Like to get an external flash. I shoot with a Nikkor 16-85 zoom. Want to get an external flash but I am clueless. Don't want to have to spend more than I have to. Need for indoor events, weddings, speeches, etc. Open to third party. Need advice.
I first bought the Nikon SB-400 for use with my D7000. It is nice and small and has the advantage of being able to "bounce" the light if the ceilings are low enough, however it will not swivel, so using in "portrait" is not very practical. The main problem with the SB-400 is it's not much more powerful than the built-in flash. I sold it after a short period of experimenting.
I now own the SB-700 and am very happy with it's performance. It tilts for "bounce" flash and even "swivels" so it can be used in "portrait" and other odd-ball situations. It is more powerful than the SB-400 and has many advanced features. It is a good compromise of size versus power and has all the features needed for "general" photography.
If you need the most power available, do a lot of studio shooting and other advanced photography the SB-900/910 would be a better choice. It is larger and heavier than the other two and is a LOT more expensive but has the most features. Probably its biggest advantage over the SB-700 is it can control three wireless groups where the SB-700 can control only two.
The SB-400 is not much more powerful than the pop-up and only adds vertical bounce.
The SB-700 has more power than the pop-up, can act as a remote commander for 2 iTTL groups only, can act as a remote unit, has vertical an horizontal tilt, accepts filter gels, has diffuser, zooms to match lens focal length, light shaping, firmware updating.
The SB-900/910 everything the SB-700 has but can control 3 iTTL groups, has smart filters
I use the 600 on my D7000 and it works great for what I do. It isn't very heavy, not very complicated to use on or off the shoe, swivels and tilts, has a built in diffuser, not as powerful as the 700/900 while not as expensive either. Good luck with your search.
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There are many options and price points. Personally, I have 2 SB-800s that I like to use, but if I am traveling and need to go light, I carry an SB-400 and don't worry. Each has it's place. You mentioned events, so I would suggest going with as much power as you are willing to move.
>Anyone heard of the Nissin Di866 MkII Flash? I hear it is >very powerful. >Akiva S. > >Nikon F, FE, Nikkormat FTN, Nikon D7000, Leica M3 > I generally don't buy 3rd party products because of potential compatibility problems. I had a problem with a Sigma flash that had to be sent back to Sigma for a firmware upgrade to work with a D300. The Nissin is a little more powerful than the SB900 and should work fine with the D7000.
However it only supports iTTL for CLS Nikon bodies and manual mode. It does not support TTL mode and is not compatible with Nikon film bodies if that is important to you. The D600 and D800 support TTL mode for most Nikon film cameras and the D800 also supports Auto mode. It's interesting that the SB910 and D700 don't support TTL or A mode, both of which are important to me and why I never upgraded past my D600 and D800.
>>Anyone heard of the Nissin Di866 MkII Flash? I hear it >is >>very powerful. >>Akiva S. >> >>Nikon F, FE, Nikkormat FTN, Nikon D7000, Leica M3 >> >I generally don't buy 3rd party products because of potential >compatibility problems. I had a problem with a Sigma flash >that had to be sent back to Sigma for a firmware upgrade to >work with a D300. The Nissin is a little more powerful than >the SB900 and should work fine with the D7000. > >However it only supports iTTL for CLS Nikon bodies and manual >mode. It does not support TTL mode and is not compatible with >Nikon film bodies if that is important to you. The D600 and >D800 support TTL mode for most Nikon film cameras and the D800 >also supports Auto mode. It's interesting that the SB910 and >D700 don't support TTL or A mode, both of which are important >to me and why I never upgraded past my D600 and D800. > >Len >
I was going to buy the Nissin DI622 MII over the SB700 for my Nikon D600 ...I'm reading good reviews for it and gives a bit more power over the SB700 for less price ...anybody have experience with it? It does have TTL support for Nikon bodies and does EV +/- 1.5EV?? The recycle time looks like in the 5-6 seconds mark whereas the Nikon SB-700 recycle in 2.5-3s
Akive: A used SB 600 is a very good choice, and any of the Sunpak offerings, like the PZ42N (?) would also be a good option,and might save you some money. For your film cameras, any 3rd party flash with a dedicated Nikon module would do. An older Nikon flash would work, too.
A few months ago I spent hours researching flashes for my D5100. I too did not want to spend any more than I needed to.
End of the day I went with the SB700. And I'm very glad I did.
It serves my purposes for now and if I ever want to go past two flashes (the max the SB700 can control) then my third flash unit will have to be the 910.
Unless you are shooting objects that are a long way from your flash, or are bouncing light off of high ceilings, the 700 should serve you well. If you can afford the 910 and don't mind spending the extra $ then go for that one more power is always nice to have just in case you need it.
The other thing I found is that my SB700 fits into my smaller kit bag, a larger flash unit might not, but that would be bag dependent. I have no idea if the 910 is much bigger than the SB700.
I really looked hard at third party units, some were significantly less expensive but in the end I decided for my first flash full compatibility with my camera was worth the extra $150 or so that I might have saved with an off brand. If you have not learned about Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS) look into that before deciding to save $ on a non-Nikon flash.
And listen to the advice of the seasoned folk here, I've just been playing at this hobby for a few months but thought I'd share my experience facing the same question you are facing.
I suggest you become familiar with the blog http://neilvn.com/tangents/, and purchase his book On-Camera Flash, given your goals to shoot indoor events. In that case your first flash should be the SB-910 because it does TTL, and is easy to control. An SB-800 or 900 would also work, but the SB 800 is more difficult to program. After that first TTL flash you could add much less expensive models, say a Youngnuo 560 II, with that on manual control. The Sb 700 has all most of the features of the 910, but less power. I worry that can be a problem. Also be willing to shoot at hight ISO and in raw mode.
But Neil's book is where you should start. Be sure you get the On-Camera book.
Like you Akiva, I didn't want to spend anymore than I had to, so chose a used SB-600 to go with my D7000, which serves my needs well. It seems to have plenty of power too! You can pick them up on ebay in almost almost mint condition for around $200.
SB600 is a great budget flash to go with your 16-85 lens. Can be found around $150. But it has some ergonomic disadvantages and also it less than "capable" in repeating fire and high shutter speed sync. The SB-700 is about the same weight and size, has much more advance electronics that prolongs battery life and reduces recycle time between the shots. Has awesome snap on color filters and can be found at $250 used and $275-$300 new.
My most used flash is SB800, followed by SB700, than SB910. I also always carry SB400 in my bag but it seldom get any use. I bought and later re-sold a couple of SB600s due to limitations I stated above. Think of SB600 as dedicated TTL external flash for up to 1/250 shutter speed. It quite powerful and works well for bounced flash photography as well as with Light Sphere. But if you ever need more creativity or faster shutter speeds - pick Sb700 or SB800 both under $300