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Thread: Comparison among flash models

  1. #1
    Nicola's Avatar
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    Comparison among flash models

    Dear Folks
    I'm involved in the choice of a flash for my camera (canon 50D). I'm searching trough the net to compare the models of several brands.
    At the moment I'm considering the Nissin Di866 mkII as the best choice, as it is considerably cheaper than Canon 580EX (half the price) and its specifications are very similar to the Canon's one.
    as reported on this review

    http://speedlights.net/nissin-flash-di-866-ii/

    some of the differences between Di866 and EX580 are the following:

    Di866 isn't able to adapt its zoom on the sensor size
    Di866 has a minimum recycle time of 5,5 s versus the 3,8 s of the 580EX

    580EX hasn't the optical slave mode
    580EX hasn't the seconf flash tube for fill in

    which of these are most important?

    I've still to watch to other brands, as Metz, for the AF 58...
    what is your opinion about these gears? Any other suggestions?
    which flash would you recommend?
    many thanks in advance for the help
    have a nice day
    Nicola
    Last edited by Nicola; 27th October 2011 at 02:30 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Hi Nicola,

    IMO, one of the most important capabilities for me in a hotshoe flash is High Speed Sync (HSS).

    I frequently use any one of my flashes (I have a 550EX, a 430EX and a 420EX) for fill outdoors and don't like to be required to keep my shutter speed below 1/250 second. I will use my flash in HSS mode which will allow sync at virtually any shutter speed. Although the power is reduced somewhat - that is compensated for in the larger aperture used with the faster shutter speed. When I am in HSS mode and my shutter speed drops below 1/250 second; the Canon flashes automatically revert to standard sync; so I have the best of both worlds.

    I really like HSS when shooting hand-held macros outdoors because I can get my shutter speed high enough to compensate for camera movement.

    I know that all Canon EX Speedlites as well as the Sigma hotshoe flashes have HSS capability. I am not sure of other brands but, that would be the first thing that I would look for in a flash.

    BTW: I purchased both my 430EX (not the Mk ii model) and the 550EX used at quite a decent price. I have been using the 550EX for years and the 430EX for about a year now. I don't have a handle on the used prices for Canon gear in Italy but, it might be something to consider.

    In answer to some of your questions, these are my opinions only:

    "Di866 isn't able to adapt its zoom on the sensor size"
    Adapting the zoom to sensor size will save battery power. However, I use Sanyo rehargeable batteries in my flash units and always have several sets available so adapting to sensor size is not that important to me. (My 420EX will adapt but my 550EX and 420EX will not)

    "Di866 has a minimum recycle time of 5,5 s versus the 3,8 s of the 580EX"
    I have just watched the clock and there is a considerable difference between 5.5 and 3.8 seconds recycle times. However, this recycle time is only valid when the flash needs to shoot at full power and dump its load. Either unit should recycle faster when shooting at a reduced power.


    "EX hasn't the second flash tube for fill in"
    I have never shot with a flash that has a second flash tube. It seems like a good idea but, would not be a deal breaker for me. I always bounce my flash using a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro ( www.dembflashproducts.com ). The FlipIt reflector portion of this unit directs part of the bounced flash forward which will very adequately fill in the areas around the eyes which is where the shadows from unmodified bounced flash occur.

    550EX with DFD on Stroboframe Camera Flip Bracket
    Comparison among flash models
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 27th October 2011 at 03:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Nicola's Avatar
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    thank you very much Richard for this detailed and very helpfull feedback!!!
    I didn't focused my attention on HSS, but as I use my camera handheld for the 99% of the time, and in outdoors, it is the most important feature for me. I have found in a test report that Nissin Di866 has this feature.

    about the recycle time, I have more detailed info from a test report:

    Comparison among flash models

    Comparison among flash models

    so, here we have a big difference between the two speedlights...
    i am going on with the comparison...

    thank you again Richard

    bye

  4. #4
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Nicola,

    A 2+ second recharge time is very workable. However, subjects start to get restless when you are taking 5+ seconds between shots. But remember, the above time is only after a full battery dump. Most times you will be using less than full power and recharge with either unit will be a bit faster.

