SB-400 Underestimated!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by nate_allen|1, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. I know of many people who when considering a flash always kick out the little 400. THIS THING IS GREAT!!!!!! I have
    owned mine for about 10 months now and I absolutely love it! I also own an SB-800 and that thing is amazing as
    well. HOWEVER, the 800 does not compare in areas with 10 to 20 feet ceilings where if you have that 400 bounced
    to 90 degrees and set to ttl, it is amazing. Not only that, it is extremely lightweight, and also low-key if you are at a
    party or get-together of somekind. I am a proffesional photographer and have found many times of preference for the
    400 over the 800. If you have any comments or disagreements, they are all welcome here.
     
  2. I few weeks I tried my costumer's SB-400 on my D300 with a 35 mm. It was really nice and compact. Maybe is not as
    great as the SB-800 but I thought it was really nit. It also cover my Tokina 11-16 at 11 mm. I was also surprised coz most
    of the time here people say that you can't bounce it. By accident the front of the head moved and I found out that it is possible to bounce it, you just can't rotate it. To me it seems like a very good little tool.
     
  3. Yeah, surprisingly alot of people have no idea it bounces until they stumble upon the information. That really reiterates my point about how it is very "low key".
     
  4. By the way, my costumer didn't know it can be bounced either and he's been using it for around 6 months.
     
  5. I laugh every time I hear someone poo-poo the SB-400. It's a great little design and it's right up there with the 50mm
    1.8 as something that always should come along tucked in the corner of your bag. The SB-400 is the perfect flash
    90% of the time, and it should be force-fed to Mom's and Dad's buying cameras to shoot the kids. Name one other
    way to spend $100 and see that much improvement in the pictures.
     
  6. I shot a Bar-Mitzva (as a favor, I am not a pro) with my D40 and SB400. I used KR's 1 cent diffuser. It worked fantastic. I did need to change batt's in the middle. I used reg AA's.

    A bit off topic, but I made the diffuserwith a heavy white cardboard like paper from a folder. I used packing tape on the back seams. I added velcro to the right places and on my SB400.
     
  7. I also like it because it is small and compact and it perfectly covers the 12-24 without throwing a shadow. However, liking it would be loving it, if it were able to be used as slave. That together with the built-in flash and you had a perfect little lighting system....Nikon, can we have a 401 please??
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    How do you bounce the SB-400 in the vertical (portrait) orientation?
     
  9. If bouncing/lighting is critical then don't rotate to portrait orientation. With 10 megapixels plus in current
    cameras, why not just shoot landscape and crop as needed?

    Sometimes I wonder if we hold on to our film camera techniques when some of them have become less
    of a factor.
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Well, I would rather buy a flash with some basic capabilities such as bounce both vertically and horizontally and has a zoom head that can adjust to the focal length you are using. Not to mention that it can work as a wireless slave in a CLS setting. E.g. the SB-600 can meet those requirements still well below $200.

    The SB-400 is a neat little flash for the casual photographers who prefer something a little better than the pop-up flash on the camera. A few months ago I took a look at Amazon.com, and the SB-400 receives over 100 good reviews there:
    http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-SB-400-Speedlight-Digital-Cameras/dp/B000KKPN5C/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1223830962&sr=8-1

    However, the SB-400 has a lot of serious limitations. The casual photographers might not notice them, but there are very good reasons that serious photographers prefer the higher-end flashes.

    I don't mean to rain on your parade, but I would like to put things into proper perspective. I personally have the SB-600, SB-800 and SB-900 but not the SB-400.
     
  11. Shun... It is funny! You might hold it in your hands and you won't know it can be bounced. Hard to explain, its like just the
    glass in front on the head moves. Uhmm! It only bounces up to 75 degrees vertically i think. As you say, it might not be a
    flash for a pro or for serious photography but for 100 bucks it is a really nice flash to carry with a body and a short prime. It
    makes a really compact and light set up. 100% better than the Mickey Mouse built in flash. Of curse it doesn't have
    enough power if your subject is far away and that being the case I don't see the need to used it wireless. If you add all that
    the size would be same as the 600. For sure it is much better than my 26 y/o Canon A144. :)
     
  12. The Nikon SB-400 appears to be comparable to the classic Olympus T32 flash, including the internal adjustment for bounce without tilting the external housing.

    Funny, many years ago the T32 was considered the bee's knees by pros and serious amateurs. But innovations in TTL flash from Nikon and Canon have definitely spoiled us. We have much higher expectations now.

    Since my D2H is already a bulky, heavy beast adding the SB-800 isn't much of an additional burden. But if I relied more on a smaller dSLR I'd certainly consider the SB-400. Heck, I still use my old SB-10 Speedlight, which offers a pivoting shoe stalk but no bounce. It's a good accessory for my FM2N and F3HP, which I don't often use with flash anyway.
     
