Hi guys. I am a fairly experienced hobbiest photographer, but I have almost no experience with flash photography. My use of flash is pretty much limited to outdoor fill flash, an occasional use of flash when shooting architectural interiors, and on-camera flash for indoor casual shots of my family. For most outdoor fill flash, the built-in flash works fine. But, indoors, I prefer to bounce flash. A few years ago, I bought an SB400, which is a great little flash that fits easily in a small camera bag. I use a D7000 for most subjects, but I do like to shoot candids with my old D50 from time to time.
But, it only tilts, and does not swivel. I find that most of my candids and family portraits are shot in vertical orientation. The SB400 cannot swivel, so it is not very useful as a bounce flash in this orientation.
I am looking for a tilt-swivel head flash that is more powerful than the SB400, but which doesn't break the bank. I use it so infrequently, that I hate to pay over $300 for an SB700. I use it in full Auto mode, so I'm not too concerned with a lot of advanced features and controlling multiple flash guns, etc.. I'm not really that interested at this point in my hobby with learning advanced flash photography. I just want to strap it on, tilt it toward the ceiling, and know that it will expose properly. I do, however, want something that fully utilizes Nikon's state of the art flash exposure system, and that maintains a "Nikon-like" color balance.
Can anybody recommend a compatible 3rd Party flash that is less expensive and meets my needs as outlined above? Do different flashes reproduce colors differently, or is that all controlled by the camera/WB setting? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
I would honestly say to try out Metz flashes. I'm currently using the 48 Af-1 and the 58Af-2 with my Nikon and Pentax cameras (dedicated for each). They're sturdy, powerful and less expensive than Nikons. In fact I leave my Sb900 at home and use the Metz when I'm shooting in ruggged areas since they feel less delicate. They also do well with I-TTL and can be used in CLS (warning: the cheaper flashes can be remotes but NOT commanders!).
And to top it off, you can update the firmware on the flashes quite easily thru their site and a USB cable so they're always up to date. So, with a price range of $179 to $299 you should take a look.
After the Nikon Speedlights, Metz would be the the best option. I have several large Metz flash units that served me very well for 20+ years and a current Metz 76MZ-5 that works very well with my DSLR's. You might also want to consider a refurbished or used SB-600.
I only have experience with Sigmas amongst the third party flashes. I agree with Richard in that the EF610 would be good - but get the non-Super version, since you have no need of the extra bits. The Super basically means that it can be a CLS commander or remote, which you don't need. The non-super version is considerably less money.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
Another vote here for the YONGNUO. I have two, one lighting a soft box and one on a 43" umbrella and both have been reliable, easy to use, and best of all, affordable. I have Pocket Wizard lll's triggering them and never had a misfire. Build quality is better than expected for something in this price range. No idea how long they will last but at this price you could buy three and still be saving money! Worth a look, in my opinion.