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: anonym

 

 

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

  • PERETS

    sad ... thanks for the answer, but how long did the renovation take?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      5 days, on Mon., on Fri.

  • PERETS

    thank you ...

  • PERETS

    I apologize ... another question, how critical is this, I have a wedding shooting in a week, it's worth the risk .. give it after the photo session, or is it better now (before) ...?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I still have such a problem on one of the outbreaks, there the repair is more expensive than the outbreak itself, therefore, I left it, use it for backlighting, sometimes even take it off. You can deal with grief in half. But, of course, it is better to attribute it to repair.

  • PERETS

    understandable ... well, I hope it is a warranty breakdown ... !? then it is better to carry it on time ...

  • Anko

    I’ll make my 5 cents)
    I've been using this device for more than 3 years) I agree about the reliability, mine fell from a meter height onto a concrete floor 2,5 years ago, something rattles inside, scratched outside, but it still works flawlessly. The only serious thing that happened to her was that the lamp burned out once.
    Still there is a glitch with TTL-BL mode. If you shoot in it, then literally after 10 puffs the indicator shows the flash is overheating, although the batteries are not very hot. When shooting in the M-mode, there is no such disgrace, the indicator does not fail, and if it shows overheating, then the batteries are really fiery.
    Well, I don’t know how the others do, but my battery life is very small, the whole cabinet is already full of dead sets =) stupidly, after some relatively short period of time, the flash recognizes the relatively new freshly charged batteries as completely discharged (

  • Gray

    How to check the charge level on SB-700

    • Arkady Shapoval

      No way. The flash does not have such a function.

  • Denis

    Hello Arkady and all SB-900 owners! Question about SB-900 overheating. Sometimes you have to shoot in a dark room with a yellow ceiling. To avoid aiming the SB-900 at the ceiling and not using reflected yellow light, I use a Nikon Diffusion Dome with different tilt angles of the flash head. You have to shoot a lot in a relatively short time (TTL BL FP or TTL FP mode). After about 20 fires within 3-5 minutes, the flash turns off due to overheating (you need to shoot for about 20 minutes). Cools down long enough. Maybe the lamp has nowhere to give off heat due to the Nikon Diffusion Dome wearing? Or does the flash rechargeable battery “add heat”? Or is it a glitch mentioned above in the review?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In general, overheating is not calculated by the temperature sensor, but by the total amount of energy delivered over time. (The flash counts the total number of pulses), therefore, this is not a glitch, the diffuser plays a small role here.

  • Denis

    Arkady, thanks for the clarification! Overheating is understandable! I want to share with SB-900 users the experience of using batteries, as For a long time he himself could not achieve a long time for their work on the flash:
    1. I use rechargeable batteries of the NiMH type with a capacity of 2700 mAh - with this capacity the flash can be fully recharged in 2-3 seconds. (capacity less than 2700 mAh significantly reduces the comfort (speed) of flash work).
    2. It is very important that the battery charger has the “Discharge” function - the “discharge” mode, which first discharges the batteries and then fully charges them (unfortunately, unpretentious inexpensive “charges” do not have this and some other useful modes). This mode reduces the “memory effect” of batteries. As a result of charging in this mode, the batteries gain their full capacity, and, accordingly, will give up their full charge when used on a flash (or in any other device).
    If you charge NiMH batteries in a simple “charge” mode, they will simply recharge to their full capacity and, when used on a flash, will show “discharge” very, very quickly.
    3. "Advanced" charges still have, incl. and the "Refresh" -recovery mode, which is very useful for recovering old and not used batteries for a long time.

  • Alex

    Arkady, found the SB-80DX flash at a ridiculous price. It has already been discontinued, but is still sold in one foreign store. I have a budget d3100, do you think it makes sense to buy this flash at a price of about 500 p.? (I don’t do professional photography, it’s just not very convenient with the built-in one: there is no turn, there is no way to direct the light to the right place, install the screen).
    http://www.nikon.ru/ru_RU/product/discontinued/speedlights/2006/speedlight-sb-80dx - link to the description from the manufacturer's website)
    Thank you!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You can also try.

