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Basics of Flash Photography

BeginnersGuide to Select a Hot Shoe Flash, Part 2 (Nikon)

Chart features a few speedlight models with Nikon compatibility. Nikon brand flashes are great and reliable, but there are inexpensive and popular alternatives. For more info on most, search Google for Brand/Model and the word Review.

Note: 24 mm FX flash zoom will cover 16 mm DX lenses. Wider angle lenses can be possible with wide angle diffusers. With flash indoors, you very likely will be using wide angle much more often than telephoto. See next page about Guide Numbers. They use four AA batteries unless otherwise noted.

Flash ModelPrice US$ AmazoniTTL
flash
mode
Manual flash modeZoom

(FX numbers)

Guide Number
ISO 100
FX
ft/m
Tilt for bounceSwivel for bouncePullout Bounce Card /
Wide Angle Diffuser
/ Mini stand
Focus Assist LEDOptical Slave
/ PC Sync connector
Wireless Remote
for a Nikon Cmmdr
Cmmdr built into flashFP mode (HSS)Notes
DSLR Internal flash, to compare Yes

 

Yes, from camera menu,
but cannot work stand alone
No

Covers
24 mm FX
16mm DX

39/13NoOnly in some camera models, controls two remote groups A,BNoCmmdr can control remote HSS, if internal flash is disabled.
Nikon SB-300
website
Amazon
manual
$147No

Covers
27 mm FX
18mm DX

59/18120 degreesNoNo remote,
See Note 1

Two AAA batteries

Nikon SB-500
website
Amazon
manual
$247No

Covers
24 mm FX
16mm DX

78.7/2490 degrees90 degrees left or right No/
No/
Yes
NoYes
Two Groups A,B,
On Channel 3
Yes, but only if on a D750 or D810 camera.
Controls two remote groups, A,B
Channels 1-4
YesTwo AA batteries,

Continuous LED for video

Nikon SB-700
website
Amazon
manual
$327Yes
to 1/128 power
24-120 mm

16-85 mm DX

75/23 at 24 mm

125/38 at 120 mm

180 degrees left or rightYes/
Yes/
Yes
YesYes / NoYes
Remote groups A,B,C
Channels 1-4
Yes, controls two remote groups, A,B, which must be same mode.
Channels 1-4
Nikon SB-910
website
Amazon
manual
$54717-200 mm

12-200 mm DX

88/27 at 24 mm

174/53 at 200 mm

Yes / Yes Yes,
controls three remote groups, A,B,C
Port for external battery pack
Nikon SB-5000
website
Amazon
manual
$597Yes
to 1/256 power
24-200 mm88.5/27 at 24 mm

180/55 at 200 mm

See Note 3

Has full controller and remote capabilities for Both Cmmdr optical mode and ALSO six groups of Radio control.
See Note 3
Discontinued models, FYI
Nikon SB-400
manual
$125 when newYes,

iTTL

Yes, from camera menu,
but cannot work stand alone
No

Covers
27 mm FX
18mm DX

69/21 mm90 degreesNoNo remote,
See Note 1

Two AA batteries

Nikon SB-600
manual
$220 when newYes, See Note 2Yes
to 1/64 power
24-85 mm85/26 at 24 mm

131/40 at 85 mm

180 left

90 right

Yes/
Yes/
Yes
YesNo / NoYes
Remote groups A,B,C
Channels 1-4
NoYes
Nikon SB-800
manual
$320 when newYes
to 1/128 power
24-105 mm98/30 at 24 mm

184/56 at 105 mm

Yes / YesYes,
controls three remote groups, A,B,C
Port for external battery pack
Nikon SB-900
manual
$525 when newYes,

iTTL

17-200 mm

12-200 mm DX

88/27 at 24 mm

184/56 at 200 mm

180 left or right
Less Expense, but popular anyway. :)
Bower SFD728N

Amazon
$46YesNoManual zoom, 28-85 mm92/28 at 50 mm90 degrees330 degreesNo/
No/
No
YesNo / NoNo
Bower SFD926N

Amazon
$105Yes
to 1/16 power
24-85 mm125/38 at 85 mmYes/
Yes/
Yes
YesYes / No
Sunpak RD2000N
Website
Amazon
Manual
$62YesNoNo

Covers 32mm FX, 22mm DX. Has a 16mm DX Wide Panel (GN 52/16)

65/20 mm90 degreesNoNo/
No/
No
NoNo / NoNoTwo AA batteries
Sunpak PZ42X
Website
Amazon
Manual
$102Yes
to 1/64 power
24-105 mm

