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Subject: "SB-600 or SB-800" Previous topic | Next topic
yosheego Registered since 10th Sep 2008Tue 07-Oct-08 06:42 PM
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"SB-600 or SB-800"


US
          

I'm deciding whether i should get a 2 SB-600 or 1 SB-800. I like to shoot portrait mostly...I have a deal where i can do either or...What are the advantages and disadvantage? I'm new to the world of photoraphy and to this wonderful forum...

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
Wayne
07th Oct 2008
1
Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
wailingtoad
08th Oct 2008
3
     Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
Wayne
08th Oct 2008
4
          Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
wailingtoad
08th Oct 2008
8
               Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
Wayne
08th Oct 2008
9
                    Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
wailingtoad
09th Oct 2008
10
                         Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
Wayne
09th Oct 2008
11
Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
HBB Moderator
08th Oct 2008
2
Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
yosheego
08th Oct 2008
5
     Reply message RE: SB-600 or SB-800
HBB Moderator
08th Oct 2008
7
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Arkayem Moderator
09th Oct 2008
12
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Arkayem Moderator
08th Oct 2008
6
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yosheego
09th Oct 2008
13

Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Tue 07-Oct-08 06:59 PM
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#1. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 07-Oct-08 07:01 PM by Wayne

US
          

>I'm deciding whether i should get a 2 SB-600 or 1 SB-800. I
>like to shoot portrait mostly...I have a deal where i can do
>either or...What are the advantages and disadvantage? I'm new
>to the world of photoraphy and to this wonderful forum...


Probably the most common question asked here.

http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=set_threaded_mode&forum=154&topic_id=32904&prev_page=show_topic&gid=0#32904

Either works very well if using the Nikon Commander/Remote wireless mode.

But after graduating to Manual flash mode, the SB-800 keeps going strong, and the SB-600 is stored in a drawer. No way to use it in remote manual mode.

  

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wailingtoad Registered since 28th Oct 2005Wed 08-Oct-08 05:26 PM
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#3. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

>But after graduating to Manual flash mode, the SB-800 keeps
>going strong, and the SB-600 is stored in a drawer. No way to
>use it in remote manual mode.

That's not true. You can use CLS to remotely control the SB-600's and configure the CLS commander to fire them in manual mode - I do it all the time with my SB-800 and two SB-600s. The only caveat is that you don't get as granular control as you (in full stops rather than 1/3 stops). But, this can be compensated by changing the flash distance

To answer the original poster's question, that's a tough question. The SB-800 is a bit more powerful (about 2/3 stop more maximum light output that the SB-600); however, having two flashes opens up a whole new world.

Is there any way you could kick in a bit more $$$ and get a SB-800 + SB-600? Your profile doesn't list what camera body you have; so, I can only assume it is one where the built-in flash can be used as a CLS commander (i.e. D70 or above). However, one thing to consider is that it is much easier to change flash settings on the SB-800 than it is having to navigate the camera menu system each time. Plus, you get 3 channels (rather than 1 or 2 channels).

Jon Davis
My Nikonians Gallery
My Flickr Gallery
My Epson R2880 Tips & Tricks blog

  

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Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Wed 08-Oct-08 05:40 PM
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#4. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

>>But after graduating to Manual flash mode, the SB-800
>keeps
>>going strong, and the SB-600 is stored in a drawer. No
>way to
>>use it in remote manual mode.
>
>That's not true. You can use CLS to remotely control the
>SB-600's and configure the CLS commander to fire them in
>manual mode - I do it all the time with my SB-800 and two
>SB-600s. The only caveat is that you don't get as granular
>control as you (in full stops rather than 1/3 stops). But,
>this can be compensated by changing the flash distance


<sigh> Certainly it is true. That is NOT manual mode. Commander sub-mode MAN is NOT at all like Manual mode. It may be a specific manual power level, but it is still Commander/Remote mode, and the commander still issues optical commands which interfere with using other true manual mode gear with it.

Try using a Commander sub-mode MAN system with manual studio lights, or with a Sekonic flash meter, or with a third party optical slave, or with a radio trigger, etc, etc, etc. Simply wont work, and this big difference is very important to true manual system users.

The SB-600 does not even have a PC sync cord connector on it (for manual mode), much less the optical slave mode that the SB-800 has. Therefore, one is very usable with any manual system, and one is a very poor choice.

Both are essentially equal in a Commander/Remote situation however.



  

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wailingtoad Registered since 28th Oct 2005Wed 08-Oct-08 08:50 PM
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#8. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

>Commander sub-mode MAN is NOT at all like Manual mode.

