Nikon Speedlight SB-400 Review

Many thanks to Yuri Velikanov for the Nikon Speedlight SB-400 flash.

Nikon Speedlight SB-400 Flash Review

Nikon Speedlight SB-400 Flash Review

Nikon Speedlight SB-400 - Tiny Amateur external flash for Nikon cameras. The flash is suitable for almost all Nikon SLR cameras, with the exception of older cameras with D-TTL metering (such as Nikon D100, D1x) SB-400 will work perfectly with all modern DSLRs, such as Nikon D3100, D3200, D5100, D5200, D7000, D600 etc. The flash is also suitable for a number of digital cameras, such as the COOLPIX 8800.

The SB-400 has only a power button and a ready light. On the SB-400 camera is quickly fixed with a special latch. SB-400 can work only in automatic mode I-TTL and in mode 'M'. Attention: unlike many other flashes, the transition from mode to mode on the SB-400 is carried out using the camera’s menu. Some cameras do not support switching modes. And here serious catch: You won’t get a flash to work with some cameras when using old non-autofocus lenses. So, I could not get the flash to work with the camera Nikon D80 and the lens Jupiter-37A. This does not matter, because few people use brand new cameras with old lenses :).

My flash copy is made in China. Flash leg is metal. In my opinion, the SB-400 is only interesting for its small size and swivel head. When the heads are rotated 60, 75, and 90 degrees, they can be removed by reflecting the flash light from the ceiling. This is a very good opportunity to get photos with soft backlighting, without strong dark dips in the photo. The principle of this survey is shown below:

SB-400 works on reflections from the ceiling. Image taken from instructions for SB-400

SB-400 works on reflection from the ceiling. The picture is taken from the instructions for SB-400

In 2013 a new model came out - Nikon Speedlight SB-300.

The difference between SB-300 and SB-400

The difference between SB-300 and SB-400

Flash Nikon Speedlight SB-300 and Nikon Speedlight SB-400 are very similar to each other. The table below shows the main differences.

SB-300 SB-400
Year of construction 2013 2004
Manufacturer country China China
Head rotation 0, 60, 75, 90, 120 0, 60, 75, 90
Guide Number (ISO 100)  18 21
Batteries AAA X 2 AA X 2
Weight, g 97 127
FX Head Zoom 27 mm 27 mm
Case SS-DC1 SS-400

The new SB-300 has lighter weight, more head angle, but less power. The SB-300 is the first Nikon flash to use small AAA batteries. I think both flashes are good enough, there is not much difference in them.

My experience:

Nikon Speedlight SB-400 is a really very interesting option in quality external flash. But I’m absolutely not happy with the lack of support FP high speed sync and opportunity remotely control Nikon SB-400 Flash Using Nikon CLS... But, considering that the Nikon Speedlight SB-400 is best suited to lightweight cameras such as Nikon D3100, D3200, then there’s nothing to complain about, because these cameras cannot control other flashes using the built-in flash, and FP mode is not supported. If you buy a flash for amateur Nikon camera, then the functionality with the SB-400 will be as complete as possible.


The Nikon Speedlight SB-400 is an excellent small and light flash unit that can be a good companion for the hobby photographer. Fits easily into any camera bag. If you still don't know whether to buy an external flash, read about its capabilities in the 'External Flash'. My tips for choosing a flash for Nikon cameras can be found under 'Flash Selection for Nikon Cameras'.

Like it. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 94, on the topic: Review of Nikon Speedlight SB-400

  • Nurzhan

    I bought myself with the hands of sb 400 it cost exactly 3000 rubles for the nikon d3200 for home filming, I'm just happy

  • Victor

    Flash owners, please show me sample photos using the SB-400.

    • Valery A.

      What are the problems? Flash mode - in TTL, the head is in the ceiling, it does not have a burdock - I cut a small rectangle out of thick white paper. hole under the head and put on it. And what's in the room:

      • Valery A.

        What's in the dark room:

    • Valery A.


  • Georgia

    Good day ! Please tell me if the SB-400 will work on the nikon d70s and in what modes? And also if you take a flash for third-party nikon d70s (Altura, Never, etc.), you need to consider that they work in i-TTL mode?

