What flash to choose for Nikon cameras

Very often worth selection external flash for Nikon digital SLR cameras... In this article, I will only discuss the native Nikon SB-series Speedlights that can operate in modern i-TTL mode.

Choose an external flash

Choose an external flash

Before the purchase external flash I advise you to think about whether you need it at all. To do this, I advise you to read the materials in the article on the topic 'Why do I need an external flash'. If the purchase of a flash is justified, then Nikon provides the following external flashes:

Flash Weight, g Zoom Master Slave backlight V.Ch., m  Comment
SB-300 97 27mm, no zoom no no no 18 Lightest Nikon flash. Very simple. Uses small AAA batteries, does not support FP.
SB-400 127 27mm, no zoom no no no 21 Very simple flash. No FP mode.
SB-500 226 24mm, no zoom yes (only on older cameras) Yes Yes 24 A small flash without a display, but capable of a good set of basic functions.
SB-600 300 24-85mm no Yes Yes 30 Morally outdated amateur flash, good functionality for the money
SB-700 360 24-120mm Yes Yes Yes 28 Lightweight functional flash. A very good option. I recommend.
SB-800 350 24-105mm Yes Yes Yes 38 Powerful but outdated professional flash.
SB-900 425 17-200mm Yes Yes Yes 34 Good professional flash.
SB-910 420 17-200mm Yes Yes Yes 34 Flagship model. One of the best
SB-5000 420 17-200mm Yes Yes Yes 34.5 Flagship model. Best of its kind.
SB-R200 120 35mm, no zoom no Yes no 10 It can only work as a slave. flash using Nikon CLScannot be used on camera. No display for flash control. This flash is for macro photography.

Zoom - the limits of zooming the flash head, Master - the ability to remotely control other flashes, Slave - the ability to work in a slave mode, backlight - Possibility of auxiliary illumination for automatic focusing, V.Ch - guide number.

In a nutshell, the best external flashes are Nikon's flagship professional Speedlight SB-5000 and SB-910. Difference between SB-900 и SB-910 not so great, about the differences between the 900s and 910s I described in detail in the review SB-910. For professional shooting, there are no other native alternatives, since SB-800 morally outdated, and do not release it anymore. Outbreaks SB-800, 900, 910, 5000, unlike all the others from this article, have automatic shooting mode without TTL.

If you don’t need to shoot for days on end with a flash, then for more simple tasks, flashes are very suitable SB-600 и SB-700. Sorry, but SB-600 no longer being released, this flash is quite light, functional, but does not know how to control other flashes with Nikon CLS. Flash SB-600 It is cheap enough, but finding it new is very difficult. Unlike SB-600, new SB-700 It has a wider zoom, easier control through a large display and can work in Master mode.

SB-400 and SB-300 are the simplest and the cheapest external flash from Nikon. These flashes are very light, and therefore there will be no problems with them weight distribution when used on amateur cameras by type Nikon D5100, D3100 etc. These flashes are ideal for Nikon Coolpix cameras. True with SB-400 and the SB-300, you will not be able to experience all the benefits of external flash operation, such as focus assist, quick sync, or remote control. Attention: Nikon SB-300 flashes and Nikon SB-400 cannot be used with non-studded lenses (Ai-s lenses Soviet lenses etc.) and some cameras (Nikon D80, D70, the exact list is unknown).

Personal experience

I used almost all Nikon flash units, they all have their own characteristics. Recently, I have had two flashes in my service: SB-900 и SB-910. A very good option for amateur and uncomplicated professional shooting can be SB-700. If you ignore very much, then you have to choose from 900 \ 910 and 700tk.

I believe that Nikon SB-700 for 2017 is the best option for the price / quality criterion.
All Nikon SB-700 Prices

When choosing a flash and for general familiarization, I advise you to look in such sections on Radozhiva:

  1. Why do I need an external flash
  2. AF-assist spotlight with flashlight, flash diffuser, SU-4 flash control mode
  3. Increase flash range; thoughts on flash distance indication
  4. Manual flash power control; problem of exposure 1 \ 60 seconds; flash in S and M modes
  5. TTL working principle; benefits of manual flash mode
  6. Flash lock
  7. Nikon Flash Color Filters
  8. Simple built-in flash diffuser
  9. Aperture-priority auto for Nikon flashes and auto flash mode without TTL
  10. Command flash mode. Nikon CLS. Remote flash control
  11. Fast FP flash sync; how to use flash in the afternoon
  12. Flash and high ISO
  13. Leading number - is it that important?
  14. Nikon Flash Modeling Function
  15. RPT mode. Multiple flash


Based on the tasks to be performed external flash, and their complexity, you can easily choose an external flash for Nikon cameras. I think flash is a great option SB-700which has a good price / quality ratio. Who faced flash for Nikon from third-party manufacturers, do not hesitate, leave your impressions of working with them in the comments.