I guess we're arguing semantics. For me, manual mode simply means I can choose the flash output - something which CLS does support.

I will grant you that i-TTL and CLS do interfere with optical triggering due to the preflashes; but, it is possible to mix CLS with studio lights - if you are using a SB-800 as the CLS master. You can configure the SB-800 to control remote CLS flashes wirelessly and non-CLS flashes via a PC sync cord (or via a radio trigger, such as a pocketwizard, connected to the SB-800).

Regarding the sekonic flash meter, I have good results taping a piece of exposed film over the built-in flash on my D80. It blocks out the visible light but is transparent to IR light - which can trigger the SB-600's. The sekonic L-358 is not sensitive to low intensity IR light (it is worth noting that a powerful IR light, like the SU-800, will trigger the L-358).

There is no question that the SB-800 is a better flash than the SB-600. But, cost does become an issue and we sometimes have to compromise. The SB-600 can be a good compromise, as long as you understand it's limitations.

Jon Davis
My Nikonians Gallery
My Flickr Gallery
My Epson R2880 Tips & Tricks blog

  

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Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Wed 08-Oct-08 09:43 PM
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#9. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 8


US
          

>>Commander sub-mode MAN is NOT at all like Manual mode.
>
>I guess we're arguing semantics. For me, manual mode simply
>means I can choose the flash output - something which CLS does
>support.


Nope, arguing flash modes. Because you stood up and shouted Not True, so I must try to explain your error. Yes, Obviously True, in every respect. Manual mode is clearly the mode that is set with the button and menu on the rear of the flash that shows M in the flash LCD. The Nikon flash manual clearly calls it Manual mode. Your way, the flash says the mode is Remote, and it is incompatible with Manual mode. The Nikon camera manual clearly calls your way Commander Mode, with option MAN. It works VERY DIFFERENTLY. Talk to Nikon about semantics.

The SB-600 does have Manual mode, but provides no way to trigger it remotely, if not on the hot shoe. We can add a shoe foot accessory to add a PC sync connector, but adding optical slave triggers is a problem due to the low sync voltage on the SB-600. It has trouble powering those with no battery, which is most of them, except the "digital" models. So, the SB-600 is simply a poor choice for anyone that might grow into using multiple flashes in Manual mode. Seems very obviously and extremely true to me.

But the SB-600 works just fine in Commander/Remote mode, or on the hot shoe.


>I will grant you that i-TTL and CLS do interfere with optical
>triggering due to the preflashes; but, it is possible to mix
>CLS with studio lights - if you are using a SB-800 as the CLS
>master. You can configure the SB-800 to control remote CLS
>flashes wirelessly and non-CLS flashes via a PC sync cord (or
>via a radio trigger, such as a pocketwizard, connected to the
>SB-800).

I have done that myself with a SB-800 (only on a lark), but the D300 (for example) disables the camera PC sync connector when the internal flash door is open. They went to that extra effort for some reason (I suspect because they could not meter how it would mess up their own systems metering). On the SB-800 it is just a wire between the two ports.


>Regarding the sekonic flash meter, I have good results taping
>a piece of exposed film over the built-in flash on my D80. It
>blocks out the visible light but is transparent to IR light -
>which can trigger the SB-600's. The sekonic L-358 is not
>sensitive to low intensity IR light (it is worth noting that a
>powerful IR light, like the SU-800, will trigger the L-358).

So you are saying the flash meter does respond to infrared, but you can make your commander weak. The bandwidth difference is minor, very close spectrum neighbors. It is very reasonable to expect it to see infrared too.

To each his own, but sorry, I strive for the "right way" and am not much for kludges. My opinion is that if we spend several to many thousand dollars on photography gear, and are trying our hardest to achieve quality pictures, and trying our best to get the lighting just right, and if we are going to use Manual flash mode (and I often do), then for heavens sake, just use Manual mode and set ALL the lights like they should be set. Don't add a lot of foolish hoops to jump, daring it to work.

  

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wailingtoad Registered since 28th Oct 2005Thu 09-Oct-08 03:34 AM
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#10. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

If money were no object then I agree with you 100%; however, the original poster was asking about two SB-600's or one SB-800. So, we're not talking about $1,000's, we're talking about $350 (give or take); and he wants to know how to get the biggest bang for the buck.

My only point is that the SB-600 can be a reasonable option as long as you understand and can live with it's limitations. The SB-800 is certainly a better flash than the SB-600; but, having two flashes instead of one does open up some additional possibilities.

