Archive for the ‘Nikon SB-600 reviews’ Category

Nikon SB-900 Speedlight Flash Unboxing Video Review

October 2, 2008

A great little Nikon SB-900 Speedlight Review / Unboxing preview for all you Nikon fans that are looking to upgrade from the aging sb-600 or sb-800 flashes (compare Nikon sb900 vs sb800 vs sb600 flashes here btw) or make the simply best your first flash!

There has been an influx of early Nikon Speedlight SB-900 Flash reviews since it was released not too long ago, and people are singing praises about this new Nikon flash, and that’s really where Nikon has outshined its competitors most feel, photography lighting (of course there lenses and DSLRs hold their own too)

Nikon's SB-900 Speedlight Flash Lighting

Nikon's SB-900 Speedlight Flash Lighting

Enjoy the video as this Speed light SB900 Flash owner takes us through the process of unboxing and unpacking his **HUGE GIANT** of a new toy. The video reviewer here seems a tad nervous and violently thrashes around the expensive new tech gear as some of the YouTube comments suggest, but cut the guy a break, as he states in the more info are, this is his first public unboxing movie / review, so the nerves of being in front of us thousands of Nikon Flash fans wanting to get the very latest on the new Speedlight surely contributed to his somewhat less then professional acting hehe 😉

Also check out our table comparing the Nikon SB-900, SB-600 and SB-800 Speedlight flashes, or check out some of the review posts for the SB900 here written a couple weeks ago to get more information on this awesome new photography must have!


Compare Nikon SB-900 vs SB-800 vs SB-600

August 28, 2008
Nikon's Killer FlashGuns - SB900 (left) SB800 (right)

Nikon's Killer FlashGuns - SB900 (left) SB800 (right)

Compare the Nikon SB-800 vs. SB-900

If you thought the SB-800 was big at 12.3 oz, 1.7 oz more than the SB-600 flash, the SB-900 is massive adding another 2.3 oz to make it 14.6, just shy of a pound. Something I’ve heard complaints about is the shoe on the Nikon SB 900 being thicker than the SB-800 which in turn means it doesn’t fit all third party mounts and adapters. While this sucks, the SB-800 was known to have a bit of a wobble and this thicker shoe improves this. The biggest advantages of the new big flash are the 200mm zoom and the light pattern options. This allows you to get a more concentrated beam on a smaller area which is great for things like outdoor portraits. You can also spread the beam out to give it a more even distribution by changing the light pattern which shapes the beam internally.

Other big advantages to pay attention to when you’re doing a comparison of the SB900 vs. the SB800’s features; are the quick recycling time without the need for the fifth battery expansion pack, the new interface which uses a switch and a dial combo for adjusting settings quickly, and the thermal shut-down protection to make sure you don’t go a little too trigger happy and burn this thing out.

Model # Nikon SB-600 Nikon SB-800 Nikon SB-900
List Price: $249.99 $420.99 $570.00
Week’s Best Price: $199.99
(See Best Price..)
(See Best Price..)
(See Best Price..)
Guide Number (ISO 100, m/ft.) 98 125 111.5
Guide Number (ISO 200, m/ft.) 138   157.5
Weight 10.6 oz. (300 g) 12.3 oz. (350 g) 14.6 oz. (415g)
Size, WHD 2.7 x 4.9 x 3.5 in. 2.8 x 5 x 3.5 in. 3.0 × 5.7 × 4.7 in.
Flash Exposure Control i-TTL i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash Only i-TTL
  TTL Auto Flash TTL Auto Flash  
Flash Duration (full output) 1/900 1/1050 1/880
Lens Coverage 24 to 85mm 24 to 105mm 17 to 200mm
Min. No. of Flashes (alkaline) 200 130 110
Bounce Angle (degrees) 0 to 90 -7 to 90 -11 to 90
Left Rotation (degrees) 180 180 180
Right Rotation (degrees) 90 90 180
Optional Power Supply No SD-7 or SD-8A SD-8A or SD-9
Recycle Time (Alkaline) 3.5 4 4
Recycle Time (Lithium) 4 6 4.5
Recycle Time (Ni-MH) 2.5 2.7 2.3
Wireless Flash Modes Off Off Off
  Remote Master Master
    Master (RPT) Master (RPT)
    Remote Remote
    SU-4 SU-4
# of Remote Groups 3 3 3
Power Output Range 1 to 1/64 1 to 1/128 1 to 1/128
Non-TTL Auto Mode No Yes Yes
Commander Mode No Yes Yes
Adjustable Light Pattern No No Yes
Firmware Updating No No Yes
Gel Filter Identification No No Yes
Overheat protection No No Yes
Accessories Speedlight stand Speedlight stand Speedlight stand
  Soft case Soft case Soft case
    Diffusion Dome Diffusion Dome
    Color Filter Set Color Filter Set
    Quick Recycle Battery Pack Color Filter Holder

