Nikon SB-500 Speed­light

£195, $250

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

Ba­sic, but with the bonus of a con­stant light

Quite a bare-bones af­fair, the SB-500 is the only flash­gun in the group to lack both an LCD info screen and a zoom fea­ture (hence the sin­gle line in the graph on the right). It also has a rel­a­tively low Gn (24), and runs on just two AA bat­ter­ies in­stead of the usual four. Pretty much all ad­just­ments need to be made via the host cam­era, and com­pat­i­bil­ity is lim­ited with some older D-SLRs, in­clud­ing D2 and D3 se­ries D-SLRs, the D50, D70, D80 and D200.

One pos­i­tive is that the SB-500 is the only flash­gun in the group to fea­ture a con­stant LED light as well as a flash. This is good news if you spend a lot of time shoot­ing closeup stills and movies. In flash mode, you can use the SB-500 in wire­less slave mode (Chan­nel 3 only), or as a wire­less com­man­der, but only with Nikon’s lat­est D5500, D7200, D750 and D810 cam­eras.

Per­for­mance

De­spite its mod­est power rat­ing, in our tests the SB-500 matched the Nikon SB-700 at its 24mm zoom set­ting. We also found TTL ac­cu­racy was spot on, mean­ing you won’t need to fuss with ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion, but re­cy­cling speed is the out­right slow­est in the group.

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