The 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
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.
Flash Head Features
Operation & Ease of Use
Test: Flash Recycling Times
Test: Guide Number
Speedlights.net Power Index
Test: Flash Duration
Tech Specs Table
Remote Slave Mode
No Wireless Master Mode
Radio Triggering & Optical Slave Mode
AF Assist Beam
i-TTL Performance & Exposure Quality
Flash Sync Modes
Di-622 Mark II Review Conclusion
Where To Buy
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.
- 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.
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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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
Di-622 II Review: Operation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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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 Di622 Mark II||36.8||32.0||-4/10|
|Metz 48 AF-1||33.1||29.9||-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 Di622 Mark II||1/375|
|Metz 48 AF-1||1/230|
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|
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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|
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.