Go to a  "printer friendly" view of this message which allow an easy print Printer-friendly copy Go to the page which allows you to send this topic link and a message to a friend Email this topic to a friend
Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #59255
View in threaded mode

Subject: "Pondering Which Flash to Buy" Previous topic | Next topic
Fortkentdad Registered since 01st Sep 2012Sat 01-Sep-12 06:19 AM
217 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
"Pondering Which Flash to Buy"


Fort Kent, CA
          

I'm just getting started in the DSLR hobby. I have an old Nikon SLR which I tended to leave in the "auto-everything" mode in part due to the cost of film and developing, the delay in waiting to see how things turned out, and being happy with the pictures I was taking in the auto-everything mode.

I bought a D5100 earlier this summer and am now beginning to get past the auto stage and starting to learn how to use the camera in variety of other modes. Still a ways to go before I'll dial up the M setting but using the A and S settings more and mroe.

I figure it is about time I add a flash and have been doing some on line research to find out which flash will be best. I had to get over the sticker shock of a new SB700 at $400 at our local camera shop. It is available online in Canada for $330+ shipping.

So I thought I'd look at the alternatives.

I initially was impressed with the specs on some of the ebay and amazon offerings, but found that there are many cheap chinese made flashes. If I was to go that way I'd go with a Yongnuo 565ex for about $150. But I'm concerned about the QC after reading the negative reviews on line. Still there are satisfied customers who say "why pay more?".

Then I saw a Bower on special at Bestbuy.ca for $125, it had decent specs and would probably do - but then I found a very telling review of the Canon version of the same flash ( http://www.ronmartblog.com/2011/01/review-bower-sfd926c-digital-shoe-mount.html ) It put me off of the Bower trail.

I found another brand name I recognized - Sigma and found their Sigma EF530 DG Super on sale for $195 from $350 from McBains of Edmonton. Great deal. It has a "super" GN of 53m compared to only 28m on the SB700 and for far less loonies. For about $50 more I can step up to the more current EF610 with a GN of 61m and a few other refinements. Reviews of the Sigma seem to be good with just a few unhappy customers. Maybe this is the one for me??

In my research I came across another brand name that gets great reviews in general and that was Metz. I am looking at either their 44 AF1 or 50 AF1(GN 44 & 50). I read that the 50 is an update of their award winning 48 Af1 model. If I can't afford to drive a German engineered automobile, maybe I can manage a German made flash??? I understand that the controls are a little more complicated than the SB700 which gets bonus points for its intuitive set up.

Still another option I came across is a Vivitar DF 483, good reviews, a trusted name and a GN of 50m. I found I'd have to import it from the USA into Canada which shouldn't be a big problem, other than waiting. But for the price ($149) I could add a DF-293 Bounce Zoom for $90 more and have it function as a slave unit - two for less than the price of one, good deal, or no?

So how to decide.

The safest route is to go with the SB700 as my first flash, but that's $350 or there abouts if I order it on line. I'm a little disappointed in the GN of 28, but there is no way I'm going to buy the SB900 or 910, that would be too much to put out right now.

If I move away from Nikon brands I am tossed between the Metz 44 or 50, and the Sigma 530. They will set me back $200-250. Or else go with a pair of Vivitars and play with multiple flash units, that is appealing too.

What to do?


FKD
Alberta CANADA

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Replies to this topic
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 01-Sep-12 09:14 AM
26783 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profileClick to send message via AOL IM
#1. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

I have a Sigma flash (the EM-140), and in general it works well. It is, however, kind of hard to use. Perhaps that's because I mainly use Nikon flashes, but then again I'm not a rookie. If I needed another primary flash, I'd buy Nikon. But if I needed another specialty flash that Nikon do not offer or do not offer at a competitive price, I'd have no qualms about buying another Sigma. (The EM-140 is a ring flash intended primarily for macro work.)

In general, Metz flashes are a bit like Zeiss lenses. They aren't the OEM brand, but there's really nobody that seriously claims that these are low-quality or "cheap." Similarly for Quantum.

I didn't check on your guide numbers, but be sure that they are measured at similar focal lengths.

In your case I'd probably go with either a Metz or SB-700.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

ctadin Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2008Sat 01-Sep-12 04:43 PM
992 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#2. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 1


St Louis, US
          

Brian,
If he went with a Metz flash would he somewhere down the line be able to use Nikon Flash and they would talk to one another?
I don't own any Metz flash systems, only Nikon shoe mounted flashes, so I'm curious.

