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Suitable Flash

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Andyc, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. Andyc


    Nov 6, 2006
    South Wales UK
    I'm building my kit up a piece at a time and am now thinking about buying a flash. Although never having used flash other than when the built in pops up I am considering the SB600 but wondered if this is too good to start with or, would be ideal to learn on.
    I would appreciate any views.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. why wouldn't it be good to learn on? It's doing more (and better) things than the old Sb-28's did back in the day - with a little less power. It's a great little flash!
  3. Cope


    Apr 5, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Either the Sb-600 or SB-800 (my choice) will be fine. The Nikon CLS is part of what you pay for when you buy Nikon, and you don't need to start out with anything less than one of these two.
  4. Hi, Andy! The sb600 would work just fine on-camera, but you wouldn't be able to use it wirelessly off-camera without buying other bits and pieces, as the d50's internal flash cannot be used in Commander mode. Here's a thread that addresses what you'd need to make the d50 and sb800 work in wireless mode.


    The sb800 is quite a bit more expensive, but it has a slave mode, so it can be triggered by the d50's internal flash. The sb800 can also be used as a Commander should you decide to add more flashes later on.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  5. chemisti


    May 24, 2007
    McKinney, TX
  6. Although I own an SB-800 I find I do most of my flash photography with my SB-26s and that's in spite of the fact that I have a D-80 which can do CLS with it's pop up, something your D-50 can't. If you're on a budget and want to get into multiple, off-camera flash photography you should be aware that you can get a couple of older, used flashes like the SB-24,25,26,28 series, a pair of light stands, light modifiers, some Chinese radio triggers, etc. all for about the price of one SB-800.

    Granted, you won't have iTTL, but you will find that the on-board flash sensor of these older flashes, used in Auto mode, will do a good job in most cases when you need a more powerful on-board flash than your pop up. And you may be amazed at some of your images once you get into multi, off camera, flash photography. Read the Strobist.com Lighting 101 for lots of good information on this subject.

    Something to think about, anyhow, before you plunk down a wad of money for an SB-800.
  7. chemisti


    May 24, 2007
    McKinney, TX
    If I was purchasing my first flash, I would strongly consider an SB-600 or SB-800 - both of which can be used off camera with some extra hardware. You then have the ability to use it off camera in manual mode (with your body) or on camera in a variety of ways. These units give you a ton of versatility.

    IMHO - you then have a decision to make.
    (1) Do I want to use (and pay for) Nikon CLS capability? If CLS is important to you, then you would continue to expand your equipment using Nikon CLS equipment.
    (2) If CLS is not important to you (it's not to me - not knocking it, just didn't want to pay for it...) then you have many other options. Your main criteria must be the ability to manually adjust zoom and power settings and a method to trigger the flash. A variety of common flashes can do this - some of which also have some built-in slaves. The most common in use on the Strobist Flickr site are the older SB-24 and SB-26 (as Bob W suggests above - but the very popularity of the Strobist following has caused prices on Ebay to double in the past year...), the very common and reliable Vivitar 285's (came with variable control) and 283 (can add variable control with Vari-power module), and some of the Sunpak units.

    I chose the latter path because:
    1. My first flash could be used in many ways.
    2. I believed that the Nikon CLS system was limited.
    3. For the cost of a second CLS flash, I could purchase and entire light setup using an alternative flash (flash, umbrella, stand, triggering device, cables).
    4. Personal belief that I would learn much more about photography by learning to flash in manual mode.

    NOTE: My view is from the vantage point of a hobbiest. A Professional might look at this value/capability equation differently...

    Good luck
  8. If you think future, you would suck it up and buy the SB800 for its feature rich capabilities. Later if you want a second flash the SB600 might be the way to go. The wireless capability of the SB800/SB600 are what flash is all about. I would start with the best.

  9. yeah, I know, but this is their first flash, and off camera stuff should be the last thing on their mine esp since they own a D50 that can't do it anyway without either a SU-800 (overpriced in this cas) and or a SB800 and another SB800 or 600.

    So inorder for them to use the nikon system off camera they would have to buy at least another flash or controller anyway.

    Sure the 800 can do a little more, however it does it at a price of being a little more expensive and a little more confusing to use. There have been a few sites and reviews that have said that it's not worth it unless you know for sure (which the op doesn't) that this is the flash for you.

    I'm not sure if I'm sold on the nikon wireless system. It seems expensive to get more than a few lights, and for that money a person could step up into some lowerend studio lights - which would give more power, more attachments, and more power.

    But in short, I think that the only reason to bring up cls to a new person is if you're a sales person at a store trying to sell them something. On a D50 (again) they would need at least another flash to get true "off camera" lights, and this would double the cost of the whole system. If they wanted off camera, it would be easier to get some cheap radio triggers (or even a big cord) and do it that way.
  10. You're welcome to your opinion, Andrew. Personally, I think CLS is fabulous... and that it enriches Nikon's offerings tremendously. If you have a d70 or 80, you can buy a pair of sb600s, and have portability and near studio capabilities for under $400. The only problems arise with the entry level cameras that don't have internal flashes that can be used in Commander mode. Buying a $200 SB600 and hanging $20 worth of stuff on it so it can be used as a manual wireless remote doesn't make sense. If that's all you need, you can buy a $50 slave that's ready to go.


    But, as I understand it, any Nikon iTTL camera can be used in full fledged CLS mode if you put an SB800 or an SU800 in the camera's hotshoe and use it as the Commander. I wouldn't recommend the SB800 to everyone, but since Andy has expressed an interest in the Strobist approach, I didn't think it was out of line.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2007
  11. Andyc


    Nov 6, 2006
    South Wales UK
    Thank you guys for your advice and comments.
    I think I am still a very long way from needing or being able to fully use the abilities of the SB800. It looks as if the SB600 will suit me fine. If I really get swept away by this hobby I can imagine getting myself a second camera, possibly a D80. The SB600 would seem good enough for that as well.
    Again I am much obliged for your time.
    Best regards
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