Nikon SB-800 Flash

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bgelfand, Feb 17, 2017.

  1. I recently acquired my first DSLR - a Nikon D750. It is a great camera, but the pop-up flash leaves much to be desired. I also have a F100 film camera and the SB-28 flash I use with it. I can use the SB-28 in Auto (A) mode on the D750, but I will lose all the advantages of TTL metering. The new Nikon flashes are quite expensive.

    I see that KEH has used SB-800 flashes on sale for approximately $300, a manageable cost for me. It is my understanding that the SB-800 will work properly on the D750 , and according to the D750 manual (Pages 435 - 436) has all the functionality that the SB-910 has. An added advantage of the SB-800 is that it is usable on my F100 film camera, for me a big plus.

    Is anyone using an SB-800 with their D750? Have you encountered any problems? Any limitations that caused you to upgrade to a newer flash?

    Has anyone encountered any problems with purchasing a used flash from a reputable dealer like KEH?
  2. I use 3 SB-800s with my D810. Never had a problem. Two of my 800s came from KEH--condition was even better than described.
  3. I
    Don't have a D750, but have several SB800's I use regularly (and without any problems or issues) on my D3, D7100, D800' s and DF

    The menu is, compared to the SB910 (which I also have) a bit more tricky too work with, mainly due to the main selection button of the SB800.
    ( a bit small, and a bit finicky to operate. Not a biggie when you have plenty of time, but can be a bit of a pain when you're in a hurry)

    The SB910 has a better layout in that respect (a 'big' switch in stead of the 'main se;ection button'), but on the downside is much bigger hen the SB800, while havig a slightly lower GN

    Both SB800 and SB910 can take an external batterypack like the Propack PB960 ( I wouldn't go for the original SD8A batterypack, less capacity and way overpriced for what it is, just a plastic box with soe wires that can take 6 AA batteries) which is a big plus if you need fast recycle times or have to shoot a wedding or event

    The SB800 originally also comes with a clip on battery holder for a 5th AA battery (SD800), but that in my experience reaily isn't up to the task for the aforementioned types of shooting (weeding or event)

    The SB800's are my first pick when I need to take a larger speedlight along (I have a SB400 as a 'just in case I need one' tag along speedlight)
  4. Thank you, Palouse and Paul_k. I'll keep an eye on the KEH sales and probably purchase an SB-800 the next time they offer money off. Until then I can make do with available light. I am amazed at how good the high ISO pictures look from the D750. I shot some indoors at the Pima Air Museum with ISO at about 10000. The JPEGS looks very good, indeed.
  5. As stated, the SB-800 will work with all Nikon DSLRs from the D300/D700 going forward.

    I just came her to state my humble opinion. The SB-800 is the best of all the Nikon SB flash units. Size/power/features, it just sticks the optimum balance.
  6. I agree with Dan. It's a shame they didn't just keep it in the range, or a similar model with an updated interface that retained backwards compatibility. I believe the SB-800 works with every dSLR from the D1 onwards in TTL mode, with any TTL film camera with a hot shoe (or even an F3 with the stupidly expensive AS-17 flash coupler), and with pretty much any camera in A or M mode. The SB-900 won't even work with a D100 or the D1 series in TTL mode.
  7. I think there should be plenty of SB-800's on the used market; however, some may show signs of age (and use). If you are on a budget and/or want to use flash also with older cameras, then it makes a lot of sense.

    Personally I don't like the SB-800's user interface and prefer the rotating dial and buttons of the newer flashes. SB-700 and SB-5000 are more compact than SB-900 and SB-910.
  8. I have some SB-600s (the little brother of the SB-800). Other than not working as a flash trigger (which the integrated flash on my DSLRs does instead), I've had no issues. I have them partly for compatibility with my F5 (not that I've used it) and partly because once you have to deal with the SB600 interface once, a friendlier interface on a newer flash doesn't help much. I rarely need to change anything on the flash anyway since the control from the camera is decent. If Nikon goes integrated radio flash, I'll probably supplement them with a radio-capable flash to trigger the SB-600s. I don't want to lose the camera optical trigger if an external radio dongle is necessary.
  9. A radio controlled Nikon flash (SB-5000 at the moment) used as a radio controlled remote cannot trigger SB-600s; the optical trigger on camera (e.g. a CLS master or commander) would have to do that AFAIK. If you use third party radio trigger you can likely use SB-600s as remotes but separate receivers are needed.
  10. I completely agree about the interface on the SB800. It is NOT intuitive. You actually have to read the manual to make changes and pushing the tiny buttons (especially if you are wearing gloves) is a pain. The 900 is far easier to operate when changing on the fly. But other than that point, I prefer the 800 - it is smaller and lighter and every less ounce I carry is important to me. The 900 series doesn't fit in some of my older bags.
  11. By the way, while I have never used anything other than Nikon flashes, a lot of folks (including people whose opinion I value) swear by the 3rd party lenses from Nissin and Yongnuo.

    They are a fraction of the cost of even a used Nikon SB800.

    Once again - I am have never used either of these, but I do own a small Nissin i40 which I use with my Sony mirrorless and it performs very well. The SB800 is built like a tank and I suspect that the build quality on these 3rd party units are not as robust, but you can't beat the price and a lot of folks sing their praises.
  12. I use SB800 units and I also advice not to buy it unless for low price reasons. The user interface is ugly, it is really awkward to switch between modes.
    Other than this it is a good powerful flash.
  13. The point I was incoherently trying to make was that, while I've no doubt the interface on the newer flashes is more user friendly than the SB-800 (and I've used an SB-700), it may not matter. The SB-600 interface is equally primitive (although the feature set is admittedly smaller), but it's only intrusive when the flash is first configured - after which the DSLR's interface does the heavy lifting and I don't need to touch anything on the flash. (If I do it's the exposure compensation buttons - within a group - and those are the default use for the obvious up/down.) There's certainly more to the SB-800 (if you want strobe, etc.), and you might need to interact with it more with an F100 than the D750, but the slightly unwieldy interface isn't THAT bad, especially if you get used to the bits you need. Just offering some balance.<br />
    <br />
    Ilkka: I don't know why I thought the SB-5000 could trigger optical CLS (or if it can, I may have assumed it could do this when radio triggered). That may change my preference that the D810 replacement have no integrated flash but integrate a radio trigger. For so long as the integrated flash can trigger CLS but radio needs a dongle, I'll prefer optical triggering for my limited needs. But I'm not Joe McNally.
  14. "
    I can use the SB-28 in Auto (A) mode on the D750, but I will lose all the advantages of TTL metering."
    - In my experience, those advantages are extremely marginal, if any. As long as the flash sensor points toward the subject AA mode is just as consistent and reliable as TTL. Maybe more so.
    I'd also echo that there's nothing wrong with 3rd party flashes from the likes of Nissin, Godox and YongNuo. In fact the main drawback with YongNuo is that they offer too much choice if anything, and it's difficult to decide which model is best for your needs.<p><br>
    I have a kit of 3 Godox Ving Nikon CLS compatible speedlights and they're excellent. The Lithium battery is far lighter and longer-lasting between charges than rechargeable AAs, and you can get 3 for around the same price as the $300 asked for that used SB-800. A single CLS flash is hardly any more useful than your old SB-28 IMO.

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