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SB-600 300 24-85mm no Yes Yes 30 Morally outdated amateur flash, good functionality for the money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SB-800 350 24-105mm Yes Yes Yes 38 Powerful but outdated professional flash.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 For professional shooting, there are no other native alternatives, since SB-800 morally outdated, and do not release it anymore.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: 310 on the topic: Which flash to choose for Nikon cameras

  • Michael

    While I can’t find a comparison of the energy saving of different flash companies, I want to share it since I shot it on Nikon sb 600 for many years and shoot it on yongnou 560 ex.yongnou 560 III for three years. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages, but Nikon removes more than% on the same batteries at 35-40. And the thing I think is not only in the flash power, but rather in the manufacturer’s design algorithm. So you probably should rather look in the direction of the original flash manufacturers. matinees where parents wish get good shots at your expense. But there wasn’t. 560-3 flashes give excellent results with the YN4-TX.

  • Olesya

    Hello! Tell me, please, is the Nikon SB-600 compatible with the Nikon 3200?

    • Arkady Shapoval


      • Olesya

        Thank you!

  • Konstantin

    Hello! Please advise what is better to buy sb-5000 or sb-910? The price doesn't matter. There is little information on the Internet about the sb-5000 from the users of this outbreak and it is all different. Did the sb-5000 really turn out to be so "jerky"?

  • Olga

    Hello! I really need advice on which flash to choose? I opted for the MK-950N II and YN560III. I choose for the Nikon D5200. I will be very grateful for the answer!

  • Georgy

    Arkady, please advise what to choose SB-500 or used SB-800. It is needed for amateur purposes, mainly objects, sometimes people (less often). As I understand it, the 800th is more powerful and in the evening will give higher AF accuracy, but 500 less. I’m not making a video. D7100, 28-70.

    • lynx

      Sb700 with hands is possible.

      • Georgy

        And what is 700 fundamentally better than 800 for an amateur? Just, as I understand it, it is weaker and bigger, but the newer and more fundamental differences are there in a more convenient way. Just 800-ku bu on average sell for 6-8 tons, 700 times two more expensive.

        • lynx

          newer, more convenient.
          It is corny more whole, eight hundred through several owners have already passed, and they could simply work out a resource.

          more than 10-12 per seven hundred rarely makes sense to give.

          • Georgy

            Thank you, I’ll take into account, but in general, apart from burning on the lens, I’m puffing, which is not worth taking, are there simple ways to determine

            • Lynx

              Without strong scuffs on the case and contacts.
              Very clearly visible on the buttons and plexiglass IR illumination.
              The head should not dangle, but move resiliently and with obvious clicks in positions, the same - the battery compartment cover.
              Put it on the carcass and check the work in different modes, including from “puffing to the ceiling”.
              When buying, it makes sense to pay attention to the seller - if this is a seasoned reporter, then the flash has probably gone through fire and water and boxes and other things he has not had for a long time.
              And if some student or young mother who was given it as a gift and is difficult for them to carry, then essno the puff is almost certainly new, unless of course it was dropped and broken, but this can be seen when checking.

  • Basil

    I could not stand it, so as not to get stuck in the topic. I have top-end equipment completely, I have been working as a photographer for almost forty years. During the crisis, I thought about saving on photographic equipment, dropped to shame, started shooting again. Flash is one of the most necessary attributes of a photographer, no less important than good optics. I bought a Vivitar DF-583 that worked for 2 weeks, shot only 20 mornings and we can say kirdyk (and this is no more than 10000 puffs. The glass turned black, after disassembling I checked everything was normal on the devices, it started working incorrectly in the TTL (to the ceiling) and claps, I'm afraid so as not to be harmed or customers. Here a lot has been written about left-handed manufacturers — I do not recommend it. SB600 the first lamp worked 120000, the Sb900 has already had a normal flight. The Metz, Sigma are working incorrectly, you shouldn’t even talk about Yang, and if the Sb150000 or 900 is warming up, there is always a spare on the belt, and in a case still.

    • Oleg

      “I went down to shame, I started filming with a crop again” - well, just with napalm ...

  • Basil

    Sorry to offend you. Comrade bought SB 500 for 3700 happy as an elephant, In conjunction with DF it works fine, although there are 910

  • Sergei

    Hello Arkady! I have a nikon d5000, which do you think is worth buying a Pixel X800N flash. Will she fit? Thanks.

  • Lyudmila

    Guys, I need a good flash for macro photography. I’ll explain, I'm a dentist. We have a cropped Nikon D3100 camera, we also buy a Nikon 105 mm macro lens. Now it's up to the flash. I have a choice what is better in this regard, a circular Sigma (although it is also somehow difficult to buy from us, it is prepaid only and no one can clearly tell me that it will definitely fit my camera and lens) or a circular Nissin or Metz . In short, I will be grateful for the knowledge in this area.

  • Igor Larikov

    A little about top-end flashes: my favorite SB-800, which I bought for the Nikon F100 film at the dawn of the first digital cameras. At the time, I was shooting with Canon - "ten" and "three hundred". The flash works fine so far. Broke just once. And then, mechanical failure. I did without service - I fixed it myself. Super reliable and very cost effective. You can easily shoot any event, including a wedding, using a set of batteries (here are 5 finger batteries, I use Enilup). However, when shooting, I rarely use a powerful pulse. Usually I set it up "in the minus", because I try to use the ambient light to the maximum. For sports, only the capacity of the charge of the native capacitors is not enough - they do not have time to recharge during continuous shooting. But the containers can still be changed. For a flash that has been actively working for more than a dozen years, this is forgivable.
    My opinion: you need to take the top model, and then the spare tire in the case is not useful.
    One of these days I will buy myself an SB-5000.

