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Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
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- Compact, lightweight Speedlight unit
- 18mm angle of coverage with Nikon DX format digital SLR cameras
- Bounce capabilities in 4 steps up to 90 degrees; flash shooting distance range from 2 and up to 66 feet
- Approximate guide number of 98.4 feet at ISO 200 (at 18mm zoom head setting)
- Operates on two AA-size (1.5V) batteries; fast 2.5 second recycling time
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|Item Dimensions||1 x 1 x 1 inches|
|Shipping Weight||0.66 pounds|
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Nikon announces the Nikon Speedlight SB-400, an intelligent and versatile external flash unit that provides i-TTL flash operation in a super-compact and ultra-lightweight body at an affordable price. With its powerful guide number of 21, the SB-400 is an ideal flash unit for beginners in digital SLR photography, but it is also useful for hobbyists and professionals looking for a handy i-TTL flash unit offering an effortless bounce flash function. The SB-400 has been specifically developed to provide photographers with an entry-level external flash unit which is compatible with i-TTL flash operation. When combined with cameras that are compatible wih the Nikon Creative Lighting System, the SB-400 is controlled in i-TTL and D40's M (manual) mode. The SB-400's flash head can be tilted in 4 steps--horizontal, as well as 60, 75, and 90 degrees--and has a flash shooting distance range of between 60cm to 20m (depending on the camera's ISO setting). Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction and other flash modes can also be set on the camera body, enabling users to enjoy brighter and more natural lighting for better flash pictures.1-Year Nikon USA Warranty.
From the Manufacturer
Nikon announces the Nikon Speedlight SB-400, an intelligent and versatile external flash unit that provides i-TTL flash operation in a super-compact and ultra-lightweight body at an affordable price.
With its powerful guide number of 21, the SB-400 is an ideal flash unit for beginners in digital SLR photography, but it is also useful for hobbyists and professionals looking for a handy i-TTL flash unit offering an effortless bounce flash function.
The SB-400 has been specifically developed to provide photographers with an entry-level external flash unit which is compatible with i-TTL flash operation. When combined with cameras that are compatible with the Nikon Creative Lighting System, the SB-400 is controlled in i-TTL and D40's M (manual) mode.
The SB-400's flash head can be tilted in 4 steps--horizontal, as well as 60, 75, and 90 degrees--and has a flash shooting distance range of between 60cm to 20m (depending on the camera's ISO setting). Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction and other flash modes can also be set on the camera body, enabling users to enjoy brighter and more natural lighting for better flash pictures.
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If you look at the product description, this SB-400 is listed as being made "for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras" but there's more to it than that: it also works quite with the Nikon Coolpix P7100 along with a number of other Nikon digital cameras, as verified on Nikon's website. I've personally used it with my P7100 and D5000, along with the aging D200, and the performance has been excellent with each of these, primarily because of the i-TTL mode. The SB-400 was made to work with contemporary Nikon DSLRs made since 2004. It's small and it's not cheap, but its performance is surprising.
* Excellent construction quality; the SB-400 has a metal hot shoe
* Uses just two AA cells; excellent battery life
* Fast recycling, about 2 ½ seconds
* Shooting range 2 ft. up to 66 ft.
* i-TTL fill-flash with CLS-compatible cameras
* Bounce capabilities: 4 steps, to 90 degrees
* No sideward head tilt
The first thing that you'll note about the SB-400 when unboxed is the precision feel to the unit. I was surprised to see that it had a metal hot shoe, as so many flashes today have gone to plastic. There's also a lock lever on the rear, and it has indicators so that you'll know if you forgot to lock it. There's an excellent little zippered soft case that will store your flash and keep it from getting dinged up in your camera bag. The flash uses only two AA batteries that can be purchased almost anywhere, and though I'm not carefully measuring it, I get about 200 flashes per pair of batteries. I'm getting a recycle time of just over 2 ½ seconds with a pair of Sanyo eneloop Ni-MH 2000 mAH rechargeable batteries.
The tilt head is excellent, and if you're using your Nikon in horizontal (landscape) mode, it offers four vertical positions of 0, 60, 75 and 90 degrees. But if you're holding your camera in the vertical (portrait) mode, then you'll have to shoot with the flash straight on or bounced off of a wall. It's a tilt head, and doesn't have a swivel head like the more costly Nikon SB-700 offers.
The angle of coverage on the SB-400 is 18mm (DX-format) and 27mm (FX-format). For reference, this is the equivalent of about a 28mm lens on 35mm film camera. The flash coverage is excellent and generally well distributed. Tinting the head for a bounce effect will give you a softer effect, but if you need more, using a bounce card or the OM-400 Omni-Bounce Flash Diffuser for Nikon SB-400 will work, and there are similar devices.
For many, the SB-400 may be all that's needed as an excellent step upwards for Nikon DSLR owners who need more than their built-in flash offers, but some may be perhaps looking for more. As stated earlier, this flash is the beginning, entry-level unit of the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS). It supplements my aged Nikon SB-600 in that respect, but in truth I use the SB-400 far more on a day-in, day-out basis. For those wishing to explore Nikon CLS and what can be done with it, I might suggest the Nikon Creative Lighting System Digital Field Guide by photographer Benjamin Edwards. This well-written guide offers an excellent overview of the creative control of flash at the photographer's command, and with Nikon's Creative Lighting System, flash control can be almost instinctive, and the possibilities can be endless and limited to the users own creativity. And there are enough creative tips, along with excellent full-color images and diagrams that can make use of the SB-400 even easier to understand.
The Nikon SB-400 is an unpretentious, high-quality flash with all the features that many will actually use. But do you actually need one of these, considering that the built-in flash on contemporary Nikon DSLRs (and the P7100) are so good? Maybe not, but consider the SB-400 if you want an easy-to-use bounce flash, if you want faster recycle times than your camera may offer, and excellent coverage with your ultra-wide lenses. You'll also get more shots per camera battery charge, since your camera's built-in flash uses 2-4 times as much power; using the SB-400 means you don't use the built-in flash. Other flash features can be gimmicks that may even interfere with taking pictures, and will slow you down rather than get the job done. Considering all that this small wonder does, it's a 5-star recommendation.
Match this flash with the D5000, a $75.00 Stroboframe camera flip bracket, a $50.00 Nikon flash cable (don't get the cable with the focus assist)and pick up a $17.00 Sto-Fen Omni Bounce designed for this flash. You'll have a fully capable flash system. You won't regret it.
For moving around very crowed clubs, photojournalism, and the like, I can't think of a more capable, comfortable, and affordable camera outfit.
Don't worry about the lack of controls on the flash itself. The way the D5000 and this flash functions together will please you much. Especially if you are use to constantly adjusting and setting an external shoe mount flash. The flash is fully controllable from the camera.
Also, you don't have to worry for the safety of the flash as much when mounted on a bracket (or the camera) when moving through crowds.
Compared to a $200.00 to $300.00 flash, getting this flash for your Nikon D5000 only makes good sense.
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