  13. I agree with the OP comment,
    all do I have my SB-400 in the draw for a long time now...
    my personal fave Nikon flash are the SB-r200, which I use all the time..
    about the size of the SB-400... ;)
     
  14. <img src="http://i215.photobucket.com/albums/cc112/Juanjo_Viagran/BS/_DSC4807-1.jpg">
     
  15. Absolutely, the 400 is a very nice flash for casual shooting. Again, and needlessly, people will be quick to point out its limitations as if it were designed to be a professional flash. It's not a full-featured, professional flash. No question.

    That's exactly why its nice.

    It's simplicity, small size, and results make it very desirable.

    More often than not, I don't need a flash for portrait orientation, CLS, or for long distances (high power).

    I would have paid more for than its price for the value I see in it. In fact I use it more than my SB600...
     
  16. Absolutely, the 400 is a very nice flash for casual shooting. Again, and needlessly, people will be quick to point out
    its limitations as if it were designed to be a professional flash. It's not a full-featured, professional flash. No question.

    That's exactly why its nice.

    It's simplicity, small size, and results make it very desirable.

    More often than not, I don't need a flash for portrait orientation, CLS, or for long distances (high power).

    I would have paid more for than its price for the value I see in it. In fact I use it more than my SB600...
     
  17. Yes, for verticals get the Sto-Fen or use a folded piece of paper attached with a rubber band for a less desirable diffusion effect, but better output.
     
  18. I use my SB-400 all the time. While it does not swivel to shoot in portait mode it is great for everything else where the big guns are not needed or wanted. The SB-600/800/900 can be intimidating to people but the 400 doesn't seem to get them as wound when they see you pull it out. Plus, I can stick it in a pocket.

    Great falsh. Not for every occasion or every use but still great.

    If I was designing the 400x. I would add:
    Ability to act as master when on the camera
    Ability to act as slave - I don't need all the functionality of the big boys
    Swivel 90 degrees. This could be achieved and still keep the small package.

    The difference between the 400x and the 600 would be the size. The 400 is how big an external flash ought to be. The 600/800/900 are just too darn big in my opinion.
     
  19. Chris,
    you want a SU-800 and SB-r200 put together in the SB-400 size.. Hmmm, IF that is possible is going to be costly.
     
  20. sb400 is a nice flash. i have used one as a commander with some sb 800's using my d2x.
    however as many have mentioned it's not a good flash for serious flash photography - it's too small (not enough power for bouncing) and can only be bounced up.

    you'll see the limitations pretty quickly if you want to bounce off a wall because the ceiling is a dark color or the ceilings are 20 feet high (mega light loss).

    the sb400 works well if you don't mind an underexposed background or a bunch of bright reflections in people's glasses..
     
  21. Rene, I own one and have used it at events. Believe me, It bounces to ninety degrees
     
  22. For its weight and size, the SB-400 certainly seems like a good flash to get. I am really considering it to use on my D2Hs when I go travelling. I have the SB-800 and love it but it is a tad heavy to bring on a holiday.

    I guess for general purposes, the SB-400 is suffice. But if I am shooting events etc, I will still stick to the SB-800. It does not help that sometimes, there are clients and guests that do look at the size of the equipment to judge the capability of the photographer (sad but true).
     
  23. I originally bought the SB-400 for my wife's D40. I have recently 'borrowed' it (on a sort of permanent basis) because it works so well on my D3. It weighs nothing and delivers a knockout punch when it comes to even, properly exposed flash exposures within about 20 feet, exactly as the OP states.
     
  24. It stays on my Nikon Coolpix P 5000 all the time. Brilliant little design, efficient use of the AA power supply and mates beautifully with the camera's exposure system. I get better results in Program mode and with flash than in any camera I have ever owned. Ever. My first Nikon camera and Nikon flash incidentally. They have made me an enthusiast. Hope they come out with a small jewel with a bit faster lens at tele end. The SB 400 is perfect as is. For a small camera who needs to carry a big bugger flash with LCD and 18 functions I say.
     
  25. Nate... :) I believe you!
     
  26. "sb400 is a nice flash. i have used one as a commander" - ? - nice to know ... keep reading...

    From prior posts: ... SB-400 is only iTTL compatible, and the CLS compatibility is perhaps limitted to the Manual
    mode settings possible but only with CLS compatible cameras only.

    For that reason I never purchased SB-400, so what would I know? - hope Cory explains. But seems that SB-400
    cannot be a commander in the CLS mode, and also cannot be a remote flash in the CLS mode.

    Someone, please explain how the SB-400 works as a commander in CLS?, and also as a remote CLS flash ? It
    would be desirable to have the SB-400 operate as a remote CLS flash. If that is the fact? I will get few of them...
     
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The SB-400 is iTTL compatible but it is not part of Nikon's CLS system. The SB-400 can neither be a commander nor a wireless slave in Nikon's CLS set up.

    Nate Allen joined photo.net yesterday and over-enthusiastically posted some 20 times within his first day with photo.net, including one about receiving information on some new "D3X."
    I am going to lock all threads he started.
     

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