      • Alex

        As I understand it, her only drawback is that she is powerful)
        In general, it is the predecessor (in which generation did not understand) the 900th. Therefore, in this review I asked.
        Thank you!

  • Michael

    SB-900 is a good flash, only a little expensive) Who needs the potential and capabilities of the SB-900-910 can be recommended Nissin Di866 Mark 2 Pro Leading number 60 !!!

  • Sergei

    Hello, my SB-900 began to work in a strange way, constant noise (whistling) is heard, and when shooting dynamic scenes in a row it makes no more than two puffs in the 1/2, 1/4 manual, with 1/1 it sounds like the batteries are already dead completely. Have not encountered this?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The capacitor may "whistle", usually from bad batteries.

  • Sergei

    I bought the Sanyo Eneloop AA, the same problem, however, recharging faster, this is not critical, but I think there’s a pack of a couple more months of warranty that can be sent to the service suddenly that capacitor is covered?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You can turn in the service.

  • Ivan

    As a fan of old "systems" I will only note here that the synchronization mode was already built into the nikon sb-80 - I like this old lady even more than modern system flashes.
    It also has a manual power setting from full to 1/128, has a strobe, wireless mode, beeps in wireless mode, diffuse card, AF illuminator, FP mode, exposure compensation and even automatic (not TTL ) mode and other "goodies" of program flashlights. Well, the quality of performance is a bit higher - no “spontaneous” head shifts are observed. Of course, the preferred modern flagship flashes, but if there is a choice between modern “grassroots” flashes and old flagship ones, I will certainly prefer the well-deserved “flagship”.
    On the other hand, it is a pity that Nikon does not experiment with radio-controlled flashes (as Minolta did), because other flagships of the past from Minolta, who had left us untimely, often clearly benefited from the convenience of “remote use” from the Nikonovskys because of the built-in radio control system. ...
    Regarding the Warta 2700 - I also used these batteries with flashes, but after long consultations with specialists I refused them. According to other "experts" -technicians, the large capacity of these batteries plays a negative role here: the batteries quickly "die". Alas, it is precisely because of the “quick death” that I gave up these wonderful batteries. I was recommended to switch to the already legendary Sanyo Eneloop - they have less capacity, but much less self-discharge time and they are said to be better able to tolerate work in high current mode (that is, with flashes).

  • Denis

    The SB-900 is a great photography tool! I have been using it for the 2nd year! I don't know how I used to shoot without an external flash at all. Now I take almost all pictures with her, even during the day. In general, I recommend to everyone who wants to start photographing: 1) First, decide on the light (buy an external flash, for example), get at least the simplest elementary studio accessories (photo umbrella, reflector, etc.); 2) Select the lens (s), in accordance with the intended types of shooting; 3) Buy a camera.
    “Light” in photography is a very important (decisive) tool!

  • Sergei

    Hello, tell me how many flashes in the series should the nikon sb 900 do at 1/2 and 1/4 in the manual in the ceiling, with high-quality Akum. I get it with 1/2 3-shots and with 1/4 5-shots, this is a room of 25 squares 2,7m ceiling height, the ceiling is white, in the larger room it is really smaller.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I won’t tell you, I don’t know this.

    • Denis

      Sergey, what did you mean about the number of outbreaks in the series? I have a similar question and there is an answer (advice). In the series, the flash will fire in sync with the camera as many times as it places a buffer on your camera. Another thing is that starting from frame 3-4, the flash practically does not flash the frame. But on heating my SB-900 works like this: in a large room (a ceremonial hall, for example), when shooting intensively, it exhales very, very quickly, beeps and turns off, and when shooting in a normal room it threshes and threshes (even with a series) while the batteries ) will not be discharged (this is me to your lines about the cubic capacity of the room).

