Nissin Di866 on Nikon -- limited test

Started Apr 5, 2010 | Discussions thread
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dwight3
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Nissin Di866 on Nikon -- limited test
Apr 5, 2010

I finally got to try out my Di866. Not completely, but I put it on my D3 when the family gathered for Easter dinner.

I took only on-camera flash shots, no testing of the Nikon CLS. However, the Di866 has actually two flashes, the main flash and a small secondary flash which can be set to fire when the main flash is turned upward from the forward position. The power of the secondary flash can be set to 0, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, or full. I played around with it a bit. I used the main flash in bounce orientation and found that the secondary flash is bright enough to throw significant shadows behind the subject. Reducing the power to 1/8 or 1/4 mitigated that. It did provide some fill for shadows produced by having all the light bounced off the ceiling. It took some fiddling to get the right power level, because different shots needed a different amount of fill.

When using bounce in portrait orientation, the flash head is pointed forward but rotated to the right. In this position, the secondary flash is turned off. However, if you move the flash head slightly upward from the forward (but rotated upward) position, you wind up bouncing from the ceiling slightly to the left of overhead, but the secondary flash will then fire.

One nice thing about the Di866: The head will rotate to the right when you want to bounce from the ceiling in portrait orientation. The SB800 does the same thing. However, when you want to go from bouncing from the ceiling to bouncing from the back wall, the head on the Di866 just has to be rotated 90 degrees more in the same direction. The SB800 had to be rotated the other way, 270 degrees because the portrait orientation ceiling bounce position hits the stop. That has always been an annoyance with the SB800. IMHO the Di866 does it right.

I did find some variability with the exposure using the Di866. To be fair, the SB800 does the same thing, but my impression, from this limited test, was that the Di866 shows a bit more variability. It's all within the range of postprocessing, so it's not a big deal. However, if I take bursts with the SB800, I get several shots before the exposure falls off significantly. With the Di866 I got only one shot, and the second was significantly darker. This was an accidental observation, not a real test. I'll have to set something up and try bursts in a repeatable way. I do use bursts occasionally. Particularly when shooting a large group. I find that someone is always prone to blink from the exposure measuring pre-flash, then their eyes are closed for the real exposure. Using a burst generally solves that problem since the blink reflex doesn't repeat as fast as the burst. If someone else blinks on the second or third shots, well then the background hasn't changed much so you can swap heads between shots to replace the blinkers.

 dwight3's gear list:dwight3's gear list
Nikon Coolpix S52c Nikon D200 Nikon D4 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF +9 more
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