standby Mode 2 min fixed but unproblematic
Flash Head Features
Swivel -90 to +180 degrees
Tilt 0 to +90 degrees
Manual Zoom Head (16) 35 fixed (plus 24 + 50 with a trick)
Auto Zoom (16) 24 – 105mm
Bounce card / 2nd reflector yes / no
LCD Display no
Power Supply
Batteries Used 4 x AA
External Power Source no
Nikon TTL
D-TTL no
i-TTL yes if Nikon version
CLS Wireless Slave yes if Nikon version
CLS Wireless Master no
Canon TTL
E-TTL(II) yes if Canon version
E-TTL(II) wireless slave yes if Canon version
E-TTL(II) wireless master no
Other Flash Modes
Stroboscopic Mode no
Auto Mode no
TTL Features
AF Assist Light yes
Exposure Compensation in TTL Mode on the Flash unit -1.5 to +1.5 EV
Rear Curtain Synchronization yes
High Speed Synchronization no
Sensor Size Detection (DX, FX, etc) no
Modeling Light no

 

Wireless Flash

The new Nissin Di622 Mark II is a dedicated flash and integrated into Canon’s wireless E-TTL flash control system or Nikon’s “AWL” (advanced wireless lighting = wireless i-TTL) – depending on the version you own. That means you have wireless flash triggering with automatic flash exposure control available, even when you use the Nissin Di622 Mark II off camera and not in the accessory shoe.

Nissin Di622-II in off camera remote slave flash mode

This is a huge improvement over the original Di622 (mark I), and it makes the mk2 a very interesting camera flash. It is probably today the cheapest new speedlite on the market to use as a wireless TTL slave flash gun. You can get the Di622 Mark II for only $180+ today, e.g. from amazon or eBay.

Canon and Nikon Remote TTL Slave Mode

Setting Up Dedicated Wireless Slave Mode

This is really easy on the Nissin: first power the unit on, then keep pushing on the mode button: the built-in LED shows red first, then changes color to green, then blue and then to purple – the color indicator for wireless slave mode.

How to set Nissin Di622 Mark II to Wireless TTL Slave Mode

Done. There is nothing else needed! As printed on the control panel, the Nissin is always set to channel 1, group A, which is what you have to set on the master; other channels or groups can’t be selected, but that’s never a problem as long as you’re not working with multiple remote Di622-II’s and want to assign them to different groups.

Wireless TTL Mode

The default setting for the Nissin Di 622-II in wireless slave mode is digital TTL, so that it is fully controlled by the camera’s exposure metering system. This is a bit simplified versus the 430EX or SB-600 / SB-700.

What’s not possible with the Nissin Di622 Mark 2 for example is wireless high speed sync (HSS or FP sync) or modeling light, or AF assist configuration – AF assist is always “on”.

There’s also no exposure compensation on the slave flash itself – the “Plus” / “Minus” buttons are inactive (you can set an exposure compensation on the camera, however).

Wireless Manual Mode “M”

In addition to TTL mode you can also use the Nissin Di 622-II in manual mode, which means that the Di622 Mark II fires off with a fixed, predefined output level – just leave the speedlite in the purple mode, since this is set on the master and not on the slave.

If the master is the popup flash on a Nikon for example, you set the output level for the wireless Di 622 II in the camera menu system, in case of a Nikon D80 under “Built-in flash” – “Commander mode” – and then pick mode “M” for group A.

Pick “M” and “1/2″, and the remote flash fires with half steam. There is no adjustment needed on the remote flashgun.

Light Sensor Position

Like on the Di866, the light sensor on the Nissin 622-II is also found under the red AF assist cover on the front of the speedlite. This is not an ideal location as the triggering light comes usually from the side of the slave flash, or even from behind.

That’s why the light sensor is much better placed on the right side where it naturally faces the triggering light source (Nikon and Metz put it there, Canon has it on the front side as well).

But there is a simple trick: just rotate the flash head 90 degrees to the left, then point the speedlite back at the subject, and you’ll see that the sensor faces the trigger – the photo below shows how easy that is for hand held use.

Nissin Di622 Mark II light signal in wireless TTL

What can be seen from the photo as well is the flashing indicator light that works in wireless remote TTL, but also in the 2 optical slave modes “SD” and “SF” (described further below). It’s actually the AF assist that’s being used for that purpose. A flashing light means “ready”, during recharging after a shot the LED is idle.

Popup Flash As Master – Compatibility List

Owners of a Canon 7D or 60D, as well as users of the Nikon cameras D80, D90, D200, D300, D300S, D700 and D7000 don’t need any extra accessories for wireless remote flash – they can simply use the built-in popup flash.

The photo shows how the Nikon D80 is set up for remote triggering of the Nissin flash. Set the internal flash to master (the “–” visible on the screen means that it is in master mode firing with minimum power to not contribute to the actual exposure), and then activate group A – and don’t forget to switch to channel 1. Confirm with the “OK” button (click on the photo for an enlarged view).

Nissin Di622 Mark II wireless TTL with Nikon D80

Since the old Nikon D70 / D70S can be used as a master in channel 3 only, it can’t trigger the Di 622 mark 2 with the mini flash. But for the other cameras mentioned above there is no limitation.

Official Nikon Wireless Remote Range: 10m

Nikon recommends in the instruction manuals for both D80 and SB-900 the following maximum ranges for wireless TTL:

  • up to 10 meters – remote flash max 30 degrees off axis from popup flash
  • up to 5 meter – remote flash max 60 degrees off axis from popup flash

In reality the ranges are bigger – much bigger depending on the ambient light. Even outdoors where reflection is minimized, a range of more then 30 meters can be achieved with Nikon SB-600 and Nikon SB-900 in slave mode.

The picture shows a test shot with Nikon D80 as master and SB-900 at 30 meters distance (strange white balance comes from non-gelled flash vs very orange street lights; EV was -1.7).

Nikon SB-900 TTL Slave Mode Range Outdoors Night

Nissin Di622-II Wireless Remote Range: 22m

The Nissin speedlite Di 622 Mark II is a strong performer in that discipline too. It can’t reach the full 30 meters of SB-600/900, but it triggers 100% reliably at 20 meters, which is still 2x the recommended Nikon range.

Nissin Di-622-Mark-II TTL Slave Mode Range Outdoors Night

The maximum working range in the test was about 22 meters – from that distance on, the remote speedlight stopped firing. As we’ll see below, the maximum range in optical slave mode is higher – in both “SD” and “SF” modes, the full 30 meters can be reached. This is most probably due to the complexity of the wireless TTL protocol versus the simplicity of optical triggering.

