TTL Flash recommendations

Joined
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I used to shoot weddings back in the "olden" days. I've still got my Sunpack 611 with the big belt-mounted battery and a shoe-mounted sensor. But I get tired of lugging all that stuff around when I just want a few lighted pics at a family gathering like Christmas or birthday celebrations. I'm toying with the idea of a shoe-mounted flash. In reading about it, I've noticed overheating problems with the SB-900 are mentioned frequently. Has that problem been corrected yet? Is the SB-600 a pretty decent flash? A friend of mine just purchased a Sigma EF-610 DG Super and is really pleased with it..........mentioning he'd been interested in the SB-600, but the Sigma was so much more flash for the same price. I'm at a total loss. Any recommendations? :confused:
 
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I'd stay away from the Sigma for four reasons: Reliability, durability, sample deviation, and no assurance of long-term compatibility.

I think the "sweet spot" in Nikon Speedlights right now is the SB-700. Great user interface, smaller than the SB-900 and so far no horror stories about overheating.
 
Joined
May 14, 2006
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SB600 is indeed a very decent little flash, though lately secondhand prices seem a bit steep, to to speak of the prices for brand new units I've seen where I live (over Eur 300)

SB 700 seems very nice, but if you only need a little flash to beep in some extra light every now and then when it's too much for the pop-up flash ( if your camera has one) you might consider the SB400. Little, relatively cheap, TLL. I always have one with me with my tag-a-long D70s (also an somewhat underestimated little gem IMHO)
 
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The overheating problems with the SB900 are more a function of the thermal protection 'feature' which is easily disabled. Since doing so, I have had no more problems with mine. If all you need is a flash for family gatherings etc,, then the SB600 (or even the SB400 which I would not recommend for serious flash work) will certainly suffice.
 
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This thread has been enlightening, to say the least. I have my Sunpak 611 for "serious" flash work. While I was originally talking about the SB-900, I've come to realize that's way more flash than I need for what little I do with one any more. Just wanted something quick and easy.........but with more "oomph" than the on-board flash. Didn't even know the SB-400 existed, and for the specific type of flash photography I'm talking about, it might be a pretty good solution. Just need something for a quick shot of my Dad opening a Christmas present, or of my fiancee sneaking another cookie from the tray! :biggrin: I'm sure the SB-600 would be super..........but probably more than I'm really wanting to mess with. Years ago I had what I called a little "cigarette pack" strobe that mounted in the hot-shoe. It pretty much did what I needed in those situations...........except it wouldn't tilt for bouncing off the ceiling like the SB-400. Sure would like to mess around with one for an afternoon, but don't know anyone who has one.

Thanks for all the suggestions. Very helpful.
 
Joined
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Luis Casals
Chris,

I have been looking for a flash for quite sometime and decided to pull the trigger with one and got a SB-700 today. Now I need to learn how to use it. But that is another story.

Just FYI - I hear a lot of good things with the SB-600. Brand new it was selling for about 225USD and just a few days ago, I saw someone locally selling one for 150USD.
 
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Thanks for the comments, Luis. Guess I'll toss the flash on the back-burner for a while. Will probably get the SB700, just like you, when the time comes. Just don't know when that will be....................too many irons on the fire right now.
 
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Thanks for the comments, Luis. Guess I'll toss the flash on the back-burner for a while. Will probably get the SB700, just like you, when the time comes. Just don't know when that will be....................too many irons on the fire right now.

You will not regret it. Just be prepared to stay up all night taking shots. That is what happened to me last night. Well, the first 20 minutes I spent trying to figure out how to use it remotely. To then find out that I had to have the on camera flash open. LOL.... Oh well, live and learn. I am loving it.

