top of page

Nissin MF-18 Ring flash for Macro - By Marc Alhadeff

Thanks to Degreef & Partner, Nissin distributor for France and Benelux, I could test the Nissin MF-18 ring flash for Sony.

  1. Presentation

  2. Basic Operations

  3. In use

  4. Conclusion

1 Presentation

1.1 Introduction

The Nissin MF-18 (370 eur) is a ring flash to be used in macro. It exist since a long time for Nikon and Canon but Nissin has now released a version for Sony E count compatible with the Multi interface hotshoe

The only other one I know for Sony E mount is the Metz Mecablitz 15 MS-1 (290 euros) but that has less functionalities (no TTL, only 6 power steps, no graphical user interface) and its performances are less good : Flash lights are concentrated in small areas on the side and not well spread around the ring

1.2 Specifications

You can find an overview of its capabilities here below

  • Guide Number: GN.16 (ISO100)

  • Power source: 4 x AA or optional Nissin PS 8 Ni-MH Battery Pack for Sony Camera (500 full power flashes with 0.7sec recycling time)

  • Recycle time: 0.1-5.5 sec (depending of power)

  • Number of Flashes: 120-800

  • Flash Power Control System:

  • AUTO

  • TTL mode: Sony ADI/P-TTL

  • Fine Macro mode: 1/128-1/1024, 1/6 Ev steps

  • Manual mode: Full-1/64, 1/3 Ev steps

  • High speed sync.: Yes (available in TTL mode only)

  • Ev Compensation on flash : -3.0 – +3.0, 1/3Ev steps

  • LED modeling lamps: 4 units

  • Color temperature: 5600K at full power flash

  • Flash Duration: 1/700 seconds at full power (When A and B tube flash together) 1/300 seconds at full power flash (When A or B tube flash individually) 1/700-1/30,000 seconds (When A and B tube flash together according to selected power)

  • Wireless Remote flash: Wireless TTL: Master, 4 Channels, 3 Groups (A, B and C) Mode: TTL / Manual, TTL flash ratio is adjustable Slave flash: Digital (infrared) Slave / Film (photo-optical) Slave * In Wireless TTL mode, Group C is slave flash setting and EV compensation can be adjusted independently. MF18 only supports Group A or C as slave flash.

  • Firmware Update Terminal: USB

  • X terminal: Yes

  • Adapter Rings: Suitable for lens from 49 to 82 mm. Package includes 52, 58 , 62, 72, 77mm (49, 55 and 82mm are optional for purchase)

  • Dimensions: Main body: 115 x 65 x 85mm Ring flash: 120 x 134 x 41mm

  • Weight: 446 gr w/o battery

1.3 Build quality & handling

  • The flash consist of 3 elements

  • a Commander unit to be placed on the hotshoe with a control panel and hosting the 4 AA batteries

  • an adapter that you screw on your lens

  • the ring flash itself (linked by a fixed cable to the commander unit) that has two curved and diffused flash tubes (labelled A & B), supplemented by LED modelling lamps (you plug it on the adapter)

  • The box is nicely made, it includes

  • the main unit and

  • a series of adapter : 52mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm and 77mm. You can order 49mm, 55mm and 82mm if you need one of them.

  • A quick user guide printed on the box

  • Overall the build quality is very good

  • The hotshoe is all in metal as well as the (blue) screw

  • All items are perfectly adjusted

  • A door is hiding: a USB port for firmware upgrade , a Synchro X , and an external power supply port (Nissin PS 8 Ni-MH Battery Pack for Sony Camera).

For the Sony 90mm F2.8 macro you will need the 67mm adapter

2 Basic operations

2.1 Mounting the flash

  • Attach the controller on the hotshoe of the camera

  • Screw the adapter ring that is the same size as the filter size of the lens onto the front thread of the lens

  • Attach the flash head to the adapter: Press the release buttons on top and bottom of the flash head to insert the four mounting tabs on the inside of the flash head on the adapter ring.