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Author Topic: Outdoor flash  (Read 5009 times)

Offline Rick Wilks

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Outdoor flash
« on: January 17, 2010, 01:38:49 AM »
Hi all,

I'm about to buy a flash I can use outdoors for location shoots, I want to use soft boxes and brolleys but I cant decide between buying the sb-600 800 900. I'll be shooting manual on both flash and camera and just want to know if the sb-600 will do the same job in this situation as the 800 or 900. Cost is a big issue to me at the min, from being able to buy the 600 next week and the 900 in a month or so, is it worth waiting and purchasing the better flashes or can I trot of the the camera shop or surf ebay and buy an sb-600 safe in the knowledge it will do just as good a job shooting through soft boxes n brolly's as the more pricey 800 n 900.

I'm sorry if this is a silly question but I'm a complete simpleton when it comes to this sort of thing.  :-\






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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2010, 08:13:51 AM »
Rick,

we've all been or still are simpletons so you do not need to put yourself down like that.
The beauty of this site is people come on to ask for help irrespective of how silly it sounds and yet answers still come forth freely!

So, to the question - which flash?

I'm a Canon user and i think they work slightly differently but i think the principal is the same. The SB800/900 will definitely offer benefits over the SB600 - the question is - do you want those benefits?
Usually wireless control over multiple flash units and a more powerful allowing the subject to be further away from the camera!
Now for the Nikon users to come in and tell you what those benefits are because i only know the benefits of the EX580II over the EX430I & II and EX580I & Ex550! 

Offline Hinfrance

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2010, 08:54:28 AM »
Rick,

As you intend to do more 'creative' exterior shooting you won't be using (I guess, because I never do) any of the fancy or complex flash modes. You'll be using manual on both the camera and the flash(es). So, unless you need stuff like PTTL and high speed strobe flashing you won't need a dedicated gun.

Like you, but from the opposite end as I am a retired old fart, money is a it of an issue. So I use eBay PT-04 radio triggers (those by Godox or Yongnuo are the best in my experience) and non dedicated guns. All the gun needs to do is be manually adjustable. I've got a couple of old Pentax and Cobra guns with limited control, so I usually just move them further away. But Yongnuo do a variable output gun of reasonable power that many over on the strobist group at flickr recommend:  

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300313700590&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

One of these is next on my equipment list. They are available from various sellers there. Stick a couple on stands with umbrellas and you have a portable studio.

If you want more sophisticated wireless transmitter with a longer range and that can also be used as a camera remote then Yongnuo also do a 2.4ghz one, RF-602 (that is the Pentax/Canon reference, but I suspect the Nikon is the same number).

Good hunting.

PS, for a dedicated flash I use a Metz 58AF-1 - the two flash heads make it an excellent choice for close work that looks almost like bare bulb. And it was £100 cheaper than the Pentax gun with the same guide number.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2010, 09:19:30 AM by Tringle WP »
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Offline anglefire

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2010, 09:01:54 AM »
Rick, like Picsfor, I am also a canon man - and I initially bought the bottom end flash gun (420EX) and fairly quickly regretted it and now have bought the 580EXII.

Jonathan can no doubt tell you more of the advantages of the SB900 - but in brief the main performance differences seem to be as follows:

SB600:
Guide number 30
Auto zoom range 24-85mm

SB900
Guide number 48
Auto zoom range 17-200mm
Faster recycle time
3 Different flash patterns

But the SB900 is about £100 more.

I would go for the one that I could afford - which if it means waiting a month, then so be it!
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Offline Graham

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2010, 10:15:20 AM »
    If your going to be using soft boxes, brollies etc. (And I recomend that you do.) bear in mind that they will rob you of some light output, so I would go for the highest power/guide no. that you can as you can never have too much power!
    I'm a fully paid up Nikon snob and am theirfore bound by contract to recomend the SB900. However the new Nissin gun is getting very favourable reviews, has a guide no. of 60 compared to the SB900's 48 and has  fully CLS compatable. Allso it's about £130.00 cheaper.
                      All the best  Graham.


      See here,  http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-nissin-di866-professional-flashgun-nikon-fit/p1031358
« Last Edit: January 17, 2010, 10:16:53 AM by Graham »
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Offline Oldboy

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2010, 10:19:34 AM »
I doubt if you could get an SB800 unless it's secondhand. I have a SB600 and it serves me well, but if you want to control more than one flash then it hasn't got commander mode which the SB800/SB900 have. Some Nikon cameras have inbuilt flash which can be used in commander mode but you need to check your manual. If you are going to use flash a lot then the SB900 is you best bet, and it's also the best flash gun on the market at present.  ;D

Offline Jonathan

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2010, 11:23:47 AM »
Oooo that Nissin looks good.  Review of it here - http://dpanswers.com/content/rev_nissin_di866.php

If you can cope with the flawed FP mode (and they may fix that), a few other quirks and an interface made by Fisher Price then it looks a very good bet.  Build quality is less good than Nikon but most people don't use their flashguns hard ;)

My current "stable" contains 1 X SB900, 2 X SB800 and 1 X SB600.  I've also managed to break an SB800 and SB600 in the past so I have a little familiarity with these guns.

Forget the SB800 - if you can find one it will cost more than an SB900.

