>2) >433 >has TTL detection so I think it eliminates the above problems. >But I will have to chose the mount to be Nikon. In that case >will I be able to use it with other camera hot-shoes too?? If >I can then I would go for this one only as it is only $10 more >than the 383.
It is not the hot shoe mount that is Nikon, it is the electronics, and the mode of operation. It has a hot shoe and will physically fit the hot shoe on any camera. However the specs on this one says "Manual Mode: NO", so it sounds like Nikon iTTL is its only available mode, and that other cameras will be shut out. I dont really know, but I would try to understand that well before purchase.
>I tried to look for some kind of flash compatibility chart but >could not locate one. I've learned a little about flashes >through the reading I've done in the past 2-3 days but I think >it is not sufficient enough to make a decision. Any help in >clarifying the confusion will be greatly appreciated.
Flash Compatibility Chart:
Manual flashes (flashes with manual mode): The flash should have a manual mode and the camera should have a manual mode. There are several configurations of sync cord connector, this varies, but only one style will fit it. Or if you want slave operation, you need a slave trigger accessory attachment that can attach to that flash, either hot shoe or the sync cord connector (except the SB-800 has one optical slave trigger built-in). The SB-600 has Manual mode, but it has no sync connector to trigger it, only the hot shoe.
iTTL: Dunno, you are sort of in never never land seeking third party gear for the proprietary Nikon system. The compatible flashes for the Nikon DSLR are the SB-800 and SB-600. There are some 3rd party flashes offering iTTL too, for about $100 cheaper, but are very new, and we dont hear much about them, and the results are not in yet.
iTTL is incompatible with manual mode flashes, or with flashes in manual mode, and are incompatible with optical slave triggers for manual mode. Because, iTTL flash (all digital camera auto flash) fires a preflash before shutter is open, which the camera meters, and then sets the power level of the flash to be correct exposure, and then opens shutter and triggers the flash. Technically, all auto digital camera flash fires this preflash... iTTL is just Nikons name for their system. But that is how the system works. Digital camera flash is an all new ball game from film camera flash.
So, that digital preflash will trigger any manual optical slave before the shutter is open, so that it can not contribute (it is finished before the shutter opens), it only messes up the metering for the iTTL gear. So.. all flashes and the camera must be in manual mode to use manual flashes. iTTL mode is not compatible with manual mode flash slaves.
iTTL requires a iTTL compatible flash. That is the SB-800 or SB-600, or maybe these new 3rd party trying to get into the game. Not much is known yet about them.
Plus, iTTL is a one flash system, for a flash connected to the hot shoe (for the communication from the camera). It is NOT a multiple flash system, and it is NOT a remote system and it is NOT a slave system. It is pretty much a Nikon system, for auto flash on the hot shoe.
However, Nikon does ALSO have another multiple flash wireless remote system using iTTL metering, also using the Commander in the camera internal flash, or the SU-800 commander, or the SB-800 can be a commander. The flash units must be a SB-800 or SB-600 (NOT a SB-400 for example). There are a couple of 3rd party tying to get into this too, but apparently results are poor so far, they do not actually claim it works. This is an awesome system, an automatic remote wireless multiple flash system. Anything less is like buying a horse to pull your new Ferrari.
There are some new 3rd party radio triggers coming that are said to be Nikon Remote Wireless compatible. Nothing is known yet about how well they work.
Good luck with this very difficult task. Maybe some of these unknown 3rd party options might be made to work, but their choice will be quite difficult without experience and compete understanding. The only simple solution will be manual mode, all flashes and the camera in manual mode, but then you must set the correct exposure yourself.
Two SB-600 will cost $370 at B&H for two of them (if you want two). There is MUCH to be said for that plan, it will be awesome, for the automatic point&shoot multiple flash Nikon remote wireless system, for use with the commander in the D80, D200, D300 cameras. Or for hot shoe mounted iTTL flash for walk-around use. But for manual mode, not so much with the SB-600.
But (the only likely problem) - if the camera is a D40 or D50, then it does not have commander capability, so you also need the $250 SU-800 commander for remote wireless multiple flash instead.
And if you might ultimately want to use manual flash for some jobs, the SB-600 is inadequate, has no means to trigger it, so you need SB-800 instead for manual uses (like studio work).
The SB-800 has a bit more power, and many more features, but the SB-600 is great for one camera hot shoe iTTL, or for the Nikon Remote Wirless multiple flash system.