    I use Sanyo Eneloop rechargable batteries in my Canon EX flash units. They provide quicker recharge than even a fresh set of alkaline batteries. I would imagine that this would be true with the Nissin flash also. I don't know about the number of shots from a single group of batteries since I will replace the batteries about half way through my shooting if I am taking a lot of pictures. It doesn't cost anything to replace recharged batteries. I always carry at least one and sometimes two extra sets of batteries.

    Regarding HSS: a factor that makes the HSS usable, even with my lower power 430EX, is that I will often use my fill flash in a -1 or even -2 EV setting. It doesn't need as much power in that reduced mode...

    Here is something interesting... according to the B&H Photo website, this unit can be powered by a high voltage accessory battery pack which seriously reduces the recharge times...
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._II_Flash.html

    BTW: B&H is an extremely reputable mail order supplier and they ship to Europe. I don't know what duty, if any, would charged by Italy if you ordered from a U.S. dealer. Nor do I know what the warranty situation would be in that case.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 27th October 2011 at 07:10 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Nicola,

    A 2+ second recharge time is very workable. However, subjects start to get restless when you are taking 5+ seconds between shots. But remember, the above time is only after a full battery dump. Most times you will be using less than full power and recharge with either unit will be a bit faster.

    I use Sanyo Eneloop rechargable batteries in my Canon EX flash units. They provide quicker recharge than even a fresh set of alkaline batteries. I would imagine that this would be true with the Nissin flash also. I don't know about the number of shots from a single group of batteries since I will replace the batteries about half way through my shooting if I am taking a lot of pictures. It doesn't cost anything to replace recharged batteries. I always carry at least one and sometimes two extra sets of batteries.

    Regarding HSS: a factor that makes the HSS usable, even with my lower power 430EX, is that I will often use my fill flash in a -1 or even -2 EV setting. It doesn't need as much power in that reduced mode...

    Here is something interesting... according to the B&H Photo website, this unit can be powered by a high voltage accessory battery pack which seriously reduces the recharge times...
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._II_Flash.html

    BTW: B&H is an extremely reputable mail order supplier and they ship to Europe. I don't know what duty, if any, would charged by Italy if you ordered from a U.S. dealer. Nor do I know what the warranty situation would be in that case.
    thanks again Richard! you are spending a lot of time helping me...
    I'm really grateful for that
    the recharge time could be an issue,
    anyway at the moment I do not do long lasting photosets of portrait, I haven't shot to a model or in a studio, I will use this flash not so often, actually I need the flash for my new nephew baptism next month and my sister wedding (on spring).
    for sure, I will use it a couple more times , but I just don't know either when or if

    the external battery pack mentioned in the B&H web site is the Nissin Power Pack Pro 300, it costs up to 500USD.. too much ...
    many thanks !!
    cheers
    Nicola

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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Hi Nicola,

    My advice would be to stick with Canon units. If the Nissin Di866 won't adjust the head zoom to account for use on a crop-factor camera then already you've lost 1/2 your power compared to one that does. Often folks report issues with inconsistent exposure with 3rd party flashes, and if you ever decide to purchase the likes of Pocket Wizard tranceivers, you'll find that they're not supported (so may or may not work properly).

    Yes they're cheaper ... but there's a reason for that.

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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicola View Post
    I'm involved in the choice of a flash for my camera (canon 50D). I'm searching trough the net to compare the models of several brands.
    At the moment I'm considering the Nissin Di866 mkII as the best choice, as it is considerably cheaper than Canon 580EX (half the price) and its specifications are very similar to the Canon's one. as reported on this review

    what is your opinion about these gears?
    Any other suggestions?
    which flash would you recommend?
    I would not consider a third party Flash and my “main go everywhere on camera Flash Unit”, and if I had only one Flash Unit for one camera it would be the manufacturer's dedicated unit.

    I recommend you buy a 580EX MkII, for your 50D.

    WW

  8. #8
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    I won't recommend a 430 or a 580, but I will say that I recently bought a 430 exii and it works far better than my previous sigma flash. I love ETTL-2.

