Nikon Speedlight SB-900 Flash

First published on: Monday, 23 February 2009

The Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlight flashgun was announced on 1-Jul-2008 together with the Nikon D700 compact FX professional DLSR camera and replaces the previous flagship Nikon SB-800 flash.

Nikon SB-900 Speedlight Flash
Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Reviews

Thom Hogan’s SB-900 review
Thom compares the SB-900 vs SB-800 and gives the newer flash a solid rating.

Joseph Papa’s user opinion
There seemed to be no CLS (Nikon’s Creative Lighting System) communications problem between one SB-900 set as the master on a Nikon D3 and another remote SB-900 — in this respect, the SB-900 was more reliable than the older SB-900.

Shooting an average of 5 photos per minute for 11 hours straight with the head angled at 60 degrees and gel added, the SB-900 didn’t get warm, unlike with the Canon 550, 580 and the 580EXII flash guns.

A Canon 40D owner was incredulous that the SB-900 could be powered almost all day by 4 AA batteries.

Thermal protection on the SB-900
William shares his experience on the the appearance of a thermometer icon when the SB-900 reached maximum operating temperatures. The protection circuitry prevented the flash from over-heating.

Feature and specification highlights

Expanded automatic power zoom coverage

The SB-900 can cover the entire range of focal lengths from 17mm (12mm for DX-crop cameras) to an astounding 200mm.

The older SB-800 goes only up until 105mm.

Coverage at 200mm should prove useful in situations where you might want to, for instance, throw some catchlights into a bird’s eye.

Three light distribution patterns

This is a very interesting new feature that allows you to the width of the beam. You have three settings: Standard for general use, Center-Weighted for portraits and Even for groups and interiors.

Focus-numerique.com has technical diagrams to illustrate these new functional enhanements.
Nikon SB-900 technology diagrams

Automatic FX / DX detection

The SB-900 can detect whether it’s mounted on an FX or DX-crop Nikon digital SLR camera and adjust the flash coverage accordingly. The SB-800 does not have this feature.

Resources

Official site, NikonUSA.com — key features, technical specifications, accessories, product brochure (150.76 KB), product registration.

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