Best flashguns for nikon dslrs

Nikon SB-900 Speedlight - £325/ $506

Nikon's pro flashgun, the SB-900 has a beefy maximum output of GN 50. It launched with exotic features such as simplified master/slave wireless operation, automatic detection for cameras with different image sensor sizes, three different lighting pattern options, and extras such as coloured filters and a diffusion dome, though these features have now trickled down to the cheaper SB‑700.

Other similarities include a thermal protection system, with a visual temperature display on the back.

However, the SB-900 adds repeating flash for a strobe effect, plus an auto-aperture mode for balanced exposures. Nikon has just announced a replacement, the SB-910.

Performance

Working seamlessly with Nikon cameras, i-TTL metering proved entirely reliable in our tests. And while the recycling speed from a full-power flash is one second slower than with the SB-700, it's still fast, at four seconds with NiMH batteries. Overall, the SB-900 is the ultimate choice for professionals, but the SB-700 is better value for amateurs.

Flash output

Best flashguns for nikon dslrs

The SB-900 matches the Metz for outright power, and it proves really consistent throughout the whole range, right down to 1/64 power.

Aperture reading at 1m
Theoretical: 34
Measured: 32

i-TTL exposure accuracy

Best flashguns for nikon dslrs

You'd expect supreme accuracy from Nikon's top professional flashgun, and that's what you get, although it's matched by the SB-400 and SB-700.

i-TTL exposure accuracy
Measured: -0.2EV

Colour accuracy

Best flashguns for nikon dslrs

The fantastic power ouput of Nikon's biggest flashgun is matched by good performance in our colour accuracy tests across the spectrum.

Colour accuracy
Measured: 18

Image quality verdict

Best flashguns for nikon dslrs

For accuracy in both manual and i-TTL modes, the SB-900 is a standout performer, and colour accuracy is impressive. It's the top pro choice.