I was offline most of the day and when I reached home in the afternoon I saw that Nikon has announced a few goodies before Photokina.
Nikon D7000 DSLR - http://www.nikon.com/about/news/2010/0915_d7000_02.htm
AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 & AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VRII - http://www.nikon.com/about/news/2010/0915_af-s_35_200-03.htm
What excited me the most was the announcement of the new Nikon Speedlight SB-700. According to the press release its suppose to be a replacement for the Nikon Speedlight SB-600.
Nikon Speedlight SB-700
September 15, 2010
A wide variety of functions with simple operation for digital-SLR camera users of any skill level
TOKYO – Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the Speedlight SB-700, a compact Speedlight offering multiple functions with simple operation in a compact size.
While the majority of digital-SLR cameras are equipped with a built-in flash, as these built-in flashes are only able to light a subject from one side and angle, user creativity and expression is strictly limited. External flash units are tools for increasing creativity by maximizing lighting possibilities. However, many users still find external flash units difficult to use and think of them only as a way to capture images of dark or dimly scenes.
So that even those inexperienced with external flash units may enjoy the benefits of more creative lighting, Nikon has developed the easy-to-use SB-700. The new SB-700 incorporates functions inherited from the SB-900, which has been so well received by professional and advanced amateur digital-SLR camera users, in a smaller size comparable to the SB-600. This makes the multi-functional SB-700 extremely easy to use, even for beginners. The SB-700 readily responds to the needs of Nikon digital-SLR camera users with a broad range of skills who want to increase their individual power of expression through photographs that make the most of light.
SB-700 primary features
1. High-end model functions in a compact body
The SB-700 is equipped with wireless lighting capability, a feature that is indispensable to creative lighting. Until the SB-700, the SB-900 has been the only Speedlight equipped with a Master function*. However, a condensed form of this function has been built into the SB-700, which is also equipped with accessories such as a bounce card and a diffusion dome.
*The Master function controls flash output from other Speedlights with multiple flash photography.
Switch layout and LCD
2. User interface with intuitive operation
A control layout and LCD panel design that make operating and applying settings simple, even for beginners, have been adopted. All settings can be applied in just three easy steps, and the LCD panel display is clear and easy to understand for intuitive operation.
3. Quick wireless control mode enables simple control of flash output for two remote flash groups
This is a new feature that allows the Master flash (SB-700) to control flash output levels for flash units assigned to two remote groups, making multiple flash photography setup simple.
4. A function that automatically detects and controls increases in the temperature of the flash head
The flash head is equipped with an internal temperature sensor that controls and suppresses significant increase in the temperature of the flash head that may occur in situations such as uninterrupted firing of the flash with wide-angle shooting to prevent damage to the flash panel.
5. Automatic detection and identification of dedicated hard color filters (fluorescent/incandescent) attached to the flash head
The color filters supplied with the SB-700 (fluorescent/incandescent) have been modified from the gel filters supplied with previous Speedlights to a hard type for greater durability, heat resistance, and ease of use. In addition, when one of these filters is attached to the flash head, the SB-700 automatically identifies it and transmits information to the camera for the optimal white balance setting.
Other SB-700 functions and features
- High-speed recycling time (time required between flashes) of approximately 2.5 s*
- A multi-position power zoom function that automatically adjusts the zoom head position according to the lens focal length. Focal lengths of 24-120mm are supported.
- Three illumination patterns—Standard, Center-weighted, Even—to suit any scene
- Automatic switching between FX and DX formats
- Equipped with SU-4 type wireless multiple flash photography function so well received by professional and advanced amateur photographers. This enables wireless multiple flash photography suited to a variety of situations.
*When NiMH or alkaline batteries are used.
SB-700 primary specifications
|Guide number (at 35mm zoom head position,in FX format,standrad illumination pattern,20°C/68°F)
||28/92 (ISO 100, m/ft.), 39/128 (ISO 200, m/ft.)
|Effective flash output distance range(in i-TTL mode)
||0.6m to 20m (2 ft. to 66 ft.) :varies depending on camera's image area setting, illumination pattern, ISO sensitivity, zoom head position, and lens aperture in use)
||There are three illumination patterns;standard,even and center-weighted
The light distribution angle is automatically adjusted to the camera's image area in both FX and DX formats.
|Available flash mode
- Manual flash
- Distance-priority manual flash
|Multiple flash-unit photography operation
||- Advanced Wireless Lighting
- SU-4 type wireless multiple flash-unit photography (in remote mode)
||Flash head tilts down to 7° or up to 90° with click stops at -7° ,0° ,45° ,60° ,75° ,90°
Flash head rotates horizontally 180° to the left and right with click stops at 0°,30° ,60° ,75° ,90°, 120°, 150°, 180°
||Use four AA-type batteries of the same brand from any of the following types:
- 1.5 V alkaline AA batteries
- 1.5 V lithium AA batteries
- Rechargeable 1.2 V NiMH AA batteries
|Dimensions (W x H x D)
||Approx. 71 x 126 x 104.5mm
||Approx. 360g (Speedlight only)
Approx. 450g (with four 1.5V alkaline AA batteries)
||Speedlight Stand AS-22, Nikon Diffusion Dome SW-14H, Incandescent Filter SZ-3TN, Fluorescent Filter SZ-3FL, Soft Case SS-700
- These performance specifications are applicable when fresh batteries are used at normal temperatures (20°C/68°F).
- Specifications and design are subject to change without any notice.
Looking at the information it looks like it really packs a punch. Sure it does not have the reach of the Nikon Speedlight SB-900 but its predecessor the Nikon Speedlight SB600 was not bad either. Only issue with the SB600 and SB800 was that many functions where hidden deep within the menu.
Photo from DPREVIEW.COMLooking at the above image we can see many more buttons compared with the SB-600 below.
As you can see it has become more like the SB-900 than anything else.
Now if your familiar with Nikon Speedlights you will know that there are limited things that the SB-600 can do. For Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) functions, the SB-600 can be used as a slave unit. But with the new SB-700 you can use it as a master or slave, meaning to say you can use it to control other CLS enabled flash units. Given that it only allow the users to control two groups but, that should be sufficient for most people. On average I also only have two groups of flash units most of the time.
Another thing I like about the SB-700 is the short-cut buttons! On the left of the LCD, you have TTL mode, Manual or Gain. On the right its Standard, Center Weighted (LOVE THIS), or Even illumination.
One thing I'm not a big fan of as far as I can tell from the photo of the LCD, is the thermal cut off, a feature to safeguard the flash tube from overheating. It shut down my SB-900 when I was shooting wedding in Penang. I was on manual mode and I already had my ISO up to ISO1600. And I was not even bursting all the way, I was shooting multiples of two. Maybe I should try different batteries tomorrow and see if it makes a difference.
Other than that, it looks good. There was no price announced when Nikon announced the flash unit. Currently the SB-600 is around RM 8XX range. So I'm expecting this flash unit to be slightly above that. Hopefully not more than RM 1100.
Hopefully after launch someone would buy it and I can test it xD any volunteers ?