I'm no pro and I have a very simple lighting setup that I use ALL the time for some tabletop shots of things my wife sells on Etsy. Basically I just use the built-in flash (commander mode) to control a single SB-600 wirelessly.
Turns out my little daughter got hold of my camera and now my trusty ol' D80 is in need of some repair, but instead I was thinking it's time to just upgrade to a new body. I was looking at the new D3200 and D5200 and almost bought the 5200, when i luckily noticed on a review that Nikon chose to get rid of commander functionality of all of the lower level cameras. AND they took away the motor to run AF on older lenses! This is a total bummer - a) i have a couple older AF lenses i love, but most of all i used wireless commander mode ALL THE TIME. Seems to me the wireless commander function is software and a really petty and crappy thing to get rid of.
Anyway, does anyone know of any possible way to still get these cameras to do wireless triggering? firmware modifications or anything? I know that's a stretch probably...
If no, is my only choice going to be getting some pocket wizzard thingy? I know NOTHING about them and would be starting from scratch here. Can you possibly recommend a simple and inexpensive version of a wireless trigger that would work with a sb-600?
Thanks in advance for any advice people might have...
also upgrading further to the d7100 or 7000 is not an option - its much bigger, way heavier, and way too much money (even though it solves everything as far as commander and AF motor). I use my cam as a family and vacation and all around thing - so cant upgrade to anything too fancy here.
#1. "RE: no commander mode?!? what to do instead?" In response to Reply # 0
For the SB-600 you could set the flash unit to manual and add an SU-4 accessory and use the cameras flash to trigger the SU-4 optical trigger. You use us 3x5 index card in front of the camera's flash to bounce the flash. I would also set the camera's flash to the lowest power setting.
The in body motor was being removed a number of years ago. The internal lens motor is more common.
#4. "RE: no commander mode?!? what to do instead?" In response to Reply # 3
The cactus flash triggers work fine, but you will be in manual mode.
I have a set that I haven't used in years because Nikon's CLS is a miracle and so easy to use. I recommend you stick with it.
If you're going to upgrade your camera, it seems to me that the least expensive route to new camera AND CLS is the D7000. That will cost you less than a D5200 plus anything else that would maintain CLS for you with the D5200.
On the other hand, having a flash like the SB700 in the shoe to act as a commander is not so bad. It can still be directed to bounce light off of surfaces in the room or reflectors. You can get it out of the shoe with something like an SC28, SC29, or cheapo knockoffs and maintain the TTL/CLS capabilities of the master while moving it into other positions.
#5. "RE: no commander mode?!? what to do instead?" In response to Reply # 0
Welcome to Nikonians!
Have you considered getting a D90? The D90 has both Commander mode and an AF motor built into the camera body as well as a Sub-Command dial (finger wheel) that the D5100 and D5200 doesn't. That way you can maintain AF operation with your older lenses and continue to use Commander mode as you do with your D80.
Once the new D7100 gets into the supply chain, the price of new D7000's should start coming down. Again, it is not exactly what you want but it save you a little $$ .
Nikon has not included an AF motor built into the camera body or Commander mode on an entry level body since the D50 and D70s were introduced in April 2005. All entry level bodies from the D40 (introduced in November 2006) have not included an AF motor or built in Commander mode.
If you want the D5200, you can get an SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, SB-910, or SU-800 to use on camera as Commander. This will be less expensive than buying a Pocket Wizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5.
Another alternative as George suggested above is to get a Nikon SU-4 slave for your remote SB-600 and use Manual exposure mode and Manual flash mode. Once you have the settings worked out it will be very easy to set up the next time.
Another option is to get an RF wireless trigger to fire the remote SB-600. Again using Manual exposure mode and Manual flash mode will provide the most consistant results. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#6. "RE: no commander mode?!? what to do instead?" In response to Reply # 0
Salt Lake City, US
If it's just for the table top set up, why not just put a cord on it? I can't see that the cord would get in the way of any table top set up. You'll need a hotshoe adapter, available at any good shop, but also at flashzebra.com, and a PC cord. That's probably a $30 fix.