All Nikon flash prices can be viewed here.

↓↓↓ like :) ↓↓↓ Thank you for your attention. Arkady Shapoval.

Add a comment:



Comments: 310 on the topic: Which flash to choose for Nikon cameras

  • Ivan

    Arkady, and from non-native?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      As indicated in the article, 400tk, 600tk from the inexpensive ones, the rest are more expensive.

      • Dmitriy

        Not native, not expensive)

      • anonym

        Arkady, please tell me. Is the SB-400 much more powerful than the built-in Nikon D90?

        • ioanych

          Almost twice as powerful

      • Vesta

        I choose between Nissin Di-866 for Nikon and Nikon Speedlight SB-700.
        Arkady, tell me which one is better ?!

        • Arkady Shapoval

          I would take Nikon Speedlight SB-700

          • Vesta

            Thanks! And what is it better, if possible, write

            • Arkady Shapoval

              First of all, she is native, this is the main reason.

              • Vesta

                Thank you!

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Dear Arkady, if you had the opportunity, it would be interesting to read a review about radio synchronizers for NIKON, I have been thinking about this for a long time.

  • Rostislav

    good evening!) I used Nissin speedlite di866 mark II. the flash is nothing ... BUT there is BUT ... the zoom does not work correctly, it gives out pulses of different powers, the batteries sit down very quickly ... the remote control from my NIkon d90 generally worked as he wanted ... the plastic lens began to melt very quickly ... and the pluses are the fill flash in the front parts !!! now I use Nikon sb-910, the difference is very noticeable ...

    • BB

      Nissin Di-866 has worked tens of thousands of puffs, when shooting 'head-on' it is very rarely mistaken, when shooting in light reflected from the ceiling and the SB-900 makes mistakes quite often.
      He eats batteries just like the SB-900.

      The SB-900 has better ergonomics (except for the head lock - it annoys me), there are more settings. That's why she is a professional flash.

      Nissin'a enough for an amateur, or a pro as a spare, or a second / third flash.

      • Vesta

        Can you tell us something about sb-700?

        • BB

          No, I didn’t use it.
          But if you choose between the Nissin 866 and the Sb-700, I would choose the Sb-700 if power is not critical (Nissin is still more powerful).

          • Arkady Shapoval


            • BB

              I wrote "if power is not critical ..."
              What if a person wants to shoot birds at night? )))

              (According to independent tests, the real power of the Nissin DI-866 is a couple of units higher than that of the Nikon SB-900)

              • Vesta

                Thank you very much for your feedback!

  • Sashko

    Good evening ... I am chiseled with Meike MK900 (clone SB900), the presence of all the functions of the SB900, the difference only in the zoom (18-180) and three types of menu, as well as worthy sleep for a third of the Nikon.

  • Anatoly

    Arkady, many thanks for the review, came out just in time.
    My thoughts were spinning around the SB-700 for my D700, but here everything is on the shelves, you are doing a good job.

  • Alex de Kairoy

    I have Sigma EF-610, V.CH.61, Zoom 24-105, 3 shooting modes (TTL, MH, ML) and, in principle, does not behave badly)))
    I do not know for synchronization, I did not test.
    In my opinion, for crop it’s more than the best option, since beginners are just starting to understand the camera, but they don’t get to the flash.

    • Leonid

      But I have problems with sigma 610su - overexposure, I have to reduce the power on the flash by 2 steps. Although I do not leave the feeling that I am doing something wrong (

  • Peter

    But for me. so SB-700 is greatly overpriced ... If you take, then immediately SB-910, the difference in price, in St. Petersburg 3500 rubles ... But immediately you get the flagship and no longer think about the little things. and if it doesn't work out, you can always sell. hands and feet.

    • Nail

      SB-900/910 are heavy for travel and rather big in size. In my opinion, for amateurs and most "professionals" the SB-700 is more suitable in terms of functionality / weight / dimensions.

