Nikon Speedlight SB-500 Review

According provided by Flash Nikon Speedlight SB-500 many thanks to Andrey Kravchuk.

Nikon Speedlight SB-500

Nikon Speedlight SB-500

In short

Nikon Speedlight SB-500 - small external flash with a basic set of functions. Perfect for uncomplicated amateur shooting in those cases where you do not need a very powerful external flash. This is the first flash from Nikon, which has a backlight for video.

Basic properties

  • Flash head rotates 360 degrees horizontally (180 + 180) and 90 degrees vertically (setting options are 90, 75, 60 and 0 degrees)
  • auto (i-TTL, i-TTL with fill light), manual M mode, slave flash mode and pilot flash mode (only with some cameras) are available
  • diode backlight for video shooting with the ability to adjust the power
  • The flash is powered by two AA batteries
  • flash zoom is fixed at 24 mm (for Nikon FX cameras, or 16 mm Nikon DX cameras)
  • guide number is 24
  • there is a function of modeling backlight and trial operation
  • flash supports Nikon FP high speed sync
  • flash off function during overheating
  • light weight, flash weighs only 226 grams
  • Package includes foot stand and soft case


The flash is not suitable for Nikon D1 cameras, D1hD1x, D100 (they need D-TTL flash). Poor compatibility with Nikon D2, D2h, D2x, D2xs, D200, D80, D70, D70s, D60D50, D40 (I do not know how the flash will conduct with these cameras).

Fully compatible with Nikon D810A cameras only, D810, D750, D7200, D5500 (exact list unknown). Only with full compatibility can the SB-500 be used as a master flash to remotely control other external flashes using Nikon CLS.

Partial compatibility with some other cameras. So, for example, on camera Nikon D90 You can set the shooting mode to TTL or M using the camera menu, but you cannot set the remote control mode for other flash units.

As a slave flash, the SB-500 can only be used in groups A and B and only on the third communication channel (apparently for compatibility with Nikon D70 и D70s).


You can see the prices for Nikon Speedlight SB-500 in popular online stores at this linkor in the price block located below:

All Nikon SB-500 Prices

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My experience

To start:

I did not like the flash because of the absolutely incomprehensible logic of compatibility with cameras and cutbacks of functionality with some of them. I think it's much better to add some money and buy a 'real' flash Nikon SB-700... For those who want maximum portability, there are Nikon SB-400 and SB-300.

Nikon Speedlight SB-500

Nikon Speedlight SB-500


Nikon Speedlight SB-500 is a simple and not very cheap flash with a basic set of functions. It attracts with its size, lighting for video shooting and remote control capabilities.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 28, on the topic: Review of Nikon Speedlight SB-500

  • BB

    Not a flash, but some kind of crap, and the price is transcendental for such ahem-ahem 'functional'.
    For this money, you can buy a normal Chinese, with all the bells and whistles, with zoom, and normal compatibility ...

    Thank you for the review!

  • Artem

    For a price of about $ 300 you can buy an interesting option!
    Some kind of miscarriage, not a flash :)

  • Alexey

    Yeah, a waste of money, especially for owners of the d5500 / 5600

  • anonym

    I struggled with a toad for a long time, but I bought the SB-910. I do not regret it!

  • Andrey

    Hello, I am the happy owner of this flash) I put it on d5300. And I'll tell you she perfectly fulfills the money for which I bought it. I had all sorts of make-ups that only had a ttl inscription, but in fact, overexposure to under-light, etc. Bought Sat 400 ... compact, cool, but! The head does not turn and the power is not enough. Sat 700? Yes, cool mego flash but it's big for me. In general, for half a year of use, I am satisfied, its functionality for an amateur is complete. For bombing, of course, it's not that everyday life! I took for 3 thousand UAH. on olkh. I agree with Arkady about the strange compatibility with cameras, they wanted to separate the youngest from the older ones, they overdid it.
    I adhere to the idea of ​​buying everything Nikon, then there will be compatibility and there will be no glitches.
    Set the flash from the outlet, turn it on and take a picture! All haters - happiness, kindness))))

    • Alexey

      Can i ask you. And how do you flare in the afternoon with an aperture fixed on the open and flash? Or do you clamp the aperture very tightly to get a maximum of 1/200?

      • maugli

        High Speed ​​FP Sync

        • Alexey

          D3x00 and D5x00 do not have high-speed synchronization, D5300, D5500, D5600 are not an exception to this rule.

          • Maugli

            You can use the ND filter

            • Alexey

              And it is possible for all the owners of junior crops to shower the representatives of Nikon with letters ... And take my word for it, the effect will be better than doing handicrafts.

  • lynx

    the feeling that ywingo bought nikon in the bud

    • Andrey

      I don’t quite understand what you mean

  • varezhkin

    the fact that the head is spinning is the main thing. the only thing missing from the excellent, reliable SB-400 is that you often have to use an extension cord with it.

