/ Which flash?

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dj_brigham05 - on 04 Jul 2012
Hello

Quick bit of advice please....I have had a quick search.

Looking to invest in my first flashgun. Aim is to get it off camera and fire it remotely.
Not looking for anything fancy and pretty keen to go quite cheap as i'm really just looking to have a play about. Nothing to serious.

Anyway from my brief research. Nikon sb 400 looks a bit basic. Sb600? I know it's been replaced by the 700? What about sigma, jessops etc? Oh and I have a d5000!

Thanks
Andy S - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05: well if you were just using it on camera, then I'd say the SB400 is perfect - you don't need anything more 'advanced' (read 'features you don't need'). However, I don't know if you can use it remotely or not. See good old kenrockwell.com, I usually find everything I need to know on there.
David Ponting on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to Andy S: I had an SB-400, at Ken Rockwell's advice - I've now sold it as too basic. No remote use, no bounce flash when in portrait mode... the list of dilemmas goes on. Think of it more as an internal flash that has additional batteries and the ability to bounce in landscape mode. (and most annoyingly; the internal flash on my D7000 is a commander-mode one, but the SB-400 is not, so it's actually scaling down in features)

The SB700 is an updated SB600, with a better interface and the ability to act as a commander flash for other remote flashes (something the D5000 doesn't do internally, so you need a pair of 700s or a 700 and a controller at the very least for external use) for TTL. The 700 does have an SU-4 mode, in which it'll fire at anything (I've triggered it with a compact camera's flash before...)

FWIW I have bought a total of 4 items influenced by Ken; I sold two of them pretty quickly as never used (55-200, SB-400), and my most used lens (16-85) is one he explicitly does not recommend. In terms of recommendations, I genuinely think that he's jumped the shark recently, and would have us all shooting 18-200s on a D40, and nothing else, ever! Ignoring opinion parts of his website, the factual listings are very good.
dek - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:
I can't fault the SB 800. It has a bit more poke, and works great on TTL. Used it on 3 Nikons from the D70 up to D300 for weddings , on a Nikon TTL cable, fairly easy to use with the plus and minus button for fill in, very forgiving for a numpty who's not too interested in flash. It just works!
Fraser on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:

Dave, I was thinking of exactly the same thing recently and have decided on Jessops own brand flash, and their remote trigger kit. All in, it'll' be just over 100.
Toccata on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:

Don't waste money on SBs. They are good but way overpriced for the performance. The Nissin di866 does everything the SB900 does for at least 150 less. A friend who was a former press photographer and now an architectural photographer recommended them (he has 6). I now have two and despite a battering they have lasted and performed well. Possibly a bit heavier on batteries then the SB900 though.
jockster - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:
Go for Nissin - 622 and 866 both give excellent value/performance mix
Richard Carter - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:

I thought I'd chip in with my 2p!

SB600 is probably what I'd go for. If you have 200 to blow, treat yourself and get the SB700. You'll probably spent 150 or so on an SB600 so I think the extra 50 is well worth it. Personally I wouldn't go off brand, the Nikon flash system is (IMO) one the best features of using Nikon.

I know 200 isn't exactly cheap, BUT, it'll last ages and it's just so much slicker to use than the SB600. Oh and I'd discount the SB400 for a few reasons, the main one being you can't swivel the head.

One (of the many) advantage of the SB700 over the SB600 is that you can get filters that clip on the front. They're so much less faff that the regular film type filters, so you'll be inclined to use them a lot more often :)
ayuplass - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:
I have a nissin 622, great value and good quality
a lakeland climber on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:

I've the SB600 and it's fine, though like everything you need to do a bit of experimenting to get the best from it. I've also got a Vivitar of some ancient vintage that I use with a cheap wireless transmitter/receiver setup from Hong Kong, this is useful to learn about power levels, etc.

Advantages of the Nikon system are that it's designed to work together. The main disadvantages are that it's line of sight only and can be affected by bright sunlight since the control signals are modulated on to a flash of light.

ALC
The Lemming - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:
> Oh and I have a d5000!
>
> Thanks



I too have a Nikon d5000, and had the same sort of questions for my Christmas Present last year of a camera flash. Apart from when I was a student, playing with studio lighting all those many moons ago, I have only used the flash that came with my cameras.

