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Keywords: Nikon Speedlight Tilt


Registered: October 2005
Posts: 36
Nikon SB-30 Speedlight review by Ross_Alford
Review Date: 12/29/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $120.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Small, light, inexpensive, built-in manual and TTL slave modes
Cons: Doesn't work as main or slave with i-TTL

This is a great little flash. It is extremely flexible, with TTL operation on Nikon film SLRs and first generation digital cameras like the Nikon E series and Kodak DCS4xx, manual operation with many levels of light poutput, non-TTL auto with an external sensor, a manual slave mode in which it fires at full power when the master flash goes off, and a TTL slave mode in which it fires for the same length of time as the master flash. An amazing list of features for such a small, light flash unit.

In the last days of using film SLRs, my standard outfit for shooting macros was one or two of these plus an on-camera flash. The SB30s were used in their TTL slave mode, sometimes on a bracket and sometimes with just one held in my free hand in a position where it would fill in nasty shadows. The on-camera flash was in TTL-OTF mode, and because the SB30s synchronize their on and off time with the master, they worked brilliantly.

Even with a DSLR, one or two of these is a viable alternative for multiple-flash macro work if you don't want to invest in the Nikon R1 outfit. Until I bought an R1, I continued to use 1 or 2 SB30s in TTL slave mode, controlling lighting by changing the output of the master flash on the camera in manual mode. With digital this is very easy, since you can just look at the histogram display and adjust exposure if you haven't got it right, and with a bit of practice, you usually get it right anyway, as either 1/4 or 1/8 output usually worked for me for macros at ISO 100 or 200.

The only problem is that as a slave, the SB30 is set off by the preflashes of i-TTL and most point and shoot cameras, so to use them as slaves you have to work in manual mode. You could use one as an on-camera flash, and I have done this when desperate, with the SB30 in its non-TTL auto mode.

An example, taken with one SB30 in manul mode on the camera and one in TTL slave mode off the camera


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