Customer Reviews: Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(3 star, verified purchases). Show all reviews
on August 10, 2008
I shot two weddings this weekend and the SB-900 didn't even make it out of my case for the second one. It overheats unbelievably quickly, after hardly a dozen shots at full power, and then it does a thermal shutdown -- meaning it emits a series of pinball machine-esque beeps and then refuses to operate for a few minutes until the internal temperature goes down far enough. Pretty bad if you're in the middle of taking group photos, and twenty pairs of eyes are on you. What are you supposed to do -- tell everyone to wait around until the flash is good 'n' ready again? With this limitation, it's just not a tool that's remotely acceptable to a pro.

(Of course, if you don't shoot events, and can take your time between flashed photos, what is a critical point to me may well be unimportant to you.)

I suppose it makes sense for Nikon to err on the side of caution, but I'm glad my SB-800s seem to be made of sturdier stuff. True, you can't keep flashing away with the SB-800 either -- Nikon recommends cooling its bigger speedlights for at least ten minutes after bursts of heavy and sustained flash use -- but I haven't run up against a practical limitation. I work my SB-800 speedlights hard, and so far (four years and counting) I haven't burned one out yet.

As for the SB-900, it's surprising that a flash this expensive is such a delicate flower, so prone to overheating. In that regard, it may actually be just a little too big & powerful for its own good.

I believe you can elect (somewhere in the menu) not to have the thing turn itself off when it gets too hot, so perhaps you can wring the same performance and stamina from the SB-900 that you can from the SB-800. But while it'd be no fun to burn out a 300-dollar flash, it'd be especially painful to accidentally bump off its considerably more expensive big brother. So I'm going back to my three SB-800s, and the SB-900 is going back to Amazon for a refund.
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on November 3, 2008
I am a wedding photographer. We have 3 Nikon SB 80's and 3-SB 800 units used weekly for the past 4 years. We also have 3 Canon 580 units which have worked flawlessly.

This year, I switched back from Canon to Nikon, and when the SB 900 appeared, I purchased it for my new Nikon D300 and D200 cameras. The first unit was Dead on Arrival. The replacement unit works well and has wonderful program and update capabilities. It is easy to use.

My only concern is the unit overheats very quickly when shooting wedding groups and bouncing the light off ceilings ect... This requires the strobe to do larger power dumps than would the flash if pointing directly at the subject....
My SB 900 shut down in the middle of Group photos, and I quickly pulled out my trusty SB 800 and completed the job.

Outdoors, using fill flash, the SB-900 works well. It does not work well in large halls, darkened receptions etc.

I turned off the Over Temp Shutdown feature, but the unit still squeals at me with every shot after 6-8 shots have been taken. I find myself blowing into the top of the unit, trying to cool it... but, it needs cooling holes or a fan... with the constant overheating problem.

I thought my flash was over -sensitive, until reading other reviews here... Now, I know, sadly, it is just part of this finicky $[...] beast.

Jim Jones
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on January 8, 2015
I have two of these. I'm a wedding photographer and always have to be careful not to shoot too much, too fast and at high intensity or the flash will over heat. It's a Nikon thing with this flash as I have friends that have experience this problem. When the flash over heats it won't work until it cools down. Other than that it works good.
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on December 3, 2011
This is a decent speedlight. But I have two issues with it. 1) The hole where you put the sync cord or the cord to the Pocket Wizard is too big and the cord falls out. The only way to fix this has been for me to keep a rubberband around the cord pushing it into the hold tightly. Even a screw-in cord hasn't been successful. The other issue is the over-heating. It doesn't happen that often but it's annoying when it does happen. At least the unit stops firing and doesn't commit suicide by overheating or that would make me REALLY angry.

But overall, it gets the job done and batteries last pretty long too.
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on August 10, 2008
This flash is great -- overpriced by about $100 for what it does, not a whole lot more than what the SB800 does, adds a few bells and whistles and has much better layout of controls. Wait a few months and it will be more realistically priced, $350 ought to be the top price. Amazon has already shaved $20 off it since I fell for it.

Amazon's packing department ought to go back to school They just threw the flash in a box with one plastic bubble. It banged around a lot during shipping. Poor job.
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on October 14, 2014
I use Nikon camera, but don't like the flash. It get hot so fast,,,,
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on December 23, 2013
I like it to some extent. It does the same as the 800, but it over heats and kills the batteries a lot quicker.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse