Nikon and SB-400

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by liah_glask, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Friends,
    Im a newbie and I'm planning to buy my new DSLR which will be one of Nikon D3000 or D3100 or D5000. i want to use Nikon SB-400 with any of the above cameras but in a off-camera mode. i know it is not that easy. so please tell me how to do it, with any other supporting devices or cords or any other methods.
    thanx.
     
  2. Is is very easy. You just need an SC-28 cord.
     
  3. There is no way apart from a sync cord. What you want to do with those cameras and that flash can not be done.
    If you want your flashes way off camera and you must be wireless, you'll need to invest in a Nikon flash or flash controller that can be a CLS master PLUS an off-camera flash that can be a slave. SB900(or SU800)/SB600 combo would work. There are others as well.
     
  4. btw, you can save a lot of money, if you want to do this, in the long run, by skipping the cameras you
    mention and buying a D90, whose flash will control external CLS flashes very nicely. But you will need to
    skip the SB400, as it can't be a slave, and go to the SB600, which can.
     
  5. And don't forget that the SB-400, when mounted in the hot shoe, can't be used for an overhead bounce when the camera's in a vertical orientation. If you shoot with the camera rotated to portrait position, the SB-600/800/900 (and upcoming 700) can swivel to accommodate. The SB-400 is basically like a pop-up flash that you can rotate to bounce from a ceiling, but only as long as you're in landscape orientation, or want to juggle cables. It does have the charm of being small, light, and inexpensive - but you have to balance that against its considerable limitations.
     
  6. While Matt is correct, you can use it for portrait orientation if you use a bracket and cord. Also available are 'dummy' flashes that can work off camera without a cord. If you are going to do a lot of off camera flash work or require multiple flash use, you may want to consider a slightly different setup than what you are proposing.
    The SB-400 is an excellent general purpose flash and, because of its size and weight, is well suited to the bodies you list. I enjoy using it whenever I don't feel like carrying around the larger/heavier flash units.
     
  7. Wow!!!! really really thanx my dear friends for all your replies and advice.
     
  8. @Frank Skomial:
    I asked how to connect one flash and u sent me link to connect two flashes. really gr8 boss. thanx.
     
  9. @Peter Hamm: I've a low budget and so I'm opting for these cameras and I cant afford a D90 for the time being. also im looking for a small package like a handy camera with a handy flash like SB-400. im not going to be a pro but i want to use the off-camera setup cos im gonna take a lot of portraits indoors.
     
  10. @Elliot Bernstein:
    1) While Matt is correct, you can use it for portrait orientation if you use a bracket and cord.
    Elliot, can u explain that? what do u meant by a bracket and cord?
    2) Also available are 'dummy' flashes that can work off camera without a cord.
    What do u mean by dummy flashes?
    3) If you are going to do a lot of off camera flash work or require multiple flash use, you may want to consider a slightly different setup than what you are proposing.
    Right now, I'll use only one flash and in the future, may be two. Not beyond that.
    4) The SB-400 is an excellent general purpose flash and, because of its size and weight, is well suited to the bodies you list. I enjoy using it whenever I don't feel like carrying around the larger/heavier flash units.
    Thats the same reason Im going for an SB-400.
     
  11. Lian, you can look up 'flash bracket' on Goggle. Here is a link to a sample:
    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=flash+bracket&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=10948172224716832492&ei=rqELTY3sFoSClAeLrfDLDA&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CFMQ8wIwAg#
    A slave flash will go off when your regular flash does but you do not have control over it except if it has manual control. Here is an example:
    http://www.amazon.com/Zeikos-ZE-DS1...0S7S/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1292608060&sr=8-3
    Good luck!
     
  12. @Elliot Bernstein: Thanx for the above links. I've another dumb question :). i did a search on sc-28 cord and most sites mention only SB-600, SB-800 etc and not SB-400. so will it support my SB-400?(i hope it will, but just for a confirmation im asking this).
     
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The main advantage for the SB-400 is that it is small and relatively inexpensive. It is great for a lot of casual photographers. However, it lacks power. Once you start adding brackets and cords, you are completely defeating the advantages that the SB-400 is small and, for some people, convenient.
    If you are more serious about flash photography, I suggest that you get at least an SB-600 instead. The SB-400 will work fine with an SC-28 cord (within the limitations for the SB-400), but most of those who bother to buy an SC-28 will use it with bigger flashes.
    Check out the link Frank points to. The OP over there was also trying to use the SB-400 beyond their limited capabilities and eventually decided to sell them for better flashes: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00XnIT
     
  14. @Elliot Bernstein: thanx again for those links.
    @Shun Cheung: SB-400 is cheap and easy to carry, thats the only thing I'm opting for it. SB-600 is comparatively bulky and expensive, right? Thats what stops me from considering it. Remember, im still a newbie to buy a better and expensive flash like SB-600 or SB-800. let me get some experience first and then in the future, i will definitely go for bigger equipments.
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Liah, that is exactly my point: once you start adding brackets and cords, it is no longer easy to carry and not that cheap any more.
     
