Nikon SB-800 review

For the opportunity Nikon Speedlight SB-800 Flash Review many thanks to Ivan

Nikon SB-800 review

Nikon SB-800 review

The Nikon SB-800 is a good old professional flash. Nikon's flash unit has been replaced by SB-900. The Nikon SB-800 boasts excellent power and all the necessary connectors, functions and features that professionals use.

Nikon SB-800 is small, very similar to Nikon SB-600. Nikon SB-800 is significantly smaller than Nikon SB-900. Nikon SB-800 will work perfectly in automatic modes with all Nikon DSLR cameras. In a nutshell, write about the Nikon SB-800, then this is a good flash with a bit outdated ergonomics. After SB-900 the old Nikon SB-800 seems like an incomprehensible 'brick'.

Main features and their use:

  1. Nikon SB-800 can remotely control other flashes through protocol Nikon CLS. This is a very good advantage of the Nikon SB-800 over Nikon. SB-600, which does not know how.
  2. Nikon SB-800 can work in slave mode and set off remotely using the built-in or external flash Nikon The flash can be used remotely. I really like remote control, for more details on how to configure and how to use this control, see the section Nikon CLS.
  3. Nikon SB-800 can operate in the remote control SU-4. This means that the flash can be set on fire by any other flash, even the built-in flash on cameras that do not support remote flash control. For example, the SB-800 can be remotely started using the built-in flash. Nikon D3200. You can read more about SU-4 mode here. By the way, this mode does not support SB-400 и SB-600.
  4. Nikon SB-800 supports high speed FP sync. This means that with this flash you can shoot at any shutter speed, even with shutter speed in 1/8000 of a second. For this, the camera must also support FP mode. Which cameras can work in FP mode with the Nikon SB-800 flash, and also what it is used for, you can read here.
  5. The flash zoom is only 24-105mm, compared to SB-900, which has a 17-200mm zoom.
  6. The flash has card diffuser и wide-angle diffuser. On the other side of the diffuser card is a short instruction on using the menu.
  7. Nikon SB-800 may optionally use fifth battery... The battery is inserted into a special compartment-booster, which is attached instead of the usual battery compartment cover. An additional battery extends the flash life. If you do not install all 5 batteries at the same time, but only 4, then the flash will not turn on.
  8. SB-800 works in standard modes TTL, i-TTL, D-TTL, BL, A, AA, GN, M, RPT. Nikon Diffusion Dome diffuser included
    SW-10H, nice carry case, colored nozzles, extra battery holder and shoe.
  9. The flash head rotates 270 degrees left-right and 97 degrees up and down.


  • The flash can work in D-TTLused by old film cameras, or, for example Nikon D100, D1, D1h, D1x. For many, this is very important.
  • Nikon SB-800 flash can work in automatic mode without TTL. This is a damn useful feature. No one pays attention to it, but in vain, this is a very useful feature, which is not in any SB-600 not in SB-700. You can read more in the section Aperture-priority auto for Nikon flashes and auto flash mode without TTL
  • The flash has a special connector for connecting an additional Nikon SD-7 power source or Nikon SD-8A booster.
  • Flash has auto focus light. Why you need to read this here, but you can read about the configuration features here.
  • The flash has a button for illuminating the subject with the flash lamp. The same can be done on other flashes if you press the depth of field preview button.

I recommend to see my article ''Why do we need external flash', but for those who choose flash for Nikon cameras, the article will be useful'What flash to choose for Nikon cameras'.


SB-800 pretty old flashIt has all the basic functions for serious work. It takes a little time to get used to the management.

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

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Comments: 45, on the topic: Review of the Nikon SB-800

  • Ullar

    So, do you need 5 batteries for it ?? How to charge? Chargers usually go to 4. Or is there a trick to bypass this “feature”?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The flash uses 4 batteries, and it can use 5 with a special additional compartment. AA batteries are charged with whatever you want, and convenience is another matter.