Comparing Nikon SB-600 vs. SB-800:

The Nikon Speedlight SB-600 and the Nikon SB-800 are very similar flashes that work great with pretty much every Nikon camera in the last 50 years. The SB-800 is a bit bigger, a bit more powerful, and a bit more expensive. They both can operate in the most recent i-TTL mode as well as the TTL mode and d-TTL. Both can work remotely with either a SB-600 or SB-800 flash or the D70, D70S, or D200 camera but the SB800 can also work as a master to control other flashes. Other advantages of the SB800 over the SB600 are the negative bounce angle for more control over bouncing the flash, a shorter flash duration, longer lens coverage, and the option to have an additional power supply to shorten the recycle time. The Nikon SB-600 being smaller has a higher minimum number of flashes per 4 batteries and also a quicker recycle time. The SB-800 also has a few more modes that some people might not have any interest in like a mode that adjusts the flash’s power based on distance rather than light reflected and a non-TTL auto mode. Depending on what you do the SB-600 Speedlight can usually do the trick but there are certain features on the SB-800 that you just might find necessary.

Nikon SB-600 Flash Review

April 14, 2008

Nikon SB-600 Flash Review

Great flash for prosumers; comparison vs. SB-800

nikon speedlight sb-600

I have a confession to make: I bought the SB-800 instead of the SB-600, but only after spending way too much time looking at both the two flashes and trying to decide which one was right for me. The 600 is a very sophisticated and capable flash, fully supporting Nikon’s various TTL modes.(TTL=through the lens, meaning the camera monitors the flash.) The 600, as with the 800, is most effective on recent Nikon digital SLR bodies, esp. the D70, which can take full advantage of flash functions that constitute what Nikon calls “creative lighting system (CLS)” (basically the CLS allows you to use multiple 600 and/or 800 flashes to create studio-like lighting conditions).


Of course, either the 600 or 800 (or even “older” Nikon flashes such as the SB-28, etc.) will provide better lighting than the internal flash. Whichever flash you buy, be sure to get one that allows you tilt the flash head so you can do bounce photography. Bounce photography makes a world of difference vis-a-vis direct flash when it comes to indoor portraits.

(Originally posted on the SB-800 product page: Why I chose the SB-800 over SB-600):

I won’t repeat the wealth of information the other kind reviewers have already given. I’ll just focus on why I decided to cough up the extra $100 to get the SB-800 instead of the less powerful SB-600.

Compared to the SB-600, the SB-800 has the following extra features:

1) Much more powerful, as reflected in the GN.
2) Slightly faster recycle time with the standard four AA batteries. It also comes with a battery holder that holds a fifth battery which cuts down recycle time by 1/3 to 1/2.
3) The SB-800 has non-TTL auto and auto aperture modes. (More on this later.)
4) In wireless remote mode, the SB-800 can act both as the master and slave, whereas the 600 can only be a slave.
5) It comes with a useful diffusion dome, which won’t even fit on the SB-600.
6) The SB-800 package also includes two colored gel filters.
7) The SB-800 can do repeating flash (in the same exposure), for a strobe effect.

Basically, both the 600 and 800 support Nikon’s latest flash technologies, i-TTL (supported by the D70 and D2H only) and CLS (creative lighting system), in addition to all the TTL (through the lens) flash modes Nikon introduced in the past. The 600 is really a prosumer-level flash that’s either TTL or manual, whereas the 800 is pure pro-grade with a lot of modes and options. The manual, evidently written by a Japanese manual writer, attests to its sophistication; understanding the manual will really require a Ph.D. in yoga so you don’t stress yourself out.

The 800’s auto modes are what won me over in the end. The auto modes can set the flash output automatically on Nikon bodies that do not support any TTL (through the lens) mode. On those bodies, with the 600 you’d have to resort to manual, which is simply a pain in the butt, not to mention prone to error. The two non-TTL auto modes on the 800 are auto aperture and auto. You’ll need to study the manual very carefully to figure out the difference; I still haven’t, but I’m already enjoying the auto aperture mode. The availability of auto modes also means the 800 can be used on a wide range of Nikon bodies than the simpler 600.

