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Old Dec 1, 2010, 12:38 PM   #1
csd
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Default Nikon Speedlight Spec confusion

I am hoping someone can shed a light on something for me regarding Nikon Speedlight Specs (no pun intended). I am looking at adding another Nikon Speedlight to my arsenal and looking at the spec's noticed that the newly announced SB-700 has a LOWER Guide# than than SB-600. I get it has more features but less power? The press announcement states the 700 is "positioned between the 600 and 900" - I am guess it will be more of a replacement for the 600 once they flush stock - but in any case - why would they release a "less powerful" flash in this manner? Am I mis-reading something or completely lost my understanding of Guide Numbers (yes - same ISO and focus range for each number) or did Nikon simply sacrifice power for features?
I went back and looked for specs between the SB-800 and SB-900 - and sure enough - the SB-900 is likewise "slightly" lower than the SB-800 as well.
Spec's too close to matter? Thoughts?
Thanks in advance - I always get great feedback here!
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Old Dec 1, 2010, 1:33 PM   #2
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That's correct I noticed that too for my SB-900.
Bear in mind that theses ratings are for the zooms positions so even if the light output are the same a slight redesign of the plastic lens can affect their output.

Also the newer flashes have a thermal cut-off which may affect their performance...
Have you looked at Nissin? My Di866 has a slightly higher output as well as a dual-head over my SB900

Last edited by NHL; Dec 1, 2010 at 1:41 PM.
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Old Dec 1, 2010, 2:35 PM   #3
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I actually am looking at Nissin (just mentioned them in another thread) and am considering them - I went to a seminar where a pro was really pushing them as more powerful than the Cannon flashes (he was a Cannon guy) he had been using. They have a nifty color display as well It didn't feel as "solid" as the SB-900 but a good price savings and maybe this was just in my head. I heard a rumor that they are OEM'ing from Nikon but don't believe it.
I have a D80 that I use as a commander to an SB-600 and SB-900 - and am now looking at a "3rd" flash - considering SB-700, another SB-900, another SB-600 or a Di866. I read the Di866 if fully iTTL/Nikon CLS compatible - from you experience is it (and do you use it in this manner - iTTL mode on-camera or wirelessly)? Do you command it from an SB900, SU900 or Nikon camera or do you have another system (outside Nikon CLS) you are using to drive both flashes?
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Old Dec 1, 2010, 9:50 PM   #4
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It is very hard to compare for example the SB-800 and the SB-900.
And conclude that the SB-900 is lower than the SB-800.
The 2 manuals must be read completely.
in the charts for both flash the numbers are very hard to compare.
The ISO, Shutter speed, intensity and Zoom range all must be exactly equal.

And from what I read in the manuals they are not.
For example in SB-800 manual shutter speed is listed as 1/300 TTL High-Speed Flash Sync mode

In SB-900 manual shutter speed is listed 1/500 Ultra high speed Auto FP mounted on a D3 camera.
Also hte SB-900 gives the guide number for FX and DX formats, 2 different tables And GN's are different.
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Old Dec 1, 2010, 11:08 PM   #5
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FYI - I got them all:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fl...sh-fetish.html

-> Some useful comparison:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fl...d90-d5000.html
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Old Dec 1, 2010, 11:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mipo View Post
It is very hard to compare for example the SB-800 and the SB-900.
And conclude that the SB-900 is lower than the SB-800.
The 2 manuals must be read completely.
in the charts for both flash the numbers are very hard to compare.
The ISO, Shutter speed, intensity and Zoom range all must be exactly equal.
Agreed - check page 72 of SB900 vs page 42 of SB800
-> The SB900 GN is indeed lower in every aspect to the SB800
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Old Dec 3, 2010, 9:03 AM   #7
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Agree with NHL and likewise if you compare page H21/H22 in the SB700 manual with page 35 in the SB600 manual. The SB700 manual gives various values for its different illumination patterns and FX versus DX mode - but the bottom line is - the highest value in the table for all the options on the SB700 for given zoom range and ISO 100 is still less than the SB600 at the same range/ISO. So it still seems to me - Nikon sacrificed power for features. If all I want is a "basic" extra flash for a hairlight or background light - and WANT a Nikon flash - I can save money and have more power with the SB-600 from what I see.
NHL - I caught up on all your other posts - impressive collection of flashes
To slightly change the topic - any thoughts on the fact that the Nissan Di866 has its CTL wireless on front versus the Nikon SB-900 which has it on-side? Ever seen an issue here with setting up a couple of wireless flashes with command direct from Nikon cameras?
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Old Dec 3, 2010, 1:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csd View Post
NHL - I caught up on all your other posts - impressive collection of flashes
To slightly change the topic - any thoughts on the fact that the Nissan Di866 has its CTL wireless on front versus the Nikon SB-900 which has it on-side? Ever seen an issue here with setting up a couple of wireless flashes with command direct from Nikon cameras?
It doesn't matter where the wireless sensor is as one normally has to point it toward the controlling flash...
-> the flash body is aimed at the camera while the head can be independently oriented toward the subject.
(in Nikon case what if you want to locate the flash on the right, but it's sensor is on the left for example?)

One really nice feature of the Nissin is it's dual-head which mimics the Metz in feature! When used on the camera the smaller head can fill the subject while the main head can be bounced anywhere, and again it's GN exceeds that of the SB900/800!
Also check out their HV battery pack which can provision two other Nikon/Nissin flashes at a much greater saving than the OEM... This greatly reduces the recycling time when on remote setup so one does not have to wait for theses situations

Last edited by NHL; Dec 3, 2010 at 1:45 PM.
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Old Dec 6, 2010, 7:15 PM   #9
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doh - I recently started shooting with 2 wireless flashes using CTL/iTTL and honestly have't paid any attention to the direction of the sensor until recently. It has just been working regardless of position (I guess my environments have been dark enough to get a good read even when pointing away from the commander). It's always the obvious solutions I miss - turn the body and point the head - but of course!
in conclusion - I ended up ordering another SB-900. I've already got an SB-600 and an SB-900 and don't want to be working with 3 different sets of controls for a single setup. If I didn't already have the SB-900 - I probably would have saved a few dollars and gone with the Nissin Di866. From my not even thinking of turning the body and head in different directions - you can see why I didn't want to learn another flash
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