Wed 02-Apr-08 05:22 PM | edited Wed 02-Apr-08 06:39 PM by Wayne
>I got a bit frustrated and ordered the SB800+Sunpak433 last >night and it has already been shipped from B&H. And I >missed the info that 433 does not have a manual mode > . I hope I did not make a huge mistake by buying the 433 >(well $80 matters a lot to me. I'll not be able to buy >anything or go anywhere for the next couple of months because >of this $440 purchase of flashes+batteries).
Ouch Buying the SB-800 is great. I have two of them, and they are great. It will do absolutely anything that ever comes up. All the fancy automated stuff, plus it has a PC sync cord connector for manual mode, and it has the built in SU-4 mode which is a great optical slave trigger, built-in. Has many many features. Pricey, but great.
But with the SB-800 being the case, then my opinion is that the 433 is wasted money. No way to use it.
The 433 iTTL presumably works by itself in the hot shoe, but that is the only way it can be used. And if you have the SB-800, you might as well use it for that. Cannot use two flashes in the hot shoe.
The 433 cannot do Nikons fancy remote wireless system with the SB-800. I do not know what camera model you have, whether it has a commander menu or not (D40 and D50 do not), which is a huge factor in any such discussion. Or the SB-800 can be a commander itself, but it must be connected to the hot shoe to do it, which is not usually where you want it.
And the 433 says it has no manual mode, so seemingly it cannot be used with the SB-800 in manual mode.
Frankly, if money is the issue, you might consider sending both back. Instead, two SB-600 seems about the same money as the SB-800 and 433, and will do all the fancy stuff great. True multiple remote wireless automatic flash. Or one of each works fine too. The SB-600 is not a good choice for using manual mode (nor is the 433), but all else is definitely great about the SB-600.
Assuming you have D80, D200, or D300, you will be absolutely thrilled with the SB-600 (or SB-800) using the Nikon remote wireless system.
Here is how it works.
You set both Nikon flash units to their REMOTE mode. You set one to be Group A and you set one to be Group B. Then you set them out there around the subject, where ever you think best. They can be in umbrellas, or bounced on the ceiling, or any way you want it. Automatic metering still works.
Then on the commander (D80, D200, D300 internal flash menu) or the SB-800 menu, or the SU-800 menu, you set both Group A and Group B to be TTL mode, so that the camera meters them. You have the ability to set compensation too, like for one the flashes to be weaker, maybe 1 stop less powerful, if desired, like for fill ratio on portraits.
Then when you press the shutter, the automation begins (extremely fast, you hardly notice). The camera fires Group A preflash and meters it. It fires Group B preflash and meters it. It meters and sets the flash power level of each group so that the two give equal and correct exposures at the subject, regardless of the individual flash distance or power capability (assuming the flash has sufficient power for the situation you set up, normally not any issue). If you have programmed a compensation for one of them, it also takes that into account. Then the shutter fires all the flashes and you have a great picture. If shadows are not exactly like you want it, then compensate one group a bit and try again. This is pretty much point&shoot flash, and it sure beats manual mode for any type of dynamic or changing situation. Works in a fixed studio situation too, but manual mode (being manual) can still have greater control advantages there.
There is one issue that the preflash often causes the subject to blink, so you get pictures of the blink. This is also true of hot shoe iTTL too. But the camera has a FV Lock option (in camera user manual), to separate these actions, you meter with one button ahead of time, the subject blinks, no problem. And then you press shutter button for the picture, which does not meter it again (until you decide something changed and exposure needs to be updated). In a fixed situation, you may only meter one time for the session.
Limitations: Only two groups available in the camera commander menu, but the SU-800 and SB-800 commanders control three groups. You can have many flashes in one group, but they all are metered as one. Optical triggering (which this is) has problems working out in the bright daylight. And the D40 and D50 cameras do not have commander mode in them.
What camera do you have? And for example, what is the way you will likely use the flashes? Studio portraits, basket ball games, flower closeups, what?
EDIT: and I may have confused it... The SB-600 does have manual mode from its hot shoe, so it will work in other brand point&shoot cameras which have hot shoe and manual mode. It is just when not on the camera hot shoe that its manual mode becomes lacking.