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Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?

Started May 11, 2014 | Discussions
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InTheMist
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Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
May 11, 2014

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking about getting an SB-400 to throw in my bag for use as a popup-replacement or hair/rim light (with a PocketWizard).

Opinions?

It has to be small as I've become a weight weenie, and anyway, I already have two SB-700s and a SB-900.

I didn't like the SB-300 because it uses AAA batteries and I'm already heavily invested in AA rechargeables.

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It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
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Daniel4
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

I found my D800 popup flash surprisingly powerful for direct (not bounce) flash, so I skipped the SB-400 and got the SB-700 instead which is great for bouncing (but you already know that).

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romfordbluenose
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

Increase your ISO and the popup is very powerful

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Chuck Yadmark
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

Can't find  a new one now and even if you could I'd still probably get this one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/603411-REG/Sunpak_RD2000N_RD2000_Digital_TTL_Low_Profile.htm

which is a bit more compact.

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paulski66
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

I had an sb-400 back in my d90 days. Honestly, I found it really not that worth it. If you could use it as a commander, then yes, maybe, but otherwise it's just too limited.

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InTheMist
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to Chuck Yadmark, May 11, 2014

Chuck Yadmark wrote:

Can't find a new one now and even if you could I'd still probably get this one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/603411-REG/Sunpak_RD2000N_RD2000_Digital_TTL_Low_Profile.htm

which is a bit more compact.

That's pretty interesting. Thanks!

romfordbluenose wrote:

Increase your ISO and the popup is very powerful

Yeah, that's true, but not all my cameras have popups.
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It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
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paulski66
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

InTheMist wrote:

but not all my cameras have popups.

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It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
http://inthemistphoto.com

D'oh! Of course.

In that case, the d400 makes more sense. Sorry, I hadn't considered this.

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Stacey_K
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

InTheMist wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking about getting an SB-400 to throw in my bag for use as a popup-replacement or hair/rim light (with a PocketWizard).

Opinions?

People ditz this flash but I find it useful. The light quality is much nicer than the popup, especially when you clip a 3rd party diffuser on it. Plus it recyles pretty quick and doesn't drain the camera batter. And it can be tilted up to bounce off a ceiling. I also have a couple of SB700's but this little guy always gets thrown in the bag. I do wish it would work off camera by itself but...

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chuhsi
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

It's fine for a small lightweight flash with no frills. Get a diffuser for it.

Only real issue is finding one for a decent price. They've increased in price since being discontinued for inferior sb-300.

I ended up buying the 300 because I couldn't get myself to pay so much money for a 400 (I sold my first 400 a couple years ago)

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lickity split
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to Chuck Yadmark, May 11, 2014

Chuck Yadmark wrote:

Can't find a new one now and even if you could I'd still probably get this one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/603411-REG/Sunpak_RD2000N_RD2000_Digital_TTL_Low_Profile.htm

which is a bit more compact.

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Amazon has them,but the price went up since being discontinued..

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-SB-400-Speedlight-Digital-Cameras/dp/B000KKPN5C

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David314
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Solid flash
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

InTheMist wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking about getting an SB-400 to throw in my bag for use as a popup-replacement or hair/rim light (with a PocketWizard).

Opinions?

It has to be small as I've become a weight weenie, and anyway, I already have two SB-700s and a SB-900.

I didn't like the SB-300 because it uses AAA batteries and I'm already heavily invested in AA rechargeables.

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It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
http://inthemistphoto.com

I think it is a solid flash  and actually puts out a fair amount of light

it does work with the pocket wizard. Ttl5

that sunpak looks pretty intriguing

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Prairie Pal
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 11, 2014

I'm thinking about getting an SB-400 to throw in my bag for use as a popup-replacement or hair/rim light (with a PocketWizard).

You mention pocketwizard so I'm assuming you mean off camera and in manual mode?

I had an SB400 only briefly but if I remember correctly there are no controls on the flash. It's meant to be used on the hot shoe and controlled by the camera.

Seeing that you will be using it in manual mode (I'm assuming), there are a tons of used flashes to be had, small one with low profiles, and most with some degree of output control. You could probably buy 20 or more of these pre-digital flashes for what an sb400 costs.  I think the sunpack has the same limitations as the sb400.