16-70 DX

78/24 at 24 mm

137/42 at 105 mm

180 left
120 right
Yes
Aperlite YH-700N

Amazon

$90

See Review

YesYes
to 1/128 power
24-105 mm 92/28 at 24 mm

190/58 at 105 mm

90 degrees180 right,
90 left
Yes Yes
Remote groups A,B,C
Channels 1-4
YesYesExternal battery port
Neewer TT560
Website
Amazon
$35 No Yes
to 1/128 power
No 124/3890 degrees 180 left
90 right
YesNoYes No Neewer offers
6 months warranty at approved US/UK vendors
Neewer TT660
Website
Amazon
$4024-105 mm124/38 mm at 24 mm

190/58 at 105 mm

Neewer VK750 II
Website
Amazon
$54

See Review
Yes18-180 mm91.9/28 at 24 mm

190/58 at 105 mm

Yes
Neewer NW985N
Website
Amazon
$64

See Review

180/55 at 180 mm180 right
or left
Yes
Remote groups A,B,C
Channels 1-4
NoYes

but poorly done

Color LCD

External battery port

Neewer VK320
Website
Amazon
$30No105/32No

No tilt for bounce, but 3x the power of SB-300 for 20% of the price.

Uses two AA batteries
Yongnuo YN-560 II
website
Amazon
manual
$62NoYes
to 1/128 power
24-105 mm92/28 at 24 mm

190/58 at 105 mm

90 degrees180 left, 90 right YesNoYes NoNoNoPort for external battery pack
Yongnuo YN-560 III
website
Amazon
manual
$75

Built-in radio trigger

Yongnuo YN-565EX
website
Amazon
manual
$84

See Review

YesYesYes
Remote groups A,B,C
Channels 1-4
Yongnuo YN-568EX
website
Amazon manual
$104YesNo external battery pack port
Flash ModelPrice US$ AmazoniTTL
flash
mode
Manual flash modeZoom

(FX numbers)

Guide Number
ISO 100
FX
ft/m
Tilt for bounceSwivel for bouncePullout Bounce Card /
Wide Angle Diffuser
/ Mini stand
Focus Assist LEDOptical Slave
/ PC Sync connector
Wireless Remote
for a Nikon Cmmdr
Cmmdr built into flashFP mode (HSS)Notes

Notes:

  1. Nikon SB-300 and SB-400 cannot do remote flash. They have no internal menu to work standalone, so they require connection to the camera menu to work at all. They will work in a hot shoe extension cord (older SC-17 or current SC-28, long enough to work at arms length).
  2. Nikon SB-600 and SB-800 are special. They are backwards compatible with film TTL, or D-TTL, or iTTL, whatever the Nikon camera can do. All later models only do current iTTL.
  3. The Nikon SB-5000 is the first also with Radio capability, remote or internal controller, 6 groups. This is in addition to the older optical commander and remote modes. Both optical and radio modes can be used simultaneously. The SB-5000 Guide Number chart is only in the free extra Reference Manual.


My notions: If money is no issue, IMO, the better Nikon flashes can't be beat. I have used two SB-800 for ten years, they do anything and just keep on ticking. I have a SB-24 nearly 30 years old, its features are dated today, but it still performs to specs. Nikon service is available, which is likely not possible for inexpensive Chinese units. Unfortunately, the high price is often a concern, however fortunately, there is good competition today.

Manual flash models Neewer TT560 or Yongnuo YN-560 above sure seem to be a lot of manual flash for the amazing low price. Even more impressive is that both have hundreds of five star user reviews at Amazon. However, point&shoot users will need TTL flash instead, so do be sure you know what manual flash means (top of previous page).

In a minimum model (users not really into flash, who won't use more features), the Bower and Sunpak TTL models are included above because they compete very well with the SB-300 at their lower price. The PZ42X has SB-700 power for SB-300 price (so bounce can actually work).

But really, beginners certainly need TTL, and if price is still very important, then based on all the good customer reviews at Amazon, check out the Neewer VK750 II ($54). This is a very well performing and easy to use TTL flash. If undecided if flash is for you, and hesitant to spend $300+ dollars, this certainly seems the way to go at first.

Or, maybe the Yongnuo YN-565EX ($84). I also have that one, so I can also recommend it. A little more power, and it adds remote mode for the Commander.

See Reviews:

Neewer VK750 II Yongnuo YN-565EX

Aperlite YH-700N Neewer NW985N.

Comparing flash power level with Guide Number Ratings

Menu of the other Photo and Flash pages here


Copyright © 2013-2016 by Wayne Fulton - All rights are reserved.

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