  • Ivan

    I can say from experience that I had 10 batteries for 2700 mAh for this flash. Usually 2 reloads were almost always enough to snap an intense event lasting up to 2 hours. The main thing is to charge them before shooting, charged 4 pieces in 3 sets.

    And if you shoot very intense events, you can be powered by external sources, which often is done by many reporters.

    Now using the SB-900 with 4 batteries, I see that it is more economical than the SB-800 with 5th. Apparently energy-saving technologies do not stand still.

  • Victor

    The flash is good, I have been using it for a long time, but its biggest drawback is the lack of a battery indicator. In responsible filming, this sometimes creates problems.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      No native Nikon flash has this indicator (

      • Igor

        here is an interesting

      • Vladislav

        Yes, unfortunately they show the charge only when it is over ((
        And Nissin flashes are the same ..

  • Igor

    it would be interesting to know What color temperature does it produce in kelvins in comparison with SB-700, does SB-910 mean which shade is warm or cold ?? Because it was compared with SB-600 and SB-700 in SB-600 A pinkish shade clearly prevailed !

  • Igor

    Tested on the D7000 Expo mode, the shooting conditions were the same!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I am sure that the claimed statement is weakly related to reality. For getting a real shift in pink (or magenta) is not so easy to get.

      • arman

        Hello, how long is the lamp in flash units running? How can I check

        • Michael

          No way to check, only in appearance

  • Igor

    Perhaps the lamp is planted on the SB-600! Or the lamp itself with a color temperature lower than that of the SB-700,900,910

  • Vladimir

    Tell me, is there no GN mode on my flash (even on a flash not installed on the camera), or does it turn on somehow?

  • Sergei

    Please tell me, is it worth taking Bush sb800 for amateur shooting, and in the future I plan to switch to a more professional shooting, or is it better to take sb700?

  • Anastasia

    Please tell me I have a D 3100 camera, a standard kit 18-55mm, which flash is better?

  • Valery

    Arkady, is the Diffusion Dome diffuser suitable for sb900 or sb700 for sb800.

  • Sergei 02

    Hello Arkady, tell me. Will it work in TTL mode D90 + Nikon SB-80DX. Maybe someone has such a bunch?

  • Kitty

    Arkady, tell me, I have nikon d90 and poltos and 70-300 TV sets, I want to buy a flash (I wasn’t familiar with this miracle before), I want sb-700 or 910 right away. mostly as a hobby, but I try to buy good phones. what do you advise? is it worth spending money on this at all or looking after something from nissin, yongnuo and so on? (there is a chance that I am not able to figure out how to use it) =)

  • Dima

    Hello. Thanks for the article. Tell me, I want to choose a flash, I have a D90, which one to take Nikon SB 800, Nikon SB 700, Yongnuo 565EX or Yongnuo 568EX.

    • Lynx

      seven hundred

      • Dima


    • Ruslan

      Of course 800. This is generally the most powerful flash on the Nikon system ever produced, and compared to the 700th, inferior in power to even the 600th, it is more powerful than 2 times. The leading number is 38 for sb800 versus 28 for sb-700. In addition, 800ka supports automatic non-TTL mode and 700ka not. And finally, for today 800ku you can buy a used one in excellent condition for less than $ 200, which is just a godsend for that kind of money (compare with the prices on ibei). And although the new 700ka costs $ 300.

  • Olga

    Good evening! What is the best battery power for the Nikon SB-800? Are there any restrictions on battery power? I always used GP 2700 NiMH batteries for other equipment. Can they be put in this flash? The description says that there are something 2000 batteries there, but the description is very old, and I did not understand what this 2000 refers to. Tell me from your own experience, who puts what and how much approximately flashes there is enough charge of a set of 5 batteries?

    • Igor

      Just plug in the batteries ... they just sit down quickly.

    • Alexander

      LADDA on ozone look

  • Igor

    Selling this for 8000r urgently. The condition is excellent. Call: 8 916-651-2222

  • The

    > If you do not install all 5 batteries at the same time, but only 4, then the flash will not turn on.

    It turns on and works without problems on four batteries.

    • BB

      With a regular lid, yes, it works. And if the 'tricky' cover (with a slot for the battery), then without one (any) will not work, because all batteries are connected in series (physics, grade 7-8).

  • Anna

    Arkady, good afternoon!
    It so happened that I used the SB-700 for more than a year, but now when I bought a lens, I got a pretty narrowed SB-800. Now I’m thinking about which one to sell and which to leave. The second fully test the opportunity has not yet been. What do you advise?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Leave the SB-700.

    • Pastor

      I am also for sb-700, having both much more often use 700, although it seems that in size and functionality they are not so hot as they are different for my tasks. In addition, a fairly squashed even sb-910 will be worse than the sb-700 in good condition, because it is not known how many puffs it will have enough, it will suddenly die. It’s difficult to sell a sb-800, it’s cheaper and live, or at the level of sb-700. And you will already sell your native sb-700 and will remain without puff.

      • Evgeny

        My SB-800 was already dying, in the service it was reanimated almost completely replacing all the electronics, for several years now it has been working like new. But the SB-700 just more often just lies. SB-800 is brighter and there is the possibility to use the battery packs due to the use of a booster with a 5m battery ,,,

  • Igor

    Arkady, help to resolve doubts 1. There is nikon d610 and sb-900; 2. I want to use the flash remotely; 3. new TTL-enabled radio synchronizers are comparable to a used, but actually new ab-700 flash ... There is an idea to buy one instead of expensive radio synchronizers and make them friends :-) Moreover, it is much lighter than 900 and more suitable for travel. Will this be an adequate solution? Or is it better to buy radio synchronizers?

  • Andrei

    Hello, tell me which flash will be better: nikon sb-800 or olympus fl-50? Both seem to be about the level.

  • Vladimir

    I ask the help of the owners of sb800. I began to overslight by about 1 stop.
    I will correct it manually. No one has encountered this?

    • anonym

      On weak batteries, with a power close to full, it does not light up and writes on the screen that it is too light. And so the norms

  • Evgeny

    The ability to use a 1-battery booster makes it possible to finish off old batteries in this flash. A complement of 4 half-dead batteries complement 5m and freely make 300 frames. And, for example, in SB-910, this kit will not work at all, the flash identifies it as already dead ,,,

    • BB

      For the old semi-automatic flash Hanimex-tz2 (bought for a penny, remade the sync contact for low voltage) I made a separate cover with a fifth battery holder, but there the cover was completely removable. It was a long time ago, then Eneloop-type batteries either did not exist yet or were rare and expensive. It made sense then. Now semi-dead batteries are used in all kinds of low-responsibility equipment - mice, remotes, etc. Using half-dead batteries at a responsible event is still a pleasure ...
      I suppose that the SB-800 was "sharpened" for power from batteries, that is, 1,5 * 4 = 6 volts, the batteries give out 1,2, that is. the fifth battery just raises the voltage of the kit to 6 volts. Modern flashes are "sharpened" for 1,2V batteries, and have the appropriate circuitry. And a set of 5 pieces - neither this nor that, tk. both chargers and holders are designed for 4 pieces (and sets of 2-4 pieces are usually sold).

  • John

    Hello everyone. Can someone advise please? This flash can start whistling not only when recharging, but also in standby mode? Plus the whistle is not always smooth. Sometimes louder, sometimes quieter, sometimes intermittent. Or is this the end of it?

  • Alexander

    Does the sb-800 have a built-in synchronizer?

  • Vladimir

    Would you advise me to choose between two flash units, SB-700 or SB-800? Both are in equally good condition externally, in factory configuration, and both have their first owner.

    • Arkady Shapoval


  • Alex

    I purchased a used SB-800. Very weak screen backlight. In low light it is very difficult to see anything on it. This is a feature, i.e. Do the new ones also have some kind of degradation (lamps, LEDs?) of the backlight?

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