Another part of the range test consists of looking at the maximum off axis rotation angle for the master flash (if you ask yourself how this was done: D80 was used as trigger and rotated, but photo was taken with D90 which did not move).

In the table below you find results for the Nissin Di 622 Mark II for Nikon with D80 as master at zero degrees, 45 degrees and 90 degrees (commander flash set to “–”).

Master distance Master in axis (0 degrees) Master rotated 45 degrees to the side Master at 90 degrees rotation
5 meters Di622-II fires Di622-II fires no
10 meters Di622-II fires Di622-II fires no
20 meters Di622-II fires no no
30 meters no no no

 

As said before: the maximum range is a bit over 20 meters, and at short distances of up to 10 meters the angle between master and slave sensor can be a maximum of 60 degrees. In comparison to the Nissin Di866 (review upcoming), the sensitivity of the light sensor has been clearly improved!

Remote Triggering With Other Speedlights

In addition to triggering via built-in you can also use an external accessory flash in the camera hot shoe as master. The picture shows the setup of the Nissin Di866 in master mode next to the Di622 mark II as wireless slave – a combination working together (and both speedlites together don’t cost much more than 1 single Canon 580EX II or Nikon SB-900).

Nissin Di622 Mark II set to Slave Mode with Di866 as TTL Master

Wireless flash was also tested with the Nikon SB-900 as master, and with the new SB-700, which has also a wireless master mode built-in to control the Di 622II- the next photo shows how to set up the SB-700 for wireless mode.

Nissin Di622 Mark II in wireless slave mode with SB-700 as master controller

Other Wireless Masters

In addition to the 2 master speedlights tested, there are more external flash guns that can be used to control the Nissin, for example Nikon SB-800, Nikon SU-800 wireless speedlight controller, Canon 550EX, Canon 580EX and Canon 580 EX-II, Canon ST-E2 wireless commander, Yongnuo ST-E2, Metz 58 AF-1 and Metz 58 AF-2, and also some Sigma flashes, e.g. EF-610 DG Super.

No Master Mode on Di622-II

In contrast to the flagship model Nissin Di866 (and other master enabled flashes, see here for an overview of Canon compatible flashes / Nikon compatible speedlights) the Di622-II has no master or commander mode feature. This means the Di 622-II can be controlled by another flash, but it can’t control other flashes itself.

This is like the Nikon SB-600 versus the SB-900, or the slave-only Canon 430EX II compared to the master-enabled 580EX / 580EX II. Within the “middle class”, only the Nikon SB-700 is breaking the rule and works as a commander. At least to date.

Radio Triggering For Wireless Flash

Why invest in additional radio triggers when you have the dedicated TTL remote option? First, they are near 100% reliable, even without line of sight. Second, they can be used to mix TTL with non dedicated speedlites. And third, a simple radio trigger like the Yongnuo RF-602 costs only a few bucks (get them from eBay or amazon).

Nissin Di622-II Works With X Sync Radio Triggers

Great news – the new Mark 2 model of the Nissin speedlite 622 works with radio triggers now, both in the Nikon and finally also in the Canon version of the flash! Simply attach the flash to the radio receiver hot shoe, and mount the transmitter on your camera body.

Nissin Di622 Mark II with RF-602 and Cactus V4

The image above shows the new Nissin flash together with Yongnuo RF-602 radio triggers arranged on the left, and Cactus’ V4 on the right side.

No X Sync with the original Di622 “mark 1″

The main problem with the original Nissin Di622 (mark one) was its inability to fire with x sync based radio triggers, and there was also no sync port that could serve as an alternative.

The only wireless option was the optical slave mode with pre-flash detection, but optical slave is never as good as radio control – it needs direct line of sight pretty much, and always has a lower range and reliability.

Good thing is that Nissin tried to solve that problem, once they became aware of how big it was. They promised an investigation and finally also released a firmware update for the Nikon version, which means that later – or upgraded – models of the Di 622 (Mark I) do work with radio receivers – if the flash is Nikon dedicated.

This does not help Canon users however since the issue could never be solved for Canon due to hardware problems. But here is the Di622 Mark II, which has full x contact trigger support.

 

PC Sync Socket

A PC socket is a small jack that provides an alternative flash trigger connection, so that the flash foot remains free. The sync terminal can be found underneath a rubber cap on the left side of the flash. There, you find not only one but even 2 sync ports. The first one is the more traditional PC sync socket (normal push-in type), visible on the left in the photo.

Nissin Di622 Mark II with Sync Ports PC and Mini Phone

3.5 mm Mini Phone Jack

The other socket on the right is a 3.5mm “mini phone” jack. It can also be used for firing the speedlite, as can be seen from the next picture where it’s connected to a Cactus V4 receiver.

Nissin Di622 Mark II 3.5mm Mini Phone Triggering

Sync Speeds with Radio Triggers

I’ve tested the flash with the usual triggers: the older Cactus V4, and the newer Yongnuo RF-602. With a Canon Rebel T1i and Cactus V4, I am able to get perfect sync for shutter speeds up to 1/160 seconds. At 1/200 there is a small black band at the frame bottom for about 1 in every 4 shots. That stripe gets bigger at 1/250 and faster, until the whole frame is dark.

It’s the same with the Nikon D80: perfect sync for shutter speeds of 1/160 sec and slower, misses from 1/200 seconds on and faster.

With Yongnuo’s RF-602, it’s a similar picture: if the D80 is used with the radio transmitter and the Di622-II with receiver on the foot, shutter speeds of 1/160 or longer can be achieved (the picture below shows this combination).

Nissin Di622 Mark II radio triggering x sync RF-602

With Rebel T1i (labeled as Canon EOS 500D in Europe) plus RF-602 on the flash foot, again the same outcome – take pictures at 1/160 seconds or with shutter speeds slower than that to avoid dark bands at the frame bottom.

Overall, this is an OK result, since the 1/160 seconds seem very reliable on the test unit. When triggered via PC sync cable, the 1/200 works a bit better. There are no dark stripes, with the Canon T1i at least (still in some cases with the Nikon camera, though).

It should be noted however that other speedlites allow radio triggering up to 1/200 sec (that’s the max sync speed for both bodies used in the tests).

Setting Manual Flash Mode = Easy.

When the flash unit is turned on, it is automatically switched into TTL mode (E-TTL for Canon, i-TTL for Nikon). In this mode, the mode indicator LED does not light up. Press the mode button once to switch to manual flash mode for radio flash operation – the red LED lights up.

