I have an SB800 and want to start to learn how to use it with multiple flashes. Was looking to get a couple more SB800's, but since the SB900 has replaced them, I cannot find them anywhere and the SB900 is over $400. It is my understanding that since I already have an SB800 that can act as a commander, my next couple strobes coulbe SB600's and I wouldn't lose any functionality when compared to buying a couple SB900's. Am I missing something? Is there a cheaper alternative to the SB600's that works with the Nikon CLS?
#1. "RE: Have SB800...Now What?" In response to Reply # 0 Thu 25-Jun-09 06:18 PM by chris_platt
If you want to use your SB800 as part of a multiple flash CLS system, you really need to stick with Nikon flashes. There are less expensive alternatives that come close, but they are limited and won't work with your SB800. For example, the latest Sigma flashes allow wireless flash, but if you want to preserve TTL functionality, you have to mount one of the Sigma flashes in the shoe. The Sigma flashes can be triggered by the D300 onboard flash, but not in TTL mode.
Also, as camera models change, you are apt to have compatibility problems with third party TTL systems. Investing in Nikon flashes will probably save you money in the long run as you are pretty much guaranteed compatiblity if you upgrade your camera.
If you don't want to invest in SB 900s, you can do quite well with the SB600s. You can often pick them up used if you move fast when you see one available.
Also, don't forget that you can use your onboard D300 flash as a commander for the SB800 used off camera. It works quite well.
#2. "RE: Have SB800...Now What?" In response to Reply # 0
I think if you want to use CLS for triggering multiple flashes the SB-600 solution would be fine as another light source. Here are some things to consider.
Most of Nikon's newer camera models can have their built in flash used as a commander. I don't know what model you have so I don't know if yours will. But if it can, there is quite a bit you can do with a single off camera light. See Joe McNally's book The Hot Shoe Diaries. There is about 90 pages dedicated to working with one speedlight.
If you have your SB-800 off camera on one side of your subject and trigger that with your built-in flash, you could also hang a big white sheet of poster board on the other side to bounce some of that flash from the other side as fill. Better yet, consider a 5 way reflector, which I think run around $50. That will give you two light sources.
If you want another speedlight, the SB-600 should be fine for a lot of purposes. Hair lights, background lights, kickers, fill light. I think it could even be used as a main light. I don't know if the SB-600 has FP Sync mode. If not, you can easily live without that.
If you don't want to use CLS to trigger the flashes then you can mix brands. But then you must have a way to trigger that light, and that means spending money on Pocket Wizards or something else. So I doubt it would save you much money. And you would have to use manual power for your lights, which isn't a major problem but if you wanted to work with TTL you couldn't.