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Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight

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Reviews Views Date of last review
20 52142 Jun 28, 2009
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $382.14
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.10
7.70
9.0
sb800

Specifications:
Electronic contruction: Automatic Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) and series circuitry

Flash exposure control:: i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash with Nikon D2H, D-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash with Nikon D1 series or D100, TTL Auto Flash with many film SLR's including the Nikon F5, F100, N80, N75, N65 and FM3A, Auto Aperture Flash (AA), Non-TTL Auto Flash (A) with many film SLR's including the Nikon N55 and FM10, Manual Flash (M)

Guide Number (ISO 100, m/ft.):: 38/125 (at 35mm) to 56/184 (at 105mm)

Flash coverage:: Automatic 24 ro 105mm zoom; 14/17mm with built-in wide flash adapter; 14mm with Diffusion Dome SW-10H

Bounce capability:: Flash head tilts down to -7 degreee or up to 90 degree; flash head rotates horizontally 180 degree to the left or 90 degree to the right

Power switch:: ON/OFF button provided

Film speed range in TTL auto flash mode:: ISO 25 to 1,000

Minimum recycling time:: Approx. 2.7 seconds (manual, w/R6 (AA) - size Ni-Cd or Ni-MH batteries, with Quick Recycle Battery Pack SD-800), Approx. 6 sec. (manual w/FR6 (AA - size Lithium batteries)

Minimum number of flashes:: Approx. 150 (Alkaline, Ni-MH batteries)

Power source:: Four 1.5V LR6 (AA - size alkaline), 1.2V KR-AA (AA - size NiCd) or 1.5V FR6 (aa - size lithium) batteries; Quick Recycle Battery pack SD-800 holds a fifth AA - size battery for faster power recycling, DC Unit SD-7 (optional *1 *2); Battery Pack SD-8A (optional *2) *1 SD-7 is not available in European countries. *2 SD-7/8 cannot be used with the SB-800 sold in European countries.

Dimensions (W x H x D):: Approx. 70.6 x 127.4 x 91.7 mm 2.8 x 5.0 x 3.6 in.

Weight (without batteries):: Approx. 350g (12.3 oz.)

Supplied accessories:: Quick Recycle Battery Pack SD-800 (for one R6 (AA) - size battery), Speedlight Stand AS-19, Colored Filter Set SJ-800 (FL-G1 and TN-A1), Diffusion Dome SW-10H, Soft Case SS-800


 


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svx94
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Registered: Mar 25, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 657
Review Date: Jun 28, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: defusor is included
Cons:
UI is not as nice as typical Nikon camera controls

Many people like me prefer Nikon's camera controls over Canon. Interestingly, in the flash gun design, Canon and Nikon seem reversed. Canon has more direct controls, and Nikon goes for menu. E.g. to set the flash as slave unit, Canon just turn the swtch, Nikon needs to find in the menu, etc.

But unlike most flashes in the market, the SB800 has defusor included.

Overall, Nikon flash system is more advanced than Canon, just this particular model is not typical Nikon. I heard the SB900 is much improved, but for now, the SB600s are enough for my use.


Jun 28, 2009
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Bara
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Registered: Aug 17, 2008
Location: Croatia
Posts: 21
Review Date: Aug 18, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $745.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: CLS controller, lightweight, small
Cons:
weak(small GN) and SB900 is weaker, price/performance

What to say? For me this blitz is big disappointment and it's like a baby toy compared to Metz 50z5 or Metz70Mz5. I bought SB800 only because I must wait 2 months for Metz 76Mz5. Here in Croatia it is $1180 with SCA 3402 M7 and SB800 and SB900 are $745 each.

Aug 18, 2008
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Photobox
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Registered: Jul 4, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Versatile, powerful, advanced, adaptive, a CLS controller. Until the new SB-900 becomes available in August, this is the best it gets in Nikon speedlights... and that's saying something
Cons:
Expensive, but compared to the comparable units (like the Canon 580EX II for $430) it's a bargain at $320.

Do you own a Nikon SLR - digital or film? Do you want an external flash? Do you want the most (until August) capable flash in the Nikon lineup? Buy the SB-800. Period. It does everything a Nikon strobe can do as of this writing. It has commander mode, a PC sync, is compatible with PC sync and external power packs, has the SU-4 slave mode, and much more. It should be your main unit in a multi unit setup. With the new SB-900 costing $500(!) it may still be the best main unit for 95% of the users out there. Run this baby off camera with the SU-800 (I even use the SU-800 with cameras that have the commander mode because it's more versatile) and create incredible lighting results, even with bare flash. This is my go-to flash and my primary in any lighting setup, but I will probably get the new SB-900 when it hits for the 200mm throw and the even more versatile features.

