Nikon Flash SB-910 vs SB-900: Is it Worth the Upgrade?

SB-910, Nikon's new flagship speedlight is available in stores now (UPDATE:SB-910 price dropped down to $499). As the model number suggests, the improvements over SB-900 -its predecessor- are minor. Nikon probably wouldn't even care to make this upgrade if they didn't have the unfortunate over heating problems with the SB-900. Anyway, I have listed the improvements over SB-900:

    • New thermal cut-out feature: When its body temperature rises, SB-910 automatically slows the recycling speed  instead of ceasing its operation whereas SB-900 turns off automatically  in a similar situation.

    • Improved user interface for easier and more intuitive operation

    • Clip-on hard plastic filters: new incandescent and fluorescent colour balancing filters are more durable, allow for faster attachment and removal compared to the gel-filter system of SB-900 (included plastic filter can also be used with SB-900)

    • Larger and back illuminated bottons

    • Shorter recycle times according to Rob Galbraith

    • Revised body: little heavier and larger

    • AF-assist illuminator for multi-point AF

    • Better battery usage

There is a $50 price difference between these two: Nikon sells SB-910 for $549 now $499! and SB-900 for $499. And if you decide to sell your SB-900 and buy a new SB-910, total cost of transition will surely be higher then $50.

So here is my two-cents;

  • If you don't have a speedlight and looking for the best Nikon flash available, buy SB-910 without any hesitation.
  • If you have a SB-900 and don't do fast paced shooting frequently, it seems better to keep the SB-900 and the money
  • If you are a professional with SB-900 and you can't take the risk of having a shut off during a paid job, definitely upgrade to SB-910
  • If you can't afford the SB-910 and don't need the max power it offers, go for the SB-700: For $329, it has a similar improved thermal cut-out feature and the plastic filters like the SB-910. On the negative side, SB-700 can control 2 groups of remote flashes whereas SB-900/910 can control 3 groups. It also lacks PC-Sync port.

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