Last updated: August 20, 2021

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Welcome! The flash is an essential accessory for those who invest in good photos. But amid so many brands it can be difficult to choose the best one. So, in today's article, we will focus on the Nikon flash.

The Nikon flash is one of the top of the line in its category, both because of the brand's renown and the variety and versatility of its models. Below, you will find out how to choose and buy the best Nikon flash.


  • Nikon is world-renowned for its excellence in manufacturing cameras and accessories, including flash.
  • There are several models of flash in Nikon and each one has a purpose.
  • To invest in the ideal Nikon flash you should consider the guide number, head flexibility and camera compatibility.

The Best Nikon Flash: Our Picks

Buying guide

As there are models with such varied technical configurations, it may not be a simple task to choose the best flash.

To help you in this process, we have created this Buying Guide. Below, we'll answer your main questions about Nikon flashes.

Homem fotografando com câmera e flash Nikon.

Nikon flash is one of the best in its category. (Source: Dovran Kurbanov/

What is the Nikon flash differential?

Used to illuminate dark areas and give fill in photography, the flash is an indispensable accessory, whether for professional photographers or for photography lovers.

And there are many renowned brands in this segment. Among them, one stands out: Nikon. Founded in 1917 in Japan, Nikon manufactures cameras, objective lenses, flashes, filters, binoculars, microscopes and measuring instruments.

Homem ao ar livre, fotografando com câmera e flash Nikon.

Renown and quality define Nikon's flash. (Source: Jacques Tomlinson/

In addition to its long tradition of manufacturing cameras and accessories, Nikon is also known for its high investment in technology and design.

So much so that today, you can choose from several types of flashes, which vary in terms of size, design, functions and features.

What are the main Nikon flash types?

Generally speaking, there are two most common types of flashes in Nikon: built-in and dedicated. Below, we will show you their main features:

  • Built-in: Nikon built-in or in-camera flashes create a light that illuminates in a single direction. The downside is that this creates harsh contrasts and shadows;
  • Dedicated: The dedicated Nikon flash fits on the camera's hot shoe. Together with the camera, the flash obtains information about lens length usage, ISO sensitivity, aperture and shutter speed. All this to determine the optimal light to be emitted at the time of the shot.

Because of its features and versatility when it comes to use, the dedicated flash is more efficient and therefore preferred by professional photographers.

Not to mention that the dedicated flash also allows you to avoid red-eye in photographs.

But apart from these two main Nikon flash categories, there are also others worth mentioning.

Câmera, lente e flash da Nikon sobre uma mesa.

The dedicated flash is the most versatile and efficient. (Source: Ninh Nguyễn/

The ring flash, for example, is one that fits into the lens and provides a soft, diffused light source. The flash known as the 'hammer head', on the other hand, is a separate unit that is screwed to the tripod.

This type of flash is often used at events, such as weddings, for example, and by the press.

What is the communication and lighting system of the Nikon flash?

In addition to versatility and quality, the most advanced models are compatible with the TTL and I-TTL communication system, which enables Nikon flash shooting at great distances from cameras.

Nikon flashes with TTL system allow manual adjustment.

Nikon flashes with TTL system allow manual adjustment with every shot. In addition, most Nikon flashes are compatible with the brand's Creative Lighting System (CLS).

CLS is Nikon's original flash system that uses optimised data communication between Speedlights and cameras.

What are the main Nikon flash models?

Nikon flashes are categorised according to some functions, technologies and features that each one has.

For example, the Nikon SB-5000 flash has as its main feature to be the most robust of all. It also has more adjustment options.

With its swivel head, the SB-5000 is recommended for professional DSLR cameras or Mirrorless cameras. The Nikon SB-700 flash has fewer shooting options and a more compact body.