Jul 7, 2008
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myam203
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Registered: Feb 10, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1883
Review Date: Jun 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $315.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Many increments of power adjustment down to 1/128th, CLS capability, optical slave, all the accessories that come with it.
Cons:
I could stomach the cost a little better if it was around $250, but it is what it is.

I love the included accessories, they really seal the deal on this great flash by making you feel like you got your money's worth. You get the built-in bounce card, Omni-Bounce style diffuser, CTO & CTG gels, 5th battery holder, and a little support stand for wireless use.

The build quality is very good, but not equal to the build of my camera (naturally)... in other words, it definitely feels like an electronic device, opposed to a utilitarian tool. I know it's solid by today's standards, but I can't help comparing it to my old SB-24, which is solid as a rock.


Jun 18, 2008
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Kiron Kid
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Registered: Nov 19, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 820
Review Date: Nov 30, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very reliable & very well built.
Cons:
None.


A very good flash unit. I'd purchase another in in a heartbeat. Actually, I do plan on getting more of them.

Kiron Kid


Nov 30, 2007
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bitbytes9
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Registered: Jan 20, 2005
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 11
Review Date: Sep 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great, powerful
Cons:
Could be cheaper.

great

Sep 14, 2007
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Remy
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Registered: Mar 9, 2005
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 177
Review Date: Oct 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Versatility, power, wireless control (both master and slave). Power down to 1/128th. Bounce card built in, omnibounce and filters are included, as is a flash-foot to put the SB800 on. Zoomable flashhead, completely rotate-able too. Also quite sturdy for a plastic product.
Cons:
Could be cheaper, but nothing else actually.

Last year I bought one SB800, later on followed by a second. These are great flashes and even though they are not cheap, they are wonderful. Good power and versatility, TTL-capability and much more. Perfectly usable on or off-camera, and work great with flash umbrella's or reflectors. Great in a wireless setup.

Definitely recommended.


Oct 19, 2006
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williamkazak
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Registered: Jun 8, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 6252
Review Date: Aug 30, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Probably the only real choice for a Nikon camera. Nice to use and compact. Thoughtfully good options with the soft disc and the built in bounce card.
Cons:
Exposures can be all over the place depending upon the subject and what they are wearing. Cannot figure out what the manual does because it does not really explain this flash and what it can and should deliver. AA, TTL, iTTL, M, GN equals what the?? I just want it to work with my Nikon cameras set on manual and not to override my manual settings which it seems to always want to do. TTL-BL cannot be relied upon for a consistent flash fill so it is better to just place it on TTL or AA and dial the flash EV up or down as necessary which can really slow you down. The menu scrolling is a real pain. Adding the fifth battery holder is a very good idea but you had better use a tweezer to do it.

Using this flash looks like it will be fun and easy until you go outside in the sun and try to photograph a bride in a white dress or a groom in a black tuxedo or anyone else in the sun. The manual is a total waste of resources and should be rewritten in practical terms without the Nikon hype and geek speak. This flash seems to affect all of your camera settings that you have chosen and reassigns it's own exposure to your scene.
TTL is supposed to work but gives me a headache, or should I use the term iTTL? That is Nikon tecno speak that I don't really understand either. Tell me all about AA? M? I just want it to work with my camera on manual.


Aug 30, 2006
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Fepa
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Registered: Apr 15, 2005
Location: Portugal
Posts: 84
Review Date: May 9, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Powerful, quick recycle, wireless functions, perfect exposures with D70 and the 5th battery option really helps for lower recycle time.
Cons:
Could be cheaper and the manual could be better.

I highly recommended this. This is an excellent and easy to use flash. It works flawlessly with the D70.

May 9, 2006
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Fatguy
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Registered: Jun 11, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 636
Review Date: Jul 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: I am not a pro, but I have some experience that may be of interest to our group. I have tested the durability of this flash by dropping it from five to six feet onto thinly covered linoleum over concrete. I did it twice in the span of a few minutes. The first time I got lucky and there was no damage at all except that the batteries spilled out of the flash when it impacts on a hard surface. The flash fell because I was using a generic mount on a light stand with umbrella. You should only use the supplied stand as that hole and post are really needed to secure the flash - how do I know this.....because the flash fell from the same generic mount again when I thought I had secured it to the stand (a thumb screw on a metal mount and it worked loose on this). The second fall busted the battery door by shearing off all the thin plastic tracks off the door panel. Surprisingly.....none of the tracks inside the main unit were damaged at all. I simply used the fifth battery door assembly and was ready to go again. There was no loss of function at all after these falls - so I guess that is a real vote of confidence as far as durability goes. On very close inspection, I found a 2mm crack on the flash head that was on a non-stressed part of the unit and has not opened up since and you can only see the crack when the light hits it right. A trip to Nikon Canada gave me a replacement door for five dollars and an extra stand for ten dollars! My flash is now as good as new.....
Cons:
Cost, I guess you get what you pay for - but cost was the biggest problem with this flash. The manual could be improved.....



