SB-900 or SU-800 & SB-600?

Joined
Jun 29, 2007
Messages
6,943
Location
Salt Lake City, Utah
I have two SB-600s and have been happy so far with the D700's built-in commander when using off camera flash. I want to add another flash for more creativity and am considering a more powerful flash as well. I just can't figure out if I am better off with an SB-900 or another SB-600 with an SU-800. Can anyone offer any practical advice?

Thanks for the help!

Mike
 
Joined
May 14, 2006
Messages
192
Location
Netherlands
IMO ypu're better of with a SU800 and another SB600

It will give you even more room for a creative light set up, while if you need a stronger of camera light source (eg when shooting with an umbrella) just shoot with two SB600's rather then only one SB900.

Only real life advantage of the SB900 over the SB600 is the possibility of an extra batterypack when doing heavy duty shooting (but then the SB900 might over heat)
 
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
4,638
Location
Orlando, FL
A big advantage of the SB900 is its ability to zoom to 200 mm. This has distinct creative benefits compared to the SB600. Also, using it as a Commander is sometimes more flexible than the SU800, especially if the remotes are behind you. I do like the SU800 but it is better used with Pocketwizard radio triggers if you are using it outdoors.
 
Joined
May 16, 2009
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1,575
Location
Downey, CA
Some people would say that a flash as an on-camera commander is a waste, but I would say that given the ability to point the commander at your remote(s), which the SU-800 can't do, or bounce the trigger pulse off surfaces to get "hidden" flashes to trigger is important enough to justify the option. BTW, I've also been able to use the SB-700 in similar fashion whenever I don't need 3 groups (it supports 2), and it works fairly well -- so add that to your trade space.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2008
Messages
186
Location
London UK
Another vote for the SB 900 but it's going to depend on your own personal use. I do use the SB 900 on top of the camera from time to time and the extra power and reach (200mm zoom) can come in very useful. It's also a powerful tool off camera as well. I find myself using it through soft-boxes etc and the extra punch over an SB 600 means I can use a lot of diffusion and still have a decent amount of light hit my subject. I find the SB 600 I own cannot, in certain situations, get enough soft light to my subject. So it's works more as a rim light or secondary light to the SB900. Having the option to use the bigger SB900 is for me at least preferable to another more limited SB600.

On the down side I have to rely on the pop up flash on my D300 to fire the CLS system when my SB900 and SB800 are off camera. It works fine nine times out of ten but occasionally I find I could have benefit from the dedicated trigger. On a D3 I would need to put back either the SB800 or 900 back on the camera to use CLS. So I guess I need another SB900 AND an SU-800 :rolleyes:
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2009
Messages
106
Location
The Land of Hockey- bottom left corner
I have two SB-600s and have been happy so far with the D700's built-in commander when using off camera flash. I want to add another flash for more creativity and am considering a more powerful flash as well. I just can't figure out if I am better off with an SB-900 or another SB-600 with an SU-800. Can anyone offer any practical advice?

Thanks for the help!

Mike
While the built-in flash is nice for a commander, the signal will always be broadcast in front of the camera. If you need to do anything more creative w/ your lighting, you'll run into obstacles. The small power won't give you much range outdoors in bright environments either.

SB-600 will not add more power than you already have (per unit) and it alsocannot be used as a commander.

SU-800 won't add another flash.

SB-900 is the big daddy and will give you pretty much everything you need.

SB-700 is a good budget conscious alternative. Slightly more power than the 600 and it can be used as a commander.
 

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