      • anonym

        Well, here I agree)) Although I myself will still take the 910th)))

  • DV

    Hello! Metz-leading number is much praised for Nikon's flash; the number is higher, the price is lower, it seems to raise no complaints about work. something like this.

    • Taras

      (IMHO !!!) Before Tim yak I added SB-700, I bought a METS-50AF, two days later there was no difference between them, having turned and bought 700. The management of the METS-ohm is simply insane, the complete set includes only sleepers (absolutely without anything), it is impossible to find banal nizhki (a new curl), it is not possible to turn on the crooked direction of the information, automatic, automatic, unattended kriplennya (led znyav s camera), in servo-mode METS - just іnvalіd (spratsovuє only fired directly into the dirka), the leading number - (IMHO !!!!!!!) marasmus, METS declares yogo for focal I don’t remember, I can spare) 50mm at that hour yak nikon for 35mm, turn the head and then wrap only at 270 degrees chomus, kalik in one word ... And the SB-700: garna bag (really corisna), two light filters, defuser !!!, interactive control, click - one - click - knowing, podsvitka rob your robot (you can switch to on-camera (God bless you, having come up with something)), LEG in the set (Hurray !!!), head spinning 360 degrees , servo mode yak AK-47 !! well, just a little more sleepy ... So sho this dila ..

    • Alexey Polyntsev

      The leading number is higher on what settings? Nikon V.Ch. It is indicated with a zoom of 35mm and ISO 100. Very often, manufacturers of cheap flashes trick and write high frequencies for 50-85 mm zooms

  • Arkady Shapoval


  • Andrei

    The question is not entirely in the subject. Just the other day I became the owner of Kiev-19 (so to speak cheap full frame). Which flash will suit him?

  • Vladimir

    For 3 years now I have been using a non-native flash Sunpak PF 30 X (Chinese) with Nikon D60. Simple, without any bells and whistles, external flash with adjustable power. If for a home, for a family, then it can be quite a decent option. A charge of 2 AA AA batteries (or similar sized batteries) is enough for up to 200 operations. Charging time from 3 sec. and more, depending on the battery charge (not critical when working slowly). The head only has a vertical rotation of 90 yards. Reflector - a self-made plastic card with an elastic band. With a ridiculous price (less than 1000 UAH) and for unhurried shooting, a quite suitable budget option, in any case better than a built-in flash. Although it all depends on the tasks ...

  • Serge

    Hello! I recently bought myself a nikon d7000, I'm going to rush about choosing a flash between 700 and 910, and no one really can advise, they say about 700 that it has insufficient power, and 910 overheats quickly ... I read the reviews, it's interesting, but still in doubt . tell me what to do ...

    • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

      Buy a lighter -700, the power for iso 800 is enough from the ceiling in any room, I have 7000 + 900 a bit hard ...

      • ioanych

        The difference in weight is 60g. Not critical. If you can allow it, take 910

    • Vadim

      Do not consider it an advertisement, but I recommend taking a closer look at the non-native YN-565EX. I use it for about a year - very good experience. Everything that is stated in the performance characteristics works and is not crooked. In fact, for half the price of the SB - 700, you get almost the same functionality, and the power is more than that of the SB-900/910.
      Of course, if you often shoot weddings, that is, beat in series, probably your relatives are better and if you have money take 900/910. Then you will, at least, be sure - it’s better just not!

      • Maksim

        And I'm thinking of taking YONGNUO SPEEDLITE YN568EX, maybe someone already uses it?

        • jktrcfylh

          My YONGNUO SPEEDLITE YN565EX works fine YONGNUO SPEEDLITE YN568EX is characterized by the presence of high-speed synchronization and a new case unlike canon

      • Novel

        Yongnuo's quality is highly dependent on release time. Everything that has been released since the second half of 2013 is fully working out its value.
        Until 2013, there were incidents.

      • Alexey Polyntsev

        910 has more power. YN for 50 mm zoom indicates, and Nikon for 35 mm. Marketing

    • Alexey Polyntsev

      I use 910 with a fotik 5100. I have never overheated at 40 degrees of heat in serial shooting. About a hundred shots took about five minutes. Tip: 910

  • Favn

    But I finally decided to buy SB - 700. What can I say, there is enough power with a correction of +/- to +1,7, it turns out to be less dark, I don't know why, but just in TTL mode it is very dark even with 50 mm at f2 aperture I thought she herself will understand how much light the camera needs. What surprised me especially is that when the ISO is increased and the shutter speed is decreased, this does not affect the light. That is, the photos are the same dark, so I concluded that there is enough power but the correction is not correct. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?

