Nikon Speedlight SB-600 (Dedicated i-TTL Flash) Review

For the beginner professional photographer, the SB-600 has been the common Nikon display since improvement i-TTL. The SB600 was launched in 2004, one year after the expert SB-800. The SB-600 functions the same important display ways as the SB-800 but simply omits some gadgets like the Multiple (stroboscopic) method.

Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review
Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review

At almost 50 percent the cost you don’t give up a lot that would be required for daily photography. It’s missing some expert functions such as a PC synchronize slot, a outlet for exterior energy source, and its information number is somewhat decreased (but still more than adequate for all but the most challenging situations). The SB-600 was changed at the end of 2010 by the new SB-700, featuring a lot of developments, and comes with an almost 50% larger cost tag. But due to the proven reality that the SB-600 is still able to deliver the same high visibility high quality there’s no immediate need to update.

SB-600 Features

  • the most affordable “real” speedlight from Nikon (SB-400 is more of a pop-up display alternative and restricted in too many ways)
  • featuring the newest i-TTL and i-TTL BL display visibility protocol
  • wireless servant method (AWL) is effective even outdoors
  • easy to use (except configurations for wi-fi mode)

Suitable Nikon Camera Bodies

The SB-600 can be used with all Nikon cameras which include any kind of a TTL display visibility mode: these can be film-based cameras such as the F4, first creation digitals like the D1 or a D100, and certainly also the newest, and upcoming DSLR designs with i-TTL.

Intro: Display Ways and Wi-fi Flash

The SB-600 is the last speedlight from Nikon assisting film-based TTL method as well as the first-gen electronic D-TTL. When you capture analogue and electronic together, do not update to a more recent Nikon flash – neither SB-900 nor SB-700 have the old TTL designed in. For electronic Nikon systems from D50 / D70 / D200 / D2 sequence on and more recent, there are only 2 (other) TTL visibility modes to be worried about, and both are sustained by the SB-600 as well: i-TTL and i-TTL-BL.

i-TTL Mode

This is the present display method used by Nikon, where visibility metering is centered on small pre-flashes sent out before the particular visibility. i-TTL is the main of Nikon’s “creative illumination system” CLS. i-TTL is a excellent program normally even if it’s not always nearly as excellent as you’d like it to be, so don’t believe in it thoughtlessly and get acquainted with the display visibility settlement and preferably also the guide method. That said, the electronic TTL efficiency of the SB-600 is on the stage of the other Nikon quick flashes – the more costly designs display no better efficiency here. Some individuals say that analogue TTL was way more efficient than the new electronic display metering, but we’re residing in today’s electronic globe and not in previous times any longer so what does it help to grumble.

Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review
Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review


This is extra time of regular i-TTL, where BL is short for ‘balanced fill’. The method was created for back again lit circumstances where it provides a more real looking mixture of display mild and regular, at least theoretically. There is quite some conflict out there how useful it really is. I lastly began some methodical examining with different display manufacturers and designs and discovered the outcomes more effective than you realized from studying some of the experts. In reality you can say that i-TTL BL is the second i-TTL generation: use this as the common display method rather than the “simple” i-TTL, and change returning to iTTL only if required. That’s exactly the strategy Nikon took on the present SB-700 display, the SB-600 heir (see the SB-700 in-depth review).

Guide Flash

Manual show is an essential function to have, as this is the only method where you can keep a continuous lighting on your topic regardless of what happens around you. Fortunately it is not hard to set on the SB-600, just force on the devoted Mode key to change.

On the show you see the existing outcome stage that can be set using third prevents, providing you excellent management. Remember that there a complete quit between the 1/1 and 1/2 energy configurations, a quirk that is existing in all Nikon product flashguns. The key purpose why can be in the manual of the SB-700 (which allows all third actions with a customized feature): “With some cameras, and when using quicker shutter rates of speed with a show outcome stage more than M1/2, real show outcome may reduce to M1/2 level”. This is still rather mysterious, so please keep me a statement if you know more about the factors that cause that.

In manual method, there’s no range finance calculator / range like the SB-900 or 48 AF-1 from Metz have. There is also no “distance-priority manual flash” method (“GN” mode) where you change in the topic range on the speedlight which consequently adapts the visibility. Both functions are not mission-critical (and ineffective in wi-fi mode).