SB900
Cons
VERY big.  Like huge.  Almost bigger than big itself.
Doesn't fit lots of flash shoes (the hotshoe is very slightly thicker than that on an SB800 - won't fit many 3rd party shoes or even the Nikon SB800 stand - they supply a different foot for the 900).  FWIW the 600 and 800 are also fractionally different.  Amazingly this is one of my biggest gripes with this gun.  I can't use it with some modifiers I have.
Thermal shutdown is ridiculous.  The sensor is on the top so using it in hot sunshine can causes it to shut down after a dozen full power blasts.  It does this almost without warning and stays off for a while.  You can disable the sensor - but there's no option to make it less conservative.  It's on and twitchy or off (and you really can blow the tube up if you turn it off).
Mine keeps changing channel "all by itself".  Obviously I'm knocking the button by accident but 800/600 don't do that.

SB600
Cons
No sync socket - you can add one with a third party shoe but I never trust those
Completely different control system from both the 800 and 900.  800 and 600 are slightly tricky, 900 is very good.  Using a mixed bag of flash guns is awkward.  Cheers Nikon.  It's like using Canon cameras from 5 years ago.  Every model they changed everything for no good reason.
Won't rotate head past 90 degrees to the right.  It goes 180 to the left and 90 to the right.  This will annoy you more than you can ever imagine.
No built in bounce card.  Meh - bit of velcro and a bit of card and you're done.
No SU-4 mode.  AFAIK "just because" - it has all the parts.  That would save me a bunch of my frustrations with this gun.

IMHO apart from the control interface, the SB800 is the best flash gun Nikon have ever made.  There's a reason they now cost more than the 900s.

If I was you and planned to use it off camera in manual all the time then I'd probably look very hard at the Nissin, then the 900, then the 600.  But depending on the triggers you ue you may find the SB600 very good indeed.

BTW I power of all of them seems to be fine.  Even though Nissin appear to be lying and using it for hype.
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Offline Hinfrance

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2010, 12:54:22 PM »
Listen to the siren voices of the brand slaves if you want, but the Metz has a guide number of 58 (10 more than then SB900) and TWO flash heads that both fire in certain modes.

The 48 is the single headed one with the same guide number as the SB900 and is less than half the price.

But hey, why not buy 10 Yongnuo 460's instead?  :D
« Last Edit: January 17, 2010, 03:09:31 PM by Tringle WP »
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Offline oRGie

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2010, 02:44:54 PM »
Hi Rick,

Interesting feedback, poor you lol...   I'm another canon user, but looks very much like the range of guns availabe are similar and give similar choice decisions.

I bought the 430 for mine, due to being affordable for me at the time (600 equivelant)  I was wishing I had bought the more expensive 580 till I got a camera that can wirelessly control the 430, now I am very happy with the smaller gun and when I can will buy another 430, because, 2 guns give you more options than 1 slightly more powerfull one.

So if you plan to get triggers or your camera can control the 600 off the shoe, I suggest you get the 600, spend the rest of your cash on the brolly/box/stand/triggers and soon enough you will want another 600, because as I said, 2 guns are better than 1 for great lighting setups, especially people shots :)

If money was not an issue or my photography paid for my kit I would get 580's of course.

Nissin & metz do have a good reputation, but personelly I prefer to stick to canon stuff for my kit now.

 :beer:


Offline Graham

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2010, 04:01:59 PM »
Forget the SB800 - if you can find one it will cost more than an SB900.




   Oh good....I've got three! :D

  But their not for sale. ;D
                                     Graham.
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Offline Rick Wilks

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2010, 08:59:35 PM »
Thanks for all the replies guys.. It's given me some options i'd not even considered :)

Awesome site... LOVIN IT!!! :tup:

Offline Rick Wilks

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2010, 05:10:58 PM »
I've found an sb-800 for £250, they do seem to be a rare beast..lol is this an ok price??

Offline Jonathan

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2010, 05:22:54 PM »
Not a bad price ;)  Is that new?  Some people don't know that flashguns wear out.....

BTW for this wedding (http://myweddingstory.co.uk/2010/01/louise-and-anthony-get-married-at-little-silver/) I left the big lights in the car and used only speedlights.  Most of the flash pics use a single SB800 off camera (or on camera....).  High key one uses 2 X SB800 + 1 X SB900 and a Hasselblad.....
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Offline Graham

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2010, 08:40:03 PM »
I've found an sb-800 for £250, they do seem to be a rare beast..lol is this an ok price??

   I've just dug out some receipts.
   
               1st SB800       May  '05      £299.00
               2nd  ,,           Jan   '08      £287.90
               3rd  ,,            Oct  '08      £240.88

    The third one was just when Nikon anounced that they were discontinuing it and they were being snapped up right , left and center.
    So if it's new (as all mine were.) that sound an ok price.
                                 Graham. :)
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Offline Rick Wilks

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Re: Outdoor flash
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2010, 10:32:58 PM »
Hey guys, Thanks for the reply, There is one for £299 that's new but the one at £250 is used. The guys says its less than a year old but doesn't say how hard a life it's had. Is there anyway of telling how many flashes it's had like our camera's actuation's count?? if so how many is bad? if not is there any other telling factors when looking at one? and can they be re-furbed?

I normally don't mind buying used stuff but if this is bad when it comes to flashes I'll have to shell out for a new one  :-\

 

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