Nikon SB-600 Test Shot

Posted by Alex

Picture 5
Recently I purchased a Nikon SB-600 flash for my D40. I have never owned anything in the way of photographic lighting and I figured this would be a good first step. I’ve outfitted my studio with a good continuous lighting set up (for video), but photographic lighting has always intimidated me (in regards to complexity and cost). The SB-600 is a flash attachment that works with the D40 (thankfully) and basically just augments the existing flash. The big difference is the ability to adjust the direction of the flash, allowing you to bounce light off the ceiling etc. It also has more options and allows for more control than the basic flash.

Above I’ve posted two pictures, the first uses the SB-600 (pointed at the ceiling), and the second is just the on-camera flash. Neither has been edited. Given that I have no idea what I’m doing with this flash, I think the results are fairly impressive out of the box. Every time I’ve used the SB-600 indoors, the pictures reflect exactly what I see in real life. None of that blown out flash nonsense. The colors are correct, the light is balanced, and the level of detail is like nothing I’ve seen come out of my D40 previously. Of course, the SB-600 is no substitute for a real studio lighting setup, but it’s a great way to cheaply augment the power and versatility of your on-camera lighting situation.

There are a number of other options for speedlights of this kind. I chose the SB-600 mainly because it seemed to be the best fit for my relatively “low end” D40. It’s not too heavy and didn’t break the bank like some of the other Nikon models (the SB-800 for example costs more than my camera). It’s been very easy to use and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick and easy way to improve their indoor photography. If anyone has experience with other models, Nikon or otherwise, I’d love to hear your thoughts or see some examples. I’m still learning how to get the most out of mine, but the potential definitely seems to be there.

17 Comments Leave A Comment


Nate says:

June 17, 2009 at 8:56 am

I think buying a relatively basic flash was the best $$$ I have spent on gear for my camera setup. I have an Olympus 510 and got their Olympus FL-36. From the get-go I started getting the result you describe, after a couple months I have been able to do a lot of weird & wonderful things at a very reasonable cost .


shauna says:

June 17, 2009 at 9:23 am

This is definitely going on my photographic wish list. Indoor photography has been my greatest frustration in my photography thus far.


Matt Davis says:

June 17, 2009 at 10:27 am

Thanks for this post. I have a D40X and feel the same way about photography and its complexities. I always tweak my pictures in photoshop regardless, but have been looking for better ways to take my starting point to the next level. This seems the most economical.


Marc says:

June 17, 2009 at 10:35 am

Found that making/buying a diffuser also helps with dispersion. It will give you a really nice ambient fill light and softens the edges even more. Must say, I’m a bit surprised (pleasantly, of course) at the open post, as you have The Amazing Hansen for photographic insights. They don’t get much better than him! I’ve got a Canon, but something along these lines…


Harkonenn says:

June 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I completely agree about the diffuser. And bouncing is definitely the way to go to eliminate that harsh “I shot this using a flash” look. Personally, I have a D70/SB-800 combination.

I also built one of these for myself: – it came in very handy when I shot a friend’s wedding.


Keith says:

June 17, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I’ve been learning about lighting lately also so how extremely important it is when shooting. My current flash sucks, it doesn’t adjust to point at the ceiling, I need to get a cable to move it off camera. Also lately I’ve been shooting RAW and I am blown away by how much better I can make my photos with minor adjustments in Photoshop tweaking the RAW file. If you’ve never shot RAW, you should try it.


Tim says:

June 18, 2009 at 2:04 am

It’s indeed one of the best investments you can do after you bought a camera.

The fun thing is that when I saw the 2 shots above, I thought the first one is from a magazine and the second is one you tried to replicate at home. But after reading, I realised it’s not from a magazine. Great shot I would say….


Paul says:

June 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

This post has single-handedly convinced me to buy a flash for my D40. Always been unsure about whether it’s worth it, but you’ve convinced me. Thanks :D


Patrick MIdway says:

June 21, 2009 at 7:08 pm

The strobist blog is definitely where you need to get started, so many great tutorials and just the concept of the site is bound to make anyone a better photographer. goodluck!


Mario Pantoja says:

June 28, 2009 at 11:49 pm

thank you so much for your post, this has conviced me to buy an external Flash. in the end I bought the SB 900, which is a bit to damn big, but I had some extra cash and I bought the biggest one!!! I wanted to buy the SB600 but it was sold out and after I tested the SB 900 on the shop I knew I had to buy this!!!

I want to see your work with the SB 600! add me to your flickr if you want ( I want to learn and I think the best way is to share information !

again, thanks for your post and examples (BTW,your whole blog is awesome.)