  9. #9
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    dear all,
    Since a friend of mine has just bought a Nissin Di866, I will wait a couple of weeks in order to test his flash!
    anyway your all usefull feedbacks have driven my preference on Canon flashes
    so my question is a bit changed, and I need your help again!
    which one between 430 and 580??
    the most important differences between them are only the power and "master mode" , aren't they?
    I think the 430 ex II should be my "best way" ...

    thanks for help!
    Nicola

  10. #10
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Power output and master/slave function are the two differences which I would list on my sheet, yes.

    I would not argue with YOUR choice of the 430EXMkII for YOU - as you are, in my opinion correct in your choice having already thought through the major differences of the two models and applied that knowledge to your choice.

    I would however write this:
    The cost difference is small (over the life of the unit) therefore, I choose the 580 as the first canon unit I would buy, because I would then have the "most power", should I ever need it.


    WW

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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    The cost difference is small (over the life of the unit) therefore, I choose the 580 as the first canon unit I would buy, because I would then have the "most power", should I ever need it.
    These types of questions are always somewhat subjective. I agree with Bill though, in that it's "better to have it and not need it" then it is to "need it and not have it". The 580EX II is a great flash, but even then I sometimes use up to 4 of them at once to light a single subject; admittedly they're not all firing full power most of the time (which would be hard on any flash), but I really wouldn't like to be using even 4x 430EX II's - let alone just a single one. But of course, my needs will be different to those of other people, which also needs to be taken into consideration. Having just said that though, I've known many many many folks who under-bought and wished they'd spent a little more at the time rather than having to buy the item they should have bought in the first place as well as owning the unit that they tried to "get away with" - but I don't know ANY who went the extra mile and bought something like the 580 EX II and complained that "I wish I'd only bought a 430EX II".

    Keep in mind also, that if your interest in flash photography increases - and you want to do more - then the Master Controller capability of the 580EX II may well be a big help.

    All in all I'd say "if you can afford it, get the 580EX II" - if the 430EX II is all you can afford then "decision made"

    Hope this helps.

  12. #12
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post

    All in all I'd say "if you can afford it, get the 580EX II" - if the 430EX II is all you can afford then "decision made"

    Hope this helps.
    thanks again to William aand Colin,
    your suggestions are always very important for me, and for sure are helpful.

    anyway, about your last sentence Colin, I can afford the 580, as I can afford the new 1Dx, but the point that makes me thoughtful is "are this money well spent in relation to the use I will do with it?"
    I can't afford the top of the line of everything I would like to buy (I can't buy a Maserati as a new car in order to go to the food store every day, AND I can't buy Armstrong's bike to keep me fit twice per month...)
    I must choose where spend more and where less, and I must spend on not faulty objects
    thanks again
    cheers
    N

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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicola View Post
    thanks again to William aand Colin,
    your suggestions are always very important for me, and for sure are helpful.

    anyway, about your last sentence Colin, I can afford the 580, as I can afford the new 1Dx, but the point that makes me thoughtful is "are this money well spent in relation to the use I will do with it?"
    I can't afford the top of the line of everything I would like to buy (I can't buy a Maserati as a new car in order to go to the food store every day, AND I can't buy Armstrong's bike to keep me fit twice per month...)
    I must choose where spend more and where less, and I must spend on not faulty objects
    thanks again
    cheers
    N
    I know just what you're saying. Personally though, I'd be inclined to start with the 580EX II at the top of the list, and then think long and hard if there are any reasons to replace it with the 430EX II. The 430EX II will have less light (and you may need more) - if it does have enough light then the unit will still be working harder than a 580EX II - and if you want to control other flashes then you'll need a 580EX II anyway (unless you adopt some other form of master controller strategy like PocketWizards). How about getting a 580EX II as the first flash, and then consider dropping back to a 430EX II for your slave flashes when you need them?

  14. #14
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    thanks Colin!
    your thoughts are very welcomed
    I will let you know what finally I decide in the next days, at the moment I'm still nt sure to "walk your way"..
    I could buy the430 and when I will need a master/slave kit, I will buy the 580 as a master and keep using the 430 as slave. If i will never need the master/slave kit, the only difference is the power between 580 and 430: I think the power can't justify the doubled price.
    thanks again
    cheers
    N

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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicola View Post
    If i will never need the master/slave kit, the only difference is the power between 580 and 430: I think the power can't justify the doubled price.
    No worries

    I guess it depends if you need that extra power or not. If you're just doing on-camera fill flash then you won't (but that gives the worst quality of light) -- but if you're using bounce flash or firing into a diffuser then you'll need a LOT more power (but you'd get much better results).

