Nikon Flash, which one to buy?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by SLC Flyfishing, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #1
    I've ordered the D700 and the 85 f/1.8 they should be here later in the week from adorama. I'm getting the 24-70 from the local photo store as soon as a new shipment arrives (I put myself on the waitlist a few months ago and rose to the top last week so I'll be ready as soon as the next ones come). I'm thinking I'll wait on the 70-200 for the November release of the update and perhaps rent the current model if needed between now and then.

    Now I just need a hot shoe flash gun. I've the Pentax 540FGZ for my K10D, I've enjoyed it. It's not quite as powerful as the SB900, but a little more powerful than the SB600 if I'm not mistaken. I'm not sure which flash I should get for the Nikon.

    I've heard a lot of bad things being said about the SB-900 and it's auto shutdown feature for thermal protection. Seems as though some wedding photographers have had their flashes overheat and shut down randomly from time to time. I imagine that I'll often be dialing down the power on a SB-900 so I'm not sure that this will be that much of an issue for me most of the time.

    I'm concerned that if I get the SB-600 that I'll find myself wanting more power for some shot and not be able to have it. I've always followed the philosophy that it's better to have something and not need it, than to need it and not have it, well at least when it comes to situations like this. I'm not a hoarder of goods, but I generally buy a level or two higher than what I anticipate needing in these sorts of situations so that there's little chance of dissapointment.

    I also like the added features and adjustability of the SB-900, as well as the versaitility.

    So knowing that some have been less than happy with the SB-900, but knowing that I'll more than likely not push the flash very far, what would you do in my shoes?

    I've even looked for a used SB-800 but the prices for those are practically extortionist.

    Thanks in advance for any input!

    SLC
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    I have an SB800 and two SB600's. I'd go for the 900- the thermal protection circuit is a good addition, an SB800 would just melt down.

    Paul
     
  3. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #3
    Hmm, there's something I don't get it when I got more involved in Nikon world, it seems more Nikonians are saying the SB900 is very expensive, while I don't really see Canonians complaining 580EXII as very expensive. The last I check, SB900 and 580EXII is around the same price right? So what gives?
     
  4. SLC Flyfishing thread starter Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    I don't think anyone here has said that the SB-900 is too expensive, but at nearly $500.00 it certainly isn't inexpensive. Either way I set up my budget for the best, and I plan on buying the best even if that means the SB-600 at the moment. Though Compuwar has an excellent point about the thermal shutdown feature, I hadn't though of it that way. I've put in the order for the SB-900 now.

    I did say that the SB-800 was expensive, it seems that the backlash at the SB-900's thermal shutdown feature has driven their price up, last time I checked the few SB-800 that were left, cost more than a new SB-900 which replaced it.

    edit: and a quick check on amazon.com confirms it, SB-800's new on amazon are going for 2x the price of the 900, $899.99 to be precise!

    SLC
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #5
    Unless you need exacting IQ, you could search for a push-pull 80-200, should be ~$500, which isn't that many days of rental and it'd give you a backup in case of failure once the new lens is acquired.

    Feature-wise the coolest non-CLS feature is that you can go to SU-4 mode on the SB800/SB900 flashes. In SU-4 mode, the flash will act as remote flash-triggered slave. So if you're shooting with strobes, or with a camera with a pop-up flash and you need a key or fill from a different angle, you just pop the flash on a stand and set its power level and put it in SU-4 mode. I often use mine as an additional background light for high-key stuff. If I carried a P&S, I'd probably add the SB800 before going to a larger camera...
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
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    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    ZOMG! I'll sell ya a used one for your new SB900 and $100! :D
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #7
    Due to the strength of the Yen, Nikon raised all its prices in Feb., combine that with the speculation being nowhere near right on the price of the D3x and more recently the MSRP of the new 70-200 being nowhere near the street price of the current version (but only $104 off the MSRP of the current version) and you get a cacophony of moaning about price.

    I also think that for a lot of years with the economy being good lots of hobbyists could purchase top-of-the line Nikon gear, with the downturn that's not affordable anymore, so that increases the wailing levels by a lot.
     
  8. SLC Flyfishing thread starter Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    are you saying that in SU-4 mode, the SB-900 will be able to be triggered from any popup flash or strobe? Meaning that I could use it with a P&S? Don't know how useful that would ultimately be, but it's still pretty cool if it's true!
     
  9. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #9
    Yeah, no one here said it, but from my extensive research (through forums and all) it seems many ppl do.

    Hmm, what happen when the SB-800 melt down? as in the bulb will get blown out or what?
     
  10. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #10
    Dunno. I have a pair of SB-800's that are each around 5 years old and I have not had any problems with them at all.
     
  11. Padaung macrumors 6502

    Padaung

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I've got 2x SB800's that get used for all the time, on and off camera. Never known them to meltdown - even when plugged into a Quantum pack. Colleagues have never had that problem either, but then again I don't know any paps. I'm sure the flash would give up before the Quantum if I kept shooting long enough, so I'm not going to try that out to verify it. The SB-900 head can twist all the way round in both directions though, which imo is quite useful (if quite a minor point really and not that big a deal!)

    So basically I would readily recommend the SB800 if you could get it at a sensible used price. I see no new features in the SB900 to make me want to 'upgrade'.

    SU-4 mode - yes, you could trigger the speedlight from a P&S camera using it's onboard flash.
     
  12. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #12
    Exactly! SU-4 mode rocks!

    It will physically melt or catch on fire. If you read the manual, it even says it (I don't know where my manual is, but I did read it at first.)

    Mine hasn't melted down either, but obviously it's enough of a problem for Nikon to fix the issue in the SB900...

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/72157603545807889/

    You do have to shoot at a high frame rate for a while, and I think most meltdowns have been with external battery packs, but still I'd prefer the thermal shutoff myself.
     
  13. dlegend macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Northern VA (outside DC)
    #13
    there's an SB-800 on craigslist for $400 right now, not mine, but if you're interested PM me and i can send you the info.
     

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