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Nikon SB-800 and Propac PB-960


dan_mcmahill
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Hello,

 

I'm interested in using a Godox Propac PB-960 battery pack with a Nikon SB-800 and have a few questions.

 

1) I recently purchased a used SB-800 and when I hold the flash with hot shoe down and "Nikon SPEEDLIGHT SB-800" facing me, the pin on the left comes maybe half way up from the very bottom of the socket while the center pin and the right hand pin come very nearly to the top. I'm trying to decide if that is normal or not. I'll attach pics to try and show that. Can someone confirm that this is normal?

 

The SB-800 manual starts with, of course, only use Nikon power packs. But then there is a table mentioning some Nikon units with different footnotes like "*1 With AA-type alkaline-manganese batteries in the SB-800" and "*2 With the same type of batteries in both the external power source and the SB-800".

 

2) Do I understand correctly that you need to have internal batteries installed as well as the external batteries connected for the SB-800?

 

3) Anyone have experience with the PB-960 + SB-800 combination and knows what type of battery needs to be installed internally in the SB-800 when using the PB-960?

 

4) Aside from the flash charge time is there an indicator or something that would let me know the external power is working correctly?

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

-Dan

 

sb800_pic1.thumb.jpg.d7ea4297f09aa67936010fb2febf0ab6.jpg

 

sb800_pic2.thumb.jpg.a20bc4c89aed1567a44a6237d125ede6.jpg

 

sb800_pic3.thumb.jpg.491ceb5a07b4e487798a862bc3bd671a.jpg

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Inside Nikon flashes' high-voltage input, those contact pins have different lengths (heights); that is completely normal. The pin on the left side is considerably shorter. It is like that on the SB-800, SB-900, and SB-5000 alike. I am showing the SB-800 and SB-5000 in the image.

 

SB-800_5000_2342.thumb.jpg.06c4ce1112f4717df27544fd167b8928.jpg

Edited by ShunCheung
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Inside Nikon flashes' high-voltage input, those contact pins have different lengths (heights); that is completely normal. The pin on the left side is considerably shorter. It is like that on the SB-800, SB-900,. and SB-5000 alike. I am showing the SB-800 and SB-5000 in the image.

 

Thanks! Since this was a used item I was trying to give it a good looking over. My SB-600 does not have the external power to compare to. Much appreciated.

-Dan

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All I can add is that my experience with HV packs - Nikon SD-8a & 3rd party clones - is that they only reduce the SB-800 full discharge recycle time to about 2 seconds, while adding a 5th cell via the accessory battery holder brings it down to about 2.5 seconds with freshly charged NiMH cells.

 

So unless knocking 1 to 2 seconds off the recycle time is vital, I'd weigh the inconvenience of a belt/shoulder pack against that recycle-time advantage, especially since the SB-800 is the only Nikon speedlight to offer a compact 5 cell power option.

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Nikon's SD-8a external battery pack uses 6 AA batteries. There is a newer SD-9 that contains 8 AAs, but the SD=9's plug has two extra notches so that you can only use that with the SB-900, 910, and 5000. See the image I have above; the shape of the high-voltage plug is different on the SB-5000. There are "rectangular extensions" to the middle and right holes.

 

My experience is that the SD-8a shortens the recycle time significantly more on the SB-800 than the 5th battery, but of course quick successive flashes, especially at full power, can make the flash overheat pretty quickly and can shorten the life of the flash unit.

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My experience is that the SD-8a shortens the recycle time significantly more on the SB-800 than the 5th battery

That depends on your definition of "significantly" Shun. The 5 cell time of about 2.5 seconds is already pretty short, so even halving that only saves just over one second. And at half power you can rattle off several shots almost instantly before the flash stops to recharge.

 

However, the SB-800's rapid recycle time is beaten by a Nikon compatible Godox 'Ving' that uses a Lithium Polymer battery. There again, the number of consecutive full-power flashes is limited by an inbuilt temperature sensor.

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That depends on your definition of "significantly" Shun. The 5 cell time of about 2.5 seconds is already pretty short, so even halving that only saves just over one second. And at half power you can rattle off several shots almost instantly before the flash stops to recharge.

 

However, the SB-800's rapid recycle time is beaten by a Nikon compatible Godox 'Ving' that uses a Lithium Polymer battery. There again, the number of consecutive full-power flashes is limited by an inbuilt temperature sensor.

