Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Nikon SB-300 compact flash

Nikon's latest system flash is the SB-300, a very compact model that will fit both DSLR and COOLPIX cameras. Controls have been reduced to the utmost simplicity: Turn it on and it is ready to sync with your camera either in i-TTL or manual mode. Other available use modes are: Fill flash (front-curtain sync), front-curtain with slow sync, rear- curtain sync, and rear-curtain with slow sync. The head tilts up in click stops to 120 degrees for bounce lighting.

Guide number is 59'(18m) at ISO 100, and coverage is 27mm in FX use and 18mm lens in DX format with an effective flash range topping out at 66' (20m).  Power is supplied by 2-AAA or NIMH batteries. With a flash duration of 1/1650sec, it should be able to freeze most action.

What is especially nice is the size: 2.3"W x 2.6"H x 2.5"D (57.4 x 65.4 x 62.3mm). If you're like me, you often want to have a small flash along "just in case" -- especially one that can tuck unobtrusively into the corner of your camera bag.

Of course most of the Nikon DSLR cameras (except for the D4) come with a built-in flash, but they do not tilt, and are much lower in power.  Plus, their output comes from such a low angle that the lens shade with usually be in the way and throw a shadow over the scene. The SB-300 should be available towards the end of the month for around $150.

What is missing  here is a remote control and tie-in to the current Nikon pro flashes. I often need a tiny flash to light up a small area of a scene I am shooting, but of course it would need to sync with the rest of the flash system I am using or at least be remotely triggered by the camera, as I did in the shots below with a very small flash hidden in the gift box. Of course, lack of a sync cord socket will make it difficult to do t his with the SB-300, unless you use a trigger hooked up to the hot shoe..

These two photos were taken with the same technique, but the larger box on the bottom allowed me to hide a full size Nikon SB-900 flash inside. This flash is fully controlled from the D800 used to take the photo. That made it much simpler to adjust the exposure so it harmonized with the exterior lighting.

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