Secondhand buy


I'd like to buy a flashgun with a complete set of flash modes, including a 'repeat' mode. What's the best secondhand buy?
Martin Phillips

Nikon's latest top-of-the-range flashgun is the SB-5000, reviewed in this month's Big Test. It's undeniably high-tech but, skip back a couple of generations, and the SB-900 offers many of the same features at a fraction of the price if you buy secondhand.

Nikon Speedlight SB-900
Nikon's flagship flashgun from the late noughties still has a lot going for it

Released: 2008
Price new: £325/$500
Price used: £150/$200

The SB-900 was designed to have an intuitive, user-friendly interface. Wide-ranging settings are easy to get at and even easier to adjust, thanks to a neat row of context-sensitive buttons below the illuminated LCD screen.      
Three illumination patterns are available, including centre-weighted, standard and 'even', along with a temperature display that alerts you to overheating problems in continuous high-power flash shooting.      
The zoom range of 17-200mm is more than generous, and an auto-detection feature is able to distinguish between DX and FX camera outfits. High-speed recycling is built-in.      
Supplied accessories include a soft case, mini-stand, diffusion dome and colour filters for matching the colour temperature to tungsten or fluorescent ambient light. If you're buying second-hand, check that all these items are present and correct.

Key points
Flash head
With a 17-200mm zoom range, -7 to 90 degrees of bounce and 180 degrees of swivel to left and right, the head covers all the angles.

Rear panel
The control panel is much more intuitive and logically laid out than in the preceding SB-800, with context-sensitive buttons that work with the illuminated screen.

The SB-900 features infrared wireless master and slave modes, but not the RF (Radio Frequency) option of the SB-5000. An external battery pack can also be connected.

Max power: Gn 34
Bounce/swivel: -7º to 90º/180º
Zoom range: 17-200mm (FX)
Wide-angle diffuser: Yes
Reflector card: Yes
Stroboscopic flash: Yes
Size (WxHxD): 78x146x119mm
Weight (excl batteries): 415g

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