Nissin i40 flash for Sony multi interface shoe

Nissin i40 flash for Sony multi-interface shoe


The Nissin i40 for Sony Flash is one of the latest third-party flash guns for Sony’s Multi-Interface Shoe (MIS). The MIS is used on all Sony cameras released after September 2012, when it became their standard accessory shoe.

The i40 has a guide number of 40 (ISO 100, 105mm zoom), quite impressive for a flash this size. It uses 4 AA batteries, good for about 3 hours of flash use.


All modern-day Sony Alpha camera functions are supported:

  1. Sony Alpha P-TTL (Pre-Flash Through The Lens metering) is a system where light is metered through the lens and all other optical elements (like filters) that influence exposure.
  2. ADI (Advanced Digital Integration) relays focussing distance information from the lens back to the camera’s exposure computation system. An ADI flash will automatically adjust power output according to the distance transmitted from the lens.
  3. HSS (high speed sync) is the ability to use a flash at shutter speeds faster than the camera’s native sync. Most cameras have a native sync of 1/250th of a second, and anything faster than that is beyond the camera’s ability to sync the shutter with the flash. HSS is mainly used for using flashes at large apertures in daylight.

Build and Features

The Nissin i40 has an unmistakably retro look and looks great on the Sony A7 series. This small-form-factor flash has a metal shoe with a plastic body and seems quite sturdy.

It swivels 360 degrees and tilts 90 degrees, giving you full control over flash bouncing techniques or portrait mode shooting.

Controlling the flash is done with 2 responsive dials called Function Dial and Power Dial, so no LCD screen on this flash. I have to say this simplified approach works well and I personally prefer this to a touch screen LCD like the Metz flashes use.

The Nissin i40 also features a video light with a 9 step power control.

If you are considering this flash for the A6000, look elsewhere as it protrudes slightly backwards blocking access slightly to the viewfinder. No problems on the A7 series or A77II though.


Another issue might be the lack of any weather proofing. If’ you need to be able to use your flash in rain or humid conditions, look at the Sony HVL-F32M, HVL-F43M or Metz Mecablitz 64 AF-1 for the MIS.

Operating Modes

You’ll be able to access all the operating modes via the Function Dial.

Modes available:

  • LED Video Light: acceses the video light function, use the Power Dial to adjust the output level.
  • Sf (Slave Film): synchronizes to the traditional single flash system often called Optic Slave Mode.
  • SD (Slave Digital): This is Digital Optic Slave Mode, which ignores TTL pre-flashes.
  • M (Manual): Manual Flash Power level, adjust the power settings from 1/1 (full) to 1/250. The white LED light illuminates for both dials to indicate the parameters being adjusted.
  • A (Auto): Automatic sensor flash metering
  • TTL: Through the lens auto TTL metering, adjustable through the Power Dial.
  • A, B and C Optic Wireless Mode: Set the Mode dial to the group you want to use for wireless flash, then control the unit from the menu on you Sony MIS camera.
  • Optic – For off-camera flash users the i40 has an S1 & S2 optical slave, as well as an optic wireless slave mode for other optic wireless systems.

Manual zoom (M zoom)

Nissin i40 multi interface shoe

Although the Nissin i40 can auto follow the zoom (24-105mm)  length of the lens, it can also be manually selected by pressing the ON button for 3 seconds. Manual Zoom is available in M, SD, SF and  Wireless mode. The manual setting you selected is memorised and remains unchanged when power on.


The Nissin i40 currently packs a lot of  features into a very compact flash of this size. Street- and travel photographers who need a lightweight and small yet powerful flash will find the ideal companion for their Sony camera in the Nissin i40.

Nissin i40 Sony multi interface shoe


This little flash exposes well, although you’ll need to enable the diffusor panel in order to avoid vignetting with wide-angle lenses and GN40 means it is best used for close-up photography. It has decent recycle times: Recycle times were good: at 1/4 power or lower: being instantaneous at 1/4 power, 3 seconds at half power and 8 seconds at full power.

Overall, the Nissin i40 Compact Flash is an excellent choice for Sony MIS cameras if you don’t need any weather proofing.




wim arys

Wim Arys is a photographer from Belgium Europe with a passion for mirrorless cameras.

