Nikon SB-R200 or SB-800 Speedlight

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Driver, May 9, 2008.

  1. Driver macrumors member

    Driver

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Location:
    Rollingwood, Tx
    #1
    So am looking at flashes to go with the D300. Notice the SB-R200 Remote Speedlight works with CLS. See a lot of links on the net and reports with people using it on the ring setup but nobody using it as a off camera remote setup for fill and lighting effects. Has anyone tried this and were your results any good? I like the idea that it is small and lightweight, perfect for toting around while traveling on vacation. I know the SB-800 is what most of the reviews talk about but if the CLS setup is built into the D300 SLR then isn't the additional circuitry, 3 more batteries, overall larger flash just dead weight and twice the cost of the lighter R200 flash?
     

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  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2
    I just looked up the specs on the Nikon web site. The SB-R200 has a guide number of 33 in feet at iso 100 (46 at iso 200)

    The SB800 has a GN of 125 and 145 at 100 and 200 ISO

    Pretty huge difference and explains why the R200 is used for close up work At ISO 200 using any of the f/5.6 kit lenses the R200 would have a maximum range of 8.2 feet and that is only in "direct flash" mode where the flash is aimed directly without bouncing or defuser. This flash is designed to be used when the subject is very close to the light.

    If you are looking to save money get an older unit. I have an SB28 that I used with my D50. It can't do some of the automatic features but the D50 can trigger it and the Sb28 makes lots of light and the head tilts and swivels. After those basics are covered the rest are just "details". I have a vivitar 285 and it does the same. These sell for about $50 and there is the SB600 if you really need the automation but you were talking about "off camera" and that is normally done in manual mode so you can save some $$ and go with an 285 or Sb28 or the like
     
  3. eddx macrumors regular

    eddx

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #3
    The SB-R200 is not as powerful and doesn't have as much control. In my opinion it depends on what you are photographing, for portraits / general flash photography I would use a SB-800 but for macro or product photography I prefer the SB-R200.
     
  4. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502

    onomatopoeia

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    #4
    Could I get an explanation of what those specs mean? I'm also looking at flashes for my D300 (SB-600 vs SB-800) and don't know squat.
     
  5. PixelFactory macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #5
    I have two of the SB-R200s and they are really only good for macro work. Another thing to consider is that these run off a 3 volt battery that's good for about 150 to 200 flashes. The batteries cost about $15 for a pack of two.

    An SB-600 is a better route. More power, uses AA batteries, tilt head and can be used as an on camera flash (the SB-R200 is not shoe mountable).
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    No ofence, but I'm surprized new people, just getting into photography are buying D300s. I saw the "D300" in the question an just assumed pointing out that the GNs were different would be enough.

    Guide Number is the basic spec that descibes a flash. Like "focal length" is the basic spec for a lens. It is the first thing you should look at.

    To determine the proper exposure when using flash you devide the feet between the flash unit and the subjet into the guide number. So let's say you buy a flash with a GN = 56 and now you want to shoot a subject that is 10 feet away. You would set the f-stop on the camera to f/5.6 Now lets say the subject is 20 feet away you would need f/2.8 but maybe your low priced zoom only goes to f/5.6 if so then a GN=56 flash is limited to 10 feet.

    Now days with automatic cameras we no longer have to do the mental math in our heads anymore because the camera does it for us. Guide numbers were invented back in the days of flash bulbs before electronic flashes were available.

    Modern flashes don't have a fixed GN. You can ajust the power but only up to some maximum GN. It is this maximum that is published as the spec. Most modern flashes even allow you to work "backwards" and let you set the f-stop and then the flash adjusts it's GN to match - if it can. People who work with studio setup s still think in terms of GN and mostly use manual exposure. It is really not hard to divide GN by feet because you don't have to be exact, only close enough, maybe to the nearest whole number. You can estimate.

    The other Nikon Flash is the SB400. Costs alot less than even the SB600 but lacks a swivel so you can't aim it at the ceiling when doing vertical shots or at a wall when doing horizontal shots. But if yuo have a flash bracket and a sync cord the SB400 would work fine.
     
  7. Driver thread starter macrumors member

    Driver

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Location:
    Rollingwood, Tx
    #7
    I know the flash is significantly weaker, just was thinking one could get some cool effects using it off camera. Especially after reading the Strobist Blog. And with it being a remote nothing prevents you from putting it closer to the subject than the camera is yet still keeping it out of the frame. Plus there's still the built in flash.

    Was just interested in wether someone had tried it. Still fully intend to get a 800, only question was sooner or later on and did I want to play with the R200 first. Regardless ANY flash I buy will have to have remote options and it just seems easier to stay with Nikons' CLS setup than expensive PocketWizards radio triggers for now. Thanks.
     
  8. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502

    onomatopoeia

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    #8
    No offense taken but I'm not exactly "new"...I have just always shot with natural light. Never had much need for a flash but I'm interested in experimenting.

    Anyway, thanks for your answer. That's what I guessed but it's nice to be sure.
     

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