Refurbished Nikon SB-800 speedlights available at Adorama

Started Aug 5, 2009 | Discussions thread
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deuxcent Senior Member • Posts: 1,321
Refurbished Nikon SB-800 speedlights available at Adorama

This may be old news but it wasn't to me. I found that Adorama sells refurbished Nikon SB-800 flashes for $300. I picked up an extra unit (my fourth) ten minutes ago. Last I checked, a few months back, (a) Nikon had stopped making these, and (b) prices for gently USED ones had gone north of $500. I gather that (a) is still true -- all the more reason to pick up a backup unit now if you like the SB-800.

On a vaguely related topic, when I was doing some test shots at home I discovered something new today (new to ME!). It concerns the optical-slave function on the SB-800.

The need for off-camera flash is evident from this snapshot. It was taken using the camera's built-in flash. Urgh.

I added a wireless speedlight at about 6 feet high and 5 feet from the clock, bounced off of the white ceiling. Better, but note the dark, uninviting rooms on either side.

So I placed a second speedlight in the room on the left, and stuck a third one in the room on the right. Both were fired in manual mode at half power, slaved to the main flash.

Now here's the kicker: I took these images NOT with one of my Nikon DSLRs, but with a little Canon point-and-shoot. The Nikon speedlights, set to SU-4 mode, will wirelessly slave to ANY camera's flash! The setup worked flawlessly even after I stuck a piece of white tape over the Canon's internal flash to minimize its reflection in the glossy wooden surface of the clock (compare to first photo).

This functionality is admittedly useless if you're in a situation where other people's flashes are going off (press event, wedding), but fine if you're in a more controlled environment.

I can think of a couple of scenarios where this might, in rare circumstances, come in handy.

1. If your Nikon DSLR gives up the ghost while you're shooting with SB-800s (or other flashes with optical slaves, such as the SB-26), you can keep working with ANY available camera that has a built-in flash, even if it's a different brand. (I know, you'll have a second identical body at the ready, but still.)

2. When the IR functions that you'd NORMALLY use to let the camera and the flashes communicate via wireless i-TTL are compromised (too much sunlight has been known to reduce the system's working range), you can switch to the optical-slaves method, which works across greater distances and appears to be less finicky about line-of-sight.

I love my SB-800's, and am about to attend a weeklong workshop with Joe McNally, who I'm sure can show me a thing or two (hundred) about using this stuff.


 deuxcent's gear list:deuxcent's gear list
Nikon D3S Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +10 more
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