Jul 1, 2005
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ajacobs2
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Registered: Jun 21, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1201
Review Date: Jun 28, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $285.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: The flash is everything everyone says it is. I have two of them So no use adding to it's accolades. It does what it's supposed to and integrates well into a system for the features and benefits everyone describes.. However playing Darth Vader, the darkside ........
Cons:
It's expensive for the power it produces. The manual needs a manual. Any mimnum repair on this puppy (since it's all board will be a C class) about 150 dollars or 50 % of it's cost. At least we never got a quote less. Still only a guide in the 120 category, same as the old Vivitar 285. Use the five batteries with Kodak (Panasoonic) OXY-DIGITALS and you will have a meltdown. (Reported Problem) Super fast accelerators MAY burn this puppy up. Really doesn't have much heat dispersion inside the case. So you should not try to blow the thing up with continuous bursting. Camera settings, many shots underexposed if tyou forget and mix up the matrix, center and spot setting with the four flash settings. Some owners also reporting inconisitency in the flash power, ( could be a host of reasons, like six cooks and one pot of soup, between the camera settings and the flash settings many get confused.) So thats the darkside... just so things are fair. This is a flash that has a lot of features and is useless if you don't make an attempt to learn them. The book is annoying but does have answers. Written in Martian for most but the majority swear the strobe is out of this world anyway. And last but not least two questions to users. a) If you shoot QUOTE "manual settings for the flash all the time" why buy the NIKON or the Canon for that matter? It seems some prefer ( I do Manual settings but I have 200 wattsecond units)

I said it all....

Jun 28, 2005
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jb_va2001
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Registered: May 12, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 18, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Powerful, quick recycle, flexible, simple to configure & use, multi-flash capabilities are a huge plus, wireless functions very well. iTTL is another step up, almost too easy. All things considered this is an outstanding flash. I now own 3.
Cons:
No serious negatives. Could be cheaper & smaller. Manual could be better. You know, the usual things we complain about when the product is A+.

Nikon's top-of-the-line flash is an excellent performer. Plan on buying a few SB-800's because you're going to love the wireless, multi-flash capabilites.

May 18, 2005
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leewoolery
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Registered: Feb 27, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1277
Review Date: Apr 26, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent product, fast recycle times with 5 Nickel Metal Hydrides but super fast with Quantum battery. Perfect exposures with D70 and 75 % of the time with D2H.
Cons:
None

Outstanding product...works as advertised. Super results with off-camera flash from dedicated cord or Pocket Wizards.

Out of the box, works perfectly in programmed mode on D70 and even on the D2H. Easy learning curve.

Used it on D2H at 8 frames per second with Quantum battery for night rodeos and football...looks like someone is welding or shooting off fireworks.

Sold mine when I switched to Canon so I hope the 580 will give similar results.


Apr 26, 2005
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obelix
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Registered: Jun 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 194
Review Date: Feb 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $320.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great power, excellent i-ttl metering, awesome wireless mode. Great recycle with the 5th battery.
Cons:
Lousy user manual :(

All positives, works out of the box even for amateurs with no basics in lighting.

Feb 22, 2005
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Ray C.
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Registered: Jan 10, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 393
Review Date: Feb 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Powerful and fast recycling. iTTL rocks! 5th battery option really helps. Extras included w/flash, diffuser, stand, gels, bag are a real bonus.
Cons:
Limited 15-30 (on a good day) ft. line of sight wireless capability, but that's nitpicking...

Probably the best flash ever built by Nikon. I own two and use with D2H and D-70. In close quarters wireless is excellent. In larger areas, the wireless sensor pretty much needs a direct hit to fire and 15-30 ft is not very far. But, I'm buying Pocket Wizards, so it'll be a non-factor. Overall, excellent! One even took a 10 ft. fall onto a gym floor and didn't miss a beat. Highly recommended!

Feb 7, 2005
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bpatterson
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Registered: May 14, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Feb 3, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Excellent power and build quality for amateur/semipro usage (I've dropped mine a few times - no problems!). I paid $350 for mine but they're cheaper now - worth every penny when compared to Canon's wireless contraptions. Nikon owns the flash crown still!
Cons:
The documentation could be better for wireless operation but that's why we have the web! Otherwise it's pretty simple stuff...

The SB800 is only half the story - the D70 gets equal credit for this amazing combination of technology and flexibility in what is often the most awkward aspect of our photographic skills. The infrered sensor seems to work at any angle to receive the Commander flash's signal - no need to be too worried about its orientation. You still need gels for flourescents and WB tests to tweak and make it all work flawlessly, but out of the box it's the most advance system I've ever seen. and way cheaper to implement than Canon or any other brand. The best for less - whodathought?

Feb 3, 2005
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Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
20 52142 Jun 28, 2009
Recommended By Average Price
95% of reviewers $382.14
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.10
7.70
9.0
sb800


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