Here are some of the first shots last night. Yes, the dog was the model... I am posting them as they were taken. They can be better but not bad for my first time using a flash. :)

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Joined
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The SB-400 is better than the onboard flash b/c it has more power, but it really is limited. The SB-600/700 I think would be much better, if only for the ability to tilt/swivel in whatever orientation your camera is in. Plus, the light is just that much further above the camera, reducing the chance of red-eye if you have to use straight on flash. The SB-400 isn't any better in that regards than the camera's own flash.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2009
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Texas!
I've recommended Metz (mfr'd in Germany, making strobes since 1952) several times. Owning a 611, you probably remember the Metz 45 and 60 'potato mashers.' They were (and are) high-quality units.

The Metz 50 AF-1 for Nikon is $230, $100 less than the SB-700, and it's a high-quality product. For me, the bells and whistles of the SB-700 aren't worth the difference, while the Metz, imo and experience, is a more reliable and consistent product than the Sigma, and firmware updating via USB should overcome concerns about future compatibility.

I have no connection with Metz or their importer other than being a satisfied customer, although that I was able to score my as-new Metz 48 (predecessor of the 50) for $100 on the big auction site influences my preferences.

hth,
 
Joined
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Thanks, Larry. Of course I'm familiar with the "Potato Masher". Great strobe light from the past. Not all that different from my Sunpack 611. I always lusted after the Metz line...........just couldn't afford them. Honestly didn't know they were still in business, as I'd not seen anyone use them in recent years. I'll consider the 50 AF-1 when I get down to actually purchasing a strobe. Thanks again.
 
Joined
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Houston, TX
I put away my lumidyne manual flash system after many years of weddings and in 1998 we not only went 100% digital but we started using the SB-24 Nikon Speed-lights. When the SB-800 came out we went to what I consider the best Speed-light Nikon ever made. My studio now has eight SB-800 Speed-lights and I wish they were still made. I now have been replacing the SB-800’s with the SB-900’s. As others have said if you turn the temp gauge off it does not shut down as it did when they first came out. If you are going to shoot weddings the SB-900 will not only shoot TTL but it can be used in the Auto mode which works very well.
 
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Thanks for the recommendations, Wayne. I quit shooting weddings back in about 1996. Only need a flash for occasional family gatherings...........you know.............Christmas, Thanksgiving and birthdays. I think the SB700 would probably be way more than I need, but seems as if its probably the only option in the Nikon line.
 
Joined
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I'd stay away from the Sigma for four reasons: Reliability, durability, sample deviation, and no assurance of long-term compatibility.

I think the "sweet spot" in Nikon Speedlights right now is the SB-700. Great user interface, smaller than the SB-900 and so far no horror stories about overheating.

Over on Dgrin Ziggy53 Highly recommends the Sigma's (the EF-530DG SUPER: discontinued and the EF - 610 DG SUPER)...He has used them(530 Super) extensively for quite sometime and says they are very hardy workhorses....he shoots professionally so they have to be reliable.

I have found his research to be impeccable.........
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
1,379
Location
WICHITA, KS
I put away my lumidyne manual flash system after many years of weddings and in 1998 we not only went 100% digital but we started using the SB-24 Nikon Speed-lights. When the SB-800 came out we went to what I consider the best Speed-light Nikon ever made. My studio now has eight SB-800 Speed-lights and I wish they were still made. I now have been replacing the SB-800’s with the SB-900’s. As others have said if you turn the temp gauge off it does not shut down as it did when they first came out. If you are going to shoot weddings the SB-900 will not only shoot TTL but it can be used in the Auto mode which works very well.

Do you use Rechargable AA's or a battery Pack?? What brand??

I have 2 SB 900's as i have gotten tired of the size of my Sunpak 622's and quantum batteries.....
 
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
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26
Location
Minneapolis, MN
Yes - get a better flash that has tilt and swivel, like SB600,800,700,900. As an addition, get a simple diffuser. And then finally think about ways to get the flash off your camera, either with commander mode (D200, D300) or with remote triggers like Pocket Wizards or Cyber Syncs. As soon as the flash gets off the camera, a whole new world is opened up.

Good luck.
 

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