  • Nikita

    Tell me, on the Nikon D7000 it is better to take the SB-700 go 900 ???????

    • Arkady Shapoval

      For what purpose? SB-900 is more functional.

      • Nikita

        For weddings and events. Work is not in the studio

        • Arkady Shapoval

          These activities require a strong load, therefore, they are more suitable for just such flashes - 900 and 910

        • Denis

          Yes, a 900-ka (910-ka) is definitely suitable for weddings and other events, but you need 2 pieces of flash, with intensive shooting they turn off due to overheating and then disconnect one flash from the camera and put on another spare one, and shoot further.

          • Arkady Shapoval

            At 900tk you can simply turn off the thermal control and save time on changing flash units.

  • willow

    I want to buy a YN-565EX Flash Speedlite TTL F Nikon, tell me, will it ensure the quality of images when compared with the SB900?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      They have a signature below “Link to original article: radojuva.com.ua”, in general, even serious resources from Radozhivka simply steal articles even without backlinks :)

  • Paul

    Just getting over people. They ask what kind of flash they say is better than sb900 or 700. You have the Internet, read but don’t understand and don’t understand the differences, forget about such flashes because they will be useless in your hands. But more means better it’s already show off saying they look how cool I saved up for money that my parents gave me to the dining room at school to eat (a). And I'm right, believe the experience of life. Personally, I didn’t ask anyone what camera or flash I took, I started working without the goal of saving up for something. I decided to read a few weeks. By comparing and silently took. And which one to take, which one to take a hundred is better. Do not take anything, forget about the photo case or silently look for everything on the Internet and think for yourself. Photographers ml

  • Basil

    Hello Arkady!
    I am pleased to read your reviews, one can say thanks to them I bought Jupiter 37 A and Tair 11A - and I am quite happy with them.
    As for the flash, if you compare the SB-900 with the YongNuo Speedlite YN-565EX - their price is very different. but by the functional, judging by the review - not very much. Can you give advice on which one is better to pay attention to?
    Thank you!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The SB-900 is a professional tool that has a number of subtleties that are subtle at first glance, but ultimately help the photographer a lot.

      • Basil

        Thank you, I decided to take the SB-900. The Chinese, of course, are great - but the native is certainly better.

  • Valery

    Pavel - you opened my eyes! How could I have lived before and did not notice such simple truths! What a blessing that the Internet is full of specialists like you, of course, they can be silent, but sometimes (always) the truth rushes from them, regardless of whether they are asked or not their opinion?
    Where can I see your work, what would I know - what to look up to?

  • Denis

    If anyone has experience in synchronizing the SB-900 using PocketWizard, please share.

  • Tanya lyalya

    Is the SB 700 suitable for handheld shooting if I use a 85 mm lens?

  • Grysha Ivanov

    Pavlo is a cool master, only angry. Mabut wife escaped and puffed a circus!

  • Vladimir

    Good day. I ask for advice, the scheme: the filling and drawing light from the SB-900 is controlled by light from the D90, I want to put an Unomat-20 flash additionally to illuminate the background (the simplest from a film camera, and it's a pity to throw it out pretty well), I want to make a light synchronizer (scheme simple and I know how) by what impulse to do synchronization on the first or second. If you are in the topic then tell me. Thanks.

    • Denis

      Vladimir, experts in lighting, the most important aspect in the photo, do not come here: (... We ourselves will learn to synchronize both by impulses and by radio synchronization ...

Add a comment

Copyright © Radojuva.com. Blog author - Photographer in Kiev Arkady Shapoval. 2009-2022

English-version of this article https://radojuva.com/en/2010/12/obzor-nikon-sb-900-otzuv/comment-page-2/?replytocom=157472

Versión en español de este artículo https://radojuva.com/es/2010/12/obzor-nikon-sb-900-otzuv/comment-page-2/?replytocom=157472