Before I chose a flash I gave some serious thought to what exactly I would use my flash for, and how often I would use it.

After some soul searching about wanting to buy the biggest and best flash with all the whistles and bells I came to the conclusion that I vary rarely used the on-board camera flash and preferred to use a wide aperture and high ISO to compensate for low light. The times I would use a flash would be very few and would be for portraits and indoor party stuff in general.

After all this I decided that I would not really use the flash all that often so I went for the bog standard SB400. I have to say that even though the flash only works on my camera, I love it and how it enhances all my indoor images. Do I miss all the extra features of the more expensive flashes, not really because I still seldomly use the SB400 flash. I love it and I don't regret spending the extra cash on another flash.

90 was enough for me. :-)
dj_brigham05 - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to The Lemming: Thanks for all your replies. Very helpful.

I have been most drawn to the Sb600 or SB700. Heard great things and overall hear that Nikon produce some pretty good flash setups....however still not sure if i really want to spend that much......although I do realise it will last a very long time.

For what i think i would use it for (as haven't really had a chance to play with anyonelses) I think i would miss not being able to swivel the SB400.

I'll have a look into the Nissin ones as hadn't really spent a lot of time looking at them.

In terms of TTL...I would also be looking to buy some pretty cheapo, basic remote triggers and as fair as i can see unless you are willing to fork out for PocketWizards or equivalent you lose TTL ability anyway so i'm not sure if no TTL is such a bad thing?
dj_brigham05 - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to Fraser:
> (In reply to dj_brigham05)
>
> Dave, I was thinking of exactly the same thing recently and have decided on Jessops own brand flash, and their remote trigger kit. All in, it'll' be just over 100.

But this also sounds pretty tempting.
icnoble on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05: Get the best flash you can afford, you won't regret it, I aggree with Richard, stick with Nikon and pat the expat for the sb700.
Elmo9090 - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:

I use pocket wizards to remotely trigger flashes for MTB photographs, i have some good Canon TTL flashes although for remote work i buy old Sunpak flashes, often they're in precarious positions and at risk of damage, they do the job very well and i have spares incase one gets broken.
Elmo9090 - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to Elmo9090:

Oh, make sure the flash has manual adjustment, ebay around 20-30 will get you going.

The SB700 is a good flash gun, perfect for your camera when fitted to its hot shoe or TTL compatible extension but it's abilities are totally wasted when using remote triggers.
dj_brigham05 - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to Elmo9090: Thanks
Sean Bell - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:

For a start up in OCF and for just mucking about

One of these
http://www.ffordes.com/product/12062917225981

and a cheap trigger kit for around 25 or an off camera cable and its game on.

You can create magic with this wee set up

I use Pocketwizard FlexTT5's & Sb800s but still always use manual output (I just need the high speed sync afforded by those triggers/guns)

Learn to use flash manually, experiment and Have fun.







Nigel C - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:

I have a set of Elinchrom Skyport remotes which I'd consider selling if they were any use to you and you're looking for triggers as well as a flash? Good alternative and a big step up from the Ebay remotes but without the bulk and cost of Pocket Wizards. I'm open to sensible offers from someone who'll use them, rather than them winding up on ebay at some stage! 120m range (apparently - never used them that far), never had a misfire. When I had the time to use them they were great!

Can't comment on the Nikon flashes, but the bottom end (? 30X - Canon fit) Sunpak I have as a 2nd flash has been reliable and does the job.

Nigel
Andy S - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to David Ponting: lol yeah, very entertaining reply as everything you've said about ken rockwell struck a chord with me. He's a funny guy. I think some people just don't 'get' him at all and take everything he says completely literally. You clearly do 'get' him though and know when to take some of the things he says with a pinch of salt. I think he states such over-simplified direct opinions to kind of make a point about not overcomplicating things. Hard to explain, but you either like his style or you don't I think. I like him. You've got a good point about the sb400.

