Nikon SB-600 Tutorial

By Candace Horgan

The Nikon SB-600 is a powerful external flash that can be used for all but the most demanding flash applications. As an added bonus, the SB-600 can be setup as a wireless slave flash in the custom settings, and triggered from the on camera flash on certain digital SLRs, giving you many creative lighting possibilities.

Getting Started

The Nikon SB-600 takes four AA batteries. When loading batteries, use four of the same type. To get the best results, use either lithium AAs or rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. After loading the batteries, slide the flash onto the hot shoe for your camera and lock the flash by flipping the lock lever to the right. Turn on the flash by pressing the "On/Off button" on the bottom right, and press the "Flash" button above it to fire a test flash to confirm it is working properly. Press the "Mode" button on the flash to turn it to "Through the Lens Balanced Exposure" (TTL BL) mode, and turn the mode dial of your camera to "Program" and select an ISO setting as desired. Focus as normal and depress the shutter button; the flash should fire. If the ready light on the flash blinks for three seconds after shooting, the picture may be underexposed. Change the ISO settings accordingly, recompose and shoot.

Continuous Shooting

The Nikon SB-600 can fire up to 15 times at six frames per second in TTL mode at full output or 1/2 output when the camera is set to a continuous burst mode. In "Manual" flash mode, with the flash set to 1/4 to 1/64 output, it can fire 40 times. After the flash has fired the maximum number of times, you should let it cool down for 10 minutes before using it again.

Modeling Illuminator

When setting up portraits, use the SB-600's "Modeling Illuminator" before shooting to see if you have harsh shadows created by the light. Press the "Modeling Illuminator" button on the flash head on the left to fire the flash for one second at a reduced output. If you have shadows, try adjusting the position of the flash head to bounce the light off the ceiling to soften it, or use a diffusion dome (sold separately) over the flash.