Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Equipment: What the real diffrence between the SB 800 and 600?

Lets start of by this, they are both really good flashes but what is that make the SB 800 cost about $320 and the SB 600 cost about $190? Thats almost twice the price!


The SB-600 and SB-800 are both very interesting accessories to have with your DSLR no matter if you have a Nikon, Cannon, Pentax or a Olympus camera, these two flashes are regarded as the two best strobes on the market these days.

But both of these flashes are terribly similar to be honest, but the SB 800 has a few more functions and a bit more of power to come along with it. The two things that stand out with the SB 800 is that you will get a bit more of power with the unit and if you are into "flash" photography for example. Honestly i love the light that the sun provides but sometimes you just need that artificial flash, and thats where these two little babies kick in.

So why would you get the 800 over the 600?
Well the 800 offers things that the 600 doesn't offer and i have listed them below:
- you'll need every power if you do indirect/bounce flash
- it zooms to 105mm not just 85mm giving additional reach when shooting with tele-lenses
- you'll get a gel-filter to adapt your flash-color to incandescent light. Otherwise you'll end up having different light-temperatures when shooting indoors.
- you'll get the "Bounce Adapter SW-10H", very helpfull when bouncing
- you'll get the "Quick Recycling Battery Pack SD-800" that let's you shoot below three seconds at full power.
- The SB-800 serves as master/commander with other remote SB-600/800

Ok, sure those things are good to have, but do you REALLY need them? The only reason as D40x user i would get the 800 would be so i could use the my 600 externaly (as a slave) and have the 800 as my master flash with an activated TTL system.

So lets organize this better, lets line up some facts:

Important features:


SB-600 SB-800
Power: Guide Number (1)
98
125
Weight (2)
10.6 oz (300 g)
12.3 oz. (350 g)
Size, WHD
2.7 x 4.9 x 3.5"
2.8 x 5 x 3.5"
Works perfectly with every film and digital SLR (TTL, d-TTL and i-TTL)
Yes
Yes
Illuminated LCD
Dedicated icons and 7 segment numbers: bold, easy to read
Coarse generic dot-matrix, harder to read
Built-in bounce card (3)
no
Yes
Cost, October 2005
$190 US
$320 US

So there is a size difference to take into account, as well as a weight issue and the price tag of course. The built in bounce card can be easily added to your 600 with some Velcro, pretty much anything will do there.

But lets break it down even further then this:

I would say this, unless your a pro photographer you dont REALLY need the 800 unless you have the cash to spend and want to carry around a heavier backpack.

The only "true" difference i see with these flashes is pretty much that you can use the 800 as a master on-camera flash to control any other flash unit (800 or 600) wirelessly.

Conclusion: I m not very keyn on flashes to be honest i have my Sb 600 and i m much more then happy with it, its works great at full power and mounted on my D40x its not too big and its not to heavy, i will can say that i recommend anyone that is thinking of taking serious flash photos to get the 800, but if your not going to do this and you don't have the cash, get the 600! Its an amazing flash it will light up a whole room no problem at full power.

How's that for a tip ice?


8 comments:

Jake said...

i dont know if the sb-600 has this or not, but the 800 had a modeling light, so you can see where its going to be.

Honestly, when I get my 40d, I think I'll end up with sb-800's, canon top of the line flash (580ex II) is like 450. so I'd rather pay the 320.

Graham said...

Does that mean you can use the SB-600s and 800s on non-Nikon bodies? Won't the hotshoe contacts be mis-aligned?

Jake, the SB-600 does have the modeling flash feature but as bright and cool as it looks I can't get it make any shadows show up.

Alexander Blacker said...

Yeah you can use the SB 600 and 800 on none Nikon Bodies, but only remotely that i am aware of, the hot shoes is the same on most of the models i cant recall which one it is that doesn't follow the "main" stream so to speak. But as far as Cannon goes that is a yes.

p.s graham how do use that modeling flash feature on the 600?

Graham said...

It's in the custom settins menu I think. You need to enable the feature. Once you have, just press the DOF preview button and it strobes the flash until you release the button or the capacitors lose their charge. Whichever comes first.

ice said...

First of all sorry for being late, had a rough couple of days at work, so didn't have the time to browse around that much, sadly :(

As for the tip, thanks a lot man, its really nice that you took some of your time to do it, really appreciate it :)
I think I'll end up with an SB-800 first and then with an SB-600 if I need more light and stuff, what do you think ?

ice said...

First of all sorry for being late, had a rough couple of days at work, so didn't have the time to browse around that much, sadly :(

As for the tip, thanks a lot man, its really nice that you took some of your time to do it, really appreciate it :)
I think I'll end up with an SB-800 first and then with an SB-600 if I need more light and stuff, what do you think ?

Alexander Blacker said...

Sounds like a good idea, if you want to use flash externally! Sorry that it took me such a long time to reply! I cannot believe that! I just wanted to lay down some facts for you

All the best

ice said...

Yeah, I would like to, and one of the best things you underlined is that the SB-800 zooms to 105mm, and my favourite lens is actually a 105mm Nikkor :D