Flash Purchase Advice?

turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
edited June 2015 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Thanks again to everyone for your advice on replacing my gear. I ended up with the D7100, 18-55, 55-3300, and the 50 mm AIS. I still have to replace the 35 mm 1.8G, but may have to wait a bit to have the necessary cash on hand. In the interim, I also have to replace my flash -- which is the question I am posing here.

I use flash rarely. Mostly just for taking pix of family indoors from time-to-time, and on the occasional tour of a museum or interesting old house. This said, I of course regretted on the first day that I had my new gear that I didn't have a flash as I was a bit far back at my daughter's school closing ceremony and ended up with some shots that were much darker than they would have been if I'd had something other than the on camera flash availble to me.

My old flash was an SB-400 and it seemed to do the trick, although I sometimes thought a bit more oomph might've been helpful. So the question on the table is whether to replace it with a used SB-400, an SB-500, or whether there's a strong case to be made for something more powerful. If the latter, and keeping in mind that I'm cash poor right now, does anyone have a strong 3rd party recommendation? I've searched the forum and find lots of thoughts re complex flash setups, but not much re single flash users.

Thanks in advance!


  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,291Member
    Go for the SB-500 new or consider a used SB-800 or SB-910 if you can find them. You did not say what your budget was?
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Thanks. I am not sure what my budget will turn out to be. Lots of moving pieces, but I can't imagine going much above $250. Looks like that might get me a used SB-700; it also happens to be the price of the SB-500.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    How about the Yongnuo with TTL its under $105.00
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    How about just bumping the ISO? Some of the situations you mention aren't flash friendly anyway. You can spend the $$ on DxO's optics pro with PRIME noise reduction. You can gain 3-4 stops that way.

    You should have kept your SB400 @-)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,427Moderator
    edited June 2015
    I thought the SB400 was all I needed until I got the SB700's. I really think they are the best compromise for power/price/functionality personally. Enough power to fill a room .
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    I am now using a Nissin i40. It is professional construction, as powerful as an SB700, lighter than an DB500 with a straightforward interface. Also takes 4 (the SB500 takes 2) batteries. B & H has them. $ 269 I think.

    I liked it so much that I bought versions for Sony and Fuji as well.

    .. H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    +1 to ironheart...don't get me wrong there are situations that need a larger flash. But you can't use them in museums and really for indoor lighting without proper setup for something like interiors you aren't going to get great results with any flash. At the ceremony you should have bumped the ISO like iron said...a flash isn't going to help you unless you were close enough and really most events frown on using a large flash like that. If you weren't within a 100ft or so though it wouldn't have done you any good. I still on occasion use my SB400, but for a larger room, church or building you need more power. Don't just buy something to buy something though...I would mess around. The worst time to learn is as the things are happening. I shot some pictures when my wife got her masters degree and was super disappointed...I was learning as I was there. I know better now and should have bumped the ISO up...because a grainy picture beats a blurred picture any day. AUTO ISO is your friend in situations like that.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,530Member
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,427Moderator
    but for a larger room, church or building you need more power. ...because a grainy picture beats a blurred picture any day. AUTO ISO is your friend in situations like that.
    There is lots to learn about flash - HSS, hi ISO, auto ISO, etc. etc. Have fun!
    Always learning.
  • SportsSports Posts: 365Member
    It looks like the Yongnuo suggested by @Vipmediastar_JZ is exactly the powerful budget flash that was requested. Yongnuo's reputation is pretty good, as far as I know, and they've been around for quite a while.
    D300, J1
    Sigma 70-200/2.8, 105/2.8
    Nikon 50/1.4G, 18-200, 80-400G
    1 10-30, 30-110
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Thanks, all! I definitely will check out both the Yonguno and Nissin. The former definitely wins the price war. The latter seems to have better reviews, but cost more than twice as much. As my main purpose is indoor snaps of my kids, either should do the trick. Although I should try to learn about fill flash outdoors, right? And then maybe more elaborate use indoors, and then . . . ;)

    BTW, I think I wasn't clear enough about the closing ceremony shots. Many came out pretty well thanks to Auto ISO, but some are dark and others blurry. And I wasn't too far back (20-30 yards), so I think any of the higher-powered flashes we are discussing might have helped. Although the ceiling was very high, so bouncing might not have worked . . .

    Thanks again.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    @turnthedarncranks will you be using TTL or strickly manual? if Strickly Manual I have to more suggestions. Otherwise my previous suggestion is what I have in the bag.
  • RyukyuRyukyu Posts: 30Member
    edited June 2015
    The Yongnuo 568EX that @Vipmediastar_JZ is talking about also enables high speed sync.
    I have a 560 III that works great, but is manual only, and can't do HSS. Works great and is fun to play around with. It has a built-in radio receiver and you can't beat it for $70.
    For off camera flash, I also go the YN 560-TX that triggers the flash and allows remote zoom and power adjustments.
    Post edited by Ryukyu on
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    Yeah thats the one I was going to recommend. with the YN-622N you can use it to remotely trigger the flash and as AF assist beam for when there is low light.

    I was going to also recommend the Godox/adoroma Flashpoint ZoomLion version for 100.00 I have no experience with it but I do with its bigger bare bulb brother. They are manual and have great battery life and recycle time.

    I now use flash in manual and TTL in events that are time sensitive.
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