If you are deciding between the 600 and the 800 like I was, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Do you have an extra $100-$150 to spend? If yes, the 800.
2) Do you plan to use the external flash a lot? If yes, the 800.
3) Do you have Nikon bodies (usually older manual ones) that do not support TTL (you can find out in the camera’s user’s guide)? If yes, the 800.
4) Do you plan to do a lot of wireless flash photography and take full advantage of Nikon’s Creative Lighting System? If yes, the 800.
5) If you want to get a diffusion dome that fits the flash, get the 800.

In the end, I think the SB-800 is a better long-term investment than the SB-600, despite the higher price. It’s much more powerful and flexible, and even though it’s an overkill for me right now, I imagine when my flash photography improves (and I’m trying very hard right now), it’ll prove a very worthy investment.

Feel free to drop me an e-mail at hotmail with any questions. BTW, if anyone knows of a good web forum that discusses how to effectively use Nikon’s sophisticated flash modes and the CLS, please let us know. Thanks.

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Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Review

March 17, 2008

Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Review

The Perfect Mate for a Nikon Digital SLR

nikon speedlight sb-600

This is the first time I have ever purchased a dedicated flash. I have used the Superb Vivitar 283 and 285 strobes for years with no complaints. However, after buying the Nikon D70, I felt the need for a TTL flash. The camera’s built-in pop-up flash works OK, but I wanted something to get more control of.
The SB600 does 95% of what the more expensive SB-800 does for half the price:

Bounce Flash: Not only can you move the head vertically, you can rotate it 270 degrees to get some sweet sidelit effects. The iTTL makes bounce flash simple and accurate. When you manually zoom the lens, the SB 600 zooms the flash head to automatically match your focal length-and very quietly too.

Power: No problem here. It can easily light an average room. 4 AA batteries give plenty of juice, and the ‘600 powers itself down to energy saver mode. More important, it powers back up quickly when you’re ready to shoot.

Goodies: You can manually dial the flash power down to 1/64 full output, and everything in between. This is perfect for fill flash. It comes with a built in diffusor for ultra wide angle settings. Nikon thoughtfully includes a little stand with tripod socket in case you want to use it off camera. The really nice part is that the SB 600 can be triggered remotely by the D70 or D2H’s on camera flash! This gives you a “studio in a bag” using one flash and a Nikon DSLR. Very cool.

Ergonomics: Nikon’s D70 set new standards in ergonomics, and the SB-600 matches that. The latch for the bounce head has a handy large rubber button to unlock it. All buttons are soft touch, backlit, and very responsive. The TTL display is lit as well. There is a smooth locking device to secure it on the hotshoe.

Instructions: Nikon includes a cool, full color book showing what you can do with the Sb-600 and 800. Each lighting setup has a corresponding page number for the 600 or 800 manual to tell you how to do it. The book is very helpful and very well printed. These are the kind of extras Nikon users have come to respect. I wish all digital cameras were as well documented as Nikon!

Summary: for the price, you can’t buy a better flash for the D70. While less expensive than the SB-800, the SB-600 is lighter and recycles faster. This is more than worth the money, and a perfect mate for your D70.

ADDENDUM. Three years on this is still a great strobe for any Nikon DLSR made. I recently used it to demonstrate the off-camera remote control function built into most better Nikon DLSRs. The class I was teaching were amazed and the Canon shooters were left wanting. Check out the spontaneous group portrait I made of some students with this thing. Everyone wanted a copy!

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Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Flash Review

February 7, 2008

Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Flash Review

“The perfect D70 flash”

nikon speedlight sb-600

Despite having a sackful of flashes, including a lot of Vivitar 283s and 285s that have served me well, when I bought my D70 I had nothing that really worked well with the new camera. In order to take advantage of the D70’s iTTL metering system you really have only two choices- the SB-800 and SB-600.

Many opt for the SB-800, yet it really has only two practical advantages over the SB-600:

1. It delivers somewhat more output (at the cost of slower recycling) and

2. It can act as a master unit in an array of SB-600s and SB-800s.

All well and good, but who among us really intends to set up the three and four flash arrays Nikon shows in their brochure? Or even two flash arrays? If I need that many lights I’d use a studio flash setup, which would be cheaper and more flexible in the long run.

As it is, the SB-600 can be triggered remotely by the D70 flash, or you can use a remote cable. A small slaved fill flash unit can be added (I like to use them for lighting hair in portraits) without really affecting the main exposure. And most of the time all I need in one light. The guy who taught me lighting showed me that you can do handle just about any lighting task there is with a sigle soft light or bounced flash.

So for 2/3rds the cost of the SB-800, the 600 delivers 90% of the features, and 100% of the useful features. Add the remote cable and a couple of reflectors, and you can do just about possible one-light trick- and that’s a lot of tricks.

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