Nikon SB-700: Photography With Great Feelings
Photography with great feelings: overexposed white faces and strange facial expressions, hard shadows, unnatural light effects, simply unattractive. On the other hand, the use of the internal flash can not always be avoided, such as in low light conditions or to brighten the shadows in harsh sunlight. Oddly enough, professional pictures taken with the use of one or more external flashes did not seem so unpleasant to me. But on the contrary. It teased me for a long time to test an external flash.
Now I’ve finally decided to buy an external flash. I’ve long ago said goodbye, cheap and twice to buy. Strictly speaking, I have had an external flash, an Electra Slave Flash (see equipment ). This thing has messed up my lust for lightning for years. This time something was right. But what? First began the compulsory search.
On the other hand, once again such a cheap device, although it looks quite valuable in the pictures? And then another China product. When I learned that the Yongnuo does not support TTL and can only be operated manually, I said goodbye to the idea of buying it. Similar considerations I had regarding even more favorable
Neewer® NW-565 EXN i-TTL-Slave Speedlite for only 59 Euro. Some people may think differently, but I did not want to bother myself with a cheap product again.
Next I stumbled over the Metz Mecablitz 52 AF-1 . Certainly it is not a bad device, no bargain and with a guide number of 52 quite powerful. However, I did not find the touch screen so nice. It may be a matter of taste, but I find direct access keys more convenient to quickly get to the desired setting. So I kept looking around.
After an interesting report I came across Nissin Speedlite Di866 Mark II for currently 205 Euro. Of the 10 flashes tested, the Nissin came in third place. It has an enormous guide number of 60, can flash strobes and has a small secondary reflector at the front to better illuminate frontal parts. However, I stumbled over a point criticized in many reviews – the loud crackle of the zoom reflector. After listening to this crackle in a Youtube video, I said goodbye to the desire to have a Nissin Speedlite. This disturbing sound was attached to a certain cheap touch. In addition, I liked the fairly slowly building up color display of Nissin not so good. It changes direction with a position sensor, if you take the camera upright, but the slow, gameboy-seeming image structure destroys this feature.
Deep in the subconscious, my decision was already made for a Nikon SB-700 anyway. I also could not find any serious criticisms of this flash unit. Quite small and shapely with a pleasantly green illuminated clear LCD without TFT / touchscreen knickknack. And best of all, the SB-700 speaks the language of Nikon – in the communication with the camera and the operation by the people. The position of the keys is well thought-out, the feel very pleasant, the operation intuitive. In the said test Nikon SB-700 was the fastest flash unit with a charging time of about 2.5 seconds. I first thought that this is the time it takes the flash between two shots. No, it’s the readiness time. After that, the SB-700 fires like a machine gun.
The price of the Nikon SB-700 fluctuates very much at Amazon. I first discovered it and put it on the wish list. While I looked at someone else. After a long search, I ordered the flash.
A few days later the package was there. Packed in a compact nikon-typical golden-colored cardboard in a small square storage bag with zipper and belt loop. Included were a pedestal, a diffuser attachment and one color filter each for artificial and fluorescent light. In the supposedly cheaper Metz and Nissin missing the diffuser attachment and the color filter. So much cheaper they would not be in the end. Only the manual was in Dutch and French. But I knew that before. In the description in the webshop, it was pointed out that the device is good. An instruction manual can be downloaded in PDF format from Nikon.
I can not confirm the sometimes criticized shaking of the SB-700 in the hot shoe. You put the lock switch to the left, push the flash into the hot shoe and put the lock switch to the right to “L”. Then he sits bombproof. He can no longer fall out.
With a guide number of 28, the SB-700 is not the brightest among system flashes. But he can easily illuminate a living room or a studio – directly or indirectly. Perhaps the guide number for the illumination of an industrial hall is not enough. For the normal user, the light output is in most cases absolutely sufficient.
The indirect lightning results in an infinite number of creative image design. The flash head of the flash can be rotated horizontally and vertically in all directions and lowered by 7 ° for macro shooting. The play of light and shadow, depending on whether you direct the flash head to the ceiling or at an angle to the wall, whether you put on the diffuser or uses the wide-angle lens with the reflector card, is almost endless. Those who claim to prefer the Avaible Light to an external flash – I was one of them – have no idea. Especially in poorly lit rooms, sparsely lit with yellowish artificial light, you can create interesting light effects with an external flash.
The SB-700 is master-capable and supports Nikon’s Creative Lighting System. Whether the third-party manufacturers so easily all the functions of the Creative Lighting System can implement, I can not say. With the in-house device you are on the safe side.
For operation: In most cases, the SB-700 can be operated in automatic TTL mode. TTL (Through The Lense) means that the flash unit measures the exposure information of the subject directly through the attached lens. In principle, the situation evaluates the way the photographer sees it. On the right side there is a sliding switch for three exposure modes: standard, medium and even. With the slide switch on the left side you switch the flash to manual mode, where you can set the exposure power between 1/1 to 1/128 with the wheel in the middle.
The SB-700 is a great device that leaves nothing to be desired. Unfortunately, he can not flash strobes in master mode. That was clear to me even before the purchase. However, I accepted that, because other benefits clearly outweighed me. Stroboscope is probably as a slave. I have not tried it yet. Another criticism would be that the SB-700 has no real battery indicator. Only when the batteries are used up will a battery symbol be displayed. The flash will stop responding. Perhaps it is technically difficult to realize a really working battery consumption display with the wealth of different battery and battery manufacturers. I dont know. Finally, it should be noted that the adjustment of the flash head is a bit cumbersome. For this purpose, an unlock button must be pressed on the right side of the flash. Now I hold my body already with the right hand and has to unlock with his left hand over my right hand to operate the button, hold it and adjust the flash reflector. I do not find this solution particularly ergonomic. On the left side of the release button would probably be better attached. Probably the Nikon engineers have thought more about the use of the camera in the studio on the tripod. In that case, the right hand would be free. But it is a matter of habituation.
Except for a few points of criticism, the SB-700 is a great, smart device in the middle price range. I would recommend anyone who owns a Nikon DSLR and the purchase of an external flash, to buy an SB-700.