photoboy8 2:27am, 10 April 2012
I'm thinking about purchasing a new speedlite for use with my D300s while shooting weddings. I own a few AB's and sb-28's but I'd like to purchase a ttl light for the upcoming wedding season. The speedlite would be used primarily on camera but I'd also like the option to use it off camera and triggered with my d300's built in slave. I'd like to keep it under or around $300 used which I think gives me three options the 600, 700, or 800. any suggestions? anybody with experience shooting weddings...
zemlinphoto.com PRO 6 years ago
I'd say SB800, SB600, SB700 - in that order.
The SB700 is the lowest powered of the three. It has some better features than the SB600, but if you don't plan to use it as the commander, then power matters.

The SB800 is a great light - if you can find a good one for under $300, do it.
vfk Posted 6 years ago. Edited by vfk (member) 6 years ago
Yes, if you can find an SB800... get it.

The SB800 allows for external power pack like the SD-8a for extremely quick recycle. Very handy for spontaneous moments like the bouquet toss (I've been able to shoot the bouquet 4 times mid air). The added power allows for bounce lighting in diffusers (I like Demb) or fill in shadows in strong sunlight.

The more expensive SB900/910 also comes with thermal protection to keep you from overheating your flash.

What ever flash you choose, you might want a second flash as backup. This will enable you to swap out the flash to cool down while the second one carries on. Weddings will not slow down for an overheated flash.
AndyLinn* PRO 6 years ago
Both SB800 & SB900 have been stopped.

You can trigger the remote flashes (SB900, 800, 700) remotely with your buit-in flash & enjoy full i-TTL. Make good use of the supplied CT filters.
vfk 6 years ago
The SB900 was just discontinued, but there may be some stock at retailers. Adorama has them....
www.adorama.com/NKSB900AF.html

You can save $75 compared to the improved SB 910.
Mr. Speedlight 6 years ago
The speedlite would be used primarily on camera but I'd also like the option to use it off camera and triggered with my d300's built in slave.

One caution regarding the D300s' pop up as a commander or master. The pop up can lock the shutter on your camera to protect itself from over heating. The first time it happens you'd probably think it's a malfunction of the camera, no, it's a feature.

Another point is the pop has useful but limited range out doors. An SB-700 has a lot more range as a commander or master than the pop up and it can be aimed at the remote when it's used as a commander.

The 700 also has a very fast recycle time. Its light and compact and is a good workhorse.

when I compared my SB-700 and SB-800 for size and weight I was surprised to fine they are almost identical in both ways.

You may want to consider the light patterns from these speedlights. The SB-700 is kind of ugly at the long end while is pretty smoother at the short end. The SB-800 is center hot at the short end while it's better at the long end. From test shown by an SB-900 or SB-910 owner these units with their larger flash heads are good at both ends.

If I were buying now I'd be getting the SB-910. If you are shooting weddings you really need two units and I would not be looking for bargains.

Dave Hartman
photoboy8 6 years ago
woops sorry I meant to say I wanted to use pop up flash as a commander unit on occasion not as a slave. The 800 is what I was leaning towards. I used to have a sb-600. It was decent for it's ease of use but a little too weak. Recycle time would be nice on the 700. maybe I'll try a 800 and a 700 for speed. Thanks guys!
Rangefindergeneral 6 years ago
Just don't bother with the SB600 its fragile and menu just sucks....

SB800 best flash nikon have made...
Alfredk PRO 6 years ago
The SB700 is a great flash for the money, look no further!
Great controls and I have yet to find it not powerful enough for what I do!
ImagesbyEduardo.com PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by ImagesbyEduardo.com (member) 6 years ago
I agree with the recommendations for the SB-700. It's a good starter flash. I also agree that if you're shooting weddings, you will want at least one more reliable flash. You will want it for backup, and you will want it for those times when you have to use two lights. Think of the reception, one flash on-camera, bounced, the other on a stand, strategically placed to light key portions of the room. Most strobist wedding photogs will have two stands with two off-camera strobes for those situations, then use them in a variety of cross patterns or back-lit patterns. Pretty cool results. Of course, try all that first way before the big day.
vfk 6 years ago
Yes, I had a brand new SB800 dropped test from a table to a concrete floor. Popped the batteries back in and it's like nothing happened. No, I do not plan to repeat the test.

To really experience the SB800, get the SD-8a. Powered by 11 cells, it's no match against the SB700.

Yes, the larger SB900/910 has additional motors to help concentrate the light pattern for greater distances that the other flash don't. It's worth the premium.
vfk 6 years ago
Here's a question....

How long does it take for the built-in pop up flash to recycle before your next shot to trigger the wireless flash? 2 seconds? 5 seconds? Do some tests...

If you think it's too slow, you need to get an external flash to trigger the other flashes wirelessly.
BobPetUK PRO 6 years ago
You can't go wrong with the SB-800 and the SB-900 from my experience. I'm sure there are plenty to be had from eBay - both new and used. They're tough and reliable
Groups Beta