A flash for Nikon must be compatible with i-TTL for automatic exposure with digital camera bodies. The two tables below list brands and models with approximate cost, power (guide number), wireless features and links to specs and reviews, split up between current and discontinued speedlights. When deciding which flash for Nikon to buy there is the choice between 3 speedlights from Nikon or third party brands which have some cheap but really good alternatives.
Buying a used flash is an alternative since speedlights don’t wear out in moderate use. There are some cheap alternatives on the market and there’s no necessity to buy your speedlight from Nikon.
The above tables don’t claim to be 100% complete, but they list the main alternatives to consider when buying a speedlight for Nikon in August 2011.
When it comes to flash specs, it doesn’t get much more confusing than the guide number (GN). I suppose the argument can be made that automatic flash and TTL metering have rendered guide numbers almost obsolete.
If you really want to make your head spin, go to the manufacturer’s website and check out the technical specs for your flash.
Remember a minute ago when I said that the guide number really has nothing to do with establishing flash power?
And, for the beginner, it’s worth noting that Canon (and maybe others?) use meters when determining the guide number, while some others (including Yongnuo and LumoPro) use feet, at least in the user manuals for the flashes I own.
Personally, I wholeheartedly agree with the author and think that this is one unit that serves little practical purpose today. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. Stefan Kohler is a conceptual photographer, specialized in mixing science, technology and photography. When he isn't waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. After setting your camera to Red-Eye reduction with slow sync, make sure that ii appears on the SB-800is LCD panel.
Flash guide number is a value used to describe the maximum illumination that a flash unit is able to deliver effectively for any given combination of ISO and Aperture.
However this was not the case not too long ago, there was a time when photographers needed to manually calculate the flash power needed for each and every shot depending upon the guide number of the flash and the distance from the flash to the subject. Traditionally Guide Numbers for flashes are given for ISO 100 and flash to subject distance will be given in either Feet or Meters. If for a given situation you are unsure about which aperture value to use; first measure the distance from the subject to the camera (this information is available on your lens scale) . If you are using a flash unit for which you are unsure of the guide number set the flash unit to manual and put the flash unit at a distance of one meter from the subject.
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Many cameras have automatic flash units whose sensor measures the light reflecting off of the subject and produces the appropriate intensity of flash. Apart from Nikon’s own speedlights you can buy from third party manufacturers such as Nissin, Yongnuo, Metz, Sunpak or Vivitar. When shopping for a used flash, there’s additional choice among the speedlights in the table below. I’ve covered legal issues, written some fun reviews, and put some myths to rest, but I pretty much spend most of my time here howling at the moon. Most of our concepts made smooth transitions when photographers came to grips with the notion that digital was here to stay. Still an avid street photographer and film shooter, Jeff also launched a kids photography class three years ago, where rumor has it he learns more from the kids than they learn from him. While it’s a good benchmark for comparing flashguns, I would hope that it just changed to either lux or watt-seconds.
Even today when needed to set values manually under special conditions a good understanding of how the system works could prove in handy.
If you are using a separate manual flash unit, you will need to do this calculation yourself by adjusting your shutter speed and aperture to match the flash light and distance to subject. All these models also support i-TTL which qualifies them for full automatic flash photography together with your Nikon camera body (2005 or newer). In addition, speedlites are only recommended if also practically usable for off-camera flash with low-cost radio triggers such as the Yongnuo RF-602 or similar models.
There are several reasons, actually, but the biggest reason of all is that the GN was never supposed to be a rating of flash output.
Based on ISO and aperture values selected by the photographer, the flash controls the light output based on distance to the subject.
I honestly believe that special people are hired to make this as confusing as humanly possible.
If we go back to our GN 80 flash from the example above, we’ll find that a GN 80 flash that covers a 24mm lens angle of view is more powerful than a GN 80 flash that only covers a 50mm lens.
Also, remember that guide numbers are usually calculated based on a full-frame (35mm equivalent) sensor.
These days, when I buy a new flash, I test it side-by-side with a flash I’ve already been using, so I know what to expect from the new one. Modern day digital cameras and flash units are so intelligent that they make use of all kinds of metering functions and also communicate with each other.
Moreover if you ever come across a situation in which you will be using flashbulbs then this information becomes invaluable. Fire a test shot; at one meter distance the aperture reading that is registered on your flash meter will be your flash units guide number. Flash and Shutter Synchronization A flash burst is extremely fast (a few ten thousandths of a second). But I suppose each has to figure out if it's something that's right on the edge for many things they shoot.

It was, however, used to set the correct aperture for proper flash exposure at a certain distance. As a result, most units had a dial like the one pictured below or a small chart which the photographer could use to make a quick determination of the proper f-stop for the distance they were shooting.
The math and science behind it still rings true, but advances in flash technology seem to render it unnecessary.
Technically, guide numbers are supposed to be determined at ISO 100, but some companies bump it up to 200.
The lens communicates aperture, angle and distance values from camera to the subject, the camera then matches it with that of flash unit taking into account the presence or absence of ambient light, metering mode used, etc and then automatically sets the desired flash power. For a wedding photographer it may make a difference at a certain shooting distance and it's an obvious choice for them.For me, it just wouldn't be worth it. Rather than tell the flash how much power to kick out, we give the flash the information it needs to make that determination for us. From my perspective,  as long as flash manufacturers continue to put guide numbers at the very top of the list of specs, I think it’s important that we understand how the concept works and how it affects our photography.
It’s interesting that you have such a big output difference between the Yongnuo and the LumoPro. Coordinating the timing of the flash with the opening of the shutter is called synchronization.
Regardless, though, of whether you are using your speedlights in TTL or Manual mode, GN is simply no longer the factor that it once was. Flash units that are built into the camera will automatically synchronize the flash with the shutter when the shutter release button is pressed. Separate flash units, that are mounted onto the camera’s hot shoe or connected with a sync cord, must be paired with the appropriate shutter speed in order to synchronize. If you do not have a sync cord and want to catch the flash, you can set your shutter speed to "Bulb" or "Time". Then, while holding down the shutter release, fire the flash manually to make the exposure. Keep in mind that while the shutter is open, the film or sensor will be exposed to all available light. As your shutter speed will be set to the standard, slow synchronization speed, choose an aperture that will ensure you have the correct exposure. This measurement is based on 1) the distance from the subject to the flash bulb (the closer the subject is to the flash, the brighter the light that it receives) and 2) the flash unit’s output (its guide number).

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