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Accessories Reviews

Selecting a Nikon Speedlight Flash Unit

Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) on January 7, 2014


Keywords: nikon, speedlights, product, articles

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Nikon makes several Speedlight units that work very well with your Nikon DSLR. The SB-300, SB-400, SB-600, SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, and SB-910 units are all compatible with your new camera. There are also the R1C1 flash units (SB-R200), which are designed to be used in small groups, such as for a ring-light arrangement.


Let’s consider each of the available Nikon Speedlights, along with basic information on the unit’s guide number, lens coverage, and other relevant data.

 

Nikon SB-910 Speedlight

 

The SB-910 is Nikon’s flagship Speedlight. It has adjustable beam width that goes wider and farther than most other flash units. It has a big, detachable diffuser that really helps control hotspots and contrast. Plus, it has an included filter system that communicates with the flash unit.


I really enjoy using the Nikon SB-910 Speedlight unit. It is a very powerful and easy to use in the CLS arrangement because it has external controls for setting remote mode. It can also be used as a CLS commander when needed.

20140107_100652_image-1_sb-910.jpg

Nikon SB-910 Speedlight

 

The SB-910 was released as a minor upgrade to the previous flagship SB-900. The SB-900 had a perceived flaw—it shut down when too hot—which was actually a protection circuit for preventing flash overheating. However, the SB-910 works differently. Instead of shutting down the flash unit when its internal temperature gets too high from rapid firing, the SB-910 simply slows down the flash recycle rate to allow the unit to cool down between flashes.


Otherwise the SB-910 and SB-900 are similar flash units, with matching power and capability. The controls and menus on the SB-910 are very easy to use; much easier than the older flagship flash, the SB-800. The unit is somewhat larger than the SB-800 while being almost identical in size to the SB-900. If you want maximum power in a Nikon Speedlight flash unit, you can’t go wrong with the powerful and flexible SB-910.


The SB-910 comes with color filters to modify the color of the flash output, a built-in diffuser, a built-in bounce card, and a large white detachable diffuser, as seen in the Nikon SB-910 Speedlight picture above, on the left.

This flash unit works very well with any Nikon DSLR and supports all the advanced Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) features.

 

Official SB-910 Guide Number Information

34m/111.5ft. (at ISO 100, 35mm zoom head position, in FX format, standard illumination pattern, 20°C/68°F) to 48m/157.5ft. (at ISO 200, 35mm zoom head position, in FX format, standard illumination pattern, 20°C/68°F)

 

Official SB-910 Lens Coverage

17 to 200mm (FX-format, Automatic mode)
12 to 200mm (DX-format, Automatic mode)
12 to 17mm (FX-format, Automatic mode with built-in wide-angle panel deployed)
8 to 11mm (DX-format, Automatic mode with built-in wide-angle panel deployed)

 

Bounce Flash

Flash head tilts down to -7° or up to 90° with click-stops at -7°, 0°, 45°, 60°, 75°, 90°

 

Dimensions / Weight

3.1 x 5.7 x 4.4 in. (Approx. 78.5 x 145 x 113 mm) / 14.8 oz. (420 g)

 

Built-in Wireless Commander Mode for Nikon CLS

Wireless Commander Mode offers wireless control at the master Speedlight position, controlling up to 3 remote Speedlight groups and an unlimited number of compatible Speedlights. Four wireless channel options help manage wireless conflicts in multi-photographer environments.

 

(5 Votes)
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Darrell Young Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell)

Knoxville, USA
Team, 5928 posts

8 comments

Hans Kuwert (nikonus) on January 12, 2014

The 900 series are much more user friendly with on the fly adjustments than 600s 800s .The 900s zoom feature seems to work out to 30ft for me as Fill flash on birds / telephoto nature ,without any wild ISO setting . 900s are oversized in a bag of 600 - 800s . It takes a while to stay sharp with wireless multi flash set ups .

Gary Pate (MongoG) on January 11, 2014

Thanks Darrel, Great article that cleared up a few questions I had about flash units. Clear and easy to follow.

George Chapman (Icemann) on January 9, 2014

Thank You for a very good article,it was very helpful to me.

Paul Freedman (paulfree17) on January 8, 2014

As an amateur who does not get to write off any of my equipment I was wondering if the Yongnuo flash 560 or 560Ex at under $100 a pop would be worthwhile. I shoot a D800 which has built in commander and I have a SB900 for my primary light. I am looking to add two or three slaves to use for fill or rim lights. These seem to get good reviews and are less than half the price of a SB700 or SB600. Anyone of any experience with these?

michael sherwin (msohio) on January 8, 2014

Love the 600 and have been an eBay buyer to build my inventory. I probably have to live to be 110 years old at this point but one can't be to safe. Right dear??

Gary Worrall (glxman) on January 8, 2014

Great Darrell Tks for the info

Peter S (PAStime) on January 8, 2014

Great article, thanks Darrel. Minor correction needed on page two in the following sentence. Cheers, Peter The SB-910 is Nikon’s former flagship Speedlight.

Egbert M. Reinhold (Ineluki) on January 7, 2014

Great help for those who need it.

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