Beginner Flash for nikon
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20-11-09, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Matthew, if you're wanting to learn the ropes of flash as you put it, the SB-400 is probably not for you. The others you mention, the Sigma, and the Metz 36 AF-4N, may be better able to let you learn. The trouble I see with them, though, is that the specifications are difficult to get hold of, the instruction manuals are likely to be vague, and there's relatively few people who have experience with them so you'll find little help in learning to use them.
The SB-400 is, pretty much, a replacement for the inbuilt flash. In many cases, it's not even that. Cameras earlier than the D60 can't use it in any but i-TTL mode (no manual), and it can't do anything unless it's attached to a CLS capable camera's hotshoe. It cannot play any part in an Advanced Wireless Lighting setup. It's great to get the flash further away from the lens, and to have a little more power, and not to have to think too much about it (there's only a power switch on the SB-400) which is the market it was aimed at.
The 3rd party flashes that have been mentioned do i-TTL, but mostly also seem to have some kind of Auto and Manual modes controlled by the flash itself. Some may have inbuilt remote slave cells, but they're certainly not AWL capable. I'm not too sure about what the Sunpak can do. I found a sellers page that said it does D-TTL, meaning that it's not compatible with current cameras, but that may be a mistake.
The SB-600 may not have all of the features of the 3rd party guns - it has no Auto mode, and the inbuilt slave function works only with Advanced Wireless Lighting (AWL). But it can be an AWL slave, which gives it some kind of futureproofing. It can't control anything, but then neither can your D60, so to get an AWL setup you'll need an SB-800, SB-900 or SU-800 to be master/commander over the SB-600, or an upgrade to D90 which can do the commanding itself.
Matthew, if you can get an SB-600 for just £20 more than the Sigma, I'd say you should do that.
Lynne, I think the SB-600 is a good starting point for you. You can do off-camera iTTL flash with it, using your D90 as master. If the money's there, the SB-900 is more powerful, has better zoom coverage, and has more auto modes. As OldBoy said, the SB-800 is hard to find now.
Hope this helps
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