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SB-600 300 24-85mm no Yes Yes 30 Morally outdated amateur flash, good functionality for the money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SB-800 350 24-105mm Yes Yes Yes 38 Powerful but outdated professional flash.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 For professional shooting, there are no other native alternatives, since SB-800 morally outdated, and do not release it anymore.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.

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Comments: 306 on the topic: Which flash to choose for Nikon cameras

  • North

    Hello Arkady!

    They asked to remove the painting in the registry office. In the presence of a D80 camera, a fifty-fifty 1,8D to it, an old whale 18-75 3,5-4,5 and a Kaleinar 5-N with Lushnikov Dandelion. There is no experience of this kind of shooting, but I expect to manage this kit. But still need a flash. Please advise a solid model that would satisfy the following requirements:
    - shooting weddings (what the hell is not kidding), as a second photographer to start
    - outdoor portrait photography
    - sports (cycling in the forest with hard light and shade)
    - shooting concerts in small clubs (puffing from the ceiling).

    Torn between craving for the beautiful (SB-910) and greed (SB-700). Will there be enough seven hundred for such tasks?
    Thank you!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      SB-700 is quite enough, the more Nikon positions it as a prof. flash. 900 and 910 are noticeably heavier than the Sb700, and in most cases, the subtle capabilities of the 900 \ 910 remain unclaimed.

  • Gregory

    YONGNUO SPEEDLITE YN568EX - is it suitable for Nikon D5200?

  • Nicholas

    Arkady! Thanks for the good article and information! I am using a SAKAR 17m flash. Gives a good light.

  • Ivan

    Good evening! I am faced with the choice to take the SB-700 new or SB-900 (for the same money) but used I understand perfectly well that a beginner will also find it easier, but still I want to know your opinion. Still confused zoom 24-120mm and 17-200mm. I have an 18-200 lens, if everything is clear with the SB-900, then no with the SB-700.

  • Ina

    Can i ask you)
    can you please tell me if Nikon SB-28 (used) flash can be used with Nikon D5100, or should I consider new Nikon flash options? thanks in advance for the answer)

  • Vika

    Good day. Arkady, tell me please ... I have a Nikon D5100. I want to take the first flash (I don’t look at Nikon's on the budget) ... I am interested in Yongnuo YN-560III Speedlite ... Interested for portrait photography, reporting, and just creative ideas ... I have an 18-135mm lens, there are also Soviet ones. Or would you recommend something else ... Thanks in advance

    • Sergei

      The Yongnuo YN-560III Speedlite is a fully manual flash with no automatic support. Not suitable for reporting at all. And for everything else there will be no ice - until you select the required pulse power, all your creative ideas will fly out of your head.

  • andre agassi

    good time of day! I can change the problem with the Nikon SB400 external flash, I won’t figure out the settings, how does it work at all? How to properly set the power?

  • Eugene

    Thank you for the article, but the author often skips the most important thing in his articles, here not a word is said about hss and about third-party manufacturers.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This is because this article only applies to Nikon's native flashes, and everything about HSS (FP) is indicated here, just be careful what you read :)

  • Olga

    Hello cooked! So I faced the choice of flash. I rush between sb910 and sb700. There was a question about getting a job, a good suggestion was received, but the presence of a flash is MANDATORY! Basically, you have to withdraw extracts from the hospital 5 days a week. I read reviews about 700ke, they say it quickly heats up and eats up a battery charge very fast in auto mode. The 910th is bigger, heavier and of course more expensive, but in terms of functions everything is more than enough. On the other hand, I'm afraid not to use its full potential. I note right away that there is no experience with an external flash. I ask for help. It is necessary to make a purchase as soon as possible so as not to lose a place (I have a D700 camera. A very powerful unit, can it pull with the 910 completely unbearable? I would be very grateful for the constructive advice and opinions)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      SB-700 at the hospital and similar not very difficult events will be enough :)

      • Olga

        Here is what the employer writes in response to my question which flash is preferable: “We have clarified the information. You are strongly advised to 900 or 910.
        Almost any flash will do, but the rest of the flashes are of an amateur level, therefore, their resource is significantly less. The decisive moment lies only in the flash resource, but the decision, of course, is only yours. ”
        So hard to decide ((((

        • Arkady Shapoval

          You ask what resource 900 or 910) let him try to answer :)

      • Olga

        Thank you for your reply!
        And what about the problem of overheating of the 700s? Does this really take place or does it all depend on the activity of use?

