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Best Flash for Nikon [2021 Review]

In: 
Published: 27/05/2021

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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.

Our Top Nikon Flash Reviews

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.

Brand
Best Overall
Nikon SB-5000
Best for the Money
Nikon SB-700
Best Cheap Pick
Nikon SB-500
Product
Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight
Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital...
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)...
Batteries Required
4 AA batteries
4 AA batteries
4 AA batteries
Item Weight
14.9 ounces
12.7 ounces
9.6 ounces
Best Overall
Brand
Nikon SB-5000
Product
Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight
Batteries Required
4 AA batteries
Item Weight
14.9 ounces
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Nikon SB-700
Product
Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital...
Batteries Required
4 AA batteries
Item Weight
12.7 ounces
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Nikon SB-500
Product
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)...
Batteries Required
4 AA batteries
Item Weight
9.6 ounces
Price

Best Overall Flash for Nikon: Nikon SB-5000

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. 

Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight

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.

Pros

  • It is lightweight, offering a good choice for photographers on the move.
  • It has high recycling power of 2.6 seconds
  • It has a cooling mechanism that keeps it from overheating and enables repeated firings.

Cons

  • It is very expensive compared to similar models like the Nikon SB 500
  • There are too many things on the LCD screen so it’s difficult to read
Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight
  • Radio Control Advanced Wireless Lighting
  • Cooling System for 100 Consecutive Shots
  • Compatible with Nikon i-TTL

Best Nikon Flash for the Money: Nikon SB-700

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.

Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital...

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.

Pros

  • It has Thermal cut-out protection that prevents overheating of the flash
  • Supports automatic TTL and manual modes
  • The LCD is clear and easier to use
  • It is cheaper than SB-5000 but with high performing features as well

Cons

  • It is slow when taking multiple shots at high power compared to SB 5000
  • Does not work with cameras without a ‘commander’ functionality
Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital...
  • Portable, Versatile Speedlight Unit
  • Nikon's Precision i-TTL Flash Control
  • Complete Flash Head Positioning Freedom

Best Cheap Flash for Nikon: Nikon SB-500

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.

Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)...

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.

Pros

  • It is compact and lightweight hence portable
  • It has a simpler user interface and menu settings
  • Decent price suitable for beginners
  • Built-in LED light that offers superior color reproduction

Cons

  • Does not have high-speed sync
  • Has a less recycling power than SB 5000 and SB 700

Read more about the best budget flash for Nikon in our in depth review.

Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)...
  • Offers test firing, the ability to monitor pre-flashes, and an LED modeling flash function - Flash...
  • Head tilts up 90° with click-stops at 0°, 60°, 75°, and 90° - Head rotates horizontally 180°...
  • Delivers approximately 100 full-power flashes from a pair of Alkaline batteries and 140 from Ni-MH -...

Best Third-party Flash for Nikon: Godox TT685N Thinklite TTL 

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.

Godox TT685N Thinklite TTL Flash for Nikon Cameras...

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.

Pros

  • It is cheaper than the SB 5000 with great functionalities as well
  • It is light-weight, hence portable
  • Offers automatic transition to high-speed sync

Cons

  • It does not have an easy interface to use
  • It’s difficult to see the screen during harsh light conditions
Godox TT685N Thinklite TTL Flash for Nikon Cameras...
  • Derleistungss flash with guide number 60 m on ISO 100 supports multiple flash M/RPT/Multi.
  • Support high speed sync, 1st curtain sync and 2nd Verschluss curtain, is the maximum time sync up to...
  • R gerwellenübertragung, as Master unit, it can other flash devices, such as Nikon SB 900 and SB 910...

Best Yongnuo Flash for Nikon: Yongnuo YN968N TTL

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.

YONGNUO YN968N II TTL Flash Speedlite 1/8000s HSS...

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. 

Pros

  • It has a high recharge capability
  • Receives firmware updates
  • It is solidly built and compact, making it easy to carry around

Cons

  • It does not come with a diffuser 
  • LED screen dims as batteries wear down compared to SB 5000
YONGNUO YN968N II TTL Flash Speedlite 1/8000s HSS...
  • Equipped with a high power LED light of high power, brightness can be adjusted.
  • Compatible with YN622N(master/slave) and YN560(slave) Wireless System.
  • GN60@ISO100,200mm High Guide Number, Supports 1/8000s High-speed Sync.

Features to Consider in a Flash for Nikon

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.

ProductRecycle TimeGuide NumberItem Weight (Pounds)
Nikon SB-50001.8-2.6 seconds113' at ISO 100 and 35mm0.93
Nikon SB-5003.5 seconds79' at ISO 1000.6
Godox TT685N Thinklite TTL 0.1-2.6 seconds197' at ISO 100 and 200mm0.70
Nikon SB-7002.5 seconds28/39 (ISO 100/200, m) (92/128, ft.)0.79
Yongnuo YN968N TTL3 seconds60 (ISO 100, 200mm)1.41

Flash Lifespan

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.

Recycle Time

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.

Nikon speedlight flash

Through the Lens (TTL) Feature

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. 

High-Speed Sync Functionality

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.

Adjustable Temperature

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.

Flexibility and Portability

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.

Frequently Asked Questions for flashes of Nikon

Do All Speedlights For Nikon Support Ttl Mode?

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.

Are All Flashes For Nikon Suitable For All Types Of Photography?

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.

Conclusion

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.

PFRE Team
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