  16. @Shun Cheung: So please suggest me a package(my camera options will be same:D3000, D3100 or D5000)
     
  17. liah,
    You don't want to hear this, but one of those cameras is going to disappoint you if you're going to be using multiple flash. Not what you want to hear, but it's true. Wrong tools for the job.
    If you are on such a tight budget and must have multiple flash for cheap, you should perhaps investigate a used D80 (or maybe D200, although they are often over-priced in the used market, imho) and SB 600. Check some of the used sites out.
    But using multiple flash with a D3000/3100/5000 (or D40/40x/50/60) is going to be a huge frustration, and trying to use off-camera flash with an SB400 is going to be as well.
     
  18. Liah,
    You can actually buy a very cheap remote flash trigger. Attach your SB-400 to it off camera, and use your camera built-in flash to trigger it.
    It's cheap (may be $10), wireless, and fun. The problem is, you cannot change the power of your SB-400.
     
  19. I would go for SB600 even used. I at first bought an SB400 but sold it few weeks later to get the 600. You will be kicking yourself few months down the road that you didn't get the SB600. Amazon sells SB400 for $119 and SB600 for just $100 more. Like Shun said once you start adding brackets and cords you will be at the same price level as SB600. Also 600 is not that big, SB900 is huge compare to the 600. Think about this.
     
  20. actually, the sb-600 is not expensive for what it does. it's a very good flash, with manual modes and enough power for most professional events, with CLS capabilities and it's only around $200. to put that another way, the sb-900 is twice the price and only offers a bit more power, with a lower recycling time. most of what you can do with a 900, you can do with a 600.
    i would agree with shun et. al that once you start talking about off-camera flash, the minimum requirement is a 600. not just for using with sync cord but also as a remote speedlite. for example, let's say you want to backlight your subject. this is easy with a 600 in remote mode, but trying to use a 400 for that would be very problematic, since there's no way to go cordless. you'd have to have very long arms to get the flash in the correct position, not to mention expert dexterity to operate the camera at the same time. i suppose you could put the camera on a tripod, stand behind the subject holding a 400 and use a remote to trigger the shutter, but if you're gonna put that much work into it, you might as well be using pocket wizards and monolights.
    i love the 400 for its small size, daytime fill, and bounce ability, but it's underpowered and underfeatured for anything more than that.
     
  21. Get a SB600 and save yourself a bunch of trouble.
     
  22. @Peter Hamm: Really your(and all the others') words made me re-consider my options. I will try to buy an used D90 or D200 and an SB-600.
    Is D200 has the Command mode?
     
  23. liah,
    Yes, the D90 and D200 both have command mode with their built-in flash. The D90 can give you better images, especially in low light.
     
  24. Suppose I own an SB-600. Can I use any other cheap flash for my second flash? Pls name a few other brands compatible with Nikon and an average price of that.
     
  25. liah, you CAN use an off-brand cheap slave flash as 2nd flash, but i wouldn't recommend it. what you can also do with 600 is use pop-up flash to trigger off-camera flash in CLS. honestly, 600 is not cost-prohibitive, relatively speaking. 2 or 3 of them can give you lighting capabilities equivalent to much bigger/heavier/expensive units.
     
  26. Since you asked for a single SB400, the link to discussions how to use 2 SB400 flashes was intended to prevent your possible future desire of purchasing additional SB400 flashes...
    however, if you do, it would be your money and your headache..:)
     
  27. @Frank Skomial: hahaha, point noted Frank. Cos of all you experts' advice, I've made up my mind to buy a D90 and SB-600.
     
  28. It would really be helpful to know exactly what you are going to be shooting and the lighting you are trying to achieve. While a D90 will trigger the SB-600, Nikon offers the SB-800/SB-900 series flashes that can work as 'Master' flashes to trigger other flashes. You can also invest in an SU-800 that will trigger other flashes without an annoying pre-flash. The SU-800 also gives extended trigger range.
    If you are shooting indoors, you can also get a studio light kit which would be quite economical and possibly preferable over a multiple flash system.
    Again, without knowing what you want to shoot and your budget, it is difficult to know what will work best. You certainly will not go wrong with a D90 and the SB-600.
     
  29. You guys are simply great and your advice makes me more and more confident.thanks to you all.
    @Elliot Bernstein: Here's what I want to shoot:
    1) Indoor and outdoor portraits
    2) Good landscapes
    3) People photography
    4) then some photographic gimmicks like Smoke, Water drops, insects(macro), hdr, long exposures etc.
    Not planning to do sports and wildlife photography.
    For indoor portraits, i would like to use white background. Want to use my SB-600 on one side and another SB-600(or a cheap flash) on the other side(or backside) of the subject. MOST PROBABLY I WILL USE ONLY MY SB-600 ALONE OR AT THE MAXIMUM TWO FLASHES, NOT BEYOND THAT.
    Now another doubt came into my mind is, is my D90 or SB-600 capable of controlling one more additional flash at the same time?
     
  30. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    is my D90 or SB-600 capable of controlling one more additional flash at the same time?​
    The D90 is, but SB-600 is not.
    Among Nikon i-TTL flashes, the SB-700, SB-800, and SB-900 can work as the master or slave. The SB-600 can only be a slave. The SB-R200 can also be a slave only while the SB-400 can neither be a master nor a slave.
     
  31. i'd get the 600 first, then add a 900 (or 700) and additional 600s once you get the basics down and are ready to progress.
     

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