New and recent cameras, including the 7D, 60D, 600D and
650D, enable you to use the pop-up ﬂash as a wireless controller for ﬂashguns
that have a wireless slave mode. This means you can easily use the ﬂashgun
off-camera, to give a more three-dimensional, natural lighting effect. Check
out our step-bystep guide below to see how to set up wireless slave operation.
Apart from the Sunpak PZ42X, all the ﬂashguns in our test
group can be used in wireless slave mode. This means you can trigger them
direct from a compatible camera, or from another ﬂashgun that features a
wireless master mode (only the Nissin Di866 Mk II Pro and Sigma EF-610 DG Super
in this group offer this). In most cases, you can choose one of four wireless
channels, to avoid interference from other equipment or when shooting close to
other photographers who are also using wireless ﬂash.
to go wireless for off-camera ﬂash
Because of their small size and relatively close proximity
to subjects, ﬂashguns produce very hard lighting, which is the last thing you
need for portraits. By angling the head at between 45 and 60 degrees and ﬁtting
a diffuser, such as a Sto- Fen Omni-Bounce, you can create softer and more
ﬂattering light. Diffusers cost around £20, with options to ﬁt different
ﬂashgun makes and models.
Nissin Speedlite Di622 Mk II
Despite being the joint cheapest ﬂashgun in the group, along
with the Sunpak PZ42X, the Nissin Di622 Mk II boasts a surprisingly full set of
features, along with a marginally higher maximum power rating than the more
expensive Canon 430EX II. Plus points include a motorised zoom head with bounce
and swivel functions, a wide-angle diffuser and reﬂector card, and wireless
Di622 Mk II
Dig a little deeper, though, and a few minus points come to
light. In common with only the Sunpak in this group, recycling is anything but
silent, producing a clearly audible whining noise. The zoom motor is also quite
noisy. The wireless slave mode only works in channel 1, group A conﬁguration
and the ﬂashgun lacks a high-speed sync mode. There’s also no info LCD, but at
least you can apply ﬂash exposure compensation via switches on the ﬂashgun,
albeit only within +/-1.5EV in 0.5EV increments. Alternatively, you can apply
ﬂash exposure compensation through the camera’s Flash Control menu.
Exposure accuracy isn’t too far off in E-TTL mode, with a
tendency to underexpose by about one-third of a stop. The recycling time after
a full-power ﬂash is pretty nippy at 4.1 seconds.
For: Useful power and plentiful features considering the low
Against: Noisy in operation; lacks a high-speed sync mode; no
info LCD panel
Nissin Speedlite Di866 Mk II Pro
Like its smaller sibling on test, the Di866 used to be a
noisy beast, with a loud zoom motor and recycling circuitry, but the Mk II
model is more reﬁned. It really earns its ‘Pro’ moniker too, with advanced
features including a quick-loading battery magazine, an external power input
for use with a high-capacity battery pack, a USB port for applying ﬁrmware
updates and a PC sync socket to enable triggering via a cable.
Di866 Mk II Pro
The Nissin boasts a stroboscopic multi-ﬂash mode as well as
high-speed sync and rear curtain modes. Everything is wonderfully easy to get
at too, thanks to a colour LCD screen and four-way control buttons. There’s
even an orientation sensor, so the display will be the right way up during both
landscape and portrait orientation shooting. Full wireless master and slave functions
are on hand and, uniquely in the group, there’s a secondary sub-ﬂash module,
useful for delivering direct ﬁll-ﬂash in bounce mode.
Exposure is consistent in E-TTL mode but proved very
slightly underexposed at -0.2 EV in our tests. Recycling is quite pedestrian
too, at 5.9 seconds. We can forgive it that, however, as the Gn rating of 60
makes it the most powerful ﬂashgun in the group, along with the Sigma.
For: A feast of advanced features that you’d only expect in a
much more expensive flashgun
Against: Slight underexposure in E-TTL mode but at least it’s