Overview: The Nikon Speedlight SB-900 flash has been optimized for use
with CLS-compatible (Creative Lighting System) SLR cameras. It can also be used
with i-TTL-compatible Coolpix cameras. Non-CLS-compatible cameras can use the
flash with limited features. CLS-compatible and i-TTL-compatible Coolpix cameras
- CLS-compatible SLR Cameras: D3, D700, D2 series, D300, D200, D80,
D70 series, D60, D50, D40 Series, F6, etc.
- i-TTL-compatible Coolpix Cameras: Coolpix 8800, Coolpix 8400,
Coolpix P5000, Coolpix P5100, etc.
Creative Lighting System (CLS):
The SB-900 features a new Nikon Speedlight system called the Creative Lighting
System (CLS). This system offers additional flash shooting possibilities with
digital cameras by taking advantage of a camera's digital communication
capabilities. CLS is available only when the SB-900 is used with compatible
Nikon cameras with CLS. The SB-900 offers these major features:
- i-TTL Mode: This is a new
TTL auto flash mode in the Creative Lighting System. Monitor pre-flashes are
fired at all times. The subject is correctly exposed by the light from the
flash lighting and the exposure is less affected by the ambient light than
in the conventional TTL mode.
- Advanced Wireless Lighting:
With Advanced Wireless Lighting, wireless multiple flash operation in
the TTL (i-TTL) mode can now be accomplished with CLS-compatible digital SLRs. In this
mode, you can divide the remote flash units into three groups and control
the flash output independently for each group, expanding your range of
creative multiple-flash shooting techniques.
- Flash Value Lock: Flash
Value (FV) is the amount of flash exposure needed for a subject. Using FV
Lock with compatible cameras, you can lock in the appropriate flash exposure
for the main subject. This flash exposure will remain fixed, even if you
change the aperture or composition, or zoom the lens in or out.
- Flash Color Information
Communication: When the SB-900 is used with compatible digital SLRs,
color temperature information is automatically transmitted to the camera. In
this way, the camera's white balance is automatically adjusted to give you
the correct color temperature when taking photographs with the SB-900.
- Auto FP High-Speed Sync:
High-Speed flash synchronization at your camera's highest shutter speed is
now possible. This is useful when you want to use a wider aperture to
achieve shallow depth of field to blur the background.
- Wide-Area AF-Assist
Illuminator: In autofocus operation, the SB-900
emits AF-Assist illumination, which matches the wider AF area of CLS-compatible
cameras. With cameras supporting this function, autofocus photography in
dim lighting is possible even when the camera's focus point (focus area) is
The LCD screen provides large, easy to read graphics and mode indicators, such
- Flash Mode: Icons indicating the flash mode status appear,
including monitor pre-flashes, i-TTL, balanced fill-flash, auto FP
high-speed sync, auto aperture flash, non-TTL auto flash, distance-priority
manual flash, manual flash, and repeating flash.
- Flash Level: Shown as a fraction, the flash level is shown as
1/1, 1/2, 1/64 (+0.7), 1/64 (+0.3), 1/64, 1/128 (+0.7), 1/128 (+0.3), 1/128.
- ISO Sensitivity
- Distance Information: Indicated in meters or feet, flash range
shown for i-TTL, non-TTL, and Auto Aperture Flash; Shooting Distance shown
for Distance Priority manual flash; and Flash Shooting Distance for manual
or repeating flash
- Zoom Position: Shown as status of Zoom function and angle of
- Light Distribution Angle: Light distribution for DX- or FX-format
in auto or manual set, and with power zoom on or off
- Aperture Value: shown as camera setting, flash setting, or out of
flash output control range
- Flash Output Level Compensation: Indicates amount of flash output
level compensation as -0.7, -0.3, 0.0, +0.3, and +0.7.
- Flash Condition: Icon indicates use of color filter (including
type of filter), illumination pattern (standard, center-weighted, even),
bounce flash, tilt angle, backlight on/off, AF-assist illumination,
communication with camera, thermal cut on/cut off, key lock
- Test Firing: indicates test firing and modeling illumination
Adjustable Flash Head:
The flash head can be tilted from -11° to 90° and rotated horizontally 180° to
the left and 90° to the right, enabling bounce flash or close-up flash
Flash Exposure Control: The SB-900 is compatible with numerous flash
exposure controls, as set by the camera:
- Auto FP High-Speed Sync: Auto FP High Speed sync is automatically
set when the shutter speed exceeds the camera's sync shutter speed.
