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The SB-700 uses an iTTL optical (infra-red) system to communicate exposure information from a camera. This works very well, with good quality and accurate light production. The drawbacks: the camera’s popup flash fires an optical signal that can produce reflections on a background and can cause humans/animals to blink – meaning the subjects have their eyes closed when the actual shot is taken. The answer is to purchase a Nikon SG-31R shield that hides the optical light, but lets through the required signal - off-camera, there has to be a clear line of sight from the camera’s popup and the flash unit, otherwise nothing happens. The sensor on the flash unit is only on its right-hand side, but it is quite sensitive to the popup signal - ambient light can confuse the monitoring system
Using the flash unit’s Manual Mode is an alternative – off-camera requires a PC lead from camera to flash unit or a radio transmission/receiving system set up on both, or the use of iTTL trigger. In Manual Mode, the flash unit does not acknowledge the camera's ISO and Aperture settings. Most sensible flash units allow the input of the ISO and F-Stop settings which are being used on the camera – but not the Speedlight. The Guide Number is given (this is the distance of the flash unit to the subject, multiplied by the F-Stop (ie GN of 28 at 100 ISO provides light to 7 metres at F4 or 4 metes at F7 etc or it will reach 7 metres at F8 at 400 ISO). The only control of the light intensity is to employ the Speedlight’s facility to fire at maximum, or ½, ¼ etc of its maximum. Discovering the percentage of this maximum requires a tape measure, a calculator, paper and pencil, strong coffee/tea and a string of mathematical equations – this is insanity. Nikon should publish a selection of suggested maximum percentages, across a range of distances, F-Stops and ISOs. The flash unit comes with a decent pouch, coloured filters, a removeable foot and a useful manual in English. Tips: - in iTTL Mode, switch off the camera’s popup flash, unless it is really needed. The information is still sent to the flash unit - disable unused matching groups, to reduce the number of preflashes from the camera - the flash unit has various choices of narrow or wide-angle light dispersal. Ensure that the focal length of the camera’s lens is not wider than that set on the flash unit, otherwise there will be a fall-off of light at the edges of the shot - if the camera is a Nikon, use flash white balance, not auto white balance, as Nikons can produce a bluish tint
After reading the online reviews of this little speedlight, I wasn't expecting much. But I needed a flash for a family party at a club the next day and couldn't spend too much - so I thought I'd give it a go. To my surprise I'm pleased with my purchase. The build quality seems ok and it came with a pouch to store the flash in. In terms of performance, I got about 90-100 pictures before the recycle time dropped somewhat. That's using Duracell Power Plus batteries. I've got some cracking pictures at ISO 400 using my Sigma EX HDM lense. So much better than using the built in flash - not as harsh. Bouncing the light from the ceiling really helps. Overall, not a bad little speedlight for a hobbyist. A big step up from using the built in flash, that's for sure.
This is an excellent powerful compact flash from Nikon which used the iTTL system so the flash is controlled completely by the camera so one has a 95% chance of getting a properly exposed flash photo. The unit is totally controlled by a suitable Nikon Cameras (I use D3500) even including switching off the unit when the camera goes into stand-by mode and on again when the shutter is pressed half-way. Used with a variety of Nikon lenses it seems to be almost foolproof. You can angle it up for bounced flash to give more even lighting.
There are no controls on the unit except an on/off switch, everything is worked out by the camera and flash so you can concentrate on taking the photo.
Expensive but well made and highly recommended, it comes with its own small soft carry bag, and fits in the palm of your hand. Being light and compact it is ideal for everyday carrying about.