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Best flash for D90

Sean Breadsell , Dec 15, 2008; 08:13 a.m.

I have read many forums regarding the best flash for a D90 and get varying answers but I am still lost to which flash should I purchase.
Some peoples say that the SB-800 was what they could afford and it works fine, and thats good I accept those comments, some say the SB-600 is all I need, again good and thanks. A lot of peoples say no the SB-900 is rediculously priced, hey isn't everything now days haha...but thats also fine I have appreciated all the comments.
But $$$ aside, what differences am I REALISTICALLY going to see between all these 3 flash systems on my D90. Is it worth paying the extra few bucks and getting a SB-900?
I have absolutely no idea how to set it up remotely off camera, not having one to play around with doesnt help I guess...but is it easy enough to work out?
Cheers, and keep up the good work evveryone, I love reading these forums.....thanks in advance!


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Hector Javkin , Dec 15, 2008; 09:26 a.m.

It would help to know what kind of photography you do, whether you have older Nikons, why you bought the D90, and whether you consider a large flash inconvenient. (For example, if you decided to get the D90 rather than the D300 because the D90 is smaller, you might hate the SB-900, which is really big.)

You should look at http://www.bythom.com/index.htm . He reviews the SB-900 somewhere on his site, and he knows Nikon equipment very well.

Sean Breadsell , Dec 15, 2008; 09:49 a.m.

that's a very good point...
i am fairly new to the DSLR scene infact its been less than a year, i used to use point n shoot and did it just for fun. Then i moved onto an Olympus E-510 lovely camera, not so good in low light i found, the Nikon shines here even with the kit lenses and on camera flash.
i do a little wedding photography (trying to avoid it though) and portraits but probably more to the point i am starting to get invloved with fashion photography. I have a few model shoots setup TFP and have even acquired the uses of one of Perth's top models as my stylist so all very exciting.
i generally shoot outdoors but would like some seeions indoors, hence my flash questions.....and i have looked at the SB-900, t is rather large i must admit. but will i lose out on features with the SB-800 or the SB-600, thats very cheap to purchase and i guess if that does everything i need then maybe its all i should get....this is the question, the differences, are they worth it (even for the size)

Shun Cheung , Dec 15, 2008; 09:51 a.m.

It really depends on what you are going to use the flash for. Without knowing the details, the SB-600 is probably going to be a good match with your D90. Get the SB-800 or SB-900 if you need a lot of flash power and really fast recycle with an external battery pack.

Carl Becker , Dec 15, 2008; 09:53 a.m.

The best flash for a D90 would be the SB-900. Depending on your needs a SB-400 may do. I have the SB-400 but I rarely use flash and then its up close in a museum. Depending on your needs and budget I suggest a SB-600 or better. This would enable portrait bounce but less power than a SB-800. A friend likes his very much and another friend will be getting one on the 25th.

Dean Shenberger , Dec 15, 2008; 11:32 a.m.

The 800 and 900 come with a diffuser, and an assortment of gels. Both of which are very useful. If you are going to have just one flash - buy one of them, and get a 600 if you need additonal. As for which one: The 900 seems to be the logical choice - unless you have a really tight budget. In which case, I am sure whatever you get will work fine. :)

Frank Skomial , Dec 15, 2008; 12:53 p.m.

"use flash and then its up close in a museum" - not all museums allow flash, and some do not allow any photography. Check first before going.

Even auto focus assist little light was found objectionable at Getty Museum, but I managed to convince them that it was not a flash, and they let me continue shooting.

Benjamin Schaefer , Dec 15, 2008; 01:00 p.m.

My answer would be to get at least one SB-600, better SB-900, plus maybe another flash, like an second SB-600, which would allow you to be more creative indoors. For outdoors, an SB-900 won't hurt you unless you get tired of lugging it around. Using the Nikon wireless system is fairly easy.... and digital lets you "play around" to fine tune your exposure....

Avi Jacob , Dec 15, 2008; 02:12 p.m.

As some have said, it depends on what you want to do.
If you only intend to get one, I would advise the SB600. It's more powerful than the SB400, yet is not that much more expensive. You can find a used one, for ~$150-160.
if you intend to eventually get MORE than one, for say the Nikon CLS system, I would start with an SB800. It's more powerful, it can also act as a commander and is a bit more user friendly than the SB600. Later either get another 800, or a 600 to act as a remote.
Remember, the D90 can control 2 groups with the pop-up flash. So even with a single SB600 in remote mode, you have a 'main' side light and on camera 'fill' light. However the pop-up is not that powerful and you will soon wish you had a more powerful, on camera, fill light, that you can bounce and use large diffusers on. Hence I advise starting with the SB800, if you intend to get into multiple flash.
The 900 is a monster. See Shuns (above) side-by-side photos of the 600-800-900. (thanks Shun!) Get it if you need the more powerfull GN, i guess.

Dave Lee , Dec 15, 2008; 02:57 p.m.

Having had the SB-600 and now the SB-800, I would say if you're a very light flash user, and plan to use the flash head-on and not with a diffuser, get the SB-600. If you plan to use a diffuser, like the Sto-Fen Omnibounce, get the SB-800. I like to use a diffuser (Sto-fen) and the SB-600 seemed to need all it's power using it indoors with the diffuser on. I've since sold the 600 and have an 800 which comes with a diffuser supplied by Nikon, and it does better. Also the SB-800 has a lot more controls and options on the flash you can use if you need it.

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