Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Radio-based wireless TTL for Sony, Nikon and Canon

image by Nissin Group
Nissin is producing an affordable radio-based wireless TTL flash and trigger for Canon, Nikon and, starting this summer, for Sony as well.  There are already several radio-based TTL systems for Canon and Nikon.  However, for Sony, this is a welcome addition because the only such system available thus far is the Phottix Odin, and Nissin's system appears to have a lower total cost.

Nissin's wireless TTL system is called Nissin Air System ("NAS").  Nissin's system will consist of the Nissin Di700A flash, and the Air 1 commander.  In winter this year, Nissin will also have a wireless receiver that will work with existing Nissin flashes that do not have NAS built-in. 
image by Nissin Group

The Di700A flash is a medium-sized flash with a Nissin-specified guide number of 28 meters at ISO 100 at 35mm zoom, similar to that of the Nikon SB-700, and slightly more powerful than the Sony HVL-F43M.  It has a color graphical LCD display and a simple-looking interface.  It has a zoom from 24 - 200mm, and has a 180 degree swivel both left and right.  It can function in either TTL or manual mode.  According to Nissin, the Di700A has 3 wireless modes: an optical or digital optical slave, a radio-based NAS slave, or an optical TTL slave.  The last mode appears to imply that the Di700A can also function as a slave for the camera's optical wireless TTL system (in addition to the radio-based TTL).
image by Nissin Group
​The Air 1 commander can command up to 3 groups, either in TTL (+/- 2EV exposure compensation) or manual (with a range of 8 stops, to 1/128).  However, it is not clear whether it can mix TTL and manual in different groups.  It appears the Air 1 can also control zoom level, is compatible with high speed sync (up to 1/8000 shutter speed), and can sync with either the 1st or 2nd curtain.  The Air 1 also has a built-in AF assist lamp.
Regarding the Sony version of this system, Nissin hasn't said whether the Di700A and Air 1 will be using the Sony/Minolta auto-lock hotshoe, or the newer Multi-Interface Shoe.  If it uses the Sony/Minolta hotshoe, cameras with the Multi-Interface Shoe will need the ADP-MAA adapter to use the Air 1, and another for the Di700A if you want to use it on-camera.
In my view, the most attractive feature for Nissin's system is its affordability.  The MSRP for the Di700A is $238, and for $75 for the Air 1.  However, the Di700A and Air 1 will be available for preorder as a kit for $258.  By comparison, the Phottix Odin trigger and receiver kit costs around $279, and you would still need to add a TTL flash to that.  If you want wireless TTL on your Sony, this is probably the cheapest option.  I plan to get the Nissin Di700A flash and Air 1 commander, and will post a review.
More information here.