Nissin Di622 Mark II Manual Mode 1/32

The battery of orange LEDs underneath the mode selector indicates the output level. In the photo above, the flash unit is at the minimum setting of 1/32 power.

5 Stop Range in Manual Mode

In the next photo, where the Nissin flash is triggered via 3.5mm cable, there are 4 LEDs lighting up, which means it’s 3 steps above the minimum setting of 1/32, or at quarter power level.

How to Adjust manual power output on Nissin Di622 Mark II

Between 1/32 and 1/1, there is a 5 stop range with 6 selectable values: 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32. This range is not record breaking but should be sufficient for about any scenario. The flash offers full steps only, it’s not possible to set partial output levels.

What’s a little lame is that the Nissin has no memory for its current settings, which means it always defaults back to the 1/32 setting whenever you leave and go back into manual mode. Similarly, when you power the Nissin off and back on, it’s always in TTL mode again.

No Standby Problem With Nissin Di-622 II

Nissin’s Di622 II falls into standby pretty fast – after about 2 minutes in manual mode, with radio triggers installed. Such a standby behavior can spoil the off-camera flash party in cases where the radio receiver is not able to wake the speedlite back up (this is the problem with many of the older Canon Speedlites and their usability for off-camera shooting).

Luckily, the Di622-II has no problem with that! It wakes up plus fires off instantly with RF-602 radio triggers, and also with the Cactus V4, at the very first press of the trigger.

In the other flash modes, standby works with a different delay. In TTL, power-saving is almost immediate. In mode “SD”, the flash powers off completely after 1 hour. Nice touch is that you can press any button on the flash to awaken it, and not only the test flash or power button (like on the Nikon’s).

Optical Slave Modes (non-TTL)

In addition to TTL, wireless TTL, and manual mode with radio receivers the Di622 Mark II has also 2 built-in optical slave modes. The first one is for use with digital cameras, and labeled as “SD” (Yongnuo calls this mode “S2″). The second one is a simple slave mode called “SF”.

Digital Optical Slave Mode “SD”

To use the pre-flash aware SD mode, press on the mode button until the green indicator lights up. With the help of the combined “plus/minus” control the power level can be set with the same range as for manual mode.

Nissin Di622 digital optical slave mode SD

As soon as you fire now another speedlight – it does not matter if it’s a master or a slave flash, nor does it make a difference if it’s a Nikon or Canon – the Di622 Mark II detects that flash, but the trick is that it waits until the 2nd flash, and only then it fires off itself.

That way, the flash can ignore the pre-flash from digital TTL and wait for the main flash, and only then it’s in sync with the camera shutter and its light can be seen on the photo.

Digital slave mode works at greater ranges than wireless TTL. In mode SD, the full 30 meters could be achieved.

Simple Optical Slave Mode “SF”

To go from “SD” to simple optical slave mode “SF”, just push on the mode button again, so that the LED color changes to blue. Again, set the output level with the “plus/minus” control between full and 1/32.

Nissin Di622 simple film optical slave mode SF

This simple optical slave mode (corresponding to “SU-4″ in the Nikon world) triggers the speedlite’s flash with the first light signal. This means it’s not compatible with digital TTL, but it works together with other flashes in manual mode, as well as with film-based camera bodies.

Again, a range of 30 meters could be achieved (EV 9.4) for “SF”, same as for “SD” (both triggered via Nikon SB-600, once hand held in mode “M”, for SD it was mounted on a Nikon D80 and fired in auto TTL mode). In mode SF as well as SD, the AF assist lamp works as additional “ready” light on the front of the flashgun, just like in remote TTL mode.

Light Stand Mounting

One option to use your speedlite remote is to hold it in your left hand and to shoot with the camera in your right. The more professional option is a portable light stand, as it gives a lot more freedom and flexibility.

The Nissin has a standard ISO flash foot with center x sync pin for the trigger signal and additional TTL pins for either Canon (4 pins) or Nikon (3 additional pins). There is a traditional locking wheel for fixing the foot in a shoe mount, trigger, or camera hot shoe, and the connected safety pin provides additional hold.

One way to mount the Di622 Mark II speedlite flash is to simply attach it to a radio trigger hot shoe and mount that on a light stand. This is the configuration to go with for accessory speedlites without additional syncing port.

Nissin Di622 Mark II Mounted on Yongnuo RF-602

What’s shown in the next picture is the advanced version: instead of using the flash foot, the Nissin Di622 mk2 can also be triggered with either of the 2 sync ports located under the rubber covered terminal on the left side. In the picture a PC sync cord is used with a Cactus V4 radio receiver unit.

Nissin Di622 Mark II PC Port Stand Mounting

The advantage is that the flashgun can be mounted on the light stand direct, without a trigger in between, which means it’s closer to the umbrella center. This is especially helpful since the Nissin 622-II does not have a close-up reflector position to tilt it downward (tilt is 0 to +90, swivel is 270 degrees)

Off-Camera Flash Must-Haves

The Nissin Di622-II, the upgraded model from the somewhat flawed Di622 mk1, is now a very versatile flash for all off-camera shooting. It’s not the very best in any single discipline, but it’s probably unmatched in triggering options. The table below shows the most important criteria for wireless flash with budget (non-TTL) radio triggers – the Nissin Di622 Mark II gets an “AA+” in this discipline.

  • manual mode
    • has manual mode: yes
    • minimum manual power: 1/32
    • all full stops from 1/1 to 1/32: yes
  • X contact firing: yes
  • flash standby mode: 2 min fixed but unproblematic

What’s more, the dedicated remote TTL mode is working well and very easy to set. I like the “no frills” approach.

Di-622 Mark II i-TTL / E –TTL Review

With GN 37 in testing, compatibility with all current Nikon camera bodies and a very attractive price, the Nissin Di622 Mark II aims at a pretty wide gap in the market between SB-400 and the $329 SB-700 speedlight, and is also priced well below the Canon models 320EX and 430EX II. How good it really is on the camera will be answered in this part of the Di622-II review.

Nissin Di 622 Mark II on D80Nissin Di 622 Mark II side

Hot Shoe Operation

The Di 622 mk2 is secured in the hot shoe with a traditional locking wheel plus locking pin, rather than the quick release lever design present on the Nikon speedlights. Once mounted and turned on, the Nissin shows a green “flash ready” light on the back panel, and the “flash” icon in the viewfinder lightens up. In the default TTL mode, the speedlight’s standby mode is entered quickly = as soon as the camera display goes dark. When the shutter is half pressed it wakes up instantly and is ready to fire.

AF Assist Beam

The Nissin Di622 Mark II uses a simpler AF assist light design than Nikon’s middle class models SB-600 and SB-700. It consists of 1 red LED only instead of the dual beam construction.

