I have looked around and based on the reviews I have read I was planning on buying the SB-400. I have just begun my journey of learning to use the D-90 and am wanting a flash to help with low light pictures. Mainly of my family. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
#1. "RE: What flash to buy?.." In response to Reply # 0
Though the SB-400 is much powerful than the built-in, you would be better served with an SB-700 (or an used SB-600) - much more power, more options, more expensive, bigger. I went that route a got an SB-600.
Nikonians!!! My best investment made after my camera!!!
#2. "RE: What flash to buy?.." In response to Reply # 0
Welcome to Nikonians! I would recommend an SB-700 or used SB-600 over the SB-400. The SB-400 only has about one-stop more power than the built in Speedlight and can only be used on camera or attached to the camera via TTL extension cord. Both the SB-600 and SB-700 have about two stops more power than the built in Speedlight and can easily be used off camera controlled wirelessly by the built in Speedlight set in Commander mode. The SB-600 or SB-700 flash heads are taller than the SB-400 which reduces the chance of red-eye even when not using red-eye reduction mode. The flash heads on the SB-600 and SB-700 also rotate providing more versatility. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#3. "RE: What flash to buy?.." In response to Reply # 0
From where I sit, the SB-400 is close to useless. I absolutely HATE the harsh flash shadows created by typical on-camera flash. It looks both ugly and amateurish. There is basically no way to avoid that with the SB-400, because it doesn't tilt or rotate much, and even if it did, it doesn't have enough power to bounce unless there's a suitable surface almost placed for that purpose. I nearly always use bounce flash as a result, and it makes a HUGE difference. Most of the time it takes a knowledgeable photographer to identify the fact that flash was used, and it looks very natural. But one has to have a tilting and rotating head, along with sufficient power to do that. Amongst the current lineup, the least expensive is the SB-700. I often use now-discontinued SB-600's, although they don't cost much less. (I have a small herd of SB-600s for use in multiple-flash situations.) Unfortunately the SB-700 is $330 these days.
If you don't want to spend SB-700 money, the Sigma EF-610 DG (not the EF-610 DG Super!) is about half that price ($165, both prices from this morning at B&H) and does what most people will want from a flash. Its main disadvantage is that it can't participate in any multi-flash setups, either as a commander or as a remote, but few people really need to go there. On the other hand, it is fully iTTL compatible and it has similar power to the SB-700, as well as a fully rotating and tilting head. Don't be fooled by the power specifications - Sigma claim that the 610 has a guide number of 200, while the Nikon has only 91 - the Sigma is measured at 105mm focal length and the Nikon is at 35mm. (There's also the meters vs feet and ISO...) I have and use a Sigma flash and it works quite well. (The Sigma has a different function than my herd of Nikon flashes; these statements are not in conflict.)
There are other Nikon iTTL compatible flashes, but I have no direct experience with them. Nissin seems to be reliable, but they don't seem to be any less expensive than Sigma. I would stay away from the Yongnuo brand. I have received several reports of very uneven quality. My guess is that they make some of their flashes and others they source from elsewhere. Some models get good ratings, and those models seem to be consistently reliable. Others seem to be terrible, also reliably so. They are very inexpensive - but one has to know which is which, and I at least cannot discern a pattern. Also note that some (many?) of their models are NOT iTTL compatible, although some are.
With the flash, I'd get the book On Camera Flash by Neil van Neikirk. It seems to be about wedding photography, but it's really just about flash - I learned good flash technique from his web site. (Google "planet neil flash".) It'll make your $200 flash unit look VASTLY better.
Bottom line: I'd suggest the Sigma EF-610 DG non-super unless you think you're going to get into advanced flash with multiple units. If that sort of advanced flash is in your future, or if you simply can't risk non-Nikon, get the SB-700.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!