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Of course, it’s better for the employer to have a top-end technique. I do not observe any particular problems.

          • anonym

            Yes, you are probably right. The thing is that at first they are ready to take me to a branch in the nearest Moscow region, then the question may arise about the transfer to Moscow and, as they explain, the requirements for technology in Moscow are higher. for example, the camera should not be lower than the level of Canon 5D Mark 2. This moment confused me. I'm worried that her level will not correspond. Although, of course, in the case of a standing offer, you can replace it with a higher one by selling the first. Or you can already buy a full mincemeat and don’t break your head, but then you have to overpay the extra 5000 rubles (

            • Kolibri

              It is not the equipment that is important, but the hands and head of the master if you require professional equipment and not your skill, then do not mess with the grief managers of our time will substitute

    • Lynx

      if the earnings justify these 5000, then I would take the one that is more “fancy” from the banal reasons in general - it is necessary to work “for wear and tear” on equipment designed for this, and not toil with “but here it was not enough, but there was not enough "

  • Olga

    * fellow photographers!

  • Oleksandra

    Good night) I bought the Nikon D 7000 without a hitch, I am floundering, I want to buy axles Bu, I’m very good at buying SB 600 and SB 800 for Slando 300-500UAH, I want to buy all the other options, so I don’t have to buy new ones. Yak Vi vazhazhte menі potrіbna SB 800, who does it even mean for me?

    • Sergiy

      800 is definitely more beautiful for 600, but don't change it for something new - joke around 700. On Slando and in some of the rags you can find in the price of 800.

  • Marina

    Please tell me, is the SB 700 suitable for the Nikon D3100?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Yes, it does.

  • Oleg

    Hello! A good article, though I read an article about TTL-free mode in the 910th, I began to think about which flash to buy, 910 or 700. I have a d7000 camera and did not even have a flash in my hands before. There is no way to experiment. There are frequent cases of shooting indoors, and I shoot at a dime of 1,8 d, anyway even at 1,8 in a room with poor light I have to turn up the ISO at 1000. And there noise starts to appear ((. In general, help me choose a flash for the rooms , remote control on a stand with an umbrella or just on a camera with a flash head turning to the ceilings / walls.The difference between 700 and 910 is good, but for the money in 1000, it seems like it is also not a big difference, but I think that without TTL mode I will be. Thanks in advance!

  • anonym

    Take SB - 700 and do not fool yourself. This flash will handle any amateur filming.

  • Alexander

    Good afternoon. I have a NIKON D5100. I can’t find information - whether this device supports the mode of shooting at short exposures (shorter than 1/200) with an external flash. Therefore, from this - is it worth taking a flash with high-speed sync, because it's money. Thanks.

  • Jury

    I bought a Nikon d7000, now I'm thinking about a flash. I have never used an external flash before. What can you advise. Usually I photograph the landscape, nature. Home of course family holidays

  • Sasha

    Arkady! Please tell me what kind of inexpensive flash to choose: Meike MK 951; Yongnyo EX 565 or EX 568. I assume infrequent use. I'm more interested in reliability (durability).

    • Sergei

      The words “reliability” and “durability” should not be in the same sentence with the words “Yongnyo” and “Meike”.

      • Elena

        I don’t know about Meike flashes, but I have been using Meike radio synchronizer and remote control for three years without any complaints. And I shoot all the time, mostly on the road. So I don’t know, Sergei, what is “not worth it” there, in practice everything is not so dramatic.

  • Ira

    Colleagues ! Does anyone use Metz flashes? Interested in buying.

