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i60A - By Marc Alhadeff

Thanks to Degreef & Partner, Nissin distributor for France and Benelux, I could test the Nissin i60a

1 Presentation


1.1 Introduction


The Nissin i60a (269 eur official price) is the most powerful flash in Nissin range (Japanese company)


While being very powerful it stays very compact compared to traditional cobra flahses

  • Guide Number of 60@200mm @100ISO

  • Optical wireless mode in slave only

  • Radio control (Nissin Air) in slave only

  • Video LED, not compatible with AF assist on E mount (possible with native Sony flash)

  • Easy to use interface

  • Recycling time at full power is a little bit long at 5sec (1.7 to 3 sec for competitors)


1.2 Specifications


You can find an overview of its capabilities here below

Note :

  • Rear curtain work on the body but not in wireless (no flash except 2 from Sony for offer it

  • AF Assist light is built in , but not working on Sony E mount cameras (A6000, A7..) , this is the case for all flashes except 2 Sony ones. It can work on other brand like Fuji, Canon…

1.3 Build quality & handling

  • The build quality is very good

  • The fill in reflector system is very well thought and slide on the top of the flash

  • To fix the flash just push it into the hotshoe / there is a button “unlock” to unplug the flash

  • The head rotation system is unusual with a metallic articulation but is very handy and feels solid



There is the possilbity to plug in a battery pack from Nissin to extend the autonomy and shorten recycling time, but there is no USB port for firmware upgrade this will require you to return the flash to a service centre (fortunately there is very rarely a firmware upgrade for flashes)


1.4 Size


The Nissin i60a is much smaller than other GN60 flahses


Thanks to its compact size it could still be used on an APS-C body



Nissin Di700 left (GN54), Nissin I60 on right (GN60)


HVL-F32M on the left, Nissin i60 on the right


Left Nissin i40 / Right Nisin i60a


1.5 Ergonomics


Compared to the Nissin i40 , the i60a add a real LCD screen, but still with the same spirit of ease of use that is the key added value of Nissin


With a Nissin flash you almost never need to consult the user guide as all operations are quite clear from the interface

  • One dial for the mode : TTL, manual, RMT (in red , wireless remote) with TTL or manual, Video led

  • One wheel with directions keys for the settings and advanced functions: the selected settings and mode is displayed in a very graphical manner on the LCD display




Wireless mode

Manual mode, Automatic Zoom

TTL mode , with correction HSS activated, Manual Zoom set to 24

Manual mode


2 On camera flash


2.2 Bounce mode


In Bounce mode, indoor, we get with good results for up to medium-marge room and medium to large group of people but we often need to rise the ISO (800-1600)



1600 ISO, F3.2

400 ISO

1600 ISO

without flash


2.3 Direct Flash


Direct flash gives quite ugly results inside (like all flashes), but can be useful outside as a fill in flash to recover some shadows, particularly combined with the HSS mode to shoot wide open e.g. at F1.4 t & 1/4000 sec




with flash 1/200 F2.8

without flash


3 Wireless



Wireless Flashes combined with some light modifiers like an umbrella to diffuse the light (avoiding a harsh light) is the best way for me to use flashes, it allow to perfectly balance the flash with ambient light and to re create the impression of the natural light


To use this you can use a commander A (a flash like the HVL-F20M ) or the Nissin Air System (radio controlled) and 1 or several slave flashes (B)



Here is a sample of what you can achieve with 1 flash and 1 umbrella (taken with another Nissin Flash: the Di700a)



This technique is called strobism. It is a light and portable vs real studio lights that are much more bigger and heavy (e.g. with their external battery to carry) but also much more powerful and versatile



3.1 Wireless Flash


The Nissin i60 only works in slave mode, either with

  • Sony Optical wireless mode (max 5m),

    • group A = RMT TTL, group B = RMT2 TTL (for ratio usage) , group C – Manual

  • Nissin Air system (radio control : max 30m)



As slave with a Sony flash as commander it works directly and perfectly see below : Nissin i60 is the second on the right



4 Other flashes alternatives


What are the possible alternatives : you don’t find direct equivalent of the i60, as alternative are either less powerful for the same size or much bigger for same power

  • Sony HVL-F45RM (480 euros) : Radio control , as powerful very compact but very expensive

  • Nissin Di700a (199 Eur, 250 Eur in Kit with Nissin Air): as powerful , but more bulky , less expensive and also compatible Wirth Nissin Air System

  • Or take other wireless system such as Godox TT685s (179 Eur) or Sony HVL-F60RM (700 eur) but these are more bulky


5 Conclusion


The Nissin i60 (269 euros official price) is a very good , compact on camera flash, that can support regular usage, that is very easy to use and also at ease in a wireless setup with Sony flashes or the Nissin Air commander


Pro’s

  • Intuitive interface

  • Good build quality,

  • Compact

  • Compatible with Sony wireless optical mode as a slave

  • Compatible with Nissin Air System as slave

  • Price : more than half the price of Sony GN60 flashes


Con’s

  • No commander mode

  • No stroboscopic mode

  • Price of the flash : 30% more than Godox that also feature the commander mode but that is less intuitive to use


The biggest competitors of the i60 (269 Eur) is the Nissin Di700a that is offered at 199 eur alone or 250 eur in Kit with the Nissin Air commander


If you do a lot of wireless flash with lightstand, umbrella, soft boxes, the size of the flash does not matter , the then Di700 would be more recommended as offering the same functionalities for a cheaper price (199 Eur)


If you do a lot of on camera flash and occasionally wireless flash then the i60 (269Eur) + Nissin Air commander (85 Eur) will be a good choice


The i60 can also be a second wireless flash if you already bought a Nissin Air Kit (Commander + Di700a )


It will be good for Nissin to offer a pack i60+Nissin Air to have a ready to shoot wireless kit like they do for the Di700a


If you want more advanced function like stroboscopic, commander mode… you will need to go to Sony (very expensive easy to use) or Godox (cheap but somehow more complex to use)



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