13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Another Must Have From Nikon,
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This review is from: Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)Like many other reviewers, I am a huge Nikon CLS (Creative Lighting System) user. I shoot with a Nikon D300s, MBD10 Grip, 2 SB-900's, 2 SB-700's, Pocket Wizards, full line of Nikon lenses, clamps, etc... I photograph by the two L's: Light and Lens; light being the most important element. This is where Nikon Speedlights excel and the SB-700 is the perfect companion / compliment to the SB-900.
The SB-900 is a very large high-powered flash. In fact, I was surprised when I first opened the box and soon came to learn it could be a pain to pack when I went light (as in weight). The SB-700 was a welcome sight since, at times, extreme portability matters. In short, I was looking for slightly less power than the SB-900, just in a smaller package. I considered any other features (such as commander mode) to be a bonus. This was on the heels of just purchasing two SB-600's (later sold on EBay), which I found counter intuitive due to the menu system and need to press multiple buttons at the same time to adjust settings. Plus, the light output from my SB-600's seemed a little harsh and warm in the center.
The SB-700 is functionally the same as the SB-900. If you learn the SB-900, you know the SB-700. I measured power output of the SB-700 (92 feet spec) at less than the SB-900 (131 feet spec) and greater than the SB-600 (though specs say it should be a little less at 92 feet versus the SB-600 98 feet). Essentially, I use my SB-900's as key light(s) in most situations. So, it not only is a great compliment to an SB-900 but also a suitable replacement (in lieu of) for the SB-900 if you are on a budget. In fact, I judge the SB-900 to be overkill unless you are a semi-pro or pro photographer.
The on-board flash controls are simply incredible. I also find the LCD screen far better than the screen on the SB-600 or even the SB-800 (old Nikon flagship flash). The flash is easy to adjust on the move and very intuitive. Build quality is what you expect from Nikon, which is very good to great, though I am a little concerned about the battery door. But, unless you are juggling your flashes, I do not seen anything to worry about. Plus, the SB-700 comes with a built in bounce card (needed by the way) whereas the SB-600 did not. Additionally, with the SB-700 you get filters, a decent case, diffusion dome, and stand.
Word on the dreaded "thermal issue." The SB-900 contained a thermal shutdown feature to prevent the user from essentially melting the flash. The SB-700 will instead slow down recycle time to about 3.5 seconds compared to the rated 2.5 to control the temp. Trust me- most people will never encounter this situation unless they try. It's just something not worrying about. Therefore, this would be a great 2nd flash for advanced shooters and great first/primary flash for beginners to intermediate shooters. But, I do agree with Ken Rockwell that most users who buy non-professional (consumer grade) DSLR bodies could easily go with an SB-400 flash. So, if you are in this category, you may be able to save a few hundred dollars and get everything you need. If you decide to upgrade later, your equipment is scaleable and resell-able (Nikon gear retains value very well).
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 31, 2011 1:32:03 PM PDT
I enjoyed your review. Do you have any examples of your photographs on Flickr or the Internet? I'd like to see some of your work with the SB-700.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2011 2:18:51 PM PDT
I am not sure Amazon allows me to post links. I will try them below. If Amazon cuts the links out, just Google my company name (Dassaro Imaging).
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