  • varezhkin

    in addition to the D1 and D100, the flash will work normally on all Nikon central control centers, as well as on the Coolpix series compacts, but for some reason the LED backlight will not work on the P7000 / P7100 models (written in hand-ve).

    • andrey.ali

      programmers from nikon just went into a bout. and didn’t add the code for the P7000 / P7100 and I don’t think that users of these cameras will buy an external flash :)

  • scif

    cool flash))) compact and lightweight, plus light for video recording (if the backlight power is also adjustable, then in general space). I would take it, but I have Sat800, 2 * 910 and 1 Sat-5000. I advise you to use NATIVE flashes, lenses, boosters - there will be no problems with compatibility and reliability

    • Andrey

      Arkady is looking for a review of Sat 5000

    • Novel

      The question here is the price / reliability / profit ratio ...

      I have my native Canon 600EX-RT for reporting ... (when the main thing is the predictability of the result and reliability)

      But for staging there is a system of 3 similar Yongnuo YN600EX-RT with their own transmitter - YN-E3-RT (I often use the transmitter with the main puff - when a certain takeaway is needed) - shooting is unhurried, all parameters can be adjusted on the go, one flash breaks - there is a backup ... A similar set of "native" flashes would pay off much longer.

  • anonym

    Nikon has posted a firmware update for the sb-500:

    • Fixed a bug where, in very rare cases, the SB-500 did not function when used with the following cameras that support the Nikon Creative Lighting System:

    - D5, D4, D4S, Df, D810, D810A, D800, D800E, D750, D700, D610, D600, D500, D300, D300S, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3400 , D3300, D3200, D3100, D3000, D90, D60, D40 and D40X
    - COOLPIX A, COOLPIX P7800 and COOLPIX P7700

    For the flash firmware update process itself, only relatively fresh cameras will do:

    • D5, D4, D4S, Df, D3X and D3S
    • D3 (A / V firmware version 2.00 or later)
    • D810, D810A, D800, D800E, D750, D700, D610, D600, D500 and D300S
    • D300 (A / V firmware version 1.10 or later)
    • D7200, D7100, D7000, D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3400, D3300, D3200, D3100, D3000 and D90

    • varezhkin

      ps forgot to log in.

  • anonym

    I will sell this flash model! Excellent condition, full set, still under warranty, who are interested - please contact

  • anonym

    Will it work remotely in M ​​mode through a manual synchronizer like yongnuo rf-603? And is power adjustment possible at the same time, or will it only work at maximum?

  • Alexander

    Those who say it's a bullshit flash are just misusing it. Yes, if you use it as a flash on the camera, then, of course, you will lack its power and you will think “what did I give 300 $ for ?! I could have bought a Chinese puff for $ 100 or more. "
    Today it is the coolest flash for shooting with take-away software. (Not counting outbreaks of godox. They have their own charms). Very light weight, stable performance and TTL mode. (+ AA batteries)
    So, the small size of the flash does not mean that it is an amateur class and is intended for shooting matinees :)

    • Vladislav

      Tell me which synchronizer and softbox you use with the Niikon SB-500 flash

      • Anders

        Nikon has the so-called Creative Lighting System (Nikon CLS). A synchronizer is not needed for it. This is something like transferring data from a camera using the built-in flash to an external flash via infrared or light channel.

        I decrypt. You simply raise the camera’s built-in flash, set it in the menu so that it doesn’t breathe, and it simply transfers the information in micro flash to an external flash, which is in the remote software, for example, in the left hand. It affects the scene, well, only if a little bit. In the end, I just glued it in 2 layers with a molar tape. An external flash with software has enough impulse from the built-in one, and there is no influence in the scene. Plus, the built-in flash closes directly with the tape pasted. It’s only necessary to trim beautifully). Recently, reporting in a dark pizzeria was shot just like that. The result was no different, of course. Just saving on syncs.

        Rumor has it that in bright rooms there may be malfunctions, but I only read about this in nete. I am using a bunch of D800 + SB-700. Everything is fine.

        • Aydar

          I bought a third flash sb500 also for removal to the software in my hand, but it does not work through yongnuo rf 603 synchronizers, there is also no way to adjust the flash output on the remote, but only on the camera. The flash video light is not worth taking the flash because of this. It’s easier and cheaper to buy a flashlight. My camera does not have a built-in flash, so I can’t control it. Plus, it’s one in size and weight, I don’t want to let it out of my hands after the giant sb 910) you can take two sb500 with you instead of one SB-910

      • Aidar Rakhmetov

        It will work only through synchronizers with TTL mode. I refused to work with YN RF 603 NII and Poton RX-1.

    • Aydar

      I also consider this flash for take-away software, plus the video attracts light, as well as low weight, if you take it on a camping trip. Hand gets tired with take-away software with SB-910 (there is also SB28 backlight). It is possible to buy used SB-5000 for the same money. The SB 500 repels that it is not possible to adjust the power manually if put on take-out.

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