I also have the 55-200 and hardly ever use it! However, I don't think I'll sell it, comes in handy very occasionally. I mostly just use the 18-55 and the 35mm f1.8. Hankering after the 10-24.
ads.ukclimbing.com
jockster - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:
The Phottix Strato 2 flash triggers are supposed to be good if you are looking for flash triggers. Si
dj_brigham05 - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to Nigel C: So many options. Feel a bot overloaded. Think i just need to bite the bullet.
What Goes Up - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05: This post won't be any help to you at all I'm afraid as I shoot Canon rather than Nikon. I just wanted to jump in and share the good news that I've upgraded my lighting gear just the other day on the back of confirming a commission to do a lingerie catalogue shoot.

p.s. - on the off-chance that you're hoping for similar jobs yourself in the future I guess it might be of some use to you - I'm going with speedlight slave units triggered from a master on-camera and perhaps a couple of little white umbrellas if I feel like getting fancy.

In reply to your original post, the right third party flash should be fine especially if it's staying on-camera. My first was a Nissin which was great value for the bucks, but hit a bit of a wall when it came to off-camera triggering compatibility issues. If you're not fussed about that then save yourself some squids and go non-brand.
CH - on 05 Jul 2012
In reply to Elmo9090:

> The SB700 is a good flash gun, perfect for your camera when fitted to its hot shoe or TTL compatible extension but it's abilities are totally wasted when using remote triggers.

Hi, can you explain what you mean please by its abilities being wasted when using remote triggers?

Just curious.

Cheers.
Elmo9090 - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to CH:

TTL is the flash's ability to work in conjunction with the camera, essentially the camera i s the brains telling the flash how much to light up the subject. But with remote triggering, the camera is only sending a signal to the responders to flash at a curtain moment, not how much light to give off, so all the complicated/expensive electronics are wasted, why rush a 300 flash 40meters up a crag when a 30 flash is adequate, Manual adjustment is all the flash gun needs. So having a good powerful and manually adjustable flash in that situation makes more sense to me.

Does this make any sense?
David Ponting on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to Elmo9090: You can definitely use TTL for off camera work - in which case the camera judges the exposure and I think guesstimates how powerful the remote flashes should be!

Compare http://strobist.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/ (one of them normally uses TTL control and one uses manual control; I can't remember which way round they are, though I think the second one is the TTL)

Personally I use manual if I'm very confident in how much power is needed, or want to do something that the camera wouldn't expect, and TTL the rest of the time!
a lakeland climber on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to Elmo9090:

The Nikon flash system doesn't work quite like that. When in commander mode there is a pre-flash which it uses to work out how long the flash should be - essentially remote TTL. It can do this for multiple remote flash units.

ALC
halo on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to dj_brigham05:

If your serious about getting into flash/strobist photography you should start here:

http://strobist.blogspot.co.uk/2006/03/lighting-101-start-here.html You will get product reviews on the blog. ;-D
CH - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to Elmo9090:

Perfect sense, cheers.
Richard Carter - on 07 Jul 2012
In reply to Andy S:

I like Ken Rockwell, he's funny :)

Buried in his website are occassional nuggets of good information, although he does sometimes get things wrong to be fair. I like the fact that my favourite Nikon lens is rated by him as the worst lens they've ever made :-P
halo on 26 Jul 2012
In reply to Richard Carter:
> (In reply to Andy S)
>
> I like Ken Rockwell, he's funny :)
>
> Buried in his website are occassional nuggets of good information, although he does sometimes get things wrong to be fair. I like the fact that my favourite Nikon lens is rated by him as the worst lens they've ever made :-P

Worst lens which one would that be?
Richard Carter - on 27 Jul 2012
In reply to halo:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/10-worst.htm

45mm f/2.8P. Ok he has a point that it costs more than it should. Don't know why he doesn't like the image quality though it's great.
halo on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to Richard Carter:
> (In reply to halo)
>
> http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/10-worst.htm
>
> 45mm f/2.8P. Ok he has a point that it costs more than it should. Don't know why he doesn't like the image quality though it's great.

I know it's strange sometimes I think he has two heads!

A lot of stuff makes sense sometimes it's like reading old hat, I came across a thread on a photography forum, were this guy was just dismissing photoshop altogether, my tutor does exactly the same!

It annoys me!

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