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SB-600 300 24-85mm no Yes Yes 30 Morally outdated amateur flash, good functionality for the money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SB-800 350 24-105mm Yes Yes Yes 38 Powerful but outdated professional flash.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 For professional shooting, there are no other native alternatives, since SB-800 morally outdated, and do not release it anymore.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

  • Idol

    … Um .. it didn't last an hour) The seller Metz 50AF1 turned out to be an unusually friendly German. While I was thinking, he sent me a gebot for another 10 euros, which, in fact, decided, my unclean amateur mosk. The deal is completed, the domestic manufacturer is not offended. I will have the donut in two days, DHL does not carry it any longer. Thank you all for your assistance in choosing. Upon arrival, I will definitely share my amateur experience. Although the comparison is mine, it can only be with the Canon 580EX of the last years of use. There are no other donuts, except for the built-in ones, in my assortment of the amateur so far.

  • ellen

    Hello, I still have an external nissin 21m-slave flash from my old Soviet camera, is it suitable for the Nikon D7000, and is it worth using it. Thanks.

  • Alexander

    Tell me, please, how good is the NIKON SB-50DX flash, and how will it work with my Nikon D5100?

  • Igor

    Which flash to choose Yongnuo YN568EX Speedlite or Meike Speedlite MK900 or used or Nikon SB800. I will use Nikon D5100, Nikon D70, Nikon F65 on cameras, well, maybe when I become the owner of Nikon F4 or F5.

  • Olesya

    Hello, tell me please, my husband brought a used LUXON 128AZ flash, I have a Nikon D3200, teach her how to use it, sorry for the stupid request :)

    • anonym

      I can send her photo

    • Vladislav

      Be careful. Ideally, you need to MEASURE THE VOLTAGE AT THE SYNCHROCONTACT of the flash.
      Often, on old flashes designed for film cameras, the voltage on the sync contact can reach 190-300 volts, which can be deadly for a modern device. After connecting such a flash, any flashes with the device may stop working - this is at best, at worst - lose the device.

      • Olesya

        Thank you, tell me how to measure voltage on sync contact?

  • Vyacheslav

    And why is nothing said about the Nikon sb80Dx Speedlight? It's even a shame ... She's worse than 600?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This is a flash of the past generation without i-ttl.

    • alexey

      sb80dx was as powerful as sb900, but unfortunately it does not reveal the full potential of modern nikons. you can certainly buy it for the studio and put it as a portable one. just what you need. but for reportage - forget it.

  • Sergei

    I wanted to purchase an external flash for nikon d5200 but I heard that this camera does not support such, tell me something please

  • anonym

    Sigma EF-610 DG Super for is worth buying this flash to 3100

  • anonym

    "Attention: Nikon SB-300 and Nikon SB-400 flash units cannot be used with non-chip lenses (Ai-S lenses, Soviet lenses, etc.) and some cameras (Nikon D80, D70, exact list unknown)."

    I agree about unchipped lenses, but about the combination of SB-400 and D80, D70 - I dare to refute: this is the set that works for me. True, I already want to replace the SB-400 with a more functional flash.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I mean, if the d80 is a manual lens, then the focus with the sb-400 will not work.

  • Anastasia

    Good day! Tell me, please, which is better to purchase a flash for Nikon D7000, Tamron lens. Thank you

    • Arkady Shapoval


      • Anastasia

        Arkady, thank you!

      • Alexander M.

        I’m embarrassed to ask: for several days on the Internet I can’t find which flash to buy for the nikon d100. People write on the forums that they will not work on the old Nikon. The Chinese on aliexpress sell some flashes both for the d100 and at the same time as for fresh devices.
        For example triopo TR 980 OR 981. In general, I liked the 988th.
        In general, save plz and the brain will burn out. I am a beginner and there is, unfortunately, no big money for new equipment and originals ((
        Sincerely, Alexander

  • anonym

    It is a pity that the SB-16 stopped releasing. If there was an adapter for modern cameras, then an ideal twin would be.

  • ANNA M.

    Hello!!! Please advise a flash unit for Nikon D3100. I'm not for professional photography, but I like to take good and beautiful photos. Price does not matter ... the main quality is lightness (WEIGHT) and ease of use ...

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Nikon SB-700, or lighter SB-300, 400, 500

      • ANNA M.

        Thank you ... expected exactly this answer)

  • Radik

    Hello. Arkady, is it possible to expect a review on the nikon sb-500 in the near future (I know that this flash appeared only recently, but still :)
    PS I will be very grateful if in the review describe the difference between sb-300 and sb-500, because I am faced with the choice of a very simple but compact sb-300 or flash with more advanced features of the sb-500

    • Lynx

      depending on why you need a flash .. sb500 videographers need it ...
      sb300 - just to be .. pure beginners photographers still sb700 optimum.

