Nikon SB 700 vs Nikon SB 910

Nikon SB 800 vs Nikon SB 910

Nikon SB 800 vs Nikon SB 910
Nikon SB 800 vs Nikon SB 910
Nikon SB 800 vs Nikon SB 910
Nikon SB 800 vs Nikon SB 910

This is not a review. This is more of a point of view. There is enough reviews on this subject. I have nothing to offer that has not been regurgitated thousands of times by others who know much more than me.

Being a mostly focused on product photography with fixed tungsten studio lighting I have not been a big user of flash and on the occasions where I do need a flash I utilize a Nikon SB 800 Speedlight or the Nikon 4804 R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System. Recently though, I decided to branch out into more walking around, candid and minor action types of photography. I also want to become well versed if not an expert with the Nikon Creative Light System or “CLS” as Nikon refers to it. This brings me to an issue and it’s a big one. The Nikon SB 800 while an amazing flash is a pain in the ass to use. The menu structure does not make any sense and it is not intuitive at all. Just about any internet search of the Nikon SB 800 will result in complaints that mirror my own. To that end I decided enough is enough and I would buy a new flash and demote the Nikon SB 800 to a slave flash in my CLS setup. This lead to a question of which new flash to get, the Nikon SB 700 vs Nikon SB 910.

It would be easy just to spend $550 here and buy the biggest baddest Nikon Speedlight available at this time the SB 910. The thing is do I need a flash that big? The SB 910 is HUGE. Do I need to use an external battery pack? Do I need to control 3 groups of lights in commander mode? Do I need the power and recycle time the SB 910 has on tap? Are there other differences that I will miss? The answer to all these questions is NO!

First off Nikon loses me with the size of the SB 910. I find the SB 800 on the big and heavy side (BTW the SB 700 is slightly bigger than the SB 800!). This really turns me off with the SB 910. I do not need to control 3 groups of lights in commander mode. External battery, forget about it. Power, I simply cant imagine anything I currently do or plan on doing requiring the full power of the SB 910 or the SB 800 for that matter. In fact if I need more power I can still use the SB 800 which also happens to have more power than the SB 910.

Here’s my take if you are reading this you probably are not a run and gun newspaper or sports photographer. Your probably more like me taking deliberate thought picturesout or maybe fast shooting for brief periods. The extra performance and cost of the SB 910 is probably not justified. Especially if this is your first flash not built in to the camera. If you ever need a more powerful and smarter flash Nikon will have a brand new model waiting to separate you from your cash. I suggest going to Amazon and spending $327.00 on the Sb 700. Take the $225 you saved and buy yourself something useful.

Guide Numbers:

  • SB 700 = 28 m/92 ft. (at ISO 100, 35mm zoom head position, in FX format, standard illumination pattern, 20°C/68°F) to 39 m/128 ft. (at ISO 200, 35mm zoom head position, in FX format, standard illumination pattern, 20°C/68°F)
  • SB 800 = 38 m/125 ft. (at ISO 100, 35mm zoom-head position, 20°C/68°F) to 53 m/174 ft. (at ISO 100 and 105mm zoom-head position, 20°C/68°F)
  • SB 900 = 34 m/111.5 ft. (at ISO 100, 35mm zoom head position, in FX format, standard illumination pattern, 20°C/68°F) to 48 m/157.5 ft. (at ISO 200, 35mm zoom head position, in FX format, standard illumination pattern, 20°C/68°F)
  • SB 910  = 34 m/111.5 ft. (at ISO 100, 35mm zoom head position, in FX format, standard illumination pattern, 20°C/68°F) to 48 m/157.5 ft. (at ISO 200, 35mm zoom head position, in FX format, standard illumination pattern, 20°C/68°F)
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