Nikon Flash Color Filters

Some Nikon flashes come with a set of color filters, they are rarely used, but they can do a good job for the photographer.

Nikon Flash Color Filters

Nikon Flash Color Filters

What are flash filters for?

  1. To compensate for color temperature differences flashes and other light sources. Roughly speaking, to create the most correct white balance On the photo.
  2. For a variety of creative effects, from just giving the picture the right shade to a complex game with white balance.

Best explained by example. I often photograph indoors, in such rooms (bars, restaurants, etc.) there are my own light sources, usually these are old incandescent lamps, even worse, if the lamp in the chandelier, which has glass in different shades. This lighting is often catastrophically small to create some kind of normal picture at low and medium ISO. Therefore, you have to use a flash, the flash has its own color temperature, which is very different from incandescent lamps. When shooting with a flash, porridge from several light sources is obtained, with such a shooting, even the installation white balance the pattern does not allow to achieve an acceptable result. Differences in color are quite painful in portrait shooting, when part of a person’s face is illuminated by the light of lamps, and part by flash light.

The color filter of the flash just changes the color temperature of the flash and I get the same color temperature of all light sources, which makes it very easy to get 'correct' white balance. So, with the right setup BB all light sources will give a conditionally white light in the photo. This is a very nice effect.


in the first picture, due to the different color temperature of the flash and the incandescent lamp, on the left of the picture, you can see a sharp color change from yellow to white, such a difference cannot be treated using the 'BB eyedropper' tool in the processing programs.

Different color temperatures

Different color temperatures

If you install a color filter on the flash TN-A1 (imitating the color temperature of an incandescent lamp), you get a completely different effect without strong color differences.

The same color temperature

The same color temperature

Needless to say, color filters can simply be applied in order to fill in a photograph taken when shooting with a flash, some shade. I love warm colors and sometimes use a TN-A2 filter.

Typically, a Nikon flash kit consists of filters for incandescent bulbs. TN-A1, TN-A2 and for fluorescent lamps FL-G1, FL-G2.

Filters and filter head for flash filters SB-900

Filters and filter head for flash filters SB-900

Interesting but flash nikon SB-900, SB-910, SB-700, SB-5000 understand which color filter is installed on them and transmit this information to the camerato optimally configure white balance. When using such flashes, just turn on the automatic white balance  or BB A 'flash' on the camera, and the camera will adjust the temperature by itself. Other flashes are unable to transmit color temperature values ​​to the camera.

The filter on the flash is automatically detected.

Flash filter SB-900 automatically detected. If the filter is not installed correctly, a notification is displayed stating that the camera cannot determine the type of color filter.


not all cameras can handle the color filter information that the flash transmits. Exactly about a dressed filter for flash don't know cameras: D2x, D2xs, D2h, D2hs, D1, D1x, D1h, D100, D200, D80, D70, D70s, D50, D60, D40, D40x. With these filters, you need to select the white balance in the specified cameras manually. For other cameras, you need to look in the instructions for each flash separately.

Automatic color filter recognition system included

Automatic color filter recognition system included

Personal experience

I don't like flash gelatin filters SB-900, they must be very carefully installed using the nozzle. On the SB-910 plastic nozzles are used, but there are only two of them. I rarely use color correction with color filters, color filters are more used to fill a photo with a certain shade. I usually adjust the WB when processing RAW.

The flash itself is not as simple as it might seem at first glance.

LEDs on color filters included

LEDs on color filters from the kit


Using color filters is a fun and rewarding activity that is automated on many Nikon flash units and cameras.

Help to the project. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 30, on the topic: Color filters for Nikon flashes

  • Andrei

    Thank you for the article! As always entertaining. What can you say about nissin flashes.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There are different flashes there, I did not hold many models in my hands.

  • Kostya

    Thank you for the article! Here's the task: Flash SB700 -TTL The room has a peach-colored wallpaper, and this shade applies to everything. The light was either incandescent or energy-saving individually. Which filter
    Yellow or green, for normal balance. From RAW-a edit failed. By the way, which one is which? Thanks for the answer.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yellow - for incandescent lamps, green - for fluorescent lamps. Ideally, a pink filter is needed, but I usually make the flash light smaller so that it doesn't light up the walls.

  • Vitaliy from Tambov

    As always - thank you very much, a man is working, productivity is amazing and most importantly without water, and I have not seen similar topics, God forbid, health, and continue in the same spirit!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thanks. I am very pleased.

