Nikon Speedlight SB-900 Review

Well, let's begin Nikon SB-900 A very interesting tool in recruiting a photographer. As one friend of mine says, “this is a work of art, not a flash,” well, everyone has their own tastes. The flash is the flagship in the Nikon flash series. And this means that it is intended for professional use under heavy loads in long shooting series, etc. The flash is just great comfortable ergonomics.

Two-sided view of the SB-900

Two-sided view of the SB-900

I found in her the following advantagesto pay attention to:

1. Supplied with a very secure bag - black, robust bag, 3 compartments for the diffuser, color filterslegs flash.
2. Made in Japan! Qualitatively excellent. Once I worked with SB-900, which fell from 1.5 meters. The flash played a little bit of play, something in it in the middle rustled, but the performance did not suffer at all.
3. Powerful
4. Quick reload. I shoot with Varta 2700mAh batteries, the recharge is just excellent, can withstand up to 4-5 recharges per second (faster, my camera does not take off)
5. Large head zoom range (from 17 to 200 mm), which is very convenient. Moreover, in the mode of filling the light with a card or specially nozzle, the flash makes it possible to use at 10mm.
6. Card for dispersion - forget about the erasers and business cards that needed to be attached earlier (for example, SB-600), just pull out the scattering card and get a reflection card as a gift.
7. Filters in the set. I’ll write separately about this matter - the kit includes a nozzle for attaching color filters. Set of 3 color filters. When attaching them to the flash, she herself determines their type and accordingly changes her settings (there are filter identifier) The diffuser is very convenient, really much better than a card. The flash foot (shoe), as usual, helps position the flash on any surface
8. Automatic recognition of FX or DX - in fact, manually setting this parameter is very easy, but a nice plus. This is important due to the different viewing angles of the lens on the FX or DX.
9. Very comfortable. Access to all functions can be done very quickly and without reading the manual.
10. Of course - command and slave operation with Nikon Creative Lighting System - this means that if your camera has this flash, then you can automatically control other flashes with the SB-900 without additional technical means. An indispensable thing if your camera does not support your command mode outbreaks.
11. SU-4 mode - few people know about it, but this mode will allow you to control the flash remotely using any camera (even a soap box), though the work is hard for real pros, since it is quite difficult to correctly correct the pulse power. The feature of the mode is that the flash is “ignited” by any other flash (by a light pulse) TTL mode is not available at the same time.
12. Auto-fit to ISO. Very comfortable and practical. You can set the ISO manually.
13. Excellent ergonomics - no need to study button combinations for a long and tedious time - everything is elementary.
14. AF illumination - it helps pretty much to focus at night, the “spotlights” are pretty strong
15. FP mode - High-speed sync that helps you shoot with shutter speeds up to 1/8000
16. BL mode - a very convenient thing - filling light, that’s why external flashes are good
17. A bunch of small pleasures for shooting and the ability to customize anything

SB-900 at work (slave mode, ignition from the built-in flash on the Nikon D90)

SB-900 in operation (slave mode, ignition from the built-in flash on Nikon D90)

Disadvantagesthat I would like to fix and which are a little interfere with life.

1. On my copy, the latch does not always hold the corner. When moving, the flash head can rotate even if it was at one of the fixed levels of rotation.
2. No battery indicator - just a catastrophic minus. Really really annoying when shooting, you have to determine the charge level by the speed of recharging the flash - the longer it takes to recharge, the smaller the charge.
3. Overheat indicator is buggy - I don’t argue, maybe it shows correctly, but in the cold of minus 5 degrees I take up to 10 frames and the flash says that it has overheated, and it cools down much longer than usual. Most likely, this is due to the ambient temperature. Also, a rather uncomfortable factor. This problem is treated by disabling the function of detecting overheating. According to third-party tests (I felt sorry for my flash), it withstands very long series of shooting.
4. Remote control of the CLS (Nikon Creative Lighting System) does not work well with a lot of light. If you shoot on a hot day by remote control using another flash, with a lot of light, the flash does not always understand the commands and brutally squeaks from this, you have to come closer, or twist the flash to attract the indicator as purposefully as possible. I would put 2 indicators on it.
5. Heavy - this is not convenient, for example, with good batteries, it weighs more than the camera itself Nikon D40 and it’s not very convenient to hold at the same time. But on cameras by type D90, D300, D700, D3 quite fine.