The assist light projects a round dot with vertical pattern and covers the center AF point and, depending on the focal length and subject distance, also helps with the vertical AF sensors, but there is no effective coverage for horizontal AF fields.

Nissin Di622 Mark II AF Assist

In summary, AF assist is effective when used with the center AF sensor and there won’t be a real difference to the SB-600/700/800/900 performance. It’s with the other AF fields where you get a better performance with a speedlight from Nikon.

Zoom Modes

The auto zoom feature covers a range of 24mm to 105mm, effectively the same as Nikon’s SB-600 (24-85mm) and SB-700 (24-120mm). The zoom is responsive and fast, maybe a bit noisier than on a Nikon flash.

With the wide-panel diffuser, auto zoom stops and coverage is fixed (16mm FX); the same is true if the flash head is moved out of the center position, that means when tilted or rotated sideways. In that case a fixed reflector position of 50mm is set by the Di622-II; 50mm is considered the optimum setting for bounced flash by many experts.

Nissin Di622 Mark II wide panel

In i-TTL mode there is no way to set a specific zoom reflector position by hand. The manual zoom trick described on the off-camera flash review page doesn’t work in the camera hot shoe. For the Canon version of the flash, where zoom can be set through the camera menu, it should be possible to set a manual zoom step.

Unlike SB-900/SB-700 or 430EX II/580EX II, the Nissin does not support a DX zoom mode either, so it uses the same logic for FX and DX camera bodies when zooming with the lens. With a 50mm lens on a DX camera like the D7000, the flash head is set to the 50mm reflector position.

On the SB-700 the flash head moves to 70mm with the 50mm lens, which is still enough to cover the frame for DX. With this trick, the SB-700 increases from GN 32 to GN 34. The Nissin Di622-II on the other side has GN 41 at 50mm reflector position, so it’s still stronger without zooming in further.

i-TTL Modes

i-TTL has 2 sub-modes, which is normal i-TTL and TTL-BL, intended for a better balance between ambient light and flash exposure. According to the Nissin documentation, there is only support for i-TTL but not TTL-BL.

Nikon’s View NX software, however, shows “TTL-BL” as flash mode for pictures taken with the Nissin. Also, when compared with SB-600 which can be switched between i-TTL and TTL-BL, the image output looks more like TTL-BL which is the newer and superior TTL mode.

E-TTL / i-TTL Performance

The Di622-II has lots of power under the hood with GN 37 (official GN: 32), but are the pictures taken with it looking good? The question is even more important since the predecessor Di622 (“mark 1″) received comments about exposure problems, mainly from users in the Canon system.

Auto White balance

A first criteria for TTL performance is color. For that purpose the test cameras are always used in auto white balance mode. In this configuration, the Di622 II tends to produce a very slightly warmer output than the SB-600 and SB-700 from Nikon.

Di622-II slightly warmer than SB-700

The difference is hardly noticeable in this scene. A sample area has RGB values of 187-182-179 with the Nissin while it’s perfectly neutral with the Nikon flash. For portrait shots, I prefer a warmer skin tone color which speaks for the Di622-II.

Di622 Mark II skin tones with Nikon D90

The image above shows a typical image example with the D90. With the D80 skin tones always appear cooler with auto white balance, so it’s the actual camera-flash combination that counts and not the speedlite alone.

The Nissin does not come with color filters as standard accessory and there is no automatic detection either, but you can certainly use filters (e.g. from amazon) and set the white balance by hand.

Exposure quality

Output from the Di622-II looks very much like SB-600 in TTL-BL mode, which is good news since the SB-600 produces excellent output. In terms of overall exposure it tends to stay more on the conservative side, so that the flash is less obvious in the picture.

There are rare outliers where single frames get clearly overexposed; this tends to happen sometimes – not always – with bright backgrounds and at longer zoom settings. It’s not a persistent problem, but SB-600 and SB-700 don’t share that susceptibility.

No speedlight is perfect, though. You will encounter situations with any flash where the manual mode gives better results, no matter what brand you are using.

Balancing light = Fill Flash

Fill flash works very well with the Nissin. Together with D80 and D90 there is a good balance between ambient light and the amount of flash exposure. The picture shows an example if a back lit scene with Di622-II as a fill light.

Di622-II fill flash

This is an excellent result with camera in mode “P”, auto white balance and flash in TTL without any manual adjustments (or post production). When the light gets difficult, you certainly always have the option to use flash exposure adjustment on the unit itself with a 1.5 stop range, or on the camera body.

What’s more, there is a TTL calibration feature available: Nissin calls this the “my TTL” setting. To fine tune the default output, adjustments can be made in steps of 0.25 EV and with a range of +0.75 EV to -0.75 EV. The feature is quite hidden, but the instruction manual has information about it.

Bounced flash

The simplest trick to achieve better flash photos is to bounce the flash off a ceiling or wall instead of aiming direct at the subject = that’s what the swivel and tilt on the flash head is for.

It’s also the situation where the reflector card comes handy: use it in addition so that a portion of the light gets reflected back at the subject directly.

Nissin Di622 Mark II reflector card

Again, there’s a very solid performance from the Di622-II. The strong guide number allows bounced flash even with high ceilings or walls that are farther away without requiring to crank up the ISO too much. Instead of the 90 degree position you can point the flash head upwards behind you, which makes even better light as can be seen on the right in the photo below.

Nissin Di622 Mark II in bounced flash

With the light coming more from behind you the eye shadows dramatically improve. The photo on the right was really taken with flash in the hot shoe, without modifiers, and both camera and accessory flash in automatic modes.

Flash Sync Modes

Normally, the camera fires the flash as soon as you press the shutter release – this is called “normal sync” or “first curtain sync”. There are 3 alternative sync modes to be set on the camera body for special situations. Two of them work with any speedlight, only HSS requires compatibility from the flashgun.

Slow Sync and Rear Sync

Slow sync is very useful: instead of the 1/60 seconds default shutter speed for flash photos the camera selects longer times like 1/15 seconds or even longer. On the positive side, this leads to a more natural balance between ambient light and flash exposure. However, it also increases the risk of camera shake and motion blur affecting your pictures, so use it – but wisely.

Nissin Di622 Mark II slow sync

The picture above shows the difference. The picture at 1/4 sec looks more natural but at 1/4 seconds hand-held it’s not 100% sharp. Choose shutter speeds where camera shake is still under control.

Rear sync is less critical and can be used as a default setting. At 2nd curtain sync the camera waits until the end of the exposure time to fire off the flash. It’s only at slow shutter speeds where you notice a difference – try 1 or 2 seconds while panning your camera.

