Best Flash for Nikon DSLR Cameras

Heather Clouse
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I’m sure most of us care about the quality of pictures we take. However, more often than not we tend to overlook the importance of light. So, whether you’re a professional, beginner photographer or just someone who wants to take better pictures through lighting, flash photography is something you need to know about.

There are so many types of flash out there and choosing the right flash can make quite a difference. That said, there are still some staple features you should always look into when shopping for a flash.

NameCategoryProduct
Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight FlashBest OverallNikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash
Neewer TT560 Flash SpeedliteBudget PickNeewer TT560 Flash Speedlite
Nikon SB-5000 AF SpeedlightUpgrade PickNikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight

1. Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash

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Pros:

  • 3 Groups/8 Bars for Advanced Wireless, Multi-Control and Triggering
  • High-Speed Synch (for Canon Shooters)
  • Wireless and Wired Remote Commander Capability
  • Flicker Reduction
  • Auto FP High Speed Sync
  • Wireless Shooting with Flash
  • Guide Number: 39/105 (12/39)
  • Closest Range: 16.4 ft./5m
  • Super Fast Flash Recovery (1/200 sec.)
  • Recycle Time: 2 sec. ± 0.5 sec.

(International Model)

The only reason I am mentioning this is because it is easy to miss out on this detail in the busy specification. For Canon users, the High Speed Sync (HSS) feature may be offset by firing a very bright first shot of the sequence. This can sure be loved by some and hated by others. It is definitely something to look at with the Nikon products, but with Canon, the HSS takes the first photo in a sequence quite bright, and the normal sync speed kicks in for the rest of the sequence.

2. Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight

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Pros:

  • Great flash for Nikon DSLR Cameras
  • LED display
  • 32-foot range

This flash was designed to be compatible with Nikon DSLRs. It is very user-friendly as it has a simple, easy-to-understand LCD panel. The flash also features creative lighting functions including Face-priority AF, Auto-width control, Slow synchro and red-eye reduction to let you take the best possible pictures. It also has wireless capabilities that work well with Nikon D4, D300, D700, D2X, D3(S), D3, D3X, D5, D800, D800E, D600, D300S, D7000, D7100 and D3200.

If this flash isn’t compatible with your DSLR, then I’d recommend the Nikon SB-910.

3. Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight Flash

Our rating: 8 / 10

Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight Flash

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Small and compact

If you're looking for a good flash, but not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a flashy one, the Nikon SB-300 is a great choice for you. Some photographers prefer it over some top-notch flashes because it's affordable, yet powerful.

The Nikon SB-300 is in the lowest tier of Nikon's professional-grade flashes, yet it's considered by many to be a staple for any photographer's arsenal. This flash has the same maximum guide number (46 meters) as its sibling, the SB-700, and is just as fast at a maximum of 1/4000 sec. This compact flash is compatible with both the Nikon D90 and D300, as well as other DSLRs.

The Nikon SB-300 is fully compatible with the Creative Lighting System, and is a more affordable alternative to the SB-800 or SB-900. It is a perfect fit for Nikons with advanced movie modes like the D90 or D300, since it has a built-in microphone for audio capture.

4. Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite

Our rating: 8 / 10

Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite

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Pros:

  • Available for both Nikon and Nikon DSLRs
  • Slave feature works very well
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not very powerful
  • Can be harsh in close-up situations

If you're looking for an easy to use and affordable flash, pick up the Neewer TT560. It's a small and lightweight flash that has a slave function and is specially designed to work with DSLR cameras.

This flash can be used as a master flash to trigger the slave flash units, so they can take proper light and not be too bright in the frame. Because it's so small, it can be placed in awkward situations without it looking awkward like larger flashes do.

For the price, it delivers an A+ performance. It's not going to pack the same punch as a large, expensive flash, but it's perfect for putting on the top of your camera and using it as your on camera flash.

5. YONGNUO YN560 IV Wireless Flash Speedlite Master + Slave Flash + Built-in Trigger System

Our rating: 7 / 10

YONGNUO YN560 IV Wireless Flash Speedlite Master + Slave Flash + Built-in Trigger System

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Pros:

  • A powerful flash for Nikon DSLR cameras
  • Delivers a good amount of light
  • Small foot print
  • Allows for fancy functions like zoom and bounce flash
  • Can be used as a master or a slave flash
  • Can use AA battery

YONGNUO YN560 IV Wireless Flash Speedlite Master + Slave Flash + Built-in Trigger System for Canon Nikon Pentax Olympus Fujifilm Panasonic Digital Cameras is a revolutionary flashgun that lets you use a flash on your Nikon dslr camera, as well as your Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Fujifilm, Panasonic camera, and many others.

This YONGNUO flashgun also acts as an auto flash controller for YN560 II flash and YN560 III flash, while being able to guide the master flash when performing the slave flash function.

More than that, it can also work as a slave flash under the control of a master flash. And it can trigger a pile of flash together.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best Nikon flash?

There are a few flash options for Nikon DSLRs, but the best bang for your buck is the Nikon SB-700. It works on a wide majority of Nikon cameras, so you don't have to worry about compatibility issues, and it just plain works. You can find cheaper models that will work, but you can buy this flash and know that it will work well for you as a beginner.

Being a speedlight, the Nikon SB-700 isn't meant to be a high-quality studio flash. This isn't going to give you the best pictures for your money, but the build quality is good enough for most amateurs.

How do I choose a flash for my DSLR?

There are so many options. You really need to start by identifying the features you want.

Do you want TTL flash capabilities? If you look at the back of your camera there will be an icon that looks like a lightning bolt (TTL) or an icon that shows a camera with a flash on the front (TTL). See your manual for some more details on how to set this up.

Do you want a dedicated flash or a flash that’s built into the camera body? If you have a camera without a built-in flash, you will need a dedicated flash.

Do you want a unit that supports the hotshoe on the bottom of your camera? If so, identify a flash that supports this technology.

Some cameras have multiple hotshoes. Not sure if this is a feature you want? Learn more about dual-function hotshoes in this post.

Can I use Canon flash on Nikon camera?

What is the best camera flash to buy?

Canon's previous flash technology was known to be subpar. The latest iteration of Canon's flagship flashes is quite impressive. Nikon's previous flashes were known to be a bit better than Canons. But, the brand new Nikon 600EX-RT is quite impressive as well.

Either way, our recommendation is the Canon 600EX-RT for most folks. Canon offers most folks everything they need.

Conclusion

The best part of writing this guide was that we were able to go on a journey into the past. As we tested each and every flash, we realized that the flash photography of today is quite different from what it was a few decades ago. To learn more about our work, and what we discovered, please click on the link above.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight FlashBest OverallNikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Flash
Neewer TT560 Flash SpeedliteBudget PickNeewer TT560 Flash Speedlite
Nikon SB-5000 AF SpeedlightUpgrade PickNikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight