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Old Apr 9, 2008, 9:14 AM   #1
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I just recently purchaseda D40....and am trying to decide which flash would be best for me as an upgrade to the internal flash. When it comes to external flashes, I am somewhat of an idiot on all of the settings. On my last olympus c-5000 and c-5060 I used the somewhat underpowered FL-20 and the internal at the same time....or a generic vivitar thrysor 2500 film flash in manual to augment the internal one.

I am looking for the following:

- wider more even coverage and not trail off

- for flash idiots like me...who want to have the flash work with my settings on the camera like the internal does...with minimal fuss

- adjust automatically as I move very close or move away from subject say (2- 20ft?)...maybe even bounce off the ceiling



oh, and I am not looking to fill an arena either



thanks for your help.

gregg



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Old Apr 9, 2008, 10:35 PM   #2
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Gregg, as the proud owner of an sb600, I highly recommend it over the other two for the following reasons. The D50 I own cannot take advantage of the wireless feature of the sb800, and I don't think I will ever do "studio" type portraits with multiple lights anyway. The sb400, while a good flash in its own right, will tilt but not swivel. Whne you are shooting with the camera in the "portrait position" and you wish to bounce your flash from the ceiling, you are now out of luck. Long winded reply, but the ability to swivel as well as tilt sold me on the sb600. And at the difference in price on the three of these, the sb600 fell in the middle. I bought mine from a local camera store, so I paid ten dollars more than Circuit City, but I try to keep our last mom and pop in business, I think you get better service after the sale..Good luck with your decision...Robert
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Old Apr 10, 2008, 9:39 PM   #3
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thanks robert

and since the 600 is only about 60 dollars more...on the other hand the 400 is smaller and easier to carry around

next we'll be to decide if I want to keep my canon s3 for the zoom or invest in say the 18-200 nikon lens or maybe the tamron 18-250 (I'm sure even with the reduced optics compared to the nikon it's still a step above the canon and would eliminate deciding which camera do I want to take with me)...then again your not going to get a zoom lens for $200 which is about the value of the canon s3 camera (and maybe worth keeping)

help....does it ever end?

:G

gregg
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Old Apr 10, 2008, 11:17 PM   #4
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gregg wrote:
Quote:
thanks robert

and since the 600 is only about 60 dollars more...on the other hand the 400 is smaller and easier to carry around

next we'll be to decide if I want to keep my canon s3 for the zoom or invest in say the 18-200 nikon lens or maybe the tamron 18-250 (I'm sure even with the reduced optics compared to the nikon it's still a step above the canon and would eliminate deciding which camera do I want to take with me)...then again your not going to get a zoom lens for $200 which is about the value of the canon s3 camera (and maybe worth keeping)

help....does it ever end?

:G

gregg
gregg, don't forget that with the D40/X/60 cameras, the Tamron 18-250 won't autofocus. Reason being the lack of a focus motor within the camera body on those models. Good news is Tamron just re-released some lenses which are equipped with focus motors and which will AF with these cameras. Sigma has a number of lenses as well, designated HSM, I think on their EX lenses. If you can wait and save your money for the Nikon 18-200, that might be your best bet for an all around lens. Of course Sigma has a stabilized 18-200 as well, for less money, but I don't remember off hand whether its HSM or not.

As for the S3, if you are like me, you will want a camera that is more portable from time to time. I have a canon a560 I bought for that purpose. I can take it fishing to record my trophy catch and if it falls overboard I won't grieve.

I think if I had an S3 I would keep it because it is a great camera with a good zoom and will do macros, just my .02, good luck...Robert
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Old Apr 11, 2008, 12:59 PM   #5
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yeah Robert, I agree with everything you said.

And I was talking about the tamron with the motor...see I know me...I'll drive myself crazy before going anywhere deciding which camera to bring...I figured I might eliminate that problem with one camera and one lens with a good zoom range

and I would cry if I dropped either camera in the water

gregg
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Old May 23, 2008, 5:17 AM   #6
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I'm going to piggyback, since I'm wondering a similar thing. The built-in flash in my D80 is often inadequate for my (outdoors, in the wild) plant photos. Limited range, limited illumination angle, shadows from the lens, overexposed spots from not being able to diffuse the little flash. I just want a simple flash to overcome those limitations and make my plant photos better. (Still has to be extremely portable!) I need something more powerful, to illuminate further. A flash that will spread the light wider and more evently. (for both closeups and wide angle) Something powerful enough to provide plenty of illumination through a diffuser, to spread the light and reduce reflection and hot spot problems. I don't need bells and whistles and fancy modes - just a more powerful flash. This thread suggests the SB-600 is a pretty easy choice?

Actually, I've toyed with switching to some sort of powerful portable light, but I haven't come up with the right thing yet. Unfortunately a flash won't help with focus or make it easier to see through the viewfinder in low light. A steady light would be much easier to work with. Any ideas on that one, too?

TIA
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Old May 24, 2008, 7:53 AM   #7
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I agree with Hawgwild, the SB-600 sounds like it will suit you best. I used this very same flash for our Nikon D40 and Nikon D40x reviews. You can take a look at our portrait examples on the D40, where we usedthe built-in flash verses the SD-600. The tilt function is great for bounce, and because it also swivels, you can even bounce the flash off the ceiling when shooting in a vertical"portrait" orientation.

Good luck either way

p.s. the SB-600 is also a very compact unit in my opinion, I never had issues with it in that respect.
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Old May 24, 2008, 8:04 AM   #8
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bkrownd, the SB-600 will help with focus in marginal lighting, as the D80 does makeuse ofthe more powerful AF-assist beam on the flash unit itself. Unfortunately, nothing will help you seebetter in low-light, other than more light :lol:. You'll have to get a consumer camera with an LCD that gains up, or a newer dSLR with the Live View function (which might also gain up in low-light, I'm not 100% on that.)

I'm not too familiar with portable lights, so I've got nothing for you there.Hope some of this was helpful.

-Billy





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Old May 24, 2008, 12:37 PM   #9
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I agree with Billy-

The SB-600 is the best compromise flash. I have used all three flashes offered by Nikon nfor the D-40 and the SB-600 is small and very clearly the winner of the flash unit competition.

For me at least, the SB-400, while pleasantly small, just does not have a whole lot of flash flexibilty/capability.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 24, 2008, 4:31 PM   #10
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The SB600 certainly offers good bang for the buck and is probably the right choice for most people. Unless you need the extra pop and faster recycle time, or the ability to control other flashes (it's much easier to do with an SB800 than through the menu system of the camera), the gels, or the diffuser, the downward tilt, or longer zoom coverage, the 600 is the right call. It's also almost 1/2 the price. Size isn't really a comparison...the SB600 is almost the same size as the Sb800 (unless you're using the 5th battery) and handles virtually the same when attached to the camera.
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