  • Gotti

    Good evening, Arkady and all users. Help deal with the flash. I have a Nikon d7000.
    something pulled me to buy a SUNPAR pz42x flash. How to properly adjust it to the carcass ... ??? It has a focal length indicator - how to use it ...? thank you in advance.!!!!!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It should automatically set the zoom according to the focal length of the lens.

  • Alex

    Hello, Arkady.

    Perhaps you know, or tell me where to find out.
    Is it possible to use two flashes with the Nikon D700, off-camera, in high-speed sync mode using the Nikon CLS system - one SB700 and the other Metz 52 AF-1 for Nikon.
    The main question is whether they will conflict with each other, and will they be correctly controlled from the camera via CLS?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Should work as expected.

      • Alex

        Thank you, encouraged.
        Then a passing question - is the SB700 and Yongnuo YN-568EX Nikon flashes, how will they work in the tasks listed above - also correctly?

        And on my own behalf, what would you recommend of these two - Metz 52 AF-1 or Yongnuo YN-568EX Nikon, as a second flash for work both outdoors and indoors.
        I really want to start creating with two flashes, but I can't choose - there is no experience.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Everything will work remotely. I didn’t work with Metz 52 AF-1, I won’t tell you which is better.

          • Alex

            Thank you.
            Then the third, the last)) - what can you say about the Yongnuo YN-568EX Nikon, how reliable is it?
            I read about Metz that even a lamp is a problem to replace

            • anonym

              Bought Yongnuo YN-565EX Nikon. Super. I recommend with Nikon D5200 for me

  • anonym

    Good to all! The other day I bought a phottix mitros TTL flash for nikon. I use in conjunction with the D200 and I can’t get enough. I want to send for review, but now the mail message to the mainland is very incomprehensible :(

  • Vyacheslav

    Who about SB-500 !!! Looking at this puff, my mouth is drooling.

  • Boris

    Good evening, Arkady. I have a somewhat unconventional question. I watched photo reports from the Cannes Film Festival. Some photographers have their camera flashes mounted in a top-sided or sideways position and connected by a wire. For example, this can be seen in the photo of actresses
    What is it for and what does it give?

  • Alexey

    Good afternoon!
    Arkady, thank you for your useful site!
    Unfortunately, I couldn't find information about studio shooting, are you planning such a section? I am very interested in recommendations for lighting and equipment in the studio - for beginners.
    Thank you in advance!

  • Sergei

    I bought a Nikon 3200 speedlight vk-430 quite a decent puff for amateur shooting at a reasonable price. It’s a pity there are no instructions in Russian that I have to work with at random.

  • Anatoly

    How to get Achiever 321AZ for Nikon 3200?

    • BB

      In theory, it can work, but you need to check the voltage on synchrokontakte, if it's high, you can't put it on the camera without rework!

      If the voltage is within 10-12 volts, then you can set it. Only it will work for you almost in manual mode ...

  • Anatoly

    ok, dyaky for consultation

  • Bob

    Arkady tell me fraternally. My D80 is compatible with this SB-500 camera? Does the SB-500 have fast sync?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      On the D80, only the automatic modes of operation of this flash will be available. D80 will not be able to use SB-500 with manual setting of pulse power. Everything else, such as quick synchronization and remote ignition will work.

  • Nastya

    Question to the experts. I would be grateful for the help.
    Nikon d3100 camera, you need an inexpensive flash.
    There are such options -
    1) Viltrox JY-680A - $ 50
    2) Wansen WS-560 - $ 50
    3) Yinyan BY-24ZP- $ 30

    • Valery A.

      I have sat-400. For home shooting, I am completely satisfied - I put a self-made reflector into the ceiling + a self-made reflector burst on it. Remove shadows "in the sun" - no problem. Pros: -miniature, lightness (not a half-kilo periscope); -simplicity (control as built-in); -reliable (no errors with TTL); -Well, it's not expensive, I bought it from my hands a couple of years ago for 2,5tr. I also have a sat-800, also used, a powerful harvester, I studied it for a week, but never used it in business, lies, waits. So think about it.

    • Lynx

      In general, the first two are tolerable, considering the price and their manuality.
      For the d3100 I liked MEIKE MK-300 at one time - it is very small and quite enough for simple shooting, while there is TTL, but the ones you mentioned do not. It is especially convenient to shoot if with a soft rag diffuser, such as http: // http://www.dx.com/ru/p/universal-flash-diffuser-cover-black-white-184290#.VdtvHvntlBc - directing it where necessary.

      or Nikon sb-300, sb-400

  • Alexey

    Doerr DAF-34 TTL. I bought a new one for 900 rubles, now it costs 1900. For an amateur, it’s best if you forget to pull out the batteries and close the battery cover tightly. At the same time, manual settings are not needed, there is TTL, the camera itself will configure everything.

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