This photo below (taken with a Yongnuo speedlite) shows the effect – the light trails show up behind the car only with rear sync mode.

Yongnuo YN-465 Rear Curtain Synch Nikon D90

NO High Speed Sync

The Di622-II does not support the HSS / FP sync feature, which means you can’t use the flash with shutter speeds shorter than the sync speed of your camera – typically around 1/250 sec. If you still set a faster speed this results in a black band or completely dark frame – like in this photo here, taken at 1/250 seconds.

Non FP / HSS flash with Di622 Mark II

To prevent the faster speeds like 1/500 or 1/1000, you need to go into the camera menu system and un-check the “Auto FP” feature (custom feature e5 on the Nikon D90).

The camera itself doesn’t select these faster speeds normally, but you could set them inadvertently in camera mode “S” or “M”, and this gets blocked when Auto FP is turned off.

Other Flash Features

Red-Eye Reduction

The red-eye problem is not a concern with an external flash in the accessory shoe – the larger distance between flash head and lens prevents the issue.

However, if you really want to use the anti-red eye feature, you can set it on the camera with the flash mode button, and the Nissin, just like an SB-700 from Nikon, fires three small pre-flashes before the main exposure.

No Modeling Light

Modeling light fires a high frequency series of small but visible flashes that simulate continuous light for about 1 second to check the illumination and shadow cast on the subject before taking the photo.

In the digital world where test shots don’t cost a thing and the light can immediately be checked on the LCD screen it’s a somewhat useless feature, especially since the modeling light is always quite weak in show-mount flashes.

Modeling light is available on all i-TTL speedlights from Nikon, with the exception of the small SB 400 flash, but it doesn’t work with the Di622 Mark II.

Flash Exposure Compensation FEC

Sooner or later you feel the need to tweak the automatic exposure a bit. There are two ways to override TTL:

  • The first option is to set flash exposure compensation on the camera body using the flash mode button and command wheel in the case of the D90, where a range of “+1″ to “-3″ EV can be set.
  • Second option is to set flash exposure compensation on the Nissin Di 622 mk2. Simply press the “plus/minus” button and dial in flash exposure compensation in a +1.5 to -1.5 stop range. This is super fast and easy on the Nissin, and the LEDs on the back always show the amount.

The picture shows a “minus 1 EV” compensation set on the Nissin – each LED represents 0.5 EV.

Nissin Di-622-II Flash Exposure Compensation

Both adjustments on flash and camera add up. In case “+1″ is selected on the flash and “-2″ on the camera, the effective total flash exposure compensation is “-1″.

There’s a also viewfinder icon for flash output level compensation, which only shows adjustments set on the camera, but not adjustments set on the Di622 Mark II. When using a speedlight from Nikon, the viewfinder symbol takes both types of adjustment into account.

Flash Exposure Lock (FV Lock)

The Nissin Di622-II behaves like a Nikon flash here: FV lock uses a pre-flash to meter the necessary flash exposure before the photo, and then keeps the flash power level constant for the following photos, until the lock is canceled again or the camera is switched off.

FV lock is a camera feature: press the “AE-L” button to start the pre-flash and to lock the resulting flash exposure value. Press again, and normal i-TTL metering gets restored. Like for flash exposure compensation there is a viewfinder icon for FV lock.

Flash Bracketing (FEB)

Custom setting e4 “auto bracketing set” on the D90 controls different types of bracketing when the auto bracketing mode of the camera is used, and setting e6 lets you select the bracketing order.

With FEB you can take 3 photos with different flash exposure automatically, but it’s usually easier to to use the flash exposure compensation described further above. Anyhow, it works together with Nissin’s Di622-II.

Flash Off

Some people are looking for a flash where the actual flash tube can be deactivated while the AF assist beam is still active, to support focusing in low light without changing the available light setting. To achieve this you can cancel the flash firing in the SB 800 and SB 900 custom settings.

The Nissin Di622-II doesn’t support this, neither do SB 600 or SB 700 from Nikon. On the Nissin, there’s always flash and AF assist combined, no customizations on the unit itself.

The workaround is to assign “flash off” to the FUNC button on the camera body (on the D90, use custom setting f3). Then press the button when taking the photo – flash won’t fire, but AF assist is there in modes “P”, “A”, and “M”.

Nissin Di-622 Mark II Review: Conclusion

The Nissin Di-622 Mark 2 is an excellent choice for the budget-minded photographer. Everything important is there, and in a good quality too: lots of power – on par with the SB-900 from Nikon – a wireless TTL mode, good i-TTL exposure, and the flash is well built.

Nissin Di622 Mark 2 Flash Front Side Nikon

What you don’t get are the latest bells and whistles in flash technology: modeling light, high speed sync, dual beam AF assist, sensor size detection.

Positives

  • very powerful
  • clearly cheaper than Canon / Nikon middle class speedlights
  • good exposure quality
  • good build quality
  • very easy to use
  • reliable wireless TTL slave mode
  • 5 options for wireless flash
  • moderate vignetting at wide angle position
  • PC sync port plus mini phone jack

Negatives

  • AF assist simpler than Canon / Nikon designs
  • no manual zoom (but there is some workaround)
  • wireless TTL in 1 group/channel only
  • rare exposure outliers (overexposure)
  • no high speed sync support
  • max 1/160 sec with D90 and radio triggers
  • manual mode range slightly below average (1/32)
  • no modeling light, sensor size zoom, color filter detection
  • no TTL with pre 2005 camera bodies

 

Recommendation

Nissin put together a highly competitive package with the second generation Di622-II. The “no frills” approach works great and leads to a much smaller price tag while there is no real compromise to make for amateur use, even on an advanced level.

Alternatives

In the market segment occupied by the Di-622 Mark II, there is almost no competition these days: the only other budget TTL flash with wireless slave mode built-in is the new 44 AF-1 from Metz, but this flash is hardly available in the US, and often not competitively priced. However, as of August 2011, there’s a new strong contender from Yongnuo, their new YN-565EX speedlite with wireless slave mode, various sync options, and also much power.

The new entry-level 270EX II from Canon will have the wireless ETTL sensor and will be in the same price region. I’d still clearly prefer the Nissin. The only argument pro Canon is the small size and light weight. In all other dimensions it can’t compete.

The next step up are the SB-700 from Nikon and Canon 430EX II – both much more expensive. In a similar price region are Metz 50 AF-1 and EF-610 DG Super from Sigma. The professional line Di866 model from Nissin is another alternative, with a price on Nikon SB-700 level.