  • Natalia

    Good evening! I have Nikon d 3300, Arkady tell me. which flash is better to buy YongNuo YN-568EX or Nissin Di600, for shooting indoors and in daylight on the street. (budget is limited) I will be very grateful to you.

  • Natalia

    It may be worth considering as an option sb 600

  • Janna

    Tell me which flash is suitable if you do not shoot often in the evening indoors?
    Nikon D60 camera, Nikkor 50mm lens

    • Valery A.

      Hello. I think any flash capable of flaring into the ceiling and supporting TTL mode. Given the lightness of d60 and so far simple requirements for flashes, I would recommend miniature types of sb300, sb400 and others like that.

  • Anna

    Arkady, hello. I want to buy a flash for my Nikon d610. Which flash should I buy? Thank you in advance)

    • NE

      best of all, Nikon's best flash

  • Tania

    Good day) Підскажіть, Яку is more beautiful than the photo list of the append, sb 800, or sb 700?
    On the camera D 3000)

    • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

      Good. I have an SB-800. Although they call it obsolete and brick here, I like it. If you do not use it to control multiple flashes, then there is nothing tricky. But on the other hand, there are automatic non-TTL modes, which is not in the SB-700. Helps with manual lenses and in cases where pre-flashes are not needed - for example, for photographing animals. From TTL they have time to close their eyes. And some people do too. It is smaller and more powerful than the SB-700. Plus lies on the shelf SB-700 with a punctured transistor and burnt out processor - a constructive flaw.
      But one BUT - SB-700 will be new or almost, and SB-800 only used. and it is not known in what state.

    • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

      Arkady's article about automatic modes without TTL https://radojuva.com/2013/01/non-ttl-auto-aperture-modes-nikon-speedlight/

  • Olga

    When I wondered about the flash, from some photographers I heard the recommendation of Godox V860Ii. Can you tell something about this outbreak. Thanks in advance for your reply.

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Hello, Arkady.
    I came across an old unomat b24 auto flash and I decided to try it on my D90.
    I bought a voltage-reducing adapter and started experimenting.
    I got no more sense with this external flash than with the built-in flash, because at shutter speeds shorter than 1/250, only half the frame is illuminated, and the shorter the shutter speed, the smaller the portion of the frame illuminated. as I understand it, due to the lack of synchronization with the curtains, the upper one is more or less the same as the flash, and the lower one is not.
    Tell me, is it possible to achieve uniform light in the frame at short shutter speeds with such a flash? or without support for high-speed synchronization in any way?

    • Michael

      No, you need high speed sync. It was actually because of this effect that was invented. Synchronization always works on the first curtain, so everything is fine here, the mode is not the same.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It is impossible.

  • Alexander

    Hello. Please advise the radio synchronizer and non-native flashes, so that the correct high-speed synchronization is working.

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Good day to all. Tell me, who can, what is the most budget flash for Nikon supports fp?

    • Michael

      Native 700th. Third-party Metz 48-52-58, Yongnuo YN568EX. True, I have doubts that they will be very budget

    • anonym

      Metz 48

  • Dmitriy

    Hello. the situation is like that in front of the graduation daughter and if you want it or not you have to shoot I have d7000 and sb700 I don't know how to shoot at all, but I still have 20 days trying to learn the ceiling in the hall above 10 m, the distance to the stage is about 10 meters, I wonder if it's worth buying sb 700 in the hall handing out certificates then there will still be photo shoots in nature and lenses kit 18-105 and spinning 50-300 in nature, including shooting at a distance of 20 meters across the water to a suspension bridge and a banquet hall ceilings of 15 meters I plan to take a small lastolight 25 × 19 for relatively close-ups here tell me it is worth bothering with the purchase of sb 910 and maybe some other glass to take, or still I won't be able to do it. Thanks in advance

    • Dmitriy

      Sorry typo to buy sb 910

  • Irina

    Hello! there is a flash sb800 - as the main one. what additional flashes to buy in order to work correctly with the main one? the budget is limited, unfortunately. I will be very grateful for the sensible answers !!!

  • Firear

    Health to all!
    Arkady, thank you for the article! Very informative.
    I ask for advice: at the same cost there is a dilemma of buying two outbreaks:
    Yongnuo Speedlite YN-565EX TTL
    What to choose? I think the first has better functionality. Thank you in advance.

  • anonym

    I have a Metz 48, I took it for 3000 rubles ideally, it’s simple to operate, it works correctly, the FP mode is powerful, the only negative weight is just over 300 grams, with the Nikon 7000d it is impressive, but not fatal)))

  • Hius

    Hello, Arkady and everything, everything, everything. Since Soviet times, the Fil-107 flash (without a camera trap) has remained. Filmed in those days on Zenith. Advise me how to adapt it for shooting on the Nikon D5000. Radio synchronizers for low-voltage flashes are not suitable. It is a pity to throw away a good device. I would be grateful to everyone.

    • B. R. P.

      Soviet flash risk burning the camera.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Hello. I would not play with high-voltage flashes and modern cameras. Better to avoid risks.
      But if you still need to connect, then it’s hard for me to tell you, maybe some of the readers will tell or share the link.

  • Roman

    A photosynchronizer can help. In a strong minus the flash on the camera, the second will catch. But there are so many problems - it didn’t work, then it worked, but not so, then the conduits started flowing. It's easier to buy the most affordable Chinese one - it is safe and convenient. I had two puffs from this series, I suffered with them and spat on this case.

    • Hius

      So the game is not worth the candle ?.

      • Arkady Shapoval

        I think it’s not worth it. Many cheap Chinese, for example, Meike-930-2 costs only 30 dollars.

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English-version of this article https://radojuva.com/en/2013/02/nikon-sb-flash-buy/comment-page-5/

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