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Ivan

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David314
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Pocket wizard ttl
In reply to Prairie Pal, May 11, 2014

Prairie Pal wrote:

I'm thinking about getting an SB-400 to throw in my bag for use as a popup-replacement or hair/rim light (with a PocketWizard).

You mention pocketwizard so I'm assuming you mean off camera and in manual mode?

I had an SB400 only briefly but if I remember correctly there are no controls on the flash. It's meant to be used on the hot shoe and controlled by the camera.

Seeing that you will be using it in manual mode (I'm assuming), there are a tons of used flashes to be had, small one with low profiles, and most with some degree of output control. You could probably buy 20 or more of these pre-digital flashes for what an sb400 costs. I think the sunpack has the same limitations as the sb400.

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Ivan

With the new pocket wizard ttl controls, like the ttl5 you can use the sb400 and remotely set the power manually or  use ttl

in that regard it is a pretty awesome flash

there is no way to remotely trigger the sb400 from a dumb trigger

it has to communicate with what it thinks is a camera

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Shotcents
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 12, 2014

InTheMist wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm thinking about getting an SB-400 to throw in my bag for use as a popup-replacement or hair/rim light (with a PocketWizard).

Opinions?

It has to be small as I've become a weight weenie, and anyway, I already have two SB-700s and a SB-900.

I didn't like the SB-300 because it uses AAA batteries and I'm already heavily invested in AA rechargeables.

-- hide signature --

It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
http://inthemistphoto.com

If you already have a big flash or two, the Sb400 is absolutely wonderful and this is one of those occasions where Ken Rockwell is correct.

Flip the little head up and you get a very nice soft bounce flash, especially if you order the little plastic diffuser with it. When I pack a small bag with my Df or Coolpix P7700, this little flash does so much better than the direct flash that is built in to some of my other camera bodies. If I strip down my D800 (grip off and small prime) the SB400 does a nice enough job, though it's not nearly as versatile as the full size flashes. You're not going to get the type of power of a full sized flash, so don't expect miracles. If you're trying to light up a big scene you'll need to crank the ISO more than with an SB800 or 910.

I bought mine at the last minute for 110.00 bucks. I would not have it as my only flash, but it's nice to have for certain situations and not the heavy counterweight that my big guns are.

I also tried the Sb300 recently and it's really about the same, a bit less powerful, but the head tilts better. The Sb300 also uses AAA batteries instead of AA like the SB400....not a big deal unless you have OCD with battery matching.

Cheers,

Robert

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bocajrs
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to Daniel4, May 12, 2014

Daniel4 wrote:

I found my D800 popup flash surprisingly powerful for direct (not bounce) flash, so I skipped the SB-400 and got the SB-700 instead which is great for bouncing (but you already know that).

Ditto... The SB-700 is a very nice flash

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seahawk
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 12, 2014

I love this tiny flash. Batteries last forever, it puts out quite some light, it can bounce, it is fully camera controlled, with a softbox it works very well. And it is small and weights nothing.

I use it more often than my bigger Metz SB700 alternative.

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Paul P K
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to seahawk, May 12, 2014

Highly recommended

Small, quite powerfull and works like a charm with the TT5, and with a AC-3 or SU800 will have its power reduced similar to eg the SB800 and SB910 (was a surprise for me when I found that one one, since it standard has no CLS functions)

I also always have it with me together with the DF, nice small volume package which still allows plenty of possibilties

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Chas J
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to InTheMist, May 12, 2014

I have the SB - 400 and SB-800 and other large flashes.   It is the 400 that I use the most.

A trick I use much of the time is to tilt the flash head upwards and then insert a business card in the slot that opens up behind the rotated head (if you look at one - you will see what I mean).  This not only gives bounce flash but soft fill flash at the same time ... and it costs nothing !.

Great flash that always gets thrown in my bag when I am using my Nikon kit.

Chas.

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tommiejeep
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to Chas J, May 12, 2014

I love it on the Df for fill but I am seriously looking at the Nissin i40 which is even smaller and more functional (Focus Assist for one )

this was a quick snap at a recent Charity function with the SB400 and 85 1.4D

Cheers,

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Chas J
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Re: Thinking about an SB-400. Thoughts?
In reply to tommiejeep, May 12, 2014

Great Shot.

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