But there are other models with different settings. To summarise, we have created the table below with the main types of Nikon flashes. Take a look:

Nikon flash Features
SB-300 Basic, light and compact, the head can only be tilted 120 degrees.
SB-400 Head can be tilted 90 degrees upwards
SB-500 Can be used to trigger other flashes and head can tilt 90 degrees and turn 180 degrees
SB-600 Head moves up and down, and has side rotation
SB-700 Compatible with all CLS features, can be used to trigger other flashes
SB-800 Head can rotate and tilt more flexibly
SB-900 Has multiple accessories, compatibility with Nikon CLS and flexible head
SB-910 Has improved hardware and minor modifications to the layout

Do I need to have a Nikon camera to use the Nikon flash?

Not necessarily. It is possible to use the Nikon flash on cameras from other brands. But if you do it is important to keep in mind that some functions, which previously would have been automatic, will have to be performed manually.

This is because flashes are manufactured to be compatible with certain cameras, which have specific electronic components.

Does Nikon cameras work with flashes from other brands?

The answer here is the same as in the previous question. In other words, it is possible to use Nikon cameras with flashes from other brands.

However, in general, some automatic functions will need to be triggered manually.

How does technical support for Nikon flash work?

If you need support for repairs or assistance on account of technical problems, you can contact Nikon via a form to be filled out on the manufacturer's official website.

A Nikon representative will then contact you, usually within 48 hours (except weekends and public holidays).

You will be notified by email when your question has been answered and all communication will be documented in the 'My Questions' section of your online Nikon account.

Did you know that many Nikon flashes can also be fired remotely, via a Nikon Radio Flash?

How much does it cost and where to buy Nikon flash?

You will find different types of Nikon flash and therefore the price also varies a lot. Depending on the technology and functions, a Nikon flash can cost between 100 GBP and 400 GBP

Finding it for sale will not be difficult. Specialised shops, department stores and hypermarkets such as Lojas Americanas and Extra usually sell Nikon flashes.

But the place where you will find the greatest variety of models and prices is, in fact, in internet shops, such as Amazon.

Purchase Criteria: How to evaluate the best Nikon flash

To make sure you're investing in the best Nikon flash, you'll need to compare some criteria that differentiate one model from another.

To help you at this stage, we have selected the main factors you should take into account in this comparison below. Take a look:

From here, we will show you the best way to consider each of these aspects.


As we have seen, you do not need to have a Nikon camera to use a Nikon flash. However, you do need to keep an eye on the compatibility of the flash with the model and technology of the camera.

This is mainly so that certain functions and features of the flash work efficiently and, if you so wish, automatically.

For example, radio control, which is one of the features present in some Nikon flashes, only works if used with Nikon DSLR D5 or D500 type cameras.

Mulher fotografando com câmera e flash da Nikon.

Ideally, the flash should be compatible with your camera system. (Source: Annimousey/

The same goes for other features that are compatible with the systems of certain cameras, and this is independent of the brand.

To not make a mistake, check the flash description beforehand and look for the information that determines which camera the Nikon flash is compatible with.

Zoom range

One of the key features of a Nikon flash that deserves your attention is the zoom range. And you'll want to look into this information before you invest in buying the accessory.

That's because this function can vary quite a bit depending on the flash model. To give you an idea, you can find flashes whose zoom range varies from 24mm to 200mm.

Recycling time

Another criterion you should take into account when choosing the best Nikon flash is the recycling time.

This is the time it takes for the flash to become ready for the next shot, and it is measured in seconds. Nikon offers flashes whose recycle time can vary between 1.8 and 3.5 seconds.


Also note the NG, or guide number. This is a number that indicates how far the flash light can reach at ISO 100 at full power.

For example, a flash with NG 20 will illuminate an object 5 meters away at lens aperture f/4. But the same flash will illuminate an object 10m away at lens aperture f/2 and so on.


Finally, check the way Nikon flashes are powered. In general, this runs via batteries. But depending on the model, the flash can run as two or four AA batteries.

(Featured image source: MichaelGaida/