Jon Davis
My Nikonians Gallery
My Flickr Gallery
My Epson R2880 Tips & Tricks blog

  

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Wayne Registered since 05th Nov 2005Thu 09-Oct-08 04:56 AM
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#11. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 10


US
          


>My only point is that the SB-600 can be a reasonable option as
>long as you understand and can live with it's limitations.


And as stated, I fully agree that if you stay in Commander/Remote mode, then they are more than equal enough, very little difference, really no reason to pay more for the SB-800. Even on the hot shoe, while the SB-600 does have far fewer features for advanced users, the basics still work fine, and it does what it should do. But if you read the Strobist or something, and decide to try Manual mode with multiple flash, then you're in trouble with a SB-600.

  

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HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberWed 08-Oct-08 04:26 PM
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#2. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 0


Phoenix, US
          

Chan:

Welcome to Nikonians. If you will fill in your profile, we can provide better answers to your questions. For example, we don't know yet what camera you intend to use with your speedlights. Thanks in advance.

If your camera includes CLS capability, you can use either the SB800 or the SB600 in remote mode. The SB800 has a bit more power and one more stop of dynamic range than the SB600.

Both units can be used as remotes in either the TTL or the Manual modes. Once the units are configured as remotes, the TTL or Manual mode selection is made on the camera. The SB800 includes the SU-4 mode which is used to sync it with other, non-CLS speedlights in an even more basic manual mode. The SB600 does not include the SU-4 mode.

If your camera is CLS compatible, you may be able to use the popup speedlight to control the remote units. In this case, two remote speedlights would give you more flexibility in lighting.

If your camera is not CLS compatible, you will need an on-camera master/commander speedlight (SB900 or SB800) or an SU-800 unit.

If you are shooting mostly portraits, the SB600 units will work well in small umbrellas, although the SB800s would be a better choice if your budget can handle it.

Tell us a bit more about your equipment and we can continue.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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yosheego Registered since 10th Sep 2008Wed 08-Oct-08 07:09 PM
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#5. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 2
Wed 08-Oct-08 07:11 PM by yosheego

US
          

Thanks for the reply guys. It's much appreciated.
I've been shooting it in CLS and I'm liking it...but I won't know anything or any difference if i can't go FULL MANUAL. So I'm starting to lean towards the 800 now...i don't know much about manual, but I'm sure I will make full use of the 800.

So, being on Manual mode (where the 600 is not capable of) makes a big difference? Are there pics that people have done or it's just to hard to find? Sorry, I'm new to this world of photography and anything will help. I will ask dumb questions, but that's the only way I will learn!

BTW, this is what I have been doing so far...

http://yoshee.smugmug.com/?preview=1 (I use to have a d60, but upgraded)

what you guys think?

  

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HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberWed 08-Oct-08 08:49 PM
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#7. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 5
Wed 08-Oct-08 11:49 PM by HBB

Phoenix, US
          

Chan:

Your D80 will control up to two groups of remote CLS compatible speedlights, SB900, SB800, SB600 and SB-R200 included. See your D80 manual for setup instructions.

In my experience, the term "Manual Mode" can mean two quite different things: One thing in the CLS protocol and another outside of the CLS protocol.

Manual Mode in CLS Protocol

When using the above speedlights in manual mode while in the CLS protocol, the user selects a power level setting on the camera for each group of remote units that are configured in the manual mode. When the shutter button is pressed, a coded preflash signal is sent to the remotes prior to shutter opening which contains the user selected power level. Then the shutter opens. At some point while the shutter is open, depending on the selected sync mode, a triggering pulse is sent to the remotes and they all fire in unison for image capture.

Remote speedlghts in CLS manual mode may be mixed with other CLS compatible speedlights that are in the TTL mode, but in a different group. I have frequently mixed my twelve SB800s in a mixture of TTL and CLS manual mode groups during night shoots with law enforcement agencies.


Manual Mode Outside the CLS Protocol

This is a more fundamental manual mode than the one described above, and does not involve the CLS protocol at all. When used with certain Nikon speedlights, it is called the SU-4 mode. The SB900 and SB800 speedlights are the only two units to date capable of being configured in the SU-4 mode. This mode allows the SB900 and SB800 units to be used with other speedlight systems (e.g., studio strobes) that are not CLS compatible.

When configured as a remote in the SU-4 mode, SB900 and SB800 speedlights can be set in one of two modes: Automatic and Manual.

In the Automatic mode, the remote will begin firing when it sees the pulse from any other speedlight in the area. It will stop firing when the pulse from the other unit stops. In other words, it tracks the start time and firing interval of other units in the area. While I have not measured the power level, I suspect it is at full power, total illumination being controlled by the firing interval.