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16 Responses

  1. Bill Hennan says:

    How fully compatible is this flash with the Sony A6000? Is it a better flash than the Sony HVL-F32M External Flash that has been newly released. I note the guide number on the HVL-F32M External Flash is lower, and it only uses two AA batteries. Would the compatibility be superior on the Sony branded flash? I’m really leaning towards the i40 retro style controls and the higher guide number.

    • wim arys says:

      It is fully compatible with the A6000, though it does block access to the viewfinder (flash protrudes backwards). HVL-F32M is also weather proofed and capable of high speed sync, the Nissin i40 isn’t. Mainly because of the first problem, I would not recommend it for the A6000. Sony flashes are actually pretty good, I like them anyway. Though I must admit I like the look of the i40.

      • EvtK says:

        Hi Wim,

        Is this experience (the protruding backwards) the same for a NEX-6? I’m looking into a flash for it, and considering this i40 or the HVL-f43M / HVL-f32M



        • wim arys says:

          Hi EvtK, I have not tried the i40 on a NEX-6, so I can’t help you there. In all fairness, I’ve read plenty of people who use this flash with the A6000 and don’t find the protruding backwards issue bothersome. Perhaps you could try it out in a store first before buying it? Best, Wim

        • John Ball says:

          I have the Nissin i40 for my sony a6000 and I do not notice the flash protruding backwards to any extent and I have a left dominant eye. I do not see this as an issue for the i40!

  2. Li says:

    Hi Win, Thanks for the review on this flash.

    I’ve got a question about using the flash on A7 for A mode(I usually use this mode).

    When I select “Fill Flash” in the settings, the shutter speed is locked in 1/60. Although I can still change the aperture, the shutter speed won’t change.

    Is there any ways that I can use a faster shutter speed on A mode?

    Thank you.

    • wim arys says:

      Hi Li,

      Fill Flash is supposed to be used for fill-in purposes, like illuminating a subject’s face in the shadows on a bright day, that is the reason for the fast sync speed. Have you tried setting you’re camera to first curtain sync (which is ‘normal’ flash mode)? Let me know how you get on.

  3. Ali Gi says:

    Used with A6000 , was happy for a very short time.. first died .. Seller replaced it , after about taking 200 photos with exchanged unit died again 🙁

    • wim arys says:

      Hi Ali, well you were extremely unlucky, or Nissin has a quality control issue. I hope they replace this one too. I have not had any problem with my Nissin flashes though.

  4. David says:

    I came to this site for answers on the dial. The dials on the i40 here are same to my dials for my sony i40 which do not have the a,b,c and wireless symbols in your modes available section but have the M, ttl, ttl2 rmt buttons which have not been explained here. Can you update the modes description to the diagram you are showing that matches the sony nissin i40.


  5. John says:

    I hear that the i40 Sony has two plastic tabs on the sides of the metal shoe mount that lock it onto the camera shoe. Concern has been expressed that these will become weak points over time and use and may break off preventing the flash form locking on the camera. What is your opinion regarding these plastic locking tabs and whether or not there will present a breakage problem in the future.

    • wim arys says:

      Hi John, yes I heard the same thing, though I have had no issues with the plastic locking tabs. I would say that if it does not break within the warranty, you’ll be fine. Best, Wim

  6. Gelo says:

    Hola, yo acabo de devolver el nissin i40 no funciona bien con la a6000.

    No sincroniza y el flash aparece cuando quiere.

  7. Pat says:

    Thanks for the informative article. I’ve got a Sony A7iii and am trying to make it play nice in Aperture Priority (A) with a new (to me) Nissin i40 for occasional use. All works well in Auto mode but in everything else the images are woefully underexposed, as if the camera doesn’t realise the flash is there. First e-curtain is on and in A mode on camera my only options for flash are fill, slow or rear. Any ideas? I suspect I’ve something set up wrong on the flash but have tried all the options without improvement. Any advice much appreciated!

    • wim arys says:

      Hi Pat, is the flash in fact firing? Could be an issue with firmware, I know that Nissin updated the firmware at one point, and you had to go back to your dealer because it’s not possible to update by yourself. Always best to turn the first curtain electronic shutter off actually, it can give banding. My A9 for instance does not fire with the EFCS set to ON.

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