Where to buy the Di622 Mark II

The new Di622 Mark II is available at prices starting around $170 – much less than what you pay for a 430EX II from Canon or the Nikon SB-700.

Check amazon and eBay, or adorama. You help expanding this website and adding further reviews when you purchase through these links. Thank you very much.

 

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64 Responses to Nissin Flash Review: Di622-II

  1. Darren Pitt Clare says:

    Superb review, looking forward to the rest, can you state how well the Mk2 works with the RF-602′s

    • fransener says:

      The Di622 Mark II works with the RF-602, also tested and confirmed with Cactus V4 triggers. Both flash foot and mini phone port were tested.

  2. Darren Pitt Clare says:

    @frasnener Thankyou very much, which begs the question, in your opinion for the Nissin Di622 Mk2 with a Nikon D3100, RF-602′s or Cactus V4′s?

    • fransener says:

      Hi Darren

      Always RF-602; the V4 are working, but the RF-602 has the better detail solutions and better build, like pin hole for the safety pin on the flash foot, brighter 2-step LED, mounting thread on the receiver in axis with the hot shoe, PC socket on the transmitter. Plus, it also serves as a camera remote at the same time, which the Cactus V4 can’t do. And it’s higher frequency, so even more reliable (although I haven’t had any problems with V4).

  3. Darren Pitt Clare says:

    Can the MK2 act as master?

  4. Prayoon P. says:

    Thank you so much for the super detailed review. Keep up the great work.

  5. Robert says:

    Thanks for the detailed guide/review. I have a Di622 mkii which I bought in preference to a Nikon speedlight partly because of the price diff. but also because I figure it makes a better partner to a D5000, the D5000 lacking inbuilt commander mode. The Nissin gives iTTL on camera and off camera capability too, plus off-camera TTL for possible future kit development.

    I have one query… when the flash is attached to the camera the exposure display registers all along the minus axis and doesn’t seem to move whatever adjustments are made. This appears to be the same with the onboard flash. Is this normal in iTTL or a fault with the flash or camera? I’d appreciate any comments. Thanks.

    • fransener says:

      My first thought is a flash exposure compensation that’s set on the camera body … do the flash pictures come out alright?

  6. Jai says:

    The D90 commander can control the flash but what about the output, like say iTTL 1/2 or Manual 1/4 from the camera?

    • fransener says:

      Hi Jai

      Good question. You can dial in a manual step like M1/4 on the D90, and the Nissin fires at 1/4 power in wireless TTL. You can even fire the Nissin at 1/64 that way, which it couldn’t do in its own manual mode. Also, you can also set an exposure compensation on the camera for i-TTL, that does also work fine.

  7. Robert says:

    Thanks for your comment fransener. I’ve tracked down the reason this happens from other online queries relating to the same “problem”. Once in iTTL mode, with the flash on camera (inc. the built in flash) the exposure display is metering the ambient light and is not therefore relevant to the performance of the flash. In A, S and M modes it enables the photographer to use exposure compensation if requiredto alter the exposure tp ambient light but from the shots I’ve taken doing this they come out either under or over exposed. This, I guess, is because the iTTL system is ensuring the “correct” exposure. So, yes, as you ask, the flash shots do come out correctly exposed.

  8. Robert says:

    This link http://nikonrumors.com/forum/topic.php?id=1184 explains it much better than I have and might be of use to other Nikon users.

  9. Jai says:

    I’m very pleased with your in depth review of the Nissin Di622 Mk II flash after reading your article I purchased two, It will be used with my SB 800 and D90 for event and strobist use.

  10. Joe says:

    I’m looking to get my first flash unit for my Canon T2i and was on the fence between the YN-468 and the Nissin Di622 Mark II. The Di622 is a much more powerful unit and if you look solely at GN vs price, the two come out to about the same in terms of what you get for what you pay. With that in mind how do you think the additional features of each compare and which of the two would you recommend? I could justify the more expensive cost of the Di622 if it really warrants it. I’ve also been a bit concerned with some of the quality control issues some users have been experiencing with the YN-468 although the price point is very tempting.

  11. dalian says:

    i just order my nissin di 622 mark 2 , it will be my first Flash i’m so exciting i can’t wait ,,, but i have a question ,,, is it compatible with “YongNuo RF-602/C1 wireless flash trigger and remote shutter release” ?

    • fransener says:

      Hi dalian

      Yes it is! That’s one of the standard tests on the site here, see on the “wireless flash” review page.

  12. Joe says:

    I’m looking to get my first flash unit for my Canon T2i and was on the fence between the YN-468 and the Nissin Di622 Mark II. The Di622 is a much more powerful unit and if you look solely at GN vs price, the two come out to about the same in terms of what you get for what you pay. With that in mind how do you think the additional features of each compare and which of the two would you recommend? I could justify the more expensive cost of the Di622 if it really warrants it. I’ve also been a bit concerned with some of the quality control issues some users have been experiencing with the YN-468 although the price point is very tempting.

    • fransener says:

      Hi Joe

      In my opinion, the Di622-II is worth the extra spend, mainly for the wireless TTL feature you don’t get with the Yongnuo. Your camera body doesn’t have a built-in master, so you need an extra ST-E2 today, but once you upgrade to T3i/60D/7D/another future body you have the master built in and the flash is ready to use wireless with ETTL. It’s also clearly more powerful in my tests, the guide number difference is much bigger than the specs suggest. The YN468 is good, but you get clearly more with the additional spend for the Di622-II.

  13. randy lastima says:

    dear sir,
    i randy please can you help me how i used my di622 to saperate to my canon500d thank for your help to me..

  14. nacho says:

    Thank you VERY MUCH for this great in depth review.
    I have just purchased this flash for my Nikon D3100 and had very little information on what could be done with it. I’m new to photography and this is my first flash, and I think it is really hard to find good information about TTL, slaves, different modes… and I found here everything I wanted to know, and much better, specifically explained for my flash.
    Thanks again, now I understand my flash I will be able to have fun with it.

  15. JC says:

    I have a Nissin Di866…and I was troubled by the continuous whirring sound of it.I noticed in the video of the Di622 II, the sound was just about few seconds during recycling while the sound on my flash doesn’t goes out. Is this normal?What might be the problem on my flash?thanks in advance

    • fransener says:

      Hello JC

      On my Nissin Di866, I hear almost nothing when it recharges. There is a whining sound but it’s both short and not very loud at 1/2 power test pops in manual mode.

  16. nvarner says:

    Given the price gap between the nikon sb-600 and Nissin are now closer do you still recommend this over the discontinued sb-600, and if so why?

