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Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras - Old Version

4.6 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews
| 28 answered questions

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  • Autofocus speedlight compatible with both digital and film SLR cameras
  • Intelligent i-TTL system supports automatic balanced fill-flash
  • Can automatically control light output according to distance and aperture
  • Dot matrix LCD with easy to read graphics
  • Ergonomic control with conveniently placed buttons and switches
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Technical Details

Product Description

D3) Nikon SB-800 speed light (4801)

Product Information

Product Dimensions 5 x 3.6 x 2.8 inches
Item Weight 12.3 ounces
Shipping Weight 1.1 pounds
Item model number 4801
Batteries 1 Nonstandard Battery batteries required. (included)
Customer Reviews
4.6 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #124 in Camera & Photo > Camera & Photo Accessories > Flashes > Shoe Mount Flashes
Date first available at Amazon.com December 5, 2003

Technical Specification

Warranty & Support

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here


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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gadgester HALL OF FAME on January 21, 2005
I won't repeat the wealth of information the other kind reviewers have already given. I'll just focus on why I decided to cough up the extra $100 to get the SB-800 instead of the less powerful SB-600.

Compared to the SB-600, the SB-800 has the following extra features:

1) Much more powerful, as reflected in the GN.

2) Slightly faster recycle time with the standard four AA batteries. It also comes with a battery holder that holds a fifth battery which cuts down recycle time by 1/3 to 1/2.

3) The SB-800 has non-TTL auto and auto aperture modes. (More on this later.)

4) In wireless remote mode, the SB-800 can act both as the master and slave, whereas the 600 can only be a slave.

5) It comes with a useful diffusion dome, which won't even fit on the SB-600.

6) The SB-800 package also includes two colored gel filters.

7) The SB-800 can do repeating flash (in the same exposure), for a strobe effect.

Basically, both the 600 and 800 support Nikon's latest flash technologies, i-TTL (supported by the D70 and D2H only) and CLS (creative lighting system), in addition to all the TTL (through the lens) flash modes Nikon introduced in the past. The 600 is really a prosumer-level flash that's either TTL or manual, whereas the 800 is pure pro-grade with a lot of modes and options. The manual, evidently written by a Japanese manual writer, attests to its sophistication; understanding the manual will really require a Ph.D. in yoga so you don't stress yourself out.

The 800's auto modes are what won me over in the end. The auto modes can set the flash output automatically on Nikon bodies that do not support any TTL (through the lens) mode.
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I just recently bought this flash for my D100.

My wife wanted me to take a bunch of photos of her grandmother's small antique objects - pieces of jade, little carvings on ivory, some vases, etc. I have never been happy with the D100's built-in flash, and my local camera shop suggested the SB-800 over several other Nikon models (after I told them I would also use it for photographing pets and some indoor photography while sightseeing).

This flash is great. First of all, the color is natural... The photos I have been taking of jade, ivory, small glass objects, and even my pets (and my wife as a test subject) come out evenly exposed with no hot spots, especially when using the diffusion dome and pointing the flash up at the ceiling (when mounted on the camera, the flash can be turned, and tilted 90 degrees in about 10 degree increments).

Second of all, it is FAST. It contains 4 AA batteries, with the option of adding a 5th in a small addition (so you can trade off between weight and recharge time). With all 5 batteries installed and fresh, it can keep pace with my camera's rate of 3 pictures a second for 5-6 flashes. After that, it needs less than a second to be ready to go again.

Third of all, it makes using a flash brain-dead simple, At least attached to my D100 (and presumably the D70). It automatically adjusts itself based on the characteristics of my lens, the zoom, the distance to subject, backlighting, etc. I can still manually futz with settings if I want, but I don't have to to get a great shot.

One accessory I would consider a 'must' for the flash is the 4 foot cable that lets you use it off-camera. Especially since my main purpose is to take photos of small objects, having side-lighting is crucial to bringing out the relief on things like carved jade. It doesn't come with the flash.
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I bought this flash to use with my Nikon D70. I wanted a flash with plenty of power and flexibility, but smart enough to handle caluation of exposure when I just wanted to shoot. I was not disappointed.

This flash works hand-in-glove with other elements of the Nikon system. When connected to the hot-shoe of my D70 the camera and flash instantly recognize each other. The default "TTL" mode (Through The Lens) gives consistantly well-exposed photos. If anything, the camera and flash tend to want to underexpose just a bit, but you can easily use the flash compensation to fix this. It appears that the Nikon folks are going for a more natural-light exposure, while I prefer a brighter picture. I usually set the flash to +2/3 and am always happy with the results.

The SB-800 has many flash modes that can be used by the creative photographer for different situations. They include 2 TTL modes, auto-aperature mode, manual mode, and a repeating flash mode. The RPT mode lets you set the flash power and frequency in Hz and the flash repeatedly fires during the exposure. Great for experimentation.

The flash head tilts to 90 degrees straight up, and swings completely around to 180 degrees - backwards. It has a red focus-assist lamp which works wonderfully.

The SB-800 comes with a number of accessories that come at an additional price for many other flashes. An extra battery attachment is included, which decreases the flash recycle time. A flash diffuser dome is also included to give a softer lighting effect. Two light filters are included to match the flash to background lighting for more natural white balance settings. They even include a nice padded case.
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