    • Michael

      Will work in the machine. And yes, you need to consider work in i-TTL

      • Georgia

        Thank you

  • Alexey de Paris

    excellent flash, it works both in manual and automatic mode perfectly! Recharging is quick and allows you to shoot in batches at low and medium power. Tested on d3100 d5200 d90 d600. It works equally well with everyone.

    • Valery A.

      I agree. In my opinion, the manufacturer replaced it with the worst.

  • Dmitriy

    Has anyone used sb-400 with yongnuo 622n synchronizers? Does it work correctly in ttl?

  • Yana

    Tell me, please, is the SB-400 suitable for the D700? Thanks!

    • B. R. P.

      Quote from the review above: "The SB-400 will work great with all modern DSLRs."

  • Vsevolod

    Good afternoon! Who knows if a camera-mounted SB 400 can “ignite” other external flash units. 910, for example?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In automatic TTL mode it cannot.

  • Vsevolod

    THOSE. if the camera is the 850th, the 910th cannot make the 400th not installed on the camera work?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      It can only with the help of SU-4, but it will not be a full Niko CLS with automatic TTL.
      Details in the section “Light trap in SU-4 mode"

  • RA4ADF

    Recently acquired this. In TTL mode on the D7000, it’s rare when normal pictures are taken. 99% underexposed. In manual mode, flash power is sufficient, but a lot of marriage due to exposure errors.
    Maybe someone met with a similar?

    • RA4ADF


      • anonym

        Good, what corrected?

        • RA4ADF

          IGBTs are flying out. A pair costs the price of a used flash on Avito. I took it. The condition is new. While it works.
          The flash is small, comfortable, more than once helped out

  • an25673

    Hello, please tell me on the NIKON D3100 in aperture priority mode, when using this flash, can you set the shutter speed in the camera to shorter than 1/60 or can you only set the automatic ISO sensitivity and set the maximum shutter speed for example 1/125?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In mode A, the camera will almost always set 1/60 (this is the standard, set in the menu). You can use any shutter speed up to 1/200 s., But only in S, M.

  • Andrei

    How is it for gating, the recharge speed is significantly lower compared to the SB600 or SB700?

  • an25673

    Hello, when shooting with this flash, there are often white dots on the pupils of guilt, is this normal?

    • Valery A.

      Hello. From the point of view of physics, this is normal - the reflection of the flash from the dark pupils, from the point of view of aesthetics, is not entirely normal, well done with photoshop.

  • an256

    Is the stamp tool suitable for these purposes in Photoshop or is it better to use some other one?

    • BB

      will do. Or - blackout.
      Any action in the FS can be done in at least two ways.

      By sabzh: it is recommended not to use the flash "in the forehead". Use diffusers and / or reflectors. Aim the flash at the ceiling, to highlight the shadows, glue a piece of paper with tape, like the “white flag” of full-fledged on-camera flashes.
      Or use some kind of diffuser - the light will be softer, the glare in the eyes is not so sharp.

  • an256

    Thank you, I removed it with a stamp, took it in a pine forest in the mountains, and where to direct the flash there, I just used a homemade burl, I ordered another diffuser for sb400. And for example, if instead of sb400 you buy sb700, the result will be better?

    • Valery A.

      … Buy sb700 will the result be better? In nature, and even indoors, hardly (especially since 3100). The head spins in all directions - sometimes it turns out to puff to the side or back in the room, high-speed synchronization (highlight at short exposures) at 3100 does not work, it cannot be remotely controlled from it either (there is no TTL, just set fire to the preset power) or the second one is the same put on FA. Well, more powerful and slightly higher, the board is "periscope", weight. Probably, you haven't got everything from sb400, here you run into the limit - that's all, it is not enough for ideas, then ...

  • an256

    Perhaps you are right, but Arkady, for example, once wrote, literally: SB-600 is a giant leap after SB-400. I think the SB-700 is probably even more. In addition, the SB-600,700 used now has two pennies, the only thing is that my D3200 does not have high-speed synchronization, well, maybe I’ll get another camera somehow.

    • Valery A.

      Well, Arkady knows what to do with this flash, for example, in the studio to light it from a side view, on the street, too, the assistant often holds the flash (in TTL mode, it is probably faster). If this is relevant to you, you must take it. And from the camera to puff on the forehead or at the ceiling - the difference with the 400 is small.

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