Cheryl

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberSun 02-Sep-12 12:19 PM
6011 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#3. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I figure it is about time I add a flash and have been doing
>some on line research to find out which flash will be best. I
>had to get over the sticker shock of a new SB700 at $400 at
>our local camera shop. It is available online in Canada for
>$330+ shipping.

Hi David,

Welcome to Nikonians!

I would recommend the SB700 above all 3rd party brands. I know it is more expensive, but I think it is worth it.

The SB700 is fully compatible with the D5100, meaning it will provide all the CLS goodies. Other brands may provide some things, but in my experience they never do everything as well as the Nikon brand.

With CLS, you get regular TTL for when you want the flash to be primary, TTL-BL for when you want to add fill flash automatically, Manual flash, and Advanced Wireless Lighting when you want to take the flash off camera and still have TTL or full remote control of the manual flash power. The SB700 has all these things, and your D5100 has a Commander built-in to its pop-up flash that will control the SB700 wirelessly.

Russ
Retired Professional Photographer
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Sun 02-Sep-12 04:44 PM
26430 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#4. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Hi Cheryl,

It depends on the model of the Metz flash.
The Metz 58 AF-2 is fully compatible with the Nikon CLS Wireless flash control system and can be combined with Nikon Speedlights to act as a Commander or a Remote. The 58 AF-1, 50 AF-1, and 44 AF-1 are like the SB-600 and will work in Remote mode but do not have Commander capability.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Sun 02-Sep-12 05:50 PM
26430 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#5. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Hi David,

Have you considered a used or refurbished SB-600? It is fully compatible with All Nikon DSLR's as well as Film SLR's.

As for what brand of Speedlight to get, the Nikon Speedlights are the best choice since they are fully intigrated with the cameras exposure control system. While the SB-700 has a better user interface than the SB-600, it has about the same power and is not backwards compatible with Film TTL.

Metz builds excellent Speedlights, that are very robust. I have been using Metz flashes for well over twenty years though they are the handle type units. Of the two units you list, both can be used as (Nikon CLS Wireless) Remotes if you get a camera body with a built in Speedlight Commander or another Speedlight with Commander capability mounted on your D5100.
The more expensive Metz 58 AF-2 has significantly more power and Commander mode as well.

While Vivitar built a good reliable flash unit back in the film days (pre-TTL), i-TTL flash control has been a game changer for just about all of the third party flash manufacturers. Vivtar hasn't built anything in years. They sell the name to other manufacturers to use on their products because of the name recognition.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Fortkentdad Registered since 01st Sep 2012Sun 02-Sep-12 06:10 PM
217 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#6. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 5


Fort Kent, CA
          

>Hi David,
>
>.....
>
>As for what brand of Speedlight to get, the Nikon Speedlights
>are the best choice since they are fully intigrated with the
>cameras exposure control system. ...
>
>Of the two units you list,
>both can be used as (Nikon CLS Wireless) Remotes if you get a
>camera body with a built in Speedlight Commander or another
>Speedlight with Commander capability mounted on your D5100.
>
>
>While Vivitar built a good reliable flash unit back in the
>film days (pre-TTL), i-TTL flash control has been a game
>changer for just about all of the third party flash
>manufacturers. Vivtar hasn't built anything in years. They
>sell the name to other manufacturers to use on their products
>because of the name recognition.
>
>Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Thanks for all the input. The SB700 seems to be the wisest choice for my D5100, either that or the less expensive Metz. The Metz 58 costs about the same as an SB700 but is more powerful - almost twice the GN factor (58 vs 28).

As for the Vivitar's - good to know. I'll stear clear of those ones.

I have also taken note of the Nissan Flashes. Any comments on the Di622 Mark II, or Di866. I almost bought a Di622 that I found on ebay for $80 - but then discovered that the pre-Mark II version is not compatible with my D5100 (Nissin has good information on their website - better than others IMHO). I have read good things about this brand online. Any Nissan fans here?

I can get the Di622-II for about $208+S&H, vs $325 +S&H for Di866. Both offer more powerful flash than the SB700.

As for the CLS system. I'll need to educate myself of the benefits of the CLS. As I understand the replies here my D5100 does not support the Nikon CLS unless I add a SB700 (or better), but if I do buy the SB700 I get full CLS benefit. I just need to understand what that benefit would be.

So is the CLS benefits a greater benefit than a more powerful GN in either the Metz or the Nissan units?

BTW impressive forum and website here, I can see myself coming back often. As I understand it as long as I'm active my free membership continues - or I can choose to spend $25 a year (or more) for membership benefits.

