Nikon SB900 Review & thoughts vs. SB800

Thoughts and Review of Nikon Speedlight SB900 vs SB800
Gerry Haliday (Oct. 2008)

SB900's improved interface is great I had previously owned the Nikon SB800 and after getting into heavy photography and art classes with work, I heard about the SB900 and that it was about to get released, and started to compare the SB900 vs. SB800 with the information available at the time and caught a glimpse of some first hand Nikon SB900 previews to decided that perhaps it was time to upgrade my old and really worn SB-800 flash in favor of the bigger and supposedly more feature rich SB-900 speed light flash.

My initial research and reading of rumors and reviews of the soon to be announced SB900 unveiled to me some new features, features which I could really take advantage of, and ultimately why I preordered the item to replace its younger sibling. After having used it now, I would say some of the most notable differences when comparing the Nikon SB900 versus the SB800 are:

Better & easier to use menus / interface:

They have put some attention in this department and rightfully so; it seems like they listened to customer Nikon sb800 reviews and corrected some of the most common pains and weaknesses, helping us more quickly utilize and navigate the flashes interface. It’s much easier now to control, and as a result much quicker to fully adjust and use your SB 900 Speedlight for various scenarios than the SB 800 ever was.

Bigger but more sturdy feel

This is not something everyone will like, but I actually like the size and dimension increase in some ways… it adds to the feel of ruggedness and product quality, perhaps it’s just an emotional thing and I’m thinking bigger is better inside.

Faster Recycling:

Using the SD-9 you can get 1 second recycling, and even with the underperforming normal NIMH batteries its better and faster compared vs the SB800 flash as well. A great feature I fully appreciate because of the nature of my work and one many others will love as well

Flash heads rotation now both same in both directions

Something users of the older SB-800 will definitely like if they used the old one in quite a bit and got annoyed with rotation of the head

Further zoom & flexibility of light

Better flexibility in the light settings, with the ability to fully adjust the shaping of your lighting to be direct and focused or more evenly placed, love it!

Tons of other adjustments in the positive and a few things I’d like back

There are tons of little unmentionables that make me really happy with my move from the Nikon SB800 to the SB900. There are things I miss and wished right now weren’t changed, but honestly I’m sure it’s just a personal thing right now, and as I further adjust to the differences I will let go of these attachments.

Comprehensive SB900 Review coming soon…

I have only had this thing for a bit now, and although I use my flashes extensively, I am in a slow season right now so I haven’t really pushed the Nikon SB900 fully yet, just figured I’d leave a short Speedlight SB900 Flash review online for now, with a further and more in-depth report on my personal blog once I have used this beast a little more. Best wishes, and if you are considering the change, I’d recommend it, if you’re a complete novice maybe stick with the cheaper SB 600 or SB 800 for now and save some cash, as I’m sure this will drop 10-20% in prices of the next couple of months, and winter’s a slower season for most of you anyways!


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