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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #34357
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Subject: "SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300" Previous topic | Next topic
a1l3n Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Nov 2005Tue 26-Aug-08 04:07 PM
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"SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"


Wichita, US
          

I use my SB600 and a Better Beamer on my D300 with 18-200 (hopefully a 70-200 VR or replacement soon) of my daughter's high school marching band. The combination seems to work OK, but is just not handy to set up and use IMHO. Can anyone offer any advise regarding the use of an SB900 in place of the SB600 + Better Beamer in this situation?

I know that $500 is a lot to spend for a flash to photograph high school marching band, but I have planned to add an SB800 anyway, and would spend the extra to move to the SB900 if it would work better at 200mm.

One more question regarding the SB900. Has anyone heard about the possibility of Nikon updating the firmware of the D300 or SB-900 to support color temperature correction with the use of the included gels as is supported on the D3 and D700?

Jay

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas
26th Aug 2008
1
Reply message RE: SB900 + D300 - White Balance w/ Gels
a1l3n Silver Member
28th Aug 2008
2
     Reply message RE: SB900 + D300 - White Balance w/ Gels
ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography
28th Aug 2008
3
Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
Len Shepherd Gold Member
28th Aug 2008
4
Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
chris_platt Silver Member
01st Aug 2009
11
Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
BCinDC
29th Aug 2008
5
Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
BCinDC
29th Aug 2008
6
     Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
photobill47
14th Sep 2008
7
     Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
xtrememac Silver Member
15th Sep 2008
8
          Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
APN_PHOTOGRAPHY Silver Member
30th Jul 2009
9
               Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
chris_platt Silver Member
01st Aug 2009
10
                    Reply message RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300
APN_PHOTOGRAPHY Silver Member
07th Aug 2009
12

MEMcD Moderator In depth knowledge in various areas Nikonian since 24th Dec 2007Tue 26-Aug-08 06:57 PM
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#1. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

The SB-900's zoom range is up to 200mm DX or FX. It should work at least as well, most likely much better than your SB-600/Better Beamer combination. I have used my SB-800 at 200mm without problems and the SB-900 has more power and additional zoom range.
As for $500.00 being a lot to spend for a flash I, and I am sure many here don't think so (although it would be nice if it was less expensive). If it works then it is well worth it. However my wife would agree with you!
If you have a problem with red eye at 200mm, a flash bracket will help keep it in check. Good Luck and Enjoy!
Best Regards,
Marty

  

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a1l3n Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Nov 2005Thu 28-Aug-08 01:15 PM
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#2. "RE: SB900 + D300 - White Balance w/ Gels"
In response to Reply # 1


Wichita, US
          

Marty,

Thanks for your reply. I downloaded and have been reading the Sb-900 manual. It is definitely a complicated piece of equipment. There is quite a lot to digest.

Since I'm using a D300 and not one of the DX format bodies, I'm wondering if anyone has heard about the possibility of Nikon updating the firmware of the D300 or SB-900 to support color temperature correction with the use of the included gels as is supported on the D3 and D700?

Thanks!

Jay

>The SB-900's zoom range is up to 200mm DX or FX. It should
>work at least as well, most likely much better than your
>SB-600/Better Beamer combination. I have used my SB-800 at
>200mm without problems and the SB-900 has more power and
>additional zoom range.
>As for $500.00 being a lot to spend for a flash I, and I am
>sure many here don't think so (although it would be nice if it
>was less expensive). If it works then it is well worth it.
>However my wife would agree with you!
>If you have a problem with red eye at 200mm, a flash bracket
>will help keep it in check. Good Luck and Enjoy!
>Best Regards,
>Marty

  

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ScottChapin Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in various areas, including Aviation and Birds Photography Charter MemberThu 28-Aug-08 01:56 PM
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#3. "RE: SB900 + D300 - White Balance w/ Gels"
In response to Reply # 2


Powder Springs, US
          


>Since I'm using a D300 and not one of the DX format bodies,

I think you meant FX, as the D300 is DX. I am not aware of any firmware updates yet. My way of thinking tells me that one is needed for the manual exposure scales, but we'll see.

Scott Chapin
Powder Springs, GA, USA
Nikonians Team Member

  

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Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Thu 28-Aug-08 09:56 PM
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#4. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 0


Yorkshire, UK
          

You will probably need to do some test shots when you get the 70-200.
For best even flash coverage better beamer type products are intended to be used at around 50mm on the SB 800 flash zoom setting with lenses of 300mm or longer.
I find 50% on a 300 gives very even coverage with about a 1 stop gain with an SB 800.
For subjects primarily center frame (like birds) often edge illumination fall off is not a problem so longer settings on the zoom can be OK.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

  

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chris_platt Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Apr 2009Sat 01-Aug-09 02:40 PM
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#11. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 4


Newburg, US
          

>You will probably need to do some test shots when you get the
>70-200.
>For best even flash coverage better beamer type products are
>intended to be used at around 50mm on the SB 800 flash zoom
>setting with lenses of 300mm or longer.
>I find 50% on a 300 gives very even coverage with about a 1
>stop gain with an SB 800.
>For subjects primarily center frame (like birds) often edge
>illumination fall off is not a problem so longer settings on
>the zoom can be OK.

Len,

I took some shots of the illumination pattern through a better beamer at various zoom settings. I probably need to do it again, because the results were not at all what I expected. When using a beamer, wider zoom settings on the flash actually seemed to narrow the flash dispersion when it passed through the beamer. I haven't researched it, but assumed it had something to do with the physics of passing light through a fresnel lens. I posted the results in my gallery in a folder called "Better Beamer." I intended to do some follow-up testing but haven't taken the time yet.

