I am a big fan of Nikon CLS technology. And again Nikon came up with small, compact but powerful lighting system, SB-700. This flash unit lives up to the Nikon legacy. I always repeat the fact that photography is all about adjusting the composition and lights. To support this fact, most of the DSLRs come with built-on flash but the features they provide is very limited. That’s why it is almost necessary to have an external flash unit which can provide creative control over lighting conditions. If you are using Nikon DSLR then you have so many options; SB-R200, SB-400, SB-600, SB-700, SB-800 or SB-900. The Nikon Speedlight SB-700 is the newest flash unit from Nikon. You can consider this as a replacement for SB-600. I absolutely love this new flash, I was using the SB-600, which worked fine, but the SB-700 was a great upgrade. Now let me give you brief review of this new flash unit.
SB-700 Nikon Flash is compact but full of features that SB-600 lacks and some of the features are inherited from more professional flash unit like SB-900. It looks professional, supports commander mode, capable of multi-step auto zoom up to 120mm and and a high-speed recycling time of 2.5 seconds with NiMH batteries and 3 seconds with Alkaline batteries. Built size of Nikon SB-700 (2.8 × 5.0 × 4.1 in) is bit larger than SB-600 and small than SB-900 unit. However, it looks more like SB-900 sharing some of it’s features and control layout. The interface on the SB-700 is much more straight forward than the SB-600 which requires you to push two buttons at the same time to enter certain menus to control the flash. The SB-700 is easier and faster to setup and has more features than the SB-600.
This flash unit is redesigned with interactive control and very easy to use. Like I already said, some of it’s features and even controls are borrowed from SB-900. It has nice LCD screen on the back and includes two mode switches on the left and right side of the LCD screen which allow user to change modes without navigating through all the menu. The SB-700 comes with incandescent and fluorescent filters for good color balance when shooting indoors. The SB-700 automatically detects the types of filters in use and adjusts the settings accordingly. It also comes with a built-in bounce card that can be used for bounce flash effects and diffusor to soften the intensity of lights.
Features & Performance
1. Automatically senses the FX or DX-format camera in use and optimizes light distribution.
2. Automatically identifies mounted hard type color filters and adjusts camera white-balance.
3. Works with Nikon’s i-TTL (intelligent through-the-lens) metering system. This system works by firing a series of flash bursts to assist the camera in analyzing the scene. The camera’s metering system then processes this information and sends it back to the flash unit, balancing the flash output with the ambient light.
4. Using the simple slider switch on the back of the SB-700, you can optimize light quality by selecting Standard for general illumination, Center-weighted for portraits or Even, for groups or interiors.
5. Most of the newer entry level Nikon DSLRs do not have commander mode to remotely control the flash Off Camera. SB-700 can be used as a commander flash unit as well to control many wireless flash units.
6. SB-700 has a built-in thermal cut-out detection feature to prevent damage from overheating. It works by extending the recycling time when SB-700 detects heat build-up.
7. Flash Value (FV) Lock feature locks in a specific flash output on the main subject, regardless of aperture, composition or the lens’ zoom position
All in all I highly recommend this flash over the SB-600. I wanted to get the SB-900 but its just too big and heavy for my needs and couldn’t justify the additional cost.