D700 amateur user wonders why D4s has no built in flash

Started Feb 20, 2014 | Discussions thread
dwight3 Senior Member • Posts: 2,626
Re: D700 amateur user wonders why D4s has no built in flash

KennethKwok wrote:

I use D700 for family photos.

I regret that I did not buy the D800 due to the initial bugs. That's despite that I don't use the left outermost AF all the time. Now, D800 is about 2 years, and it seems a bit late to get it.

I don't think it's late at all. The D800/800E is a fine camera and will continue to perform for many years. For that matter, the D3S is probably still usable. Do you really just need to have the latest and greatest thing?

Work has been fine, and I wanted to award myself. I always wonder about the D3, D4 series.
A lot say Professional is different. A lot says D3 is a different beast to D700 in terms of AF, etc. They say I bought a DATSUN (D700), and thought it was a Ferrari (D3). In a way, people pay so much more for D3. There should be reasons.

Some say D700 and D3 AF are the same.

What I do not accept is no built in flash in D3 / D4.

I had a D3 and now have a D4. Neither had the built in flash. It is my understanding that part of the reason for this is to allow room for the 100% viewfinder. The flash would interfere with that.

Not having a flash has not set me back significantly. When I first got a DSLR (D200) I used the built-in flash a few times. The photos were, frankly, awful. The built-in flash created harsh shadows that turned me off. To be fair, an attached speedlight facing forward at the subject also produces harsh shadows that I don't like at all. But the speedlight can be aimed at the ceiling or a wall, or even just a sheet of paper to reflect it further away from the optical axis. That basically eliminates redeye and if the sheet of paper is large enough it softens shadow edges so they're not as intrusive.

The built-in flash cannot be aimed anywhere but forward (unless you kluge up some reflection system).

IMHO, the ONLY reason to have a built-in flash is to use as a commander for off-camera lighting. I agree with others who state that a built-in flash creates a weak spot in a rugged camera (at least as it is generally produced). So a speedlight or remote trigger system is really needed for those situations in which you need off-camera lighting. (It might be possible to use those LED's that are currently used for focus assistance, but given the broad nature of off-camera lighting, there would have to be several such LED's pointing in different directions to provide useful range).

I don't see any reason why Nikon (or others) can't make an internal lighting commander on their cameras (although I must admit I am not a camera designer). There are, to be sure, problems. Optical systems are limited in range. Radio systems have to use radio signals, and radio spectrum allocation is a mess, worldwide. Every country has its own rules on what parts of the radio spectrum is available. Bluetooth, however, seems to get by in spite of this limitation.

At present, the speedlight is the cheapest solution. It can be aimed in different directions so you can use it for bounce lighting. You can take it off when you don't need it. If you can afford a D4 you can certainly afford an SB910.

A D3 user said he has a SB-400 permanently attached.

Forget it.

...What do D3, D4 owners think? Are there no such times, that a little fill flash may help?

Does the built in flash really compromise the "Professional" image of the D3, D4 so much?
My D700 built in flash has not died yet...

I admit I am not a professional photojournalist. But doesn't a big SB910 pull on the hot shoe if

they are violently banged towards each other? Can't the hotshoe be damaged?

Fill flash does help occasionally. But good lighting will come from an extended source. The built-in flash is a point source.

I don't believe it's the professional image of the camera that would be impacted by use of the on-camera flash. It's the professional image of the images produced that is impacted.

Yes, the hotshoe can be damaged by torquing it with a big lever. But the built-in flash can similarly be damaged by hitting it from the side or front.

 dwight3's gear list:dwight3's gear list
Nikon D4 Nikon D800E Nikon D5 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +10 more
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