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Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight

Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight

Product Details

A sophisticated flash unit / Special functions with NIKON D2H, D1 and D100 Digital Cameras / Supports up to 3 slave units TTL and Non-TTL Auto Flash (A) with film cameras Intelligent i-TTL system supports Advanced Wireless Lighting, including 3 remote i-TTL Speedlight groups controlled through the master SB-800 D2H and SB-800 wireless lighting system makes operation as simple as an on-camera Speedlight Auto FP High Speed Sync Mode delivers fill flash in bright light as needed FV Lock (Flash Value Lock) allows photographer to change the composition or zoom for the shot, while maintaining desired lighting of the subject Wide-area AF Illuminator covers D2H's 11 AF sensors Compatible with every AF Nikkor lens Power Source - Four 1.5 V (AA-size alkaline), AA (AA-size NiCd) or AA-size lithium batteries, Quick Recycle Battery Pack SD-800 holds a fifth AA - size battery for faster power recycling Dimensions - Width Approximately 2.8 x Height 5.1 x Depth 3.7 inch Weight without batteries - Approximately 12.3 ounces

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Photo.net Review Excerpt

Photography is about creating images with light. For indoor, night, fill light, or certain special effects, using electronic flashes to generate light becomes an important component in modern photography. Nikon’s current flash technology is called i-TTL, and they offer five different external flash options. So far all of those i-TTL flashes have three-digit model numbers in the form of SB-n00 (e.g. SB-600, SB-900 and there is also an SB-R200) while the older, non-i-TTL flashes have two-digit model numbers (e.g. SB-28 and SB-80 DX). Therefore, it is very easy to determine which ones are i-TTL compatible. This article provides a brief history of the evolution of Nikon TTL flash technology and a guide to those five i-TTL flashes.

The intro image demonstrates the size differences amongst the SB-900, SB-800 and SB-600.

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Comments From Review (14)

Sem Svizec , August 12, 2014; 09:04 A.M.

All these speedlights are powered by AA cells, preferably the NiMH type, either the high-capacity self-draining ones or the longer-holding Eneloop or similar. There is the question why flashes haven't moved to Li-ion like cameras.

The running assertion was that Li-ions in the same volume were not good at pulling out juice fast enough for quick recycling; while folks have already been using larger external 3rd-party or DIY Li-ion-based battery packs successfully for fast recycling. 

Now it appears the assertion is false, as Godox made Li-ion powered flashes (V850c, V860c, recently V860n), where a Li-ion cell looking smaller than 4xAA manages to pull out twice as many full-power pops, with faster max recycling time (1.5s), and with the battery not running as hot as standard cells. It will be interesting to see how long it takes canikon speedlights to follow suit. 



Gerry Schnaible , February 13, 2013; 01:59 P.M.


"They WANT people to stop using film cameras and this pushes them that way, whether they want to or not."

Spot on. The impulse marketing is perhaps most prevalent in electronics but if you look at the release of cameras it is the perfect example of what you say.

People are constantly pushed to the "bigger", "better", "more advanced" model all the time. There is something that feels comfortable about equipment that is around long enough to be an extension of yourself. Truth be known  there is a very, very small number of people that use even 10% of the capabilities whether it is a blu-ray player or the DXXX fill in the name.

I became really aware of this while in a discussion about a photograph and the other party said well send the EXIF data so we can see whether it was you or the product. The photo was shot about 20 years prior to the EXIF age. Totally blew me away as I had never even considered EXIF as any thing other than a "nifty" gadget. LOL

Patrick S , February 11, 2013; 11:19 A.M.

I don't know that something being "no longer popular" is a basis for a marketing decision. Most cameras sold now are indeed digital, but I'm betting Nikon didn't drop flash support for film cameras because they felt people weren't using them. They WANT people to stop using film cameras and this pushes them that way, whether they want to or not.

Shun Cheung , January 19, 2013; 10:28 A.M.

With the introduction of the SB-700 and SB-910, replacing the SB-600 and SB-900, respectively, the updated "family portrait" of the flashes looks like this:

The SB-910 is very similar to the SB-900 but handles the overheat issue better. The SB-700 is actually a little larger than the SB-800, and unlike the SB-600, the SB-700 can be a CLS master. The SB-700 also has SB-900-style controls so that it is much easier to use, but the cost goes up.


