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Like other camera accessories, different flashes are built with varying features. The market has everything from expensive complex models to cheaper options, rendering to every budget type. In this buying guide, we’re reviewing our choices for the best flash for Nikon that will help you make the most out of your photography skills.
While Nikon has introduced a flash capable of working with LED lighting for videos, there are also other advanced features in other flashes that cater to every creative photographer out there. Here are the best flashes for Nikon with a wide range of features, cost, and compatibility capabilities.
The Nikon SB-5000 is Nikon's most advanced flash, introducing a powerful radio control Advanced Wireless Lighting system that works effectively with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System for creative purposes.
You can control up to 6 groups of SB 5000 flashes around corners, behind barriers, and in various rooms up to 91 feet away when using compatible Nikon DSLR or Z series mirrorless cameras.
The SB 5000 compounds smoothly with Nikon’s latest bodies- Z7, Z6, D5, D850, and D7500. The SB 5000 handles more than 100 sequential shots at a complete output compared to Nikon SB 700.
The flash is protected from overheating by a built-in cooling system and a heat-shedding design. For TTL shooters, it provides effective lighting control. The SB 5000 is one of the most powerful flashes, with a guide number of 113 and a focal length of 34mm at ISO 100.
The Nikon SB-700 is an excellent choice for people who find the SB 5000 expensive but need similar high-level functionality as well. The SB 700 is a reasonably compact flash unit with high-performance features and exceptional capabilities, with a guide number of 92 at ISO 100 at 35mm.
Its I-TTL compatibility makes it a great choice for both FX and DX format cameras, and it's complemented by Nikon's Creative Lighting System, which provides a wide range of creative options. With FX-format cameras, the auto-zoom head has a wide coverage of 24-120mm, which can be simply dialed down 12mm using the built-in broad angled diffusing panel.
Its accomplished swivel and bounce functionalities make it easier in working with different situations. This allows you to tilt down -7degrees up to 90 degrees as well as rotate right to left at an angle of 180 degrees and a complete rotation of 360 degrees as well.
The Nikon SB 500 has simple buttons for easy operation coupled with a powerful-wide 24mm coverage. At ISO 100, the flash has a guide number of 24 and a coverage of 16mm in DX and 24mm in FX formats.
Although it has a lower guide number compared to the SB 700, the flash is lighter with more complex options at a cheaper price. Its head rotates 90 degrees upwards and 180 degrees left to right allowing light to bounce off to change the intensity of the light and eliminate the shadows creating more sharper portraits effortlessly.
This flash is both an LED video light and a Speedlight in one, offering a high-functionality compared to all the other flashes in this buying guide, including the SB 5000. The LED light produces high-intensity, balanced daylight illumination and has three output levels: quarter, half, and full power, making it ideal for close-up photography. When using the D810 or D750, the LED functionality is even better.
Read more about the best budget flash for Nikon in our in depth review.
The Godox TT685N Thinklite TTL is the best third-party flash for Nikon cameras with great built-in quality but slightly larger than SB-700, weighing approximately 17 ounces.
The TT685 matrix LCD screen displays all the settings and information you will use while using the flash. It has a middle switch, plus on and off switches that are useful in manual mode. It also has a set of buttons that indicate a change in flash mode, slave mode, and another that lights up red. The last button shows that the flash is about to fire.
This flash has high-speed sync and supports Nikon’s TTL system as well as the manual system from 1/128 to 1/1. The Godox TT685N can be paired with a trigger for shooting off-camera and has a tilt head and swivel that allows you to control other Godox flashes off-camera. The wireless option supports 32 channels in three groups.
The Yongnuo YN968N II is not a Nikon branded flash but offers competitive features at a cheaper price. It is the most versatile radio-equipped flash with an LED video light that offers dynamic lighting solutions.
The flash supports the i-TTl metering and is compatible with the Yongnuo YN622 2.4GHz radio triggering system yet still serves Nikon users with its optical TTL slave modes.
The LED panel has a diffuser that outputs approximately 300 lux at 3.3’ making it effective in eliminating shadows and brightening up a video. With a guide number of 60m at ISO 100, 200mm, and a zoom capability of 20-200mm, the YN968N is great for illuminating objects.
Like the SB-500, a continuous LED is built-in for shooting videos. This functionality opens up many possibilities for a creative photographer.
The flash is lightweight and operates on four AA batteries. The recycling time is slower than that of SB-700 but they have a similar power output. This flash, however, cannot be controlled by newer camera bodies like the SB-5000.
For a real estate photographer on the move, features like portability and adjustable temperature are essential. Choosing a flash that’s right for your Nikon camera comes down to considering the following features.
|Product||Recycle Time||Guide Number||Item Weight (Pounds)|
|Nikon SB-5000||1.8-2.6 seconds||113' at ISO 100 and 35mm||0.93|
|Nikon SB-500||3.5 seconds||79' at ISO 100||0.6|
|Godox TT685N Thinklite TTL||0.1-2.6 seconds||197' at ISO 100 and 200mm||0.70|
|Nikon SB-700||2.5 seconds||28/39 (ISO 100/200, m) (92/128, ft.)||0.79|
|Yongnuo YN968N TTL||3 seconds||60 (ISO 100, 200mm)||1.41|
Flashes just like cameras have a limited life before which they stop being effective. Hence before purchasing any flash doing prior research on longevity and the amount of time it can be best in use is vital. A flash should have at least 100,000 pops of lifespan.
This is a great feature to consider especially for photographers who shoot multiple shots consecutively. The recycle time is the interval between two firings and is recorded in terms of seconds. The Nikon SB 5000, for example, has a fast recycling time of 2.6 seconds, giving you more time to capture images.
There are two essential modes; Through-The-Lens (TTL) and the other is manual mode. In manual operation, the flash takes command from the user while the TTL is the automatic mode of the flash. The SB 700 supports TTL mode hence it communicates with the camera to determine the correct amount of light needed for great exposure.
A native sync speed will be available on any Nikon DSLR camera. High-speed sync on the Nikon SB 500 allows you to sync the flash to shutter speeds up to the maximum speed of your camera.
External flashes use more power than in-built flashes. This causes occurrences of overheating more frequently making it difficult for photographers to do successive shots. Many manufacturer’s websites have this information so when you get to purchase one, you know what you are getting.
Getting a flash that is lightweight and compact with rotating zoom heads allows the photographer to have wide coverage. For instance, the Nikon SB 500 head rotates 90 degrees up and 180 degrees left to right, allowing light to bounce off and change the intensity of the light while eliminating shadows, resulting in sharper portraits.
Not all flashes have the TTL mode; some offer the manual modes only. Checking with the manufacturers before purchasing is vital so you are sure of what you are getting.
Different flashes have different shutter speeds and thus different for differing scenes. The SB-5000 is best for outdoor photography owing to its ability to take up to 100 shots consecutively while SB-500 is better for indoor photography.
Features like high-speed sync, i-TTL capabilities, recycling times, guide numbers are high on a buyer’s list of preferences. The above guide offers the best options for both beginner and experienced photographers.