FKD
Alberta CANADA

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Sun 02-Sep-12 08:07 PM
26430 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#7. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

Hi David,


>Any Nissan fans here?

I have never tried one, though some here have used them with varying degrees of sucess which is model depended.

>As for the CLS system. I'll need to educate myself of the
>benefits of the CLS. As I understand the replies here my
>D5100 does not support the Nikon CLS unless I add a SB700 (or
>better), but if I do buy the SB700 I get full CLS benefit. I
>just need to understand what that benefit would be.

The D5100 does not have built in Commander mode to wirelessly contol remote Speedlights (SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, or SB-R200 Speedlights as well as a very limited number of third party flashes).
In order to take advantage of wireless control of multiple remote speedlights you will need to have an SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SU-800 (each able to control up to 3 remote groups) or an SB-700 (able to control up to 2 remote groups) in the D5100's hotshoe. You can then use i-TTL flash metering and set the ratio for each group or set each groups power manually from the camera position.

>So is the CLS benefits a greater benefit than a more powerful
>GN in either the Metz or the Nissan units?

It all depends on how you want to use the flash.
As stated above, the Nikon Speedlights work perfectly alone or together as an intigrated system. The Metz Speedlights (58 AF-2, 58 AF-1, 50 AF-1, and 44 AF-1) are the best of the third party offerings aside from Quantum which start at about $1000.00 including a battery and go up from there. Other third party offerings have varying degrees of compatibility and capabilility.

>BTW impressive forum and website here, I can see myself coming
>back often. As I understand it as long as I'm active my free
>membership continues - or I can choose to spend $25 a year (or
>more) for membership benefits.

Yes!
Good Luck and Enjoyb your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberSun 02-Sep-12 08:40 PM
6011 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#8. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 7


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>The D5100 does not have built in Commander mode to wirelessly
>contol remote Speedlights (SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700,
>SB-600, or SB-R200 Speedlights as well as a very limited
>number of third party flashes).

I thought the D5100 did have a Commander built in.

Russ
Retired Professional Photographer
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

cosmicfires Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Nov 2011Mon 03-Sep-12 07:11 PM
391 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#9. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 0


Lynnwood, US
          

I recommend Nikon flashes, they work. When I got my first Nikon DLSR I thought the SB600 was rather pricey, but I got one. I'm happy I did. I have an SB700 & SB900 also now. I'm waiting for more to breed in the closet.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

my website

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

ctadin Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Oct 2008Mon 03-Sep-12 07:19 PM
992 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#10. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 4


St Louis, US
          

Marty,
Thanks for the response.

Cheryl

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberMon 03-Sep-12 08:37 PM
8496 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#11. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 8


Phoenix, US
          

Russ:

Nice to see you active again.

How goes retirement? Are you thinking about going back to work again, so you can get some time off?

The Nikon D5100/5000/3100/3000 models do not include built-in CLS Commander Mode option.

Source: "Spring 2011 Nikon Digital Product Guide"

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberMon 03-Sep-12 10:34 PM
6011 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#12. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 11


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Russ:
>
>Nice to see you active again.
>
>How goes retirement? Are you thinking about going back to
>work again, so you can get some time off?

I have definitely been busy! But now I am doing all the things I've put off for decades. I am doing a lot of visiting relatives and old friends. Just got back from Nova Scotia, where I lived up until I was 8 years old, and VT where I lived until Viet Nam got me.

>The Nikon D5100/5000/3100/3000 models do not include built-in
>CLS Commander Mode option.
>
>Source: "Spring 2011 Nikon Digital Product Guide"

I stand corrected.

Russ
Retired Professional Photographer
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

drFrank Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Dec 2006Tue 04-Sep-12 06:32 PM
890 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#13. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 12


Beaver Falls, US
          

The SB700 does a nice job and you can find them used for less than $300.

drFrank
www.frankkendralla.com
www.kendrallaphotography.com
www.kendralla.com

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Fortkentdad Registered since 01st Sep 2012Tue 04-Sep-12 06:49 PM
217 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#14. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 9


Fort Kent, CA
          

It looks like an overwhelming endorsement of the SB700 for it's features & compatibility with my D5100. I've read up on the Nikon CLS and given that it is not built into the D5100 I'd need a SB700 (or better) to be the master and it will manage up to two other flashes (Nikon or a very few select others). If I want to go to three other flashes one of them would need to be the SB910. I like idea of using a bounce flash off the camera and I guess the best way to do this would be a pair of SB700 (Christmas is coming - Santa are you listening?) unless I can find a good used SB600.

