What is the best camera flash with rechargeable battery (not AA) for Nikon DSLR?

Started 8 months ago | Discussions thread
kli Veteran Member • Posts: 4,439
Re: What is the best camera flash with rechargeable battery (not AA) for Nikon DSLR?

cybersnap wrote:

I am looking for a camera flash for my future Nikon DSLR mirrorless.
I have found that all Nikon flashes come with AA batteries.
Do you know what are, if any, camera flash comparable to those by Nikon but with batteries that can be rechargeable (not the AA type)?

Godox would be the typical recommendation since they started the whole li-ion battery pack flash craze.

Also, are you sure AAs aren't going to be sufficient? While the li-ion pack can last 2x-3x as long as a set of AAs, unless you're an all-day wedding shooter or someone who has portrait sessions booked back to back 5 days a week, you may not actually require them. And they do warrant a bit more care,more constant use (I.e., they can die if you don't use them for long periods of time), and are harder to get your hands on than AAs (which you can find at any big box store).

If you're talking speedlight (hotshoe flash), Godox makes six models of Li-ion powered speedlight. All their models named with "V" use a lithium ion battery pack; the "TT" models are AA-powered (and are less expensive and [aside from the TT350] have an external battery pack port). Which one is the best fit for you depends on how you plan to use it and your budget:

  • V350-N ($160). Mini-speedlight but does TTL/HSS. Less swivel (270º) and power than the full-sized models, only 16 channels and roughly 1/3 the radio range as a transmitter. Also no recycle beep and no sync port. But very small and light and great to balance on small mirrorless bodies for on-camera use. [$85 TT350 counterpart]
  • V850 II ($140). Single-pin manual speedlight, but radio transceiver built in allows for remote power/group control and HSS. Cannot be firmware updated. [$65 TT600 counterpart]
  • V850 III ($160). Refreshed update to add ID codes and to make its UI more uniform with the V1. But still manual single-pin and still not firmware updateable.
  • V860 II-N ($180). Full-sized TTL/HSS speedlight with traditional fresnel head. [$110 TT685-N counterpart]. The only model in this list that can also do Nikon's "smart" optical CLS/AWL communication.
  • V860 III-N ($230). Full-sized TTL/HSS speedlight that's basically a V1 with a fresnel head. [TT685 II-N sorta/kinda counterpart]
  • V1-N ($260). Top of the line round-headed flash with addition UI updates, including a slight backwards head tilt, TCM switch, LED lamp, and slidelock on the foot instead of a screwlock. UI overhaul and some new functions (SCAN) added.

Also, the VB26/VB26A packs that are used in the Mk III and V1 models is only 2x the capacity of a set of 4xAA; the VB18's (in the older II models) capacity is 2.8x.

Other options would include Profoto's A10 ($1000 or thereabouts pricetag), and the Jinbei HD2-Pro/Westcott FJ80.

Keep in mind, none of these flashes (aside from the Profoto) are going to be quite as good at TTL consistency/accuracy, overheat protection, AF-assist or fit'n'finish (not to mention forwards/backwards compatibility) or customer/warranty service and factory repair as an OEM Nikon speedlight. Lower pricetags gotta come from somewhere.

And, that, as per usual with any 3rd-party reverse-engineered gear, if you're contemplating getting a very new camera body mode there may be some compatibility issues that require firmware dates that may not yet exist, since Godox can only reverse-engineer against what exists at the time they created the flash.

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