No Multiple Flash, no Automatic Mode

Multiple display aka stroboscopic display is a function that is ineffective. It looks awesome on the example images in the guide, but where would you actually use it in actual life? Anyways, if you need multi display then do not buy the SB-600, go for a used SB-800 or the present SB-900 instead. The SB-600 has no “auto” method either (this is a particular display method which would be better known as “self managed display mode”). Like for “multi flash”, this is a function generally seen in the leading designs and not the middle-class (anymore). You don’t need “auto” anyways, merely employ i-TTL BL for complete automated display photography.

Other Display Features

Red-Eye Reduction

Red eye flash performs together with a group of pre-flashes before the actual primary flash. These little fast flashes result in a shrinkage of the student and therefore less reflexion from the retina. In common, the red eye issue is less recognizable with an exterior flash due to the higher range from the lens and visual axis.

The quit red eye flash operate is set on electronic camera, but not every speedlight is assisting the method due to the fast series of pre-flashes used and interaction needed. The SB-600 is certainly suitable, it shoots exactly 3 pre-flashes before the actual visibility. Disadvantage of red-eye flash is the recognizable time lag presented with the pre-flashes, so don’t use if it can be ignored.

Modeling Light

Modeling mild is another innovative flash feature; once again, a group of (high frequency) little fast flashes is used to imitate ongoing mild for a matter of a few moments, which allows you to “see” the illumination and look at the dark areas before getting a picture.

Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review
Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review

Modeling mild is allowed with customized establishing “e3″ on the D90. To stimulate it on the SB-600, use the depth-of-field key near the lens install (this is how it performs on the Nikon D90) which changes operate in that situation and shoots off the modelling mild.

Flash Exposure Compensation

Flash visibility settlement is essential as electronic TTL visibility management is not fool-proof. Rather earlier than later you will experience circumstances where you want to bypass the visibility the camera-flash mixture would select. To do this, there are 2 choices. Fastest way is to set a flash visibility settlement on the SB-600 – basically media the “Plus” or “Minus” key on the flashgun itself. Display visibility settlement can be set in 1/3 prevents and between -3 and +3 EV, which is all you’ll ever need.

The second choice is to set flash visibility settlement on electronic camera – this performs too, and has the same impact. Both improvements add up, so in situation “+1″ is chosen on the flash and “-2″ on electronic camera, the efficient flash visibility settlement is “-1″. Whether set on the flash or set on electronic camera, there is a viewfinder symbol shown to call to mind the establishing.

Flash Exposure Secure (FV Lock)

Flash visibility lock performs as expected with the SB600: media “AE-L’ to begin a pre-flash and lock the causing flash visibility value for the following images. Press again, and the value gets removed and regular i-TTL metering is renewed. Like for flash visibility settlement there is also a viewfinder symbol for FV lock.

Flash Bracketing (FEB)

Custom establishing e4 “auto bracketing set” on the D90 manages different kinds of bracketing when the automatic bracketing method of electronic camera is used, and establishing e6 allows you select the bracketing purchase. With FEB you can take 3 images with different flash visibility instantly, but it’s quicker and brings to the same impact to set a simple guide flash visibility settlement.

Flash Off

Why use a speedlight and then move to “flash off”? There is one use situation actually, that is when you need the AF-assist ray for concentrating but you don’t want the flash to fireside and damage your available mild establishing. Flash-off can’t be set on the SB-600, only the expert speedlights from Nikon allow that as a customized operate on the flash.

On the D90 method change there is a “no-flash” establishing. In that electronic camera method, the flash won’t flame but the AF support is still used so this might be a workaround. However, the “no-flash” establishing is a point-and-shoot method so you can’t set f-stop or shutter rate yourself and reduce the innovative management. The actual remedy for suitable electronic camera systems is to use a customized establishing for the operate key “Fn”, which allows you flame AF support manually.

Develop Quality

The covering is fairly lightweight in dimension which is an benefits, it’s more compact compared to the large SB-900, but certainly also larger than the little SB-400 display (don’t buy an SB-400 btw, you can get the much more effective Yongnuo YN-465 for less money). The new SB-700 flash


The SB-600 covering seems well designed and is made from the best high quality nasty. My own SB-600 does not have the same ‘premium feel’ as my more recent SB-900 and SB-700 speedlights, but I’ve used it a lot more time so the evaluation is not really reasonable. The velcro you see on the images is not conventional but my own mod to connect my gel owner and smooth box.