Visit my gallery.

  

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BCinDC Registered since 01st Nov 2007Fri 29-Aug-08 01:32 AM
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#5. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 0


Sterling, US
          

The SB-900 is more powerful than the SB-600, so that would help, but it is only a little more powerful than the SB-800.

Nonetheless, if it were me - and I have shot a lot of nighttime HS sports and some marching band (albeit without flash) - I would put a higher priority on getting that 70-200 or an 80-200 (about $600-750 used for the very good, 2-ring AF version, or $900-1200 for the AF-S version). The 18-200 isn't really a 200 (it has a field of view closer to 160mm on the 80-200mm), it is two stops slower, and it isn't nearly as sharp. I would be very surprised if either the SB-900 or SB-800 would give you two more stops vs the SB-600.

You will also get the benefit of the shallower depth of field...which looks purdy

Bob

"Something really clever or profound should go here...I have nothing "

  

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BCinDC Registered since 01st Nov 2007Fri 29-Aug-08 02:53 AM
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#6. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 5


Sterling, US
          

Upon further digging around, it is not clear that the SB-900 is more powerful than the SB-800. It may be that it's ability to change the "shape" of its light is a little like having a Better Beamer built in.

An apples-to-apples comparison of the GN numbers from the User's Manuals for the the 600, 800, and 900, are as follows:

GN (in feet) at max flash power @ 50mm & ISO 100 (50mm chosen as this is apparently the optimal setting for the Better Beamer)

SB-600 = 118.1
SB-800 = 144
SB-900 = 131.2

@105mm

SB-800 = 184
SB-900 = 162.4

I may be missing something somewhere, but it sure seems that the SB-800 is most powerful.

Bob

"Something really clever or profound should go here...I have nothing "

  

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photobill47 Registered since 01st Feb 2007Sun 14-Sep-08 09:56 PM
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#7. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 6


Sacramento, US
          

I also think the SB-800 is slightly more powerful , but I may be missing something also. I'm sure the SB-900 has more features , so the slight power difference don't amount to much .

  

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xtrememac Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Jan 2006Mon 15-Sep-08 07:22 AM
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#8. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 6


Andover, US
          

The 800 and the 900 are close in power, with the 800 having a little edge. If you do not have an FX body, or use CLS to have the superior 900 interface as controller on your camera, the 800 is a far better deal. You can get them used for half of the 900, or less.

Using the Better Beamer is much more optically amplified throw than the 200mm setting on the 900, hands down.

The gel reading thing on the 900 is a gimmick, but the gel holder is nice. I look at it like if I am going to the trouble of physically putting a gel on the flash, I can handle setting my WB myself. After all, the system does not know if I am going for correction to white or creative colors. Plus, I would never be buying Nikon precut coded gels when I can make a huge stack of them out of a full sheet of Cinegel for 6 bucks per color. Cute feature, but not worth much to me... IMHO.

I agree with the advice on the faster lens...bit pricey but it will make a world of difference in your application. You will probably start seeing some good used deals on the current 70-200 2.8 as Nikon rolls out the nano coated lens across the line and the pros upgrade.

Sincerely,

K. J. Doyle

  

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APN_PHOTOGRAPHY Silver Member Charter MemberThu 30-Jul-09 11:25 PM
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#9. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 8


Winona, US
          

I am considering two options that I would like some input on.

I have an SB-600 but am wanting to upgrade to a new flash. I will be using the new flash for bird photography with my D300 & 600 f4 w/1.4x converter. I am looking at either the SB-800 or SB-900 with the Better Beamer. My main concern is to have enough power to throw the light far enough when using the 600 w/1.4x

I know that the SB-800 is discontinued but would be willing to buy a used one if it would work better for what I need.

Bottom line: if you were in my shoes would you buy the SB-800 or SB-900?

Andy
Winona, MN
-------------------------------------------------------------
Please enjoy my images here: www.andrewnyhusphotography.com

C&C is always welcomed and encouraged!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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chris_platt Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Apr 2009Sat 01-Aug-09 02:03 PM
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#10. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 9


Newburg, US
          

Andy,

If you're only goal is to throw light as far as you can using a beamer, you might as well go for an SB800 if you can find one that costs less than a 900. According to the specifications, both flashes have the same flash shooting distance range and the SB800 actually has a slightly higher guide number than the 900. The narrower 200mm zoom pattern on the SB900 won't be important using a beamer since you will set it to 50mm anyway. It doesn't look to me like the 900 would have any illumination advantage over the 800 when using a beamer. That's why I haven't upgraded from an 800 to a 900 yet. But then I don't own an FX body either. You do.

The 900 has a number of great features designed to work with your D700 and might be a better choice for those occasions when you aren't using the telephoto/beamer combination.

Visit my gallery.

  

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APN_PHOTOGRAPHY Silver Member Charter MemberFri 07-Aug-09 03:34 PM
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#12. "RE: SB900 vs. SB600 + Better Beamer & SB900 + D300"
In response to Reply # 10


Winona, US
          

Thank you!

Andy
Winona, MN
-------------------------------------------------------------
Please enjoy my images here: www.andrewnyhusphotography.com

C&C is always welcomed and encouraged!

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #34357 Previous topic | Next topic