NIKON SERIES FLASHES   SB-600, 700, 800, 900


THE NEW NIKON SB-5000 

The new SB-5000 sells for $600.00, so far street price is list price, and replaces the SB-910.  The new speed-light flash has a few new features from the previous model, including these three main changes: such as wireless built in, side transmittal and a new price high.

We are awaiting a sample to see what the cable will be but I can tell you it is different, many changes in structure to prevent anything from outside vendors working  and possibly require me to modify a 900 cable the MKZ-9 to operate on the new model, we shall see.

Like Canon, the real news is integrating the wireless to a better level of cooperation and communication between several flashes.  Meanwhile only an idiot would thrown those pocket wizards away, they will still work in conditions that the integral system might fail at and you might need them for backup flashes.
My prediction is the next series of Nikons will be encased with Lithium Square batteries and the AA setup will be gone.  I would hold off, its just not that important an upgrade if you have Wizards.

And both Nikon and Canon according to the Japanese financials, which I doubt you read, are having a few serious financial problems, that old cellphone killer,  and you may see some divisions sold off and some non-profitable avenues closed.  I told you so...


THE 910 NIKON
SUCCESSOR TO THE SB -900

  • A new graphic user interface that’s much like SB-700 flash and the buttons on the sb-910 light up, which helps for working in the dark.
  • The thermal cut-out function on the SB-910 has changed. With the SB-900, the flash shut down when it would overheat to save the flash head. This feature drove some photographers crazy since it would often prevent the ability to fire the flash in certain situations.  A survey of my successful pro still tell me manual is the way to go.  I’ll discuss this in a piece later.
  • Instead of shutting down, the SB-910 speed-light delays its recycle time, which, while an improvement does not completely solve the problem if you put the same person behind the wheel. It does, however, preserve the flash head by preventing overheating.  It is good for them, less costly for you.  “It won’t shut down, it’ll slow down,” explained Geoff Coalter, a spokesperson for Nikon USA. “It’s another way to save your flash head”.  
  • The SB-910 now takes the hard color type filter. it has a head that will read that and just slap it on and you’re done. it reads it immediately.” 

 

ADVANTAGES OF THE BLACK BOX

  • The BLACK BOX uses no internal batteries.  We have no internal AA cells at 130 degrees that increase the internal temperature. NO heat producing AA rechargeable cells needed.  That cuts a third and bulk of the heat out of the equation. 
  • Also with the door off or open for cooling, it is the better way to go during those June-September warm months to prevent overheating.  The urge to shoot rapidly, too rapidly and not give the strobe tube a chance to cool is still the worst offender in the flash industry.  
  • Heat is the main killer in electronics, always has been and never changes. A dead strobe is the number one reason for not getting paid other than incompetence and a lack of training or skills.
  • We use the cable which you supply to me from the power pack to the flash.  That is easily furnished online by your major camera store, preferably Adorama and B & H.  All vendors drop ship to me on a regular basis, I get about ten a week direct from them, saves postage and time. You pay them in your name and use me and my address for the shipping address. 


THE SB-900 and 910 KEEP COOLER

  • The part number is Quantum MKZ9,  and may be found at the usual good solid locations,  Adorama and B&H.  The cable fits the 900 and the 910.  We have had a rush of MKZ9 for conversions to DINS, so it's a good time to tune up. You might update your Black Box if it got years on it.  The MKZ9 is the usual Quantum standard issue and after testing they work fine, light compact and simple. A few features will be loved and the usual "door crack walkers" will rear their ugly heads. 
  • That’s what the Velcro is for. And the open door is a benefit on the SB-900 for cooling. Don’t trap the flashcube and capacitor heat in the case.  Read on about the overheating. The good news is they work great on the Black Box setup with incredible speed.  Quantum saved me many dollars not having to build specifically for the SB-900. They did as I had predicted since it was costing them.  
  • The right part is MKZ9. It is very similar to the 600 cable. Quantum, has a good market position, no real competition. They preferred to make you buy one of their $679.00 dollar TURBO 2+2 or TURBO 3 packs plus a cable using the AC port knowing you have few choices. Now you have a choice. For the same money you can have three of my packs.


TRUTH BACK TO THE OVERHEATING SITUATION

It is not totally the fault of the Nikon 900.  Overheating most  occurred when the photographer went into panic mode, insecurity, lack of control, machine gun photography, blast away, get a million shots and one will stick, or because of poor training by a bunch who know nothing about lower power settings and variable use of the flash. 

