Bower SFD926 TTL Flash Review

by on December 2, 2010

in Lighting

The Bower SFD926 TTL flash is a hot shoe flash that is available for just about every DSLR on the market now.  At around $100, the SFD926 is an affordable alternative to the more expensive hot shoe flashes from Canon, Nikon and the likes.

The feature set is also rather impressive for a flash in this price range.  The SFD926 will operate as a normal TTL flash, which means that your camera can communicate directly with the flash to provide commands for the correct amount of flash output needed for a proper exposure.  Additionally, the SFD926 can be operated in manual mode with adjustments from full power down to 1/16 power (i.e., a 5-stop power range).

The SFD926 has an optical slave, which makes it an attractive option for the strobist-on-a-budget crowd who want to shoot in full manual across the power range.

I tested the Canon version SFD926 with the 5D Mark II in TTL and manual modes.  In short, I found the Bower flash to perform reliably.  Although, there were a few short hiccups when starting up the flash using (fully charged) 1.2v NiMH batteries.  After switching to 1.5v or 1.6v batteries, I had no other operational problems.

In most cases the SFD926 works well as a TTL flash.  It provides Auto TTL coverage down to f/2. It responds to in-camera flash exposure compensation settings, rear-curtain sync controls and the like.   The Bower flash also has a zooming head with a range of 24-85mm.  Flash duration, according to Bower, ranges 1/1000s to 1/20,000s.  The bounce/swivel head lets you take advantage of white ceilings or walls and be creative when using it as an off-camera slave.  Bower says you get 80 full power pops out of a fresh set of AA batteries; however, I got a lot more than that using less than full power in TTL mode.

The Bower SFD926 is a perfectly respectable flash for the intended market – entry-level DSLR users.  The SFD926 would serve someone well with a DSLR and kit lens like the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 that is packaged with the Canon Rebel series.  Additionally, those who tinker with off-camera flash and are on a budget may be attracted to the SFD926 due to the optical slave and manual power adjustments.

The Bower SFD926 is certainly better than going at it with the internal pop-up flash alone.  So, if you are getting a new Canon Rebel T2i, Rebel XS, Nikon D3100 or other entry-level camera, and you don’t have and additional $220+ to shell out for a Canon 430EX II or a Nikon SB-600, then I would recommend the Bower SFD926 as a cost-effective alternative.  Additionally, you can use the Bower flash with Micro Four Thirds cameras and point and shoot cameras that have TTL hot shoe adapters (e.g., Canon G12, Panasonic FZ100).

The Bower SFD926 hot shoe flash is available from Photography Bay’s trusted retail partner, B&H Photo, at the following links:

By making your photography purchases at B&H Photo through these links, you are helping Photography Bay to continue bring quality camera tests, news and reviews. Thanks for your continued support.

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{ 4 comments }

1 Nicholas Smith December 2, 2010 at 5:37 pm

How does it compare to the Nissin Di622 (if you’ve tried it!), both are at similar price range and similar functionality

2 Jim December 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

This flash is IDENTICAL to my Vivitar DF400MZ-C. I haven’t been able to find it new lately. I guess I know why now. Probably a third party made it for Vivitar, and now makes it for Bower.
I couldn’t be happier with mine. I’ve had it a year now with no problems at all. Seems to be easy on AA NiMh 2500mah batteries, and has a good recycle time. I use it with a Canon SX1IS. I’ve been very successful with shooting 4fps bursts, which it keeps up with handily. Great speedlight for the price.

3 kamera gue December 2, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Another brand join the cheap flash market, which is a good news. The combination of a TTL, zoom head and LCD seems nice. No info about GN there but I guess about GN 40-60 which is standard. For the price, it is cheaper than Sunpak or Nissin, and about the same with Yongnuo.

4 Jim December 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Don’t forget, it’s a slave too.

Here are the specs from the B&H site:

Type Dedicated shoe-mount TTL flash
Guide No. 125′ (38 m) (85mm @ ISO 100)
Angle of Coverage 24-85mm range in 35mm/full-frame format standard
Vari-Power Not Specified by Manufacturer
TTL Dedication Yes – Automatic TLL Range 0.9-19 m (@f/2)
Bounce Head 0-90°
Swivel Head 0-270°
Zoom Head Yes
Off Camera Terminal No
Recycle Time 0.5-9 seconds
Power Source Four 1.5-Volt “AA” batteries (Alkaline, NiCad & NiMH)
Dimensions Not Specified by Manufacturer
Weight Not Specified by Manufacturer

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