What are the equivalent WS for a SB-600 and SB-800

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by wade_thompson, May 27, 2010.

  1. Just curious, was trying to compare my 300WS strobes to what I might be getting out of my SB-600 and SB-800 speedlights?
    Anyone know what a SB-600 puts out in terms of WS? 50? 75? 25?
  2. The SB-800 is (roughly!) around 60ws, the SB-600 a bit less. But those aren't very useful numbers, because those units contain reflectors and lenses, and your 300ws strobes are (usually) measures bare-bulb. But a reflector on them, and the "effective" power (over what coverage angle? ... see? tricky) changes considerably.

    Best thing to do use a flash meter and get a reading from each in a real-world situation (say, with the SB-800 acting as a rim light or something, with your bigger strobe as key), and see how they square up. I mix Nikon speedlights in with far more powerful studio strobes once in a while, but it does feel a bit chaotic - not least because of some visible differences in color temperatures at different power levels.
  3. The SB600 seems to have Guide Number (GN) 98, and SB800 at the same ISO and angle seems to have GN 125.
    So, Power of 2 of the 125/98 ratio is about 1.6 times mode energy the SB800 has over the SB600.
    As Matt says SB800 has 60 WS, then SB600 would have 60/1.6 and that would be around 38 WS. Seems quite a lot difference.
  4. Well, sure, Dave. Unless you've got a camera that can shoot cleanly at ISO 3200. That does change a few things for certain kinds of gigs.

    And ... just the other weekend I did a bunch of outdoor event/people image that had to be done in hard, noon-ish daylight. A single SB-800, used as an off-camera fill, was perfect for the job, and rig was very easy to move around in the field (I was, literally, in a field). I like my 10-times-more-powerful studio strobes too, but it's sure nice to have the little portable guys for some situations.
  5. For me, it seems to take about 8 of my SB-28 flash to equal 1 of my Alien Bees B1600 (640ws.) As others have said above, that's a tricky comparision. At 10 ft. my SB-800 will give me f5.6, and the B1600 will give me f11, if I remember correctly. (I virtually never fire flash at such a short distance.) However, where the SB-800 will light up a 4 ft. circle, the B1600 will easily light up half the room! In addition to exposure, you have to take into account the area covered, I think. I mostly use my flash (SB-28, White Lightning X3200) to light up trains and other large outdoor subjects. The little SB-28 (or SB-800, pretty much same output) are very efficient and good choices when I need quick set up and compactness. When I need brute force, they just can't compete with the 1340ws monolights though. Here's two shots that illustrate the difference for me. First shot used x3 SB-28 flash (two on train, one on house.) Second shot used x4 X3200 strobes (~5400ws.) The second shot was throwing significant light for nearly 150 yards. It would theoretically take something like 75 SB-28 flash to equal that.

    Kent in SD

  6. I really have nothing to add to this thread(though I am reading it because I will be in the market for strobes vs lights soon) other than to say Kent, I wonder if the train conductors thought "what the heck was that bright flash"? haha
  7. The SB-600 may be about 60 watt seconds, but I think the SB-800 is about 75 watt seconds. For one thing, the SB-800 meters about 1 stop less than 160 watt seconds (when both are compared in the same umbrella, at 24mm to fill it). For another, its 1400 uf capacitor and 325 volts computes 75 watt seconds of power. 300 watt seconds should be two stops stronger (in the same umbrella).
    Cannot compare the reflectors. GN is about the reflector. Obviously the speedlight meters about 2 stops more at 105mm zoom than at 24 mm zoom, so we can only compare "power" when both lights cover about the same area.
  8. I do not know or care about the WS of either unit, what is important in usability and the SB600s are portable, easy to use, and most important easy to communicate with through the built in flash on my D90. I have 6 of them currently and they serve me great with rechargeable batteries. I use them in shoot through umbrellas, soft-boxes, and on stands to reflect off surfaces. Two for the background, two on a large soft-box, overhead hair light, I rarely use them as fill light, preferring to use reflectors. I also have two SB200s that can be kickers when needed. My next purchases will be a master controller that will allow me three groups instead of just two. And two more SB600s if I can find them, seems they are on back order everywhere. So all in all I have a large group of lighting options from these small, easily portable lighting instruments, NOT just toys.

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