Nikon Speedlight SB-500 review

The Nikon Speedlight SB-500 is a compact and simple flashgun with an added constant attraction

Nikon Speedlight SB-500
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

This flashgun runs on two AA batteries and is just about small enough to slip into a coat pocket. It’s Nikon’s most basic Speedlight, with no zoom facility nor a rear info screen and barely any onboard controls, but it packs a decent punch in terms of maximum output. It also features a constant LED lamp with three power levels, handy for close-up stills and video. All things considered, it feels poor value at the price compared with independently manufactured Nikon-dedicated flashguns.


  • +

    Compact and lightweight

  • +

    Additional LED lamp

  • +

    Simple to use for the basics


  • -

    No zoom facility

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    Sparce onboard controls

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    Poor value for money

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Small, simple and basic, the Nikon Speedlight SB-500 is the company’s most entry-level flashgun. It’s designed to fit in with Nikon’s Coolpix compact cameras as well as more up-market cameras with interchangeable lenses. It’s also compatible with the Nikon Creative Lighting System, featuring optical commander/slave modes, although the Commander mode only works with fairly recent cameras.


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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.