 

The Quantum Turbo unit, which I have been using since 2008, gets the recycling time down to less than a second. But as Shun points out, the thermal buildup adds up very quickly. (especially on a hot day). So I tend to rotate a pair of SB 800s to keep the temperature down. Must be working fine coz both units are fine, I hate to think the amount each has been discharged. :)

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That depends on your definition of "significantly" Shun. The 5 cell time of about 2.5 seconds is already pretty short, so even halving that only saves just over one second.

My experience is that with the 5th battery, the recycle time is more than 2.5 sec. I just used a stop-watch to check that 5th battery option. With Eneloop batteries, the recycle time is more like 3.3 seconds after a full-power flash. 3.3 second is actually very good, and I hate to have something connected to the front of the flash as anybody, but I would go with an SB-910 or SB-5000 with an SD-9 with 8 AA batteries if I am using Nikon flashes.

 

But in these days there are other options than Nikon flashes.

 

BTW, with only 4 Eneloop batteries, the SB-800's recycle time is about 4 seconds. That is not bad either. But of course I prefer less than one sec as Robert Davies points out, unfortunately with the side effect of overheating. I also tend to rotate among 2, 3 flashes if I go that route.

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I'm guessing it's a voltage thing, right?

 

Well, rechargables are nominally 1.2V per cell. 'Normal' batteries are 1.5V per cell.

 

Obviously there are electronics within the flash body to regulate the power fed into the main capacitor.

 

Maybe, just maybe, conventional batteries will recharge more quickly, esp. with the 5 cell option.....6V as opposed to 7.5V.

 

I go down a different route if I need quick recharge, 4 flashes on 1/4 power. Yongnou 560 IIIs and IVs in my case.... about £50 each 2nd hand.

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I'm guessing it's a voltage thing, right?

 

Well, rechargables are nominally 1.2V per cell. 'Normal' batteries are 1.5V per cell.

 

Obviously there are electronics within the flash body to regulate the power fed into the main capacitor.

 

Maybe, just maybe, conventional batteries will recharge more quickly, esp. with the 5 cell option.....6V as opposed to 7.5V.

 

I go down a different route if I need quick recharge, 4 flashes on 1/4 power. Yongnou 560 IIIs and IVs in my case.... about £50 each 2nd hand.

 

I would say the NiMH would recycle faster not the alkaline. Although the NiMH has lower voltage its voltage drops less during the very high current draw in recycling.

I smoked some old Vivitar flash by using NiMH instead of alkaline.

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I smoked some old Vivitar flash.....

That's very bad for your health BeBu!

I go down a different route if I need quick recharge, 4 flashes on 1/4 power. Yongnou 560 IIIs and IVs in my case.... about £50 each 2nd hand.

+ 1 to that. Not sure about going as far as 4 speedlights though, but 2 flashes on a bracket are quite a balanced arrangement.

 

I've got a couple of old Osram/Wotan Studio 44s; a hammerhead design with built-in optical slave. Their light output is actually not much higher than a modern speedlight, but they're not very heavy and recycle quite quickly.

Anyway, one of those on its bracket and a speedlight in the camera hotshoe make for a very flexible rig.

 

Curious how you quickly rotate a couple of speedlights in use though? Surely the time lost in switching them in the hotshoe kind of defeats the rapid fire ability?

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Have used SB800's and SB910's for years for high volume shoots like catwalk and event

 

Basically no problems, faster recycle times than with just the standard 4 AA's (obviously) or with the additional 5th AA,

or even the Nikon SD 8A battery pack (a way overpriced item, easily be replaced with the cheap knock offs twidely found)

 

You will need dedicated Godox to Nikon power cables though, which will fit the three prong entry in the front of the SB800 (and 910)

unlike the SD 8A which can't be used with the SB910

 

Since the PB 960 has 2 power sockets (unlike tyhe cheaper PB 820), you can connect two speedlight to one pack (without negative effects for the recycle time)

saving from the cost of having two SB960 packs

 

Warning though,

 

Since the recycle time is much shorter, it's easy to shoot at a much higher rate, and at further distance

Since the SB800 has no thermal protection, there is a real risk of overheating (andf consequently even melting) the

plastic front element of the flash

Have run into it myself, but having several SB800's never was, apart from the esthetics, a real problem

 

While the SB910 does have a thermal protection, which slows the recycle time down, that works much harsher on the SB900,

where it simply shuts the flash down completely utill it thinks it cool enough (which is a lot longer then convenient)

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