Best flash interface yet. Tiny quibbles aside, Nikon nailed the controls. Faster to set, easier to set, easier to understand how it’s set. Bingo.
One other noteworthy change is that the SB-900 swings both ways — you can go reverse 180 in either direction. This is especially useful, in that whichever way you mount a remote flash you can have the receiving window facing the master light source.
Jump on over there to see whether you should sell all of your SB-800′s to make room in your bag for SB-900′s. (Ok, it’s not that simple, but David’s got some great insights on the pros and cons of the new flash, particularly for those of you who already own a stable of SB-800′s.)
For those of you wanting an in-depth look at the Nikon D700 and/or the SB-900, you can read up on the new gear via the official user manuals – even if you can’t get your hands on the new camera or flash just yet.
UPDATE: It looks like the links to the D700 are down at the moment. The SB-900 manual still downloads though. (Here’s the link to Nikon’s download page for the D700.)
D700 User Guide (Warning: 19MB)
The Nikon SB-900 has just been announced along with the new D700. For the details a features offered by the SB-900, see the press release below.
TOKYO – Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the introduction of the Nikon Speedlight SB-900, a new external i-TTL flash unit with advanced features. The SB-900 offers a powerful guide number of 48/157.5 (ISO 200, meters/feet) and an incredible array of creative flash functions. The SB-900 is an ideal way to solve lighting challenges and extend Nikon D-SLR creativity.
The SB-900 is a high-performance Speedlight developed as the successor to the hugely successful Nikon SB-800. Practical functionality was emphasized in designing the SB-900, especially evident when used with Nikon digital SLR cameras compatible with the Nikon Creative Lighting System. It provides a wide 17-200 mm auto zoom range (expanded from the SB-800′s 24-105mm), three illumination patterns, newly designed, streamlined operation with a full-information LCD panel, and AF-Assist illumination compatible with new-generation AF sensors. The SB-900 has an improved booster circuit for high-speed recycle time. In addition, firmware can be uploaded via a Nikon digital SLR camera-a world’s first* for flash units, assuring that the SB-900 can accept technological advancements. The SB-900 serves as the new core for the Nikon Creative Lighting System when used in combination with current Nikon digital SLRs, and it supports Advanced Wireless Lighting as a master or a remote Speedlight, inviting photographers to explore the many creative possibilities.
Additional new functions include 180 degrees of left or right head swivel, a special built-in overheat protection system and automatic filter detection for unprecedented white balance correction, even in fluorescent lighting conditions.
With the SB-900, users can enjoy all the benefits of the Nikon Creative Lighting System for both automation and comprehensive control, enabling endless lighting possibilities.
*The world’s first flash unit with a user-applied firmware update function via a digital SLR camera as of July 1, 2008 (according to research conducted by NIKON CORPORATION).