    • Eugene

      If the flash is at the ceiling, then you almost always need to make a correction. The higher the ceiling, the larger the correction can be. Unfortunately, there is no such thing that you put on and take off as is. What mode do you shoot in? Write in more detail about all shooting parameters ...

      • Arkady Shapoval

        Shooting options depend on the immediate shooting situation. In each case, I shoot with the settings, in my opinion, the most optimal for the scene being shot.

    • Novel

      Automatic determination of pulse power, distance and autozoom works exactly ONLY in the head position - "straight forward". In other cases, the correct operation of the automation is rather an exception.

    • Alexey Polyntsev

      The amount of light from the flash is affected by the aperture, not the shutter speed, because The flash of light from the flash is the longest of only 1/800 sec (for sb910). She manages to fully expose the frame at all shutter speeds. And the diaphragm noticeably affects.

  • Alexander

    I use the SB-800 puff ... (I bought a new used post office) I am very pleased ...

    • Sergei

      And I, too, are now hooked on the SB-800. And I switched to it from the SB-900. It is slightly more powerful in a more compact size. Another plus is that it consumes much less battery. Once I was filming a matinee in kindergarten and the 900th asked me to replace the batteries. I inserted them into the SB-800 and did about 200 more puffs. And the price of a used 800 is now very pleasant. Many people switch to the newfangled SB-900 (910) flash units and sell them for very funny money, for which only a Chinese can be taken. Even in the article there was a phrase that the SB-800 is obsolete. But besides a smaller zoom, it seems to me that in comparison with the 900th series, it has only one advantages.

    • Michael

      Also bought an SB-800, also very pleased. It's a pity I have not bought it before. If I knew the purchase, I would have thrown the EX430 long ago and shot it on the SB-800.

  • Valera

    I use the SB 700 in conjunction with the d7000. Fine. I enjoy the work.)))) I recommend !!!

  • Alexander

    I recently bought a Nikon d90, and now I'm thinking about the flash. Native flashes from Nikon are the best option, but the price is…. I am considering two options (Nikon alternative) are Nissin Di-622 Mark II and Metz mecablitz 44 AF-1. What can you say about these two options ?????? I shoot mostly at home, that is, not for professional use. Thanks in advance.

  • Dmitriy

    I got sb-700 for my nikon d5100, I think the best option! True, the camera does not support a number of functions, such as high-speed sync and cannot control flash from a distance ...

  • anonym

    I use Yongnuo YN-560II, there are no autofocus prompts and TTL mode, a little bit of a good one, a lot of finesse, in a set of chokhol, rassiyuvachi, like a budget - I recommend.

  • Ivan

    I reproach with Yongnuo YN-560II, silent auto-focus and TTL mode, all the way down, good, a bit of aggravation, complete with chohol, rosіyuvachі, as well as budget sharing - I recommend.

  • Stiv

    And I took the Yongnuo YN-5000 EX to D565 in the summer - it works well (as an amateur), I'm not complaining.
    And recently I also bought a Yongnuo YN-560 (we advised it to be the “first” version) plus 3 pieces of Yongnuo RF-603 synchronizers - interesting things turn out. In short - I study for old age.

  • Sergei

    What do you think about Nissin flashes? I am a newbie, but they look cheaper, the leading number is longer, the recharge time is lower.

    • Alexey Polyntsev

      See specifications for details. For what zoom r.h., for what modes and batteries is the charging time indicated.

  • Oleg

    better flash and also much cheaper _ German Metz !!!
    I have 50 AF-1s, my friends have other Metz models, and everything works just as good as the original ones.

  • anonym

    Unfortunately for the outbreaks, there is no decent tutorial on how to use it for relatives (and non-native ones), so there are so many questions for everyone. Unfortunately, not many people know how to use the full potential of flashes during operation. Yes, it turns out dark or light shots, it’s very difficult to guess ahead in the ever-changing light conditions of reportage shooting, for this they thresh in a series, and then choose what is better.

  • Ivan

    I want to buy nikon sb 700 do you think a good choice? or is it worth considering other options?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In general, this is a good option, but if you indicated for what purposes and for which camera, it might be possible to choose something more optimal.

  • Ivan

    Arkady, flash is needed for portrait shooting, and for club photo reports, for the Nikon D5100 camera

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The SB-700 does a great job of doing this.

      • Ivan

        Thank you.

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