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problems with new Nikon SB-900 speedlight flash

LeAnne Ash , Sep 16, 2008; 04:01 p.m.

i just recently purchased the new Nikon SB-900 speedlight. it is not all it is cracked up to be. Yes, it has faster recycle time than the SB-800. But my main problem with it is that after only about an hour and a half the speedlight goes into thermal freak out mode (what i like to call it) where it shuts down so it can cool off. Being a wedding photographer, this allows me to take the getting ready photos and then in the middle of the ceremony it goes into this mode. Even after letting cool for the recommended 10 minutes, after only taking a few more pictures it goes into safe mode again so i can't shoot with it. This doesn't really work out too well for a wedding photographer. i'm not shooting in continous mode, i'm not shooting an over abundance of pictures per second or per minute for that matter. just shooting as things happen. i've spoken with nikon several times and i guess that is just the way the flash is. has anyone turned the thermal safe mode feature off? the reason it is there is to help prevent users from burning up their flash as i guess a lot of people have done with their SB-800's (i've never done that). i'm wondering if i turned it off if i am putting my flash and camera at risk. or can i really only shoot with it for an hour and a half? thanks.


Shun Cheung , Sep 16, 2008; 04:09 p.m.

There are reasons that Nikon put the thermostat inside the SB-900. If you switch off that function, you run the risk of overheating and shorting the life of your flash. I think wedding photographers who take a lot of flash shots in quick succession should alternate between 2 or even 3 (groups of) flashes. For example, make it a habit to change your camera battery, memory card and flash just before the main ceremony. If you shoot formals with a flash, perhaps change flashes again. As a wedding pro, you really should have multiple flashes as a backup anyway.

Elliot Bernstein , Sep 16, 2008; 04:15 p.m.

Shun, can that function be switched off by the user?

LeAnne, how do you like the flash? I just got one today.

Shun Cheung , Sep 16, 2008; 04:22 p.m.

The "thermo cut out" capability can be switched on and off. See page C-24 of the SB-900 manual. Again, if you switch it off, you are doing so at your SB-900's risk. But then, a lot of us have never fried any SB-800.

Errol Young - Toronto, ON, CA , Sep 16, 2008; 04:42 p.m.

Same thing happened to me with my 800 but I do not think that it has the thermal safety thing. I got a 600 to relieve it when I shoot my dance theatre job. It seems the 600 does not overheat as much.

The manual says that these things are not made to cycle continuously. Some how I was disappointed. I though a pro device like this should be able to do this kind of thing but it cannot.

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