Metal Flash Foot

The display feet is a great steel development with the 4 hooks used in the Nikon program. The middle x-sync pin is for getting the shooting indication while the other 3 are for the TTL particular details return with you body system. As can be seen on the picture, feet are not a smooth dish but it’s flexing up at the back, which implies you can’t install it changed in an equipment shoes.

External interfaces

The Nikon speedlight SB 600 has neither a PC port nor a plug for an outside battery package power. The only exterior interface are 2 silver shade connections at the base of the display, before the feet. These are used for the AF support ray management when used with a TTL wire like the SC-29.

Display Go (24-85mm)

By today’s conventional the SB-600 has a little head – To keep like the lightweight very much. The flash head goes 180 levels to the remaining, 90 levels to the right and tilts 90 levels up-wards, but there no choice for adverse point. There is a launch key on the right part that needs to be pushed before you can shift it out of the conventional place. The activity itself seems strong but is a little difficult at periods.

Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review
Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review

Auto Zoom

When the Nikon SB-600 is connected to a suitable digicam body system it zooms instantly with the lens. There is a consist of 24 and 85mm available. This is not history splitting but remember that more tele zoom capability quickly does not generate a ton of extra energy but a rather moderate improve, so the 120mm establishing on the SB-700 still does not provide you with more mild than the SB-600 places out at 85mm (meaning the better flash pipe used on the SB-600 causes it to be still better together with a 120mm lens despite the smaller zoom capability range).

Manual Zoom

Manual zoom capability is very simple and fast to set. Just keep forcing on the “Zoom” key and the flash goes through the following positions: 24mm – 28mm – Negatives – 50mm – 70mm – 85mm – “auto zoom” and returning. The flash has a built-in storage for the last configurations, so if operated off and returning on it remains in the zoom capability establishing you had last used.

Wide place coverage

Built into the top you find an extensive board display that expands protection down to 14mm (full frame). If triggered, the flash prevents cruising with the lens and hair the reflector in the 24mm extensive place position (which gives you the 14mm protection with the wide-panel in front).

Energy Supply

Nikon’s SB 600 is managed by 4 AA tissues as the only way to obtain power option. Both alkaline or NiMH battery power power can be used. Each mobile rests in its own clearly marked area, unfortunately the order of battery power power is a bit strange as it doesn’t go through predicted plus-minus-plus-minus design you know from other gadgets.

Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review
Nikon Speedlight SB-600 Review

Battery running is easy, but there is a small problem with battery power exchange: one or 2 of my battery power power stay trapped at times in their compartments and won’t come out unless I turn the display benefit down and tremble it in me – this is a bit frustrating.

There is one problem with battery power protect design: if I media on battery power entrance depend with my hand, it gives a bit way which is not only a strange sensation but also causes battery power ability to lose contact sometimes so that the display abilities off for a second. This is not an entirely educational issue as your thumbs sets on that battery power entrance depend when side having for wi-fi use.


Model Information
Brand Nikon
Model SB-600
First introduction 2004
Successor SB-700
Output Specs
Guide number spec
(35mm, ISO 100, in meters)
Guide number test result 31
Manual power settings 1/1 – 1/2 – 1/4 – 1/8 – 1/16 – 1/32 – 1/64
Flash duration (full power) 1/900
Recycle time spec
(at full power)
3.5 sec alkaline, 2.5 sec NiMH
Recycle time test result 3.2 sec alkaline, 2.2 sec NiMH
Flash foot material, type metal, standard ISO (Nikon)
PC Sync Port no
Optical Slave no
Other Trigger wireless TTL slave mode
Trigger Voltage 3.63 V (measured)
Standby Mode adjustable
Flash Head Features
Swivel -180 to +90 degrees
Tilt 0 to +90 degrees
Manual Zoom Head (14) 24 – 85
Auto Zoom (14) 24 – 85
Bounce card / 2nd reflector no / no
LCD Display yes (segment type)
Power Supply
Batteries Used 4 x AA
External Power Source no
Nikon TTL
D-TTL yes
i-TTL yes
CLS Wireless Slave yes
CLS Wireless Master no
Canon TTL
E-TTL(II) na
E-TTL(II) wireless slave na
E-TTL(II) wireless master na
Other Flash Modes
Stroboscopic Mode no
Auto Mode no
TTL Features
AF Assist Light yes (dual beam)
Exposure Compensation in TTL Mode on the Flash unit -3 to +3 EV
Rear Curtain Synchronization yes
High Speed Synchronization yes
Sensor Size Detection (DX, FX, etc) no
Modeling Light yes