Flash for D800

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by willscarlett, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. I'm wondering what a good flash for the D800 would be. It doesn't necessarily have to be brand new, but I was thinking either the SB-800, 900 or 910. I'm also not looking to break the bank, as my first child was just born. However, I have some old SLR film gear that I either never use or replaced, so I'm going to sell it to afford a good flash. One of my friends did not recommend the 900 because there are apparently some overheating issues with it - he's an event photographer and has had the flash shut down under heavy use.
    Also, I do currently have an older SB-25 speedlight. It's not an iTTL lens, so I use the flash in "A" mode, but aside from having to manually enter the focal length, ISO and aperture, it works very well with the D800. What would be the advantage of using a flash that is iTTL compatible (if that's the right term for a flash made to work with digital bodies)? Will the camera and flash be in sync with each other, will the flash have a greater range?
  2. JP: Look also at SB700 ... more than enough for most needs ... I think the SB800 is discontinued ... the SB910 is, obviously, the upgraded 900. I have several SB700's and a 910 .... the SB700 seems easier to use/menus ect., the 910 is at the bottom of the bag. Also just looked at the price diff 700/910 ... more flash for your buck with the SB700.
  3. Any of the Nikon flashes you have listed will get the job done for you. If money is an issue, I would recommend the SB-900 if you can find a bargain (you should be able to) over the SB-910. It is an excellent flash for the money in both features and power. Otherwise, get the one that fits best into your budget.
  4. If you can afford the 910, go for it. It's easier to use than the 800. The 900 will overheat if you use it continuously, but if you're not doing weddings this is unlikely to matter. Haven't used the 700 so can't comment on it vs 910. I love my 910 but do have an 800 as backup.
  5. Any on camera flash will over heat if used heavily. I have had my SB 800 shut down shooting a reception in a very dark venue. When the batteries are HOT to the touch that is a bad sign. On the plus side the flash still works fine after that excessive abuse. I have yet to have my SB-900 do that to me but I am not a wedding shooter.
    If I where you I would buy what fit my budget the best as they will all do a good job for you.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As Michael points out, any flash can overheat if you push it too hard. The real issue with the SB-900 is an overly sensitive thermostat. My "solution" is simply switching off the thermostat on the SB-900 (but as far as I know you can't do that on the SB-910).
    Nikon's i-TTL flash technology is generally well regraded, although a few people on this forum do not like it. If you don't use flash much, the SB-700 should be fine. The 700, 900, and 910 have a more user-friendly menu system, and please keep in mind that the SB-900 and 910 are huge flashes. You may or may not like their size, and price.
  7. Thanks for the info, guys. I also don't mind getting something used, so we'll see what goes.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Buying a used flash is always tricky. There can be a lot of abuse such as overheat, etc., but some of those damages are not visible. If you buy used, I would get it from a reliable source.
  9. John, if you're happy using the SB-25 in AA mode there's really no need to change. I can't see much difference in the consistency of exposures between using one of my SB-25s and an iTTL speedlight. That goes for both bounced and direct use. In fact i-TTL seems less reliable than good old AA mode in some conditions.
    "will the flash have a greater range?" - NO! The old SB-25 is just as powerful as the latest SB-910. There's a longer "zoom" range available on the SB-910, but the basic power of the flash is just the same. Nikon's stated GN figures for the SB-900 and SB-910 are actually slightly lower than that for the SB-25, while an SB-700 or SB-600 will definitely be a step down in power.
  10. I use the SB-600 (two of them) and a SB-800. I've owned them for years and see no reason to upgrade. I also use the SB-25 and it works great in full manual mode or AA mode. If I were buying a new speedlight today I'd get the SB-700, I think you get a lot of bang for the buck!
  11. Technology marches on, and the progress is inevitable.
    Whether you will see the difference in your results ? - depends mostly on you.
    Sounds fantasy how Nikon CLS/BL, (starting with SB800) seemingly "circumnavigates" the laws of physics to obtain great results.;)
    Another fansasy seems the lighting patterns provided from a single point source of light (started with SB900). It seems just simply "circumnavigating" the laws of physics, again.:)
    Believe it, or not.
  12. I have an SB900 and SB600 both of which I have used at small events shooting up to 200 or so images in the space of
    one to two hours on a D800. There was never a problem with overheating. The SB900 has great coverage and can be
    used on and off camera. It is my flash of choice for just about anything. Sometimes I use it and the SB600 together and I
    have even added a Metz 45 and an Olympus T32 to the mix.
  13. Thanks for the info, guys. So, if I continue using the SB-25 in "A" mode, is it necessary to change the ISO, aperture and focal length values on the rear of the flash, to reflect how the settings on the camera body?
    Also, if using the colored filters to balance the flash for tungsten or fluorescent light, is it better to dial in the compensation on the camera body or the flash? Can you even make that adjustment on the SB-25?
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    TTL flash was an important advance in Nikon SLRs back in the early 1980's because it measures the amount of light hitting the film such that the lens' focal length, aperture opening, etc. are automatically factored in. Since you can afford the D800, I would highly recommend using iTTL. If you don't need a lot of power, the SB-700 is quite good and not crazily expensive.
    Manually enter the ISO, aperture and focal length into the flash is a cumbersome and error-prone approach, especially if you are using a zoom so that the focal length can change from frame to frame.
    Incidentally, the SB-700 and SB-910 come with hard color filters for the flash for color temperature adjustment.
  15. Just to clear something up a bit belatedly. There's no need to compensate for filters added to the flash in AA mode. The sensor built into the SB-25 acts exactly the same as a camera's TTL sensor and cuts off the flash output when enough light is detected. Therefore the flash output will be automatically increased to allow for any CC filters fitted, but of course the maximum range of the flash will be reduced. The same applies to any fancy i-TTL flash as well.
  16. That's interesting that you don't need to dial in compensation when using the filters for tungsten or fluorescent light, only because I'd always been told that you needed to. In the past, I'd also been told that when shooting b&w film with color filters - let's say a yellow filter - that it wasn't necessary to adjust the ISO of the camera and that it would automatically detect that less light was coming in and automatically reflect the 1-stop loss in its meter reading. I did try one roll like that, many years ago, using a Nikon 8008s, but everything was one stop underexposed. As soon as I bumped the ISO up one stop, no worries.
  17. Oh, one other thing - the D800 was a gift. I could've afforded it, but it wouldn't have been the wisest of purchases :(

Share This Page