  16. #16
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Colin,
    at the end of this gentle "debate"
    i have just decided to buy the 580! I'm going to search on the web the best price for the next week and then ... let's go!
    yesterday evening I was listening some of my friends playing music during a party, and there were two amateur photographers like me: one without flash at all (excluding the built-in one) and one with a cheap nikon one: observing them (more than the musicians, sincerely) I imagined the benefits the 580 would have brought to me in a similar situation. then this morning I read your post, and ...

    by the way, since i'm looking trough the web, i'm also searching for a new lens... perhaps a new tele like the 70-300 L... I think I will need your help again soon...

    (umpf... but how much it costs... I've to save some money from... flash?? have you an used 580 for sale?? just kidding ok?)

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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicola View Post
    Colin,
    at the end of this gentle "debate"
    i have just decided to buy the 580!
    Congratulations - I think you've made a great choice!

    I'm reminded of whan I bought a little boat, and had to pick an engine for it ... the sales man hadn't sold this kind of boat before (a small rigid hull inflateable) and wasn't sure what size would be best. I tossed and turned between a 10HP or a 15HP ... and in the end went for a 15HP ... and it was ... hopeless. Took it back and got a 30HP ... much better, although I still wish at times that I'd put a 40HP or 50HP on it. If one has the extra power and doesn't need it then it just means that what power one does use taxes the device less, and it'll last longer.

    I'm going to search on the web the best price for the next week and then ... let's go!
    Just be careful where you get it from -- I don't know what Italian business practices are like, but in many parts of the world there are scum of the earth that will rip you off in the blink of an eye. As a general rule of thumb we normally suggest being VERY wary of any price that's much less than the price you can get it from www.bhphotovideo.com for (I deal with B&H even though they're in New Yourk and I'm in New Zealand).

    yesterday evening I was listening some of my friends playing music during a party, and there were two amateur photographers like me: one without flash at all (excluding the built-in one) and one with a cheap nikon one: observing them (more than the musicians, sincerely) I imagined the benefits the 580 would have brought to me in a similar situation. then this morning I read your post, and ...
    Timing is everything! Just be sure to invest in some material that'll help you get the most of it. The very best book on the market is Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography by NK Guy (who was kind enough to send me a free autographed copy).

    by the way, since i'm looking trough the web, i'm also searching for a new lens... perhaps a new tele like the 70-300 L... I think I will need your help again soon...
    I'm sure we can help.

    (umpf... but how much it costs... I've to save some money from... flash?? have you an used 580 for sale?? just kidding ok?)
    I have 4 second hand ones, but none are for sale

  18. #18
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    So I was at bestbuy the other day, and I figured I would take the plunge and get a 580exii....
    They were sold out
    Destiny?

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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    So I was at bestbuy the other day, and I figured I would take the plunge and get a 580exii....
    They were sold out
    Destiny?
    Nah - just shows how popular they are

  20. #20
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    Re: Comparison among flash models

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Just be careful where you get it from -- I don't know what Italian business practices are like, but in many parts of the world there are scum of the earth that will rip you off in the blink of an eye.


    Timing is everything! Just be sure to invest in some material that'll help you get the most of it. The very best book on the market is Mastering Canon EOS Flash Photography by NK Guy (who was kind enough to send me a free autographed copy).
    thanks a lot Colin for your suggestions
    i'm paying very much attention on where I buy on the web. fortunately, in a few km from my home there is a big italian web seller of photographic and informatic gears. I bought there all my equipment as it has very cheap prices and i can save something more on delivery: I 'm used to pick up by myself the pieces directly at the store.
    as an example from B&H the 580ex II costs (delivered to italy) 652 USDollar, in the "my usual" store it costs 537 USDollar (at the today's exchange ratio)
    anyway I'm checking out other stores and sellers nearby, looking for both new and used parts.

    the book you 've shown is very interesting, since i'm completely ignorant about this matter!... I must get it
    have you some other books to suggest to me about photography ?
    oops... you will hate me... i'm asking you everytime something ... hope I'm not boring you
    thank you very much
    have a nice day
    Nicola

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