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Ken Rockwell's thoughts on the SB-900

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by stayathomedad, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    "If you don't want to read the rest of this review, I'll cheat and let you know that I prefer the $110 SB-400, and if I want a big flash, I prefer the $185 SB-600. This SB-900 is more of a video game than a flash."
  2. I gotta say I completely understand where he's coming from. Any flash that has an instruction manual the size of the camera's instruction manual is just a bit on the complicated side. It's full of features that the general photographer would never need, but would be useful for pro wedding and news photogs.
  3. taat2d


    Sep 28, 2007
    How can he compare the SB400 to ANYTHING???? All you can do with that flash is bounce it off the ceiling that's it. That's really not a fair statement. IMHO.
  4. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    This asinine statement is what turns most people off Rockwell.
  5. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    No wonder this guy has the reputation he does. Statements like:

    "Your camera's built-in flash is all you need for digital."

    "If you're a serious hobbyist, you still don't really need an on-camera flash like we sometimes did back in the 1970s before film got fast."

    "The only significant advantage of the SB-900 over the SB-600 and SB-400 is that the SB-900 (and SB-800) have a built-in white card to provide a catch light when bounced."

    I would fully accept that the 900 offers only limited advantages over the 800 and that the price is too high to justify those advantages for most people. But to compare it to the 400? Give me a break.
  6. JDann24


    Dec 15, 2007
    Garland, Texas
    Here are my two favorite quotes from the review:

    "The SB-900 is more of a video game than a flash."

    "It takes a weird type of guy to get excited about Nikon's wireless system."
  7. "This asinine statement is what turns most people off Rockwell."

    Uh - it is not JUST this statement; it is many statements uttered by him. This one is just the latest.

    The guy seems to get his jollies by making controversial (and yes, assinine) statements intended, I suspect just to get a rise out of folks like us.

    I doubt most people take him seriously. I sure don't.
  8. dupe deleted
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2008
  9. Actually - while I slammed what I think is his "showboating" equipment/technique reviews, I must admit that I enjoy his galleries - especially the scenics.

    Excellent photographer - albeit a tad pompous for my taste.
  10. gladjo

    gladjo Guest

    I like him. A bit rough sometimes but honest IMO. Because of one of his reviews I got the SB600 instead of the SB800 and I'm quite happy I did. Don't take him so personal. :biggrin:
  11. "Don't take him so personal"

    I admit that this is one of my least favorite habits!
  12. I read his stuff just to humor myself.
  13. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Thanks for posting Ken's review. It was a fun read.

    I respectfully do not agree with the "gadget" factor of the SB-900. In fact, the greater simplicity it offers over the SB-800 was my deciding reason for purchase.

    Also, the "heavier" SB-900 is a 4-battery flash. Factor in the 5-batteries required to boost the SB-800 performance and the weight is no longer an issue.

    I own 3) SB-400's and use them frequently. They in no way can compare with either the fine SB-600, 800, or 900. Different tool for a different job.

    Despite these items, the review brought out one item which Ken nailed: no battery meter on the SB-900. Again, thank you for posting. It was good to read a different perspective on a flash I am extremely enthused about.
  14. digitalzed


    May 14, 2006
    N. Cal
    He really is the "Entertainment Tonight" of the on line photography world!
  15. Ken Rockwell's reviews are talored more for the average person who is shooting a DSLR, a lot of his reviews makes sense to many people, however to those who wish to get more technical and want the best that's out there then I can see how his reviews would turn some people off. However his SB-400 comment is easy to comprehend. The average DSLR photographer doesn't need anything more than an SB-400 or possibly an SB-600, he never said it was better just that the SB-900 is more than most photographers need. I've had my SB-400 since January and there is not one situation that I've come to where a bigger flash would've changed anything for me.

    I think far too many of the pro photographers knock on Rockwell, especially when his reviews aren't really for them. He really helps out a lot of average photographers by cutting out the gimmicks of some of the more expensive gear that most people won't even use.
  16. Thank you for your insightful post. It's refreshing to see there are at least a few folks out there in the internet land that understand him, and who he caters to. It amazes me how many folks get so worked up whenever there is a KR thread. If you don't like him, don't read his site. If you do read his site, take what you read with a healthy dose of grains of salt. Even he says this in his bio section. The folks that seem to get their feathers ruffled at everything he says just makes me chuckle a bit. I feel I'm above a beginner, and maybe even above an average photographer, but I have absolutely nothing against the guy, because I understand where he's coming from and who he's really trying to help. If I don't agree with something he says, it's like water off a duck's back. No big deal. I sure as heck ain't gonna start trashing the guy, or get my panties all in a wad.
  17. madone


    Jan 9, 2006
    My thoughts on Ken Rockwell.....

    on second thought, I'll keep it civil.

    His options are worth what I've paid for them....NOTHING

  18. Just at this comment is worth exactly what we paid for it... Just a thought. If you don't like the guy, don't read his stuff. It really is that simple.
  19. Leif


    Feb 12, 2006
    Unfortunately they are worse less than nothing, as they could cost you a lot of money. If you buy an SB400, thinking the other flashes are no better (according to Ken), and then discover that you want to do some off camera flash, you are stuffed. For example:

    "The $470 SB-900 has a tough-to-read screen and a blizzard of menus, while the $185 SB-600 works just as well, does the same thing, and is much easier to set and read. "

    That is not just daft, it is wrong, false, incorrect, half-baked, etc. The SB-600 does not do the same thing. That is not opinion, it is fact. And as for being easier to set, I hate the SB-800 interface, and would love the simple mode switch on the SB-900.

    Ken might be a decent chap, and he is enthusiaastic, but he does write some utter garbage. It is hard to know what to say, but in the spirit of remaining civil, I will just say that he is technically incompetent.
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