- Flash Value Lock: You can lock in the appropriate flash exposure,
while keeping the subject illumination constant even if you can't change the
- Slow Sync Flash: The flash is controlled at a slow shutter speed
to obtain the correct exposure for both the main subject and the background
in low-light situation or at night. A tripod is recommended to prevent
- Red-Eye Reduction: To prevent
the center of your subject's eyes from appearing red in color pictures, the
SB-900 fires three flashes at reduced output just before the picture is taken.
Note: You can combine this flash with the slow-sync flash (tripod recommended).
- Rear-curtain/Front Curtain Sync:
When using slow shutter speeds and shooting fast moving objects, rear curtain
sync creates a picture in which the blur of the subject appears behind the
subject. With front-curtain sync, the blur occurs in front of the subject.
Bounce Flash: When taking
close-ups with flash, you can use the built in wide flash adapter in conjunction
with the diffusion dome to create extremely soft, diffused lighting with
virtually no shadows, while maintaining balanced lighting for the main subject
and the background. You can tilt and rotate the flash head to bounce the light
off the ceiling or walls. This is a good technique to use when shooting indoors,
because you get more natural looking pictures of people with softer shadows.
There is a built-in bounce card on this flash that when used can create a
highlight in the subjects eyes making them more vibrant.
Auto Aperture Flash: A built-in
sensor measures the flash illumination reflected from the subject and
controls the flash output in combination with data automatically transmitted
from the camera and lens to the SB-900, including the ISO sensitivity value and
exposure compensation value as well as the aperture and focal length of the
TTL Auto Flash: In this
mode, the flash illumination that is reflected back from the subject is detected
by the camera TTL auto flash sensor and the camera automatically controls the
flash output level to give the correct exposure.
Non TTL Auto Flash: The
SB-900's built in sensor measures the flash illumination reflected from the
subject, automatically controlling the SB-900's light output to give the correct
exposure. This allows you to make exposure compensation easily by varying the
aperture set on the camera or lens.
Manual Mode: The SB-900
features three manual modes:
Priority Manual Flash:
Automatically controls the light output according to the distance value and
aperture set. Enter the distance value and you can take pictures having the
same exposure even when shooting at different apertures.
With this flash, you select the aperture and the flash output level. In this
way, you can control the exposure and flash shooting distance where the
correct exposure is difficult to obtain in the TTL or Non-TTL auto flash
mode. The flash output level can be set from M1/1 (full output) to M1/128 to
match your creative preferences.
The SB-900 fires repeatedly during a single exposure, creating stroboscopic
multiple-exposure effects. This operation is useful when shooting
fast-moving subjects. You can set the frequency and the output level of the
Power Zoom Function: A power
zoom function automatically adjusts the zoom-head position to match the lens
focal length (with the exception of some camera/lens combinations). When the
built in wide flash adapter is used or the Nikon Diffusion Dome (used when a 14
mm to 23 mm lens is mounted on camera) is attached, the zoom-head position is
automatically set to match a 14mm or 17mm lens. You can also be set the position
manually so that the zoom head position will not change when the zoom on the
Batteries: The SB-900 requires 4 "AA"-sized batteries, and can use
any of the following types of batteries: Alkaline-manganese (1.5V), Oxyride
(1.5V), Lithium (1.5V), and Ni-MH (rechargeable, 1.2V).
Standby Function: If the SB-900
and camera are not being used, the standby function will automatically activate
after a set amount of time, switching the SB-900 to standby mode to conserve battery
power. You can set the standby function to 40 seconds, 80 seconds, 160 seconds,
or 300 seconds.
Supplied Accessories: Included with the SB-900 are the following
- Wide-Flash Adapter: When the
built-in wide-flash adapter is used, close-up flash shooting can be performed.
The wide-flash adapter diffuses the light from
the flash to soft shadows. It is commonly used when a 14-23mm lens is mounted on
- Bounce Card: Built-in with the wide-flash adapter, the white
bounce card lets you take flash photographs of subjects closer than 2'. It
bounces the light off the card and directs it toward the subject instead of
- Diffusion Dome (SW-13H): When this is
placed over the flash head of the SB-900, you can diffuse the light creating
extremely soft light with virtually no shadows.
- Colored Gel Filters and Holder: There are
two filters (FL-G1, FL-G2) for taking flash pictures under fluorescent light and
two filters (TN-A1, TN-A2) for use with incandescent/tungsten light. The
SZ-2 Color Filter holder is included to hold the filters in place on the
flash unit. You can purchase additional gels to create interesting effects by changing the
light from the flash to different colors.
- Speedlight Stand (AS-21): The supplied Speedlight stand provides
a stable placement for the flash when you want to use it as a remote flash
Minimum Number of Flashes and
Minimum Recycling Time
Minimum Number of
110 / 4-30 seconds
230 / 4.5-120 seconds
125 / 3-30 seconds
190 / 2.3-30 seconds
165 / 2.3-30 seconds