    • fransener says:

      Hello nvarner

      SB-600 vs Nissin Di-622 Mark II is a tough call (that’s why you’re asking I guess). The Nikon is not available new anymore. If you find a used one in excellent condition you get FP sync with it, that’s what I’d miss sometimes on the Nissin. On the other side, the Nissin is really an excellent flash, nothing wrong with it. And it has the 2 slave modes which the Nikon doesn’t have.

  17. nvarner says:

    Thanks fransener. I’m new and expanding my kit. I’m interested in using strobes to do my portable shoots. I actually have 1 sb-600 and I know where I can grab another one new in the price point of the Nissin Di622 Mark II. Just wondering, grab the sb-600, or maybe get the Nissian Di 866 as I’m not seeing the sb-900 in my wallet’s future. lol

  18. Kasun Udara says:

    hi… im kasun. my camera is Nikon D3100. I use SB-700 flash as a master and SB-600 as a slave.. so I need to work with another filling flash as a slave.. so can I use Nissin Di622 Mark II flash for my matter.. if it is can u tell me how it does.. thanks..

  19. Ouddy says:

    The best review on this flash of the whole internet. Have you ever compare this to Lumo Pro 160 and YN 560 to see which one have more power? Thanks

    • fransener says:

      Hi Ouddy – thanks so much for your feedback. My goal is to provide other photographers with the best reviews about flashes, so this means I’m on the right way! I don’t have the LP 160, but you can compare the output to the YN-560 here on the “power index” page: http://speedlights.net/speedlights-power-index/. Scroll down to the 2nd table to see both in one chart together.

  20. Jim says:

    I have a new T3i. I am confused about whether or not MK II adjusts its output by receiving signals from the master when in wireless mode. Does it truly adjust like a 580 EX II does when used with the T3i.
    Thanks,

    Jim

    • fransener says:

      Hello Jim! My Di-622 Mark II in the Nikon version works in wireless TTL mode with the popup flash of the Nikon D90 and adjusts its exposure automatically in that configuration. The Canon version of the flash will do exactly the same with the popup flash of the T3i = 600D which is now also able to control wireless flash. The Nissin is set to channel 1 and group A, but the Rebel allows that setting from what I’ve read (I only have the T1i myself). Use the “purple” mode for this, not “SF” or “SD”

  21. JIm says:

    fransener,

    Thanks so much for putting it in PLAIN English. Other reviews that I’ve read seem to skirt the issue by not saying that directly. I would have hated to order the Nissin and then get an unpleasant surprise.

    Thank you again,

    Jim

  22. Hi Frensener,
    I really appreciate this review, it is great. I would ask you further information for strobist flash. Let’s go straight with my situation, I have 550EX (master) 1 unit and 430EX (slave) 2 units, and I will add more Di-622 MII. Can I make 2 groups by combining these Di-622Mii (group A) with my 430EXs (as group B). By this way, I hope I can control the ratio of each group independently for exposure purpose.
    Many thanks in advance for your response, Cheers

    • fransener says:

      Hi Budi

      This will work in channel 1 (the only channel the Nissin allows) and with group A for the Di-622 Mark II and another group for the 430EX II, yes. You can use the “ratio” mode on your master / controller to change the balance between the 2 groups = flashes.

  23. new bee says:

    I am considering a nissin di622 mark II and a yungnou 468. Which should i get??

    • fransener says:

      Hi new bee: for the additional cost you get more power with the Di-622 mark II and the wireless E-TTL mode which allows automatic wireless flash with a 600D, 60D or 7D (or with other cameras if additional accessories are used) – if you plan on using this then it’s the better choice for sure. If the requirement is just having a flash to stick on your camera when the light is bad you should be able to get perfectly happy with the Yongnuo. Cheers – Frank

  24. n.i.c. says:

    Thanks for this review and all of your other reviews. It’s because of your attention to detail that made me purchase this flash for my t2i. Picked it up on ebay for 138.00 plus shipping so I think a really great deal. Now I just need to figure out how to properly expose my flash images and I’m all set!
    Thanks again – Nick

  25. shadow says:

    Hi im still a new photographer. Im still really confused if im going to with the nissin di622 mrk 2 or the nikon sb700. which would best??I use a nikon d90…thankz!

    • fransener says:

      Hi shadow! If budget is no concern then there’s hardly anything to complain about with the SB-700. But the Di-622 Mark II is an excellent choice for everyday flash photography if you don’t want to spend $300+ and need really all the bells and whistles – the light looks just as good so to say. Frank

      • shadow says:

        thankd a lot for the reply…guess i’ll be buying the nissin mark II…really great review…thanks for the advise!

  26. Mike says:

    Firstly, Highly appreciate the extensive, detailed, informative review about the flash. Explained in simple plains words and right to the point.

    Well, i am into portraits of friends and family, my gear is mainly d7000 +50 1.4 & Sb400, looking for a bigger flash or 2 to make the pictures come out. Will the di622 fire wireless without triggers. (D7000).?
    Will is work with the CLS and i-ttl of Nikon.?
    Can it be used a commander flash.?

    As you can see from my questions, im new to strobist techniques, i want to use the full functionality of the D7000. My other option is the Sb700 or Di622 ii & Di622 together.

    Thanks in advance, Cheers mate

  27. Patar Ronnie says:

    Thank for the reviews, it help a lot for me, but i think you should add more flashgun model to your database such as Bower SFD926 and SUNPAK PZ42X (which is compatible for Sony TTL), it’s can directly compared with Yongnuo YN468 and Nissin Di-622 II ($100-200).

    Because this is TTL era and much people buy 3rd party flash because this feature (beside the price), i think you should test that feature from every flashgun you reviewed, so we can know which flash approach the perfect exposure and show the data at a specific table. I found a couple 3rd party model going under or over when using TTL.

    Keep up reviewing guys…

  28. [Gm] says:

    Thank you very much for the thorough review and explanation. It helps me a lot to decide. I was hesitant to try strobist-thingie because I thought it’s going to be extra-expensive. However, perhaps with this flash, I can start low and slow… I’m now basically sold for this flash.

    Again, thanks for the detailed review. I’m now saving up the money to buy one :-) …Too bad I cannot buy it through your link(s) because I don’t live in the US.

    Cheers!

