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Monday, November 2, 2009

Nikon Speedlight SB-600

Before I buy my Nikon D90, I've heard stories that a dSLR is not harnessing it's full power without an external flash. The major strength of a dSLR is due to the flash ability that's design to work with the camera. Still, an external flash unit is expensive and the cheapest Nikon Speedlight SB-400 still cost RM400.00. However, SB-400 do have limitations and that's the reason it's cheaper. I did my researched and opt for the wait a little longer for this baby. Need to save the money!

Finally! The Nikon Speedlight SB-600 joined the family on 1st November 2009.

The beautiful Nikon Speedlight SB-600 box. Nikon always have the same design for its boxes, but my heart still get all the adrenalin rush when un-packing every one of it. Dreaming of the moment with wide angle =)

The front view. Gorgeous. The left compartment is used to hold 4xAAs battery, followed by remote flash commander signal beside it.

The rear view. Simple, effecient layout and display of all needed information / control. The advantages of the SB-600 is the possibility of tilting and rotation of the flash head. The unit also come with the leg stand.

The pouch that come with the box. Nice and sturdy pouch to store the flash unit.

Alright, I'm a very reasonable and logic man. There is a reason behind every decision I made, and here it goes for the SB-600.

1. Tilt and rotate flash head. 180d left, 90d right, 90d up and the possibilities are endless. Normally at dark environment, we try to avoid splashing the flash directly onto the face, because it create the burst effect same like all compact camera. Instead, we will point the flash upwards (achievable with SB-400) to make use of the bounce flash onto the face and light filling for the surrouding. Then you decided to take some potrait, suddenly oppss, your flash head cannot turn left or right! Yes, SB-400 cannot do that. A step up would be SB-600. You can try to bounce it over a wall, but shadow is not avoidable.

2. Cheap. Nikon Flashspeed SB-600 cost around RM988.00. A step up, SB-800 will easily need you to cough out RM1,698.00, but you wouldn't be able to find it in Nikon website, because it's discontinued. Another step up is SB-900 which cost RM1,888.00. Cost almost double, I'm very poor.

3. Flash Commander Mode (Wireless). It allow the SB-600 to be detached from the camera and act as the remote slave flash. This allow a more creative placement of strobe to highlight the portion that matter. Yes, SB-400 cannot do that. SB-800 and SB-900 allow itself to be as the commander flash. Doubt I will ever use it.

4. The power guide of the SB-600 is 98, which SB-400 and SB-900 is 69 and 131 respectively. I never really understand how the guide number works, but larger number meaning more powerful flash, which can take up further object and compensate with more powerful lighting. Doubling the cost for the SB-900 is not for me. I would prefer to take up wide angle lens with the saving. I've seen many impressive shots with SB-600, so I think I can live with it.

5. No Built-in White Card. Used to diffuse the direct flash with a white card / dome to avoid burst effect on face, more expensive SB-900 had it. Humans are incredible, there are hundred of ways (ok, maybe not that many) to teach you how to DIY the white card. So no issue.

6. Faster Flash Recycle. Less power compare to SB-900 also means faster recycling speed and of course, consuming less battery power, meaning more shots. We will just able to come out with hundred reasons to justfiy our purchase, even if means stupid reason =P Need it to make myself content with SB-600 rather than SB-900.

7. Flash head cannot tilt downwards. SB-900 allow the flash head to be tilted downwards -11d that allow macro shot lighting. I can always detached my flash for this. So save money lo.

8. Zoom range from 14-85mm while SB-900 can manage 14-200mm! Cannot fight la, surrender! I'm just poor!

Conclusion: Nikon Speedlight SB-600 is the smallest, most compact, cheapest and up to my expectations speedlight I can find. Speedlight is very straight forward, more expensive = better. You just have to know where to cut the line to avoid overspending. I will consider the SB-900 when I'm a professional wedding photographer, but not for now and I don't see the reason to have it if you are not professional.

Excited with my new flash, took a few shots as below. Without and with flash for your comparison =)

Take close note on the ISO range. Most of the without flash shots are taken with ISO 1600. I used mostly bounce flash to ceilings, and take note on the shadows eliminated and lower noise level. Incredible. I never bother to take photos at home, because the lighting is not enough and it looks dead with built-in flash. Now, I'm planning for project at home instead =)


Wai said...

the effect from the SB600 is increadible!! wanted this for so long but no mani buy >.<"

KVINLIM said...

you where got possible no money? not willing to spend on this kind of hobby only. But seriously, SB-600 is really awesome. I will take some more photos for you to jealous =)

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