Nissin's new flagship flashgun, the Di866, breaks new ground
Nissin may not be the first name you’d associate with innovation but its new flagship flashgun breaks new ground. Firstly the Di866, which is available in Canon or Nikon versions, is claimed to be the most powerful hotshoe flash on the market, with a GN of 60 (ISO 100 at 105mm). Secondly, it has the best user interface seen on a flash, with a full-colour icon-based LCD screen that even auto-rotates when you turn the flashgun.
The screen displays a grid of six coloured icons representing the six modes – Auto, TTL, Manual/Av, Multi, Wireless and Setting – all accessed using a four-way control pad on the back, with a set button in the middle. Select TTL and you get a simple exposure compensation scale, manual mode displays the output level, which can be set down to 1/128th power.
In Av mode it displays an aperture scale, while in Multi-flash mode you can set up to 20 bursts. The Nissin Di866 can be used in a wireless set-up as either the master flash or a slave and it also boast High Speed Synch FP for synchronisation at speeds above 1/250sec.
The head, which zooms to cover 24-105mm lenses, rotates 270°, tilts up to 90°, and incorporates both a wideangle diffuser and a white reflector, both of which pull out from the top. There’s also a secondary fill flash (GN 12).
The four AA batteries fit into a slot-in magazine, making battery changes very quick if you have extra magazines. The Nissin Di866 offers a PC sync terminal, a DC power socket and a USB port to enable firmware upgrades, giving the flashgun a degree of future proofing.
The bad news
This is all great, but it isn’t all good news. The control pad on my sample is rickety and the set button sticks. I hope this is because it’s a review sample that’s been mistreated a bit, but it does give me some concerns about the build quality.
Flash illumination is even and exposures good but I had trouble getting some functions, such as the exposure compensation, to work, which I put down to the dodgy buttons.
Overall this problem is the only thing preventing me from giving the Nissin Di866 a Gold Award, because it’s otherwise very good.
The Nissin Di866 flashgun performs impressively well, and has a raft of excellent features. The only trouble I had was getting some of the functions to work, but it's otherwise very good indeed.