When you do not understand light, or mechanical light which is flash you will due to a lack of knowledge expect the manufacturer to overcome your weaknesses.  If you believe this, you are not that bright and I don’t care how much you money you spent.  Their job is build flashes (actually get someone else to build them) and make a profit.  Blowing up a flash and they having to repair them cuts into their bottom line. It’s quite simple always follow the money.

I had no problems whatsoever.   However experience helps with workarounds but I still think that could have been a retro fix on the 900 offered for free and Photographers would have gone gaga?

Overheating is common in small flashes ( Canon and Yong-Nuo’s now are adopting this failsafe) but like many this is a design that has size constraints and packs as much features and so-called benefits into a device which now requires six million lines of code.

And, to work with the camera even though, 50% of the pictures I see coming in the lab are exposed wrong because of the shooters reliance that the flash will override his lack of light knowledge.   Flashes work great, brains fail many times. The 900 presented one problem, not a host of problems: 

Mainly by the Weddings and Sports guys who blamed a poor cooling design, some caused losses at functions.  It overheated when pushed intentionally, and NIKON made the call to prevent damage as it did shut down on you and not work till it cooled.  Not totally true.

It was built in to save NIKON repair work under warrantee as they knew the Wedding guys would be pushing it... simply put.   Obviously not a software problem, a non-variable part of the breadboard, a thermal shut down which by the way could be shutdown in the menu.  As a manufacturer, you have to fix under them during the warranty period.

Some like the potato masher METZ high ends have two fans units for cooling but they eat the batteries.  Thus their units were technically abused and financially liable. So you alter the design to offset anything that adds to the problem. Heat control was the major program to be addressed.  Answer: new model, raise prices and make money.

Heat has killed more Cobra head (all manufacturers) strobes than unplanned events like dropping, having been stolen or backing your car over your camera bag.  This is what we do know. The more powerful strobes of today can overheat.  And the bad part was some triggered off worse than others, that may be because of location and what the circumstances are.  The overheating situation already made the forum rounds with the usual negative fervor and small minded thinking with good reason!  

The black box supplies power just as batteries do only equal to about 20-25 sets of AA cells. The module in the flash does not conduct heat. The door slightly ajar keeps the temp down and no more AA cells to worry about.  No more over-clocking with an external capacitor and no more chance of self-immolation.   I recommend the SB-800, SB-900 for the advanced amateur a.k.a. the Prosumer as the 100-200 dollar difference isn't that much over the long run. You'll get it back when you sell it. When the 900 came out, with overheat problems, the 800's went sky-high. Some of my friends who know how to control the 900’s stole them off the web.

THE SB-800
THE BEST STROBE EVER  

Very straight forward.  For the Nikon SB-800, remove the door and place the MKZ3 module in place, lock the retaining screw, connect to the battery pack and get to work. That's all folks.  Takes eight seconds.  Most Nikon strobes from the SB-24 to the SB-800 use the most popular cable the MKZ3 which also fits METZ 54-58 comparable series.  The SB-s are very easy to use with the Q cable MKZ3.  Especially the  Nikon SB-800.



SB-700 - CHINA
Nikon announced the addition of the SB-700 which I have received to see what new tricks they have up their sleeve.  Street price looks like $329.  It uses a drunk square format for the battery pack module using the six, and nine hundred type resin impregnated clips,  as usual we change the RCA jack out to Din plugs free of charge. It uses the MKZ-7



SB-600 - CHINA
Just place the modules as the picture show and use the supplied clip as needed.  The Canon strobes (580EX) are virtually identical. Total time about ten seconds to set up.

The one cable available for the 600 is different because it only comes with a 15 inch pigtail which usually requires two cables from Quantum.  We suggest buying only one.  The XK6 and (drum roll please) at no charge, we'll DIN the cable and add four or five feet of 18 gauge zip wire to it, all soldered into one nice light cable to use on a stand if you wish. 

So just put it in the way the picture show. By the way, the 600 is not a reduced version of the 800 as some buyers will testify on forums.  It's a nicely done, less expensive CHINESE, off shore price-point option, well made for the following which was Nikons intent in the competitive market to counteract the sales of the aftermarket Chinese off shore brands. China vs. China. 

The 600 downside is it does not have any of the external connections for synch if needed, thus you'll use the internal wireless (Nikon Internal) for connectivity, the Commander or the SB-800 to send the signal. 


CURRENT NIKON CABLES TO FLASH GUIDE