I did toy with just getting a SB400 which is probably good for 90% of the snap shots I'd take but I don't think it will work in a CLS system either as a remote or master. I think a work around would be to buy some sort of hot shoe remote adaptor system but by the time I pay for that might as well go with the SB700 (or maybe my second flash with be a 910 - I can dream right?).

Best price I see in Canada is $340 ordered on line from the bestbuy.ca with free shipping.

FKD
Alberta CANADA

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

drFrank Silver Member Nikonian since 16th Dec 2006Tue 04-Sep-12 07:31 PM
890 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#15. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 14


Beaver Falls, US
          

>It looks like an overwhelming endorsement of the SB700 for
>it's features & compatibility with my D5100. I've read up
>on the Nikon CLS and given that it is not built into the D5100
>I'd need a SB700 (or better) to be the master and it will
>manage up to two other flashes (Nikon or a very few select
>others). If I want to go to three other flashes one of them
>would need to be the SB910. I like idea of using a bounce
>flash off the camera and I guess the best way to do this would
>be a pair of SB700 (Christmas is coming - Santa are you
>listening?) unless I can find a good used SB600.
>
>I did toy with just getting a SB400 which is probably good for
>90% of the snap shots I'd take but I don't think it will work
>in a CLS system either as a remote or master. I think a work
>around would be to buy some sort of hot shoe remote adaptor
>system but by the time I pay for that might as well go with
>the SB700 (or maybe my second flash with be a 910 - I can
>dream right?).
>
>Best price I see in Canada is $340 ordered on line from the
>bestbuy.ca with free shipping.
>
>
I use an SB700 with multiple SB800's (but not on a d5100) and it does a nice job. My favorite is still the SB800 but I added the SB700 to my mix because of the controls.

drFrank
www.frankkendralla.com
www.kendrallaphotography.com
www.kendralla.com

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Tue 04-Sep-12 10:57 PM
26430 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#16. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 14


US
          

Hi David,


>I did toy with just getting a SB400 which is probably good for
>90% of the snap shots I'd take but I don't think it will work
>in a CLS system either as a remote or master.

You are correct. The SB-400 was designed to be used as a stand alone Speedlight and as such is not compatible with wireless CLS flash control.
In addition, the SB-400 is only slightly more powerful than the built in Speedlight and has a very low profile increasing the possibility of red-eye.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!

Best Regards,
Marty

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

tonupbandit Awarded for his articles published at the Resources and The Nikonian eZine Registered since 04th Jul 2012Fri 07-Sep-12 03:29 PM
6 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#17. "RE: Pondering Which Flash to Buy"
In response to Reply # 14


East Calais, US
          

Hi David,

I shoot a D7000 with an SB600 and can say that the flash is a great unit, so if you can find one used you'd be happy. Of course, my D7000 has CLS built in, so I can fire it off camera that way, whereas apparently the D5100 doesn't have this capability. However, if you're not interested in TTL mode - I generally shoot with my flash on manual mode - then you could go with an off brand. I picked up a Lumipro LP160- and am very happy with that. It has a built in optical slave, so I can fire it remotely using my D7000's popup flash or the SB600 if I'm using two flashes. Goes for $180, has a GN of 140 -- equal to an SB900 --, manual power controls down to 1/64th and zoom settings up to 105mm. In slave mode, you can set it to ignore TTL preflashes, which is great if you're using a SB600 in TTL mode and firing the Lumipro off camera as a slave. I learned about this flash on strobist.com, which is a great resource for learning about speedlight usage. I'll also just throw out there that the CLS system is pretty great when it works, but I tended to have a lot of misfires when shooting in sunlight and/or when shooting with some distance between the camera and flash. This prompted me to get a set of radio triggers, which makes setting up flashes behind walls, hidden, or a good distance away, super easy. Good luck, look forward to hearing what you wind up getting and how much you're enjoying it!

Best,
Josh

Visit my Nikonians gallery.


Also at www.joshlarkinphotography.com.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #59255 Previous topic | Next topic


Take the Nikonians Tour and learn more about being a Nikonian Wiki /FAQ /Help Listen to our MP3 photography radio channels Find anything on Nikon and imaging technology - fast!

Copyright © Nikonians 2000, 2014
All Rights Reserved

Nikonians®, NikoScope® and NikoniansAcademy™ are trademarks owned by Nikonians.org.
Nikon®, Nikonos® and Nikkor® are registered trademarks of Nikon Corporation.