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Nikon SD-9 battery pack worth it for Nikon SB-900?

Peter Cohen , May 04, 2010; 04:13 a.m.

Wondering if anybody in the forum has experience with Nikon's SD-9 battery pack for the SB-900. I am buying the flash and recycle time is very important as we shoot bar mitzvahs with almost constant movement for hours and lots of can't-miss shots.
Given that the flash is pricey (but a good value?!), I'm not sure if the claimed performance increase with the battery pack can justify another $200. Love to hear from users. I'm guessing that if you shoot with SB-800s and their battery pack, the same impact can be expected of the 9 versions.
What would you do?
Thanks in advance,


John Deerfield , May 04, 2010; 10:19 a.m.

Well, there is no doubt that the battery pack will significantly reduce recycle times. Even though the 900 has a "better" recycle time, as batteries get lower, recycle times take longer. Using an external power supply helps. We have used (and still have) a SD-9, but usually use some form of Turbo battery.

Shun Cheung , May 04, 2010; 10:25 a.m.

I have only used the older SD-8A, which accepts 6 AA batteries vs. 8AA on the SD-9. Those battery packs will certainly cut the recycle time way down. Keep in mind that if you make a lot of successive flashes, the flash head can overheat. Make sure you don't abuse the flash that way.

I have two SB-800 and one SB-900. If I need to make a lot of flashes at an event, I would rotate the flashes so that they get sufficient time to cool off.

Knock Out , May 04, 2010; 06:46 p.m.

what type of batteries are you using? have you tried NiMH? They're supposed to be faster at recycle times and pretty fast at charging. Note, they are 1.2V not 1.5V like other AA Alkaline batteries but this is ok with Flashes.

Edward Ingold , May 05, 2010; 12:31 a.m.

Knock Out,

The SD-8, SD-9 and various Quantum Turbo packs supply 300 vdc power directly to the capacitors. AAs are still required to power the sensor and logic circuits. This is much more effective in reducing recycle time than adding more AAs or an outboard low voltage battery, however large.

Peter Cohen , May 05, 2010; 03:09 a.m.

Thanks for the input. Seems as if the SD-9 is worth the extra cost. BTW, we are using NiMH, mostly 2500 mAh

Mark L , May 07, 2010; 09:27 a.m.

I recently got a brand new SD-8A off ebay for £50. It makes a huge difference, recycle at full power is now under 2.5s from 6s but would very easy to fry your flash.

I'm using 2900mAh batteries.

James Sawyer , May 08, 2010; 10:14 a.m.

Check this out: http://www.redferret.net/?p=19979
No need to use batteries.

Peter Cohen , May 21, 2010; 01:44 p.m.

Thanks to all the responders here. I bought the SD-9 and conducted a highly un-scientific test to see what the difference was compared to the SB-900 on its own.

Shooting in a dimly-lit room, TTL, pressing the shutter as fast as the camera could dump the image to the card (D90, RAW, P setting), I shot 100 exposures. After about 50-60, the temperature gauge on the flash started heading North. After 100, it was about half-way up. Recycle times (Powerex 2700s) were slowing, but still in the 1-2 sec range.

With the SD-9o attached and loaded with eight Powerex 2700s, I shot another 100 images as fast as I could in single-shot mode. The ready light never went out, not even for an instant, and the temp gauge never moved after 100 shots.

So not only does the SD-9 improve recycle times, but it may help control the overheating of the SB-900, which I read in more than one place, may have mostly to do with the temperature of the internal batteries increasing rather than the heat of the flash tube.

First real-world test is tomorrow.

gina pic , Jan 22, 2011; 01:58 p.m.

So my SB-900 is currently at Nikon for "repair" I shoot weddings/mitzvahs and have had so many issues with my flash overheating. I use the diffuser that came with it and bounce my flash. I also should add that I use a bracket with the SC-29 cord. So my question is (since Nikon is giving me conflicting solutions) does any professional event photographer have these issues as well? And if so, what have you done to solve the issue? I'm considering buying the Nikon SD-8A or SD-9 external battery pack but will that solve it? Or Nikon was telling me to use Zinc Nickel batteries in Manual mode. I'm using the SB-900 with a D700. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE any help or input would be greatly appreciated since I need to make a decision of whether or not to "fix" my flash. I feel this SB-900 has so many issues that it should be recalled personally. Maybe a class-action suit would be in order.

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