  29. Lee says:

    Thanks for a comprehensive look at the Nissin I dont have the funds for a Nikon SB but I can push to the Nissin, the guy in the camera shop advised me that the Nissin DI622 is about the best value flash on the market for the amount of features it has and your excellent review has confirmed it for me, it should work well on my D7000 and give me the latitude of off camera control I was looking for. thanks again

  30. Jomar says:

    Thank you very much for the review. It was really helpful. After reading your review, I believe that the Di622 Mark II suits my needs. I’m using a Canon 550D and I would most likely purchase this flash, rather than the Canon-series because, as explained, it is similar in all aspects, except that it is more cost-efficient. I can use the savings to buy other camera accessories.

  31. Hj says:

    I just bought nissin di622mk2. for me, the sound of zoom head is quite loud. I asked a friend who own canon 430ex2, he did’nt even realized his flash head move when zooming in/out, which mean it is very quiet i suppose. Can anyone who use this flash describe how loud the sound it make when zooming? mine is like “kkrikkkkikk”, a bit too loud for me, even louder than when my lens focusing (ef-s 18-55mm IS). about twice the noise level of the lens. just hoping that it not defect or whatever

  32. Edwin says:

    Hi, I have a Nissin DI-622 Mark2 and I am planning to buy YongNuo RF-603. Is RF-603 compatible with DI622 mark2?

    Thanks

    • Speedlights says:

      Hi Edwin – yes, this combo works well together – but keep in mind the RF-603 does not transmit wireless TTL signals, only the trigger signal; Frank

  33. xdh4249 says:

    I bought a Di622 MK2 for my Nikon D60, and I found an interesting feature of this light: Customize TTL Flash Value.
    http://i.imm.io/9OnJ.jpeg
    http://i.imm.io/9OnO.jpeg
    At this part of the User’s Manual , Nissin says we can add an additional Flash Exposure Compensation of -0.75EV to 0.75EV, at a step of 0.25 EV to adjust the TTL, for a factory tune of TTL might not fit everyone’s style. This Flash Exposure Compensation will not be displayed by the LEDs when the light is working, and will not be reset by a power-down or unload of batteries.
    To set this Flash Compensation, turn off the light, press PILOT and ON/OFF for 3 seconds until the color LED turn blue. Then, use + and – to adjust the Flash Compensation, each of the orange LED stands for a 0.25 EV, half of what’s print under it. Then restart the flash to apply the setting.
    Now I set this Flash Compensation to +0.5 EV to make the pictures more vivid.
    http://i.imm.io/9OnN.jpeg
    I took this using D60 and Di622, with a +0.75 EV, some grapes on my desk. Now PR China is celebrating her 62nd birthday, and everyone is having a 5-day vacation. That’s really nice!

  34. Rob says:

    Hello,

    For the same price, isn’t the Yongnuo 565EX better than this Nissin Di622 Mark II?

    • Speedlights says:

      Hello Rob! For the same price the Yonguo 565 does look extremely strong compared to the Di-622 mark II – agreed!

  35. Rob says:

    Thanks for your answer. I read a couple of good reviews about the Yonguo 565, it has good specs, I’m only worried about its reliability.

  36. Erni says:

    Hi there great detailed review . I just want your opinion in my situation. I’ve got a Canon 550D Camera and have to decide between 2 external flash units. I can get both flash units for basically the same price, so that factor is not present. Okay which one of the following flashes would you recommend in an overall choice : 1)Nissin Di622-II or 2) Canon 430ex-II. Also In my manual it says the following that might be important: When an Ex-series flash is attached to the camera , almost all the auto flash control is done by the camera , and when using non–canon flash units : the camera can synchronize with compact, non-canon flash units at 1/200 sec or slower.

    • Speedlights says:

      Hi Erni! If the price is the same then get the Canon 430EX II. The text from your manual refers to high speed sync (HSS), a feature that was left out on the 622-II but which is present on the Canon. That’s one of the main factors where it stands out versus the Nissin, apart from more customization. The Nissin Di-622 II is really a good product, also with accurate exposure, but if you get the Canon 430-II for the same price it’s clear as what to do. Frank

  37. Erni says:

    Thanks a lot really appreciate the advice !

  38. olafmar says:

    The 622 mkII is good, but that green/red status light (“Pilot” button) really blinds you if you use the flash at night, for example in discos: you lift the camera at the level of your eyes, your pupil gets closed and you see nothing in the viewfinder.
    I put a paper sticker on it to reduce the intensity of the light.

  39. Alex says:

    Excellent review.
    I recently bought nikon d5100. What CHEAP set up would you recommend in order for me to start shooting with wireless flashing. Am really new to arena of wireless flash.
    Thanks

    • Speedlights says:

      Hi Alex! Get a TTL flash that you can use in automatic shooting mode on your camera – the Di622-II is a good choice for this. When it comes to wireless flash I recommend low cost radio triggers, esp. the Yongnuo RF-602. They will work just fine with most flashes, e.g. also with this Nissin model. The transmitter goes in the camera hot shoe, the receiver goes on the flash foot. Now you need to set a flash output on the speedlight and don’t forget to limit the shutter speed on your cam to 1/200 or slower (modes M or S), and you’re all set! Frank

  40. allo dito says:

    hi frank . i have the nissin with phottix strato ii triggers. why is it that the nissin flash keeps triggring in sf mode??
    thanks for the review .. very good
    allo

    • Speedlights says:

      Hi allo! Do you say it’s not locking up the contacts on the flash foot when used in “SF” with the triggers as you’d expect? Help me understand where this creates a problem for you, Frank

  41. allo dito says:

    no frank ..the nissin triggers a flash with out any reason. at times it is very frequent. any explanation??

  42. Jure says:

    Hey!
    I got some wierd error! First of all i’m super pleased with Nissin 622II and it is better than my expectations! It is powerful and working great. With out this error would be just perfect buy for $!

    So when im using it in “SD” mode at higher powers i make just a few flashes (pops) and then if i wait 20seconds the speedlight just turn-off completly. If i turn it back on it work normaly, but again after few flashes it go off. I tryed with diferent baterys but no sucsses… Any idea?

  43. Dave Lawrence says:

    Thanks for the very detailed reviews of flash guns. Based on your reviews I gave my wife the choice to get me a Canon 430 EX II, Nissin DI622 II, or one several Yongnuo guns to go with my Canon D1000. In the event she went for the Nissin, at a very good price, and it spent christmas in the hot shoe on auto mode. I’m very pleased with the results so far, although if you are too quick on the draw the shots can be under exposed. I’m shortly off on holiday and will start to push on longer distance shots, and hopefully get it off camera. So far it is as good as your review says it is, but just one question, what is the 6 contact conector in the bottom of the battery compartment for?

    • Speedlights says:

      Hi Dave

      Thanks for the feedback, very much appreciate you’re sharing this! That connector is for firmware updates (flash needs to be sent in for that). Frank

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