SB400 stopped working.. time to recycle?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Albin''s images, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. Dear PN Nikon experts,

    My SB400 stopped working without apparent reason, a couple of weeks ago, during my holiday trip through Malaysia. search didn't bring up similar cases .. the Amazon reviews did: several complaints about the thing working fine, and then not...

    Any suggestions and possible cures?

    I bought mine in 2011, being the first DSLR dedicated flash to accompany me on a long trip through Africa. Used on D200 and D300, alongside SB28 (with slave, as background). Two AA batteries (works well with Li-ion rechargeables), super-small exterior.. perfect!

    Now I am hesitant buying the same model as replacement. ..What are your alternative recommendations ?
    Photo: Mating guttural toads in SE South Africa .. D300, 105/2.8 AIS, SB400 (+ diffuser), SB28 (+ slave from behind)
  2. I remember that I got new SB-400 for 59e on sale. If such price could be found today, another SB-400 would be obvious choice. If You are set on 2x AA battery model, the SB-500 is probably good but rather expensive. If heavier model could do, used SB-600 can be found with nice price.
    Albin''s images likes this.
  3. The SB-500 is a somewhat larger and much nicer flash than the (now discontinued) SB-400, albeit more expensive. I find the ability to swivel the head so you can bounce flash off the ceiling with vertical shots to be important.
  4. With a pathetic GN of 14, the SB-400 is two stops less powerful than your SB-28, and has about the same power as the pop-up flash on most Nikon DSLRs, except it's less versatile in the number of modes it offers. The only advantage it has is the tilting head, and that could be easily replicated with a small 45 degree silvered reflector in front of the popup flash.

    So why would you bother with it? Just use the BI flashes on your DSLRs.

    "(works well with Li-ion rechargeables)"
    - AA size 1.5 volt Li-ion rechargeables? Where are you finding those please?
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  5. Thanks gentlemen, for your reactions above.

    # SB500: little above €200, still rather small, 2AA's, built-in LED illuminator .. interesting.

    # SB400: yes Joe: little more than the pop-up, ..but off-camera and small were important features.

    # AA's.. Joe: you're right, I meant 1.2V NiMH's .. I use the Eneloop's 1900 mAh mostly.
  6. "# SB400: yes Joe: little more than the pop-up, ..but off-camera and small were important features."

    - Ah! OK, but since the SB-400 doesn't support AWL/CLS triggering, it's going to effectively be a "dumb" flash stuck at full power off camera without a cumbersome TTL cable limiting it to a metre or so distance.
    In which case there are much better and cheaper 3rd party options for small flashes. Metz for one. And if you ditch the TTL, as you must with the SB-28, then there are any number of used small flashes that would do equally as well as an SB-400. Rummage bins at camera fairs are full of 'em at silly cheap prices.
  7. Thanks, Joe, I might indeed take a look at the Metz offerings (sp.?).
    And yes: a cumbersome TTL-cord and a breadbox-transformed-to-softbox has been the approach for almost 30 years now! ;-)
    The SB400 was a rather dumb flash indeed .. my first iTTL flash on DSLR .. my SB910 has rather more ways to manipulate the output.

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