Friday, October 21, 2016

Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Shoe Mount Flash for Nikon

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

When I first got a Nikon D50, there were a few things I wanted to get. One thing I new I needed was a flash. This becomes evident mostly when taking indoor pictures. My cat would often get those green eyes commonly associated with pets. Pictures of rooms were yellowish or blurry. Even with the flash, they weren't great. There were also times outdoors when things would be backlit. I have a lot of pictures that would have benefited greatly from a flash.

My three choices were the SB-400, SB-600 and the SB-800. The SB-400, I'm told, is very basic. You can't even swivel from left to right with it. The SB-800, I'm told, is more expensive, but not worth it if you don't have one of the higher-end cameras. The only big difference between the 600 and the 800 is in setting up several flashes. I have no need for this, so I figured I'd save myself a hundred dollars or so and go for the SB-600.

If you do decide to get the SB-600, you'll need to buy four AA batteries. I've had a set for a while now and they've lasted a while. I would recommend keeping a spare set, just in case. I haven‘t had this one go out yet, so I have no idea if the power reduces or if the flash just stops working. (Note: Like most devices that use batteries, be sure to remove them when not using the flash, as they will eventually leak.)

You put the flash on using a hot-shoe adapter. Your camera should have a hot-shoe protector, which you'll need to take off before putting on the flash. Once on, the flash has a locking mechanism to help keep the flash on. I have actually left the flash unlocked only to have it slide off slightly.

The SB-600 is a bounce flash. This means that you can have it pointing strait up, forward or anywhere in between. If you have a light-colored ceiling, you can use it to diffuse the flash and give more even tones. You also have the option of moving the flash to the left or right. This is something you'll have to play around with to see how well it works. I could probably write an entire article just on how to use the tilt and swivel on a flash. The important thing is that you have options not available to you with your onboard flash and those two options do make a huge difference in your pictures. (You can, technically, point the flash towards you, but I don't recommend this.)

On the back of the flash is a display showing various settings and options. The flash will adjust depending on the focal distance. (The flash does have its limits and leaving the diffuser down causes the flash to simply go to 14mm.) If you turn the camera off, the flash goes to standby. You have to turn the flash back on before shutting it off, which is a bit annoying if you're in a rush.

I can say that I have yet to have a problem with the flash. The battery life has proven to be good and my pictures are better. I have yet to get red eye (or green eye) with it. Go to Flickr and look for pictures with the SB-600. Most of the pictures I've taken with the SB-600 are tagged as such. (You'll find some nice pictures, if I do say so myself...) The flash gets four stars.

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