The SB-900 also has a serious competitor - SB-910, - updated version.

Nikon Speedlight Kit SB-900

Nikon Speedlight Kit SB-900

A couple of notes from personal experience: It is very convenient to carry the flash cover on the belt, passing the belt through a special loop. When you shoot a lot and there is no time to put a flash somewhere - a very convenient thing. For example, it allows you to very quickly remove the flash from the camera and put it in the case and vice versa. True, if a diffuser is dressed, then it must be removed before that. The swivel head is very convenient, it allows you to twist as you want and wherever you want, a couple of times they joked about me that I spin it like a rubik's cube. I strongly advise you to read the instructions for the flash, if you have one.


Conclusions:

The SB-900 is Nikon's flagship professional flash. I have never failed in my work. The flash has a very long zoom head travel as well as a long head rotation travel. The large number of settings makes the SB-900 flash in the professional hands an indispensable attribute of any shooting. The only serious drawback is that there is no battery indicator. On my flash, after two years of use, the lamp burned out, the replacement cost me $ 60. Without repair, the flash ran about 50-60 thousand frames.

If you liked the article, do not forget to press +1, tweet, like. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

Add a comment: Anton

 

 

Comments: 164, on the topic: Review of Nikon Speedlight SB-900

  • just a wonderful flash! pleased with her like an elephant :)

  • Elena

    Good day!
    At the moment, I have a choice between SB-700 or SB-900. If you do not take into account the price, then what is still preferred? Now I’m shooting on D40x, later I’m going to switch to something newer, still at the selection stage.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I also have such a choice now. I will take the SB-700 and there will be a review soon. For 40x 900t, it will be incredibly uncomfortable, although the flash is super class.

  • Elena

    Thank you for the recommendation, but what exactly is the inconvenience? Tell me more, please, how to check the flash when buying?
    Thank you)))

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It is very large, larger and heavier than D40 and D40x with normal accumulators, therefore it will “nod off” and give a weight imbalance. This can be avoided by using a heavy lens on the camera. It's easy to check - see what is written on the flash head Made in Japan and you can take it. But seriously - just insert the batteries, check the zoom of the head (it buzzes terribly - this is normal), make a test flash (you can do it without a camera).

  • Elena

    Now everything is clear))) thanks again)))

  • Elena

    Arkady, I’m still with a question ... will the flash work normally with manual lenses of the Soviet period? Shouldn't there be appropriate regimes?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, it will work correctly. Look, in the review of Jupiter-11 photo on manual lens and SB-900. True flash power will have to be adjusted manually and used in manual mode. For this, mode M is selected. And if you have a professional camera of the type D200, D300, D700 and D2, D3 then everything will work automatically there.

  • Elena

    Well, then you can calm down :-)
    Thanks again!

  • Andrei

    and I’ll take 900 because I am convinced that the savings of 1000 UAH, will upset the 5000, take the best

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I have been very pleased with 2tkoy for 900 years)))

  • I'm saving up for it now. I know that she is just super. Now I read the feature and drooling already flowed !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • PERETS

    Could you tell me ... on d90 the SB-600 will work automatically or only in manual mode ??
    thanks….

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It will work perfectly in i-TTL mode (automatic), as well as in slave mode from D90 and D90. For novanichy SB-600 it is.

  • PERETS

    thank you very much for the answer ... so we will take)))

  • Alexey

    I have the same "headache" :-) (I'm talking about the SB-600 on the D90). Of course I would like SB-900, but I strained it with the budget ... I read two opposite opinions in NET: 1st with D90 SB-700 will work "nicely" ie not all of the SB-700 functions will work due to the “old age” of the D90…. 2nd, on the contrary, “it is better to buy SB-700 than SB-600, especially on D90. SB-700 with D90 can use (some) "goodies" which SB-600 does not have. " Who should I believe !? I thought about taking SB-600…. now I'm getting lost :-( Help! (PS thanks for the help with choosing a camera! 5 months, -the flight is excellent! :-))

  • Alexey

    It would be nice if there was a review of the SB-600 !!!

  • PERETS

    Alexey ... I also faced a choice, I wanted to take the SB-600 because my budget is not big either, but they beat me to the store, a couple of days before I matured .. bought ... and found it for a normal price anywhere else. (maybe it's for the better), I counted all my savings, collected it for a lens and a flash (600 UAH was not enough), but still I decided to borrow and buy for one trip to KIEV, since I don't have such equipment in Poltava ... sorry not a drop ..
    The SB-700 flash is cool .. I haven’t figured it out completely yet, but all the lotions work .. 1) i-TTL works; 2) synchronization at a distance (this is very cool); 3) FP support (with low shutter speeds works with a bang);
    swivel head with integrated reflector give a bunch of advantages
    comes in a set ... the SB-700 itself with a diffuser, two colored attachments, a stand (which can be conveniently placed either on any plane or screwed onto a tripod) and all this in a soft case (which is very convenient for transportation) ...
    I would advise you to raise money and buy just such a device ...
    PS I also have nikon d90 ..

  • Novel

    Alex, good afternoon! I wanted to consult with you. Please tell me, will the D5100 SB-900 work well? Thanks!!!!

  • Vadim

    Hello Arkady, please tell me whether the modes of this flash FP, BL will work on the Nikon D3100 camera, will it be possible to use it in daylight, with short shutter speeds up to 1/4000?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      BL will be, FP will not, D3100 does not support this mode of operation.

  • Anatoly

    Arkady tell me the best flash option for the D5100. Is there an offer for used SB-800, or maybe it’s cheaper to search, so as not to overpay for functions that will not work on 5100?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      sB-600, sb-700 just right, 800, 900 and 910 are heavy professional flashes, a number of functions for which you “overpay” will not work on the D5100, these include fast sync, slave and master modes.

  • MELHAUZ

    Why does my SB-700 make three weak flashes, and then the one that is set in the settings? what is the reason for this? D3100

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Look at the camera which mode is installed, most likely SLOW, REAR, SLOW + RED EYE. Turning them off should help.

  • MELHAUZ

    Okay, I'll try it now.

  • MELHAUZ

    Glory to the eggs helped, red eye stood :( Thanks Arkady.

  • Anatoly

    Thanks for the advice, but what about your Sigma EF-530?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Not used. I can not say anything.

  • Igor

    I have been using this puff with the D90 for the second year. I chose the top one so as not to compromise. The disadvantage indicated here (the battery charge is not visible) is also annoying. Unfortunately, I can’t even deal with all its charms on my own even after studying the manual. I would be grateful if you give a source for obtaining knowledge on shooting with reporting. Google, I saw nothing new

    • Arkady Shapoval

      And there is nothing new. Reporting is often filmed without a flash. The flash is mainly indoors only.

  • Jenny

    Good afternoon, Arkady.
    Please tell me I have such a problem ..
    D90 Camera, SB-900 Flash.
    How many frames does one battery pack last for you?
    I already bought three sets, by volume, the largest .. But the batteries have a maximum of 60 frames .. :(
    If you photograph, for example, a wedding, then while the bride is going home, before the registry office I can already be left “without a flash” .. :(

    • Arkady Shapoval

      One set for 200-300 shots is enough for me. I use 3 sets during filming, but I have enough gentle charging for the batteries. Look specifically at the charger.

    • anonym

      … If “before the registry office” there is not enough battery charge (for SB-900) - turn off the THERMOMETER in the settings. I had it. Helps 100%.

  • Sergei

    Hello Arkady! Tell me please, how will this flash work on the d7000, will it work in slave and master modes? And if you compare it with sb-910, which one is better or there is not much difference?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Will work. Cameras that can control SB-900 and SB-910 class flashes are described in the Nikon CLS section. The difference between 900 and 910 is detailed in the SB-910 review.

  • anonym

    Hello ... I apologize, not quite on the topic, but can you help ... I have recently received sb-700 "zoom ERR" and does not want to zoom ... I really do not want to carry it to the service ...

  • PERETS

    Hello ... I apologize, not quite on the topic, but can you help ... I have recently received sb-700 "zoom ERR" and does not want to zoom ... I really do not want to carry it to the service ...

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Most likely the zoom came in, I had a similar situation on other flashes. I myself do not recommend climbing there. Service will help.

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