    • Elena

      I use it) German functionalism and minimalism. It works clearly like a clock)

  • Elena

    Thanks for the classification of Nikon flashes, very clearly, I love this schematism)

  • Murad

    Hello Arkady Shapoval!
    I have a D90 (18-105mm), I have not used an external flash before, I want to purchase, I think to buy SB 910 or SB 700, please tell me:
    1. Which of these is best for my camera?
    2. Does it make sense for me to buy the SB 910?

    Thank you!

  • Sasha

    I have a D5100. Will the Meike MK 951 fit? I'm very interested in flash. Lynx - answer me!

  • Murad

    I bought sb700, on the camera (D90) I turned on the FP function, should something change or appear in the flash display?
    Nothing changes on the flash display, but the Camera started shooting at a minimum shutter speed of 1/4000 ...

  • Idol

    I bought a Nikon D5200. Filming is exclusively amateur. Children, family, relatives of friends. It is often necessary to want to remove something indoors. The built-in flash often does not suffice. Question: If there is no desire to spend more than 150 euros on an external flash. What is better to take SB300 SB400 or Chinese Yongnuo YN568EX TTL or Yongnuo YN565EX iTTL. This is all that came in the planned price range. Somewhere deep down, of course it is thought that the native Nikon will be better. That's why it is native and Nikon. But tell me please, will the SD300 / 400 be any good compared to the built-in? let's say 70 squares in the room? I am just poorly guided by these figures of power. If the built-in is 12-13 and the SD300 is indicated 19. How much more will it blow at all. And for complete happiness, please tell me the pros. The difference between the power of 19 on the SB300 and 21 in the SB400 in general will be somewhere really visible through the eyes. Naturally, as an amateur, I would like to buy lighter and smaller wood. The SB300 is perfect here. The main thing is that the profit was some kind of built-in. I am afraid to take the Chinese. Because I do not like Chinese quality. Forever something is not completed, it does not work and can fail at any moment. I have no other experience with Chinese non-names.

  • Idol

    ps. Here's another Metz 50AF1 offered at a normal price. She slightly exceeds the indicated price limit, but I can move 10-20 euros if it is really worth it. Nissin DI 866 Mark II is even more expensive, I do not need all these lotions / chips for the floor and profi. Before switching to nikon technology, I used a Canon 6EX flash, which I sold two weeks ago, before using the equipment for about 580 years. So for all the years of use, I NIRAZU did not do any manual tuning on it. All use of the flash consisted of jamming it onto the carcass, and clicking in full automatic mode. I don’t even have any idea what additional features and features she had there. Instructions and menus for her nirazu nebylo desire, time and need to open and poke. Therefore, I need everything to be as simple, fast and automatic as possible. That is, a dummy with the most accurate support for iTTL and my crop.

  • anonym

    Just the Chinese one will be just right, without synchronization and so on. Additional functions - not necessary for an amateur - put it on the camera and go. Itself in thought, which one to buy on the D5100. While the Meike MK 951 outweighs, I liked the small size and simple control - it's a pity there is no way to test.

    • Idol

      Thanks for the quick response. A man with Metz 50AF1 also dropped the price for me just now. Now it is exactly like the Nikon SD300 comes out. It is ten more expensive than YN565EX iTTL by 20tku YN568EX TTL. Honestly speaking, in this situation, the hand actually lies on the button "take the German". I will wait another hour, I haven’t asked for a possible comment here / and I haven’t asked anywhere else / and then I’ll press where to go.
      The Chinese are very unlikely, in my understanding. SD300 is native, it is like weight and size. But I'm afraid it will not be much better than the built-in and not enough for large rooms. For example, an assembly hall in a kindergarten at a child. Often all sorts of mornings and holidays at them. Therefore, in fact, a flash is needed. In living rooms, the built-in somehow pulls. But the German Metz should puff well. )) And .. well, to be honest, some patriotic moment is also present. I've been living here for a long time, I'm used to trusting German quality ORDER more than Chinese. In general, after an hour I take either Metz or the original SB300. Thoughts went. )

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