On the Nikon Forum, we have a new thread on the Nikon flash battery packs: Nikon SD-8A and SD-9 Compatibility with SB-800, 900, and 910

Steven Seelig , January 16, 2011; 10:28 P.M.


For the Nikon TTL of today, do the monitor the whole field of view for light returned or if you are on spot exposure metering does it only measure the light at the spot where you are measuring from? 


Shun Cheung , October 31, 2010; 04:57 A.M.

There are very good reasons that serious photographers dismiss the SB-400. See this discussion on the Nikon Forum: http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00WRQr


And yes, the flash "extension cords" are SC-28 and SC-29. There is also an SC-17 that is now discontinued.


Moreover, in the fall of 2010, Nikon has added a new SB-700 flash that is a mini SB-900 with some of the same new features such as color gel filters and an improved user interface menu.

Lonnie Howard , February 25, 2010; 12:27 P.M.

Thank you for the excellent and helpful article. Minor typo: 'flash “extension cord” such as the SB-28 and SB-29' should be SC-28 and SC-29. 8^)

Sevad Strapotua , November 04, 2009; 04:59 A.M.

You dismissed the SB-400 rather too easily. In fact,it will do most of the things the more expensive flashes will do but in a smaller package - and that means you're far more likely to have it in your camera bag. It's great for fill-in flash for outdoor portraits when you hardly even notice it on the camera unlike some of the bigger flashes which make a DSLR feel top heavy. With its bounce capability it's also perfect for many indoor shots in the landscape orientation.

It's true that it can't be bounced off the ceiling in portrait orientation but it can be bounced off a wall and that often creates more interesting lighting anyway. You can also slot a filing card into the gap between the body and the flash tube to direct a little flash at the subject to help fill in any shadows caused by the main bounce flash. Overall, it's a lightweight, portable, versatile and effective flash that will handle most jobs most of the time. Only if you have a need to bounce off the ceiling in portrait orientation, require more power (i.e. if you're shooting in a room with a very high ceiling) or need to set up more than one flash should you consider one of the more expensive and bigger flashguns. For a multiple flash set up, it's also possible just to use some sort of slave trigger on a non-Nikon flash - you don't need the most expensive just because it's available.

Theodore R. Swantek , October 15, 2009; 10:36 P.M.

I am still confused, the SU-800 is approx. $80 or so cheaper than the SB-800. I do not intend to use either as a commander. Would the SU-800 perform as well as the SB unit? Camera is the Nikon D300

Roger Smith , June 18, 2009; 02:17 P.M.

I bought the SB 80 DX and was frustrated with how it wouldn't securely mount onto an umbrella stand adapter. Recently I heard on Strobist about a new adapter offered by flashzebra.com. I bought two and they work quite well to connect my flash to a tripod and lightstand. http://flashzebra.com/products/0137/index.shtml

James Naka , May 15, 2009; 04:30 A.M.

Kudos and Bravo to you. Such a detail and comprehensive guide to Nikon DSLR Camera TTL Flashes. I really need some time to digest and understanding it :) .

Bill Nelson , May 07, 2009; 01:06 P.M.

Excellent article. Just purchased the sb-900 as the sb-800 is out of production. Works great except for the overheating. Was shooting a wedding and it locked up on me even though I thought I had turned off the temp sensor. Other than that this is a great flash. The menu is very easy to access and read. Can't say the same for the sb-600. Is there some other way to turn it off?

bill parney , February 23, 2009; 06:16 A.M.

I just want to add that there is a great article about how to set up the diffirent Nikon flashes and cameras at http://www.momentcorp.com/review/wirelessflash.html I found this article really helpfull:)

Michael Ellis , December 22, 2008; 04:22 A.M.

Hi Shun,

Thanks for the article which I have found very helpful. I basically 'did a mad one' and plunged into DSLR with my purchase of a D700 and a SB-800 flash. Of all the mysteries I have encountered the 'cryptic' flash menu system is the greatest one and their manual is almost as 'cryptic'. Your clarification will go some way in my journey of knowledge.

Thank you.