In the manual mode, the user sets the desired power level on the remote SU-4 unit. When the unit sees the pulse from any nearby unit it starts firing, and continues until the user-selected power level pulse has been delivered. Here, the only thing tracked is the start time of nearby pulses. Quench or cutoff time occurs when the selected power has been delivered, which may be ahead of or behind other units in the area.

Mixed CLS and SU-4 Speedlights

Note that remote SB900 and SB800 units configured in the SU-4 mode will fire when they see the preflash pulses from an on-camera CLS compatible speedlight. To them, it is the leading edge of an image capture pulse. Then, when the shutter opens and the on-camera speedlight fires for image capture, the remote SU-4 units will try and fire again, and may if their power level setting is low enough and the batteries are fresh. If they are firing at full power and/or the batteries are low, they may not recycle in time and will not fire.

Many users are confused when they see an SU-4 configured remote unit fire, but the image is dark because it did not recycle fast enough to fire again for image capture. Unless the user has selected rear curtain sync and is using a fairly long shutter time, the preflash and image capture pulses will be so close together they will be viewd by most people as a single pulse.

Conclusion

I agree with Russ: if you will be limited to the D80 and a two light setup used primarily for portraits, a pair of SB600s will work very well. Should you decide to go beyond the two remote groups supported by your D80 into more complex three and four light portrait configurations, you may want to consider one SB900 or SB800 as the on-camera master/commander and a pair of SB600s for the remotes.

Hope this sheds some light on your questions.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberThu 09-Oct-08 11:58 AM
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#12. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 5


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>Thanks for the reply guys. It's much appreciated.
>I've been shooting it in CLS and I'm liking it...but I won't
>know anything or any difference if i can't go FULL MANUAL. So
>I'm starting to lean towards the 800 now...i don't know much
>about manual, but I'm sure I will make full use of the 800.
>
>So, being on Manual mode (where the 600 is not capable of)
>makes a big difference? Are there pics that people have done
>or it's just to hard to find? Sorry, I'm new to this world of
>photography and anything will help. I will ask dumb questions,
>but that's the only way I will learn!

Manual mode simply adds another way to shoot. I very rarely use it, and you will probably not need it either.

With the SB-600's you get CLS Commander Manual. For most people this is all you need if you want to use Manual flash. In this mode, you set the flash power manually from the commander on the camera. The only difference between this and 'real' manual mode is that preflashes are used to set the power in the flash. Unless you intend to mix with older non-CLS flashes, you will probably never need a real Manual flash.

Of course, you do get 'real' Manual flash when the SB600 is on-camera. It's only the wireless part that uses the preflashes for the 'Manual' mode.

If you get the SB-600's and later decide you do need real Manual flash (and the CLS version of Manual is not good enough), then you can get what are called Wein Flash Slaves that go on the foot of your SB-600's to make them into full Manual flashes. You can also get a PC Sync adapter to connect to the foot of the SB-600 that allows it to function as a true Manual flash.

>
>BTW, this is what I have been doing so far...
>
>http://yoshee.smugmug.com/?preview=1 (I use to have a d60, but
>upgraded)
>
>what you guys think?

You have some really nice work there. I'm sure you will want to use remote flashes to fill shadows. The SB-600's in Remote Manual or TTL will probably work for everything I saw in your galleries.

Russ
http://russmacdonald.smugmug.com/
http://NikonCLSPracticalGuide.blogspot.com/

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberWed 08-Oct-08 07:42 PM
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#6. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I'm deciding whether i should get a 2 SB-600 or 1 SB-800. I
>like to shoot portrait mostly...I have a deal where i can do
>either or...What are the advantages and disadvantage? I'm new
>to the world of photoraphy and to this wonderful forum...

Here's my opinion:

I really like the Nikon CLS Advanced Wireless System for setting lighting ratios for portraits using Commander TTL mode. Occassionally, I use Commander Manual mode when shooting groups. However, I rarely need pure Manual mode.

I also think it is mandatory to have at least two flashes for decent portraiture.

Therefore, if I were faced with your decision, I would choose the two SB600's, no question!

Russ
http://russmacdonald.smugmug.com/
http://NikonCLSPracticalGuide.blogspot.com/

  

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yosheego Registered since 10th Sep 2008Thu 09-Oct-08 02:01 PM
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#13. "RE: SB-600 or SB-800"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Thanks guys again! Lots of info, not only helped me but will help others...I have decided to get another Sb-600...maybe somewhere down the road, i will get the Sb-900 (since the 800, will be scarce).

  

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