  • Denis

    Thank you, Arkady for the clarification on the filters! When shooting people (not portraits) in bars, etc. in rooms where both the ceiling and walls are similar in color to the TN-A1 filter, faces appear unpleasant (the color of a reflective surface - the flash is turned towards the wall or ceiling). In the RAW converter, the complexion is “not treated” in this case. I used the TN-A1 filter here, but there is no normal effect, the faces are still yellow. Perhaps the use of a filter is inappropriate here? Is it just a flash "on the forehead" to shoot?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In many cases, to get a normal complexion is, as you wrote, to use it on the forehead, or to 'blend' all light sources with some basic one. Normally, the flash pulse extinguishes all other sources. And how to install the flash is already a question of each separate scene.

  • Denis

    Yeah, it's cleared up! Maybe a little off topic, but I have an idea, what if I use such a soft box (for example, Lastolite 22 × 22 cm) for an external flash, put on directly on the flash installed on the camera? Well, in order to use such a construction in close reportage shooting - you don't depend on the color of the walls and the ceiling, and softened light on the faces, etc.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Many take it off.

  • Denis

    Thank you very much! I'll take it into service! Yours, Arkady, articles and reviews about external flashes (SB-shek, etc.) are very, very popular! These are obviously very creative photographer tools. Forces you to study and inspiration in writing articles! And your readers and connoisseurs of your work will definitely not decrease!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Thank you :)

  • Christina

    And on D 800, what kind of flash would you recommend?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      SB-910 or SB-900

  • Dmitriy

    Arkady, hello! and you did not try to mount not original filters on flashes ?? I wonder how they will behave ^, will the correction by light temperature, etc. be transmitted to the camera ?? about the use of filters in studio conditions there are good articles on the site

    • Arkady Shapoval

      When using non-native filters, correction will not be performed.

  • Alexey

    Arkady, Hello, I just bought a built-in flash diffuser of 3 colors, now I can’t figure out which one to use. Mostly I use light, that is, a white diffuser. But the rest of the blue and orange I don’t understand where to use. fits best. Maybe tell me where which

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I also use mainly a white diffuser. Use color filters only in rare cases, some of which are described in this article. Yellow - for incandescent lamps, green - for fluorescent lamps.

  • Alexey

    Thank you very much for the answer. Good luck !!!!

  • Alla

    Thanks a lot for the article! For beginners - just a storehouse of information.

  • Andrei

    Tell Arkady if you put on a corrective filter for the flash and dress it in parallel, soft box, what is it to get and under what conditions is it better to use

    • Vladislav

      Andrey, according to all the logic, it should work: after all, the light first passes through the filter, i.e. gets its color, and then gets into the software, although the software reflector can have its own shade. But in general - you can try, under certain conditions it will work.

  • Larissa

    Thank you so much for the article. Very useful information, in particular for newcomers like me. Thanks for the help in choosing a flash, having read it, I definitely decided on your recommendations.

  • Oleg

    Thanks for the great article, Arkady!
    Question: Does the SB-900 flash transmit filter information to the D800 if I remove it from the camera and set it on fire remotely from the built-in flash?

    • anonym

      Yeah, you still take her around the corner))

    • NE

      The flash is definitely nothing and cannot transmit to anyone via optical channels. She does not have any transmitter either. But in the context of advanced radio synchronization, the question is interesting, tk. in this case, the camera (as it were) must consider that the flash is installed (as it were) locally (the “radio bridge” for it must be transparent). But, in those TTL systems with which I happened to work or read about, only the receiver is installed on the flash. Even if it is a transceiver, it works either in the receiver mode or in the transmitter mode. So for now, if I am not mistaken, there are no radio synchronization systems with feedback.

      • NE

        I’ll supplement the first sentence in a previous post a bit: of course, we are talking about the flash operation in slave mode.

  • User

    Arkady, please indicate the name of the native optional color filters for SB-910? I heard that there are such sets, but on the Internet there are a lot of them seem to be suitable for this flash, but I would like to use the native set for sure; I will be very grateful :)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I did not come across additional ones that are included in the kit are indicated in the article.

  • Lukas addon

    Thanks for the article, everything was very well explained.
    So I bought a 900 flash for 160 green hands, it works well and looks like new.
    But then I saw what convenient plastic filters come with 910 puff.
    Is it possible to use plastic filters from 910 to 900 puff?

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