Last Thursday I received my late-arrived birthday present from my two lovely sisters- a Nikon SB-600 speedlight, or more commonly known as an external flash. Well I’ve been longing for a flash unit for some time already, and would have waited for this SB-600’s to-be replacement model, the SB-700 which will possibly be announced this year. BUT, since my sisters were glad to sponsor me a flashlight now, why should I miss the chance? Thus I’m currently having this lovely thing in my camera bag.

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To my surprise, the box of the flash unit is quite smaller than I’ve expected. It’s barely enough for the flash to fit in.

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This is the first sight after opening the box (without the plastic bags covering the stand and flash unit).

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The flash pouch containing the mighty flash unit.

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The flash stand, used when firing the flash wirelessly (as slave).

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The flash unit (at 75-degree position).

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Right after opening the box, I’ve refrained my desire of popping in the batteries and shooting hundred and sixty nine shots right away. Instead, I flipped open the small, coloured book explaining Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) and read through the pages (briefly). Then, I read through the speedlight’s user manual (although I’ve already know how to control the flash before I got it).

After I finished my reading, I installed the power source and took some shots. I tried various settings, turned my flash head at different angles, and used my cheapo flash diffuser. In my opinion, the diffuser dome throws in too much direct light for my taste, creating white and burst highlights on oily surfaces. Besides, it reduces the effective output of the flash, therefore I ceased to use the diffuser. I concede, maybe it is just me who do not know how to use it (which I do not doubt), but I shall stick to my current settings which I am content of.

More often than not, I point my flash upwards around 60-90 degrees (75 being the most frequent), and, which is what makes the difference, I pull out the built-in flash diffuser half-way and treat it as a reflector. I tried using a white card (my father’s name card. I stuck it on my flash head using two rubber-bands) but was not satisfied with the results. In some ways, the flash’s built-in diffuser reflects more light towards the subject (when pulled halfway) than a thick white card, and yet does not spray too much direct light as a diffuser dome does.

One thing that’s special about the Nikon system is its built-in wireless triggering ability (D90 and SB-600 and above). This very useful ability has been there for about a decade (only very recently did Canon learn it on their 7D) and it gives photographers a heap of creative opportunities. Now one can achieve studio-like shots because the person can control its light source at his will- be it pointed downwards, positioned behind the subject, directed at coloured surface... etceteras. It’s really fun to play with it- and especially blasting unsuspicious friends (yes it must be friends and not strangers) while inviting them to toy with the flash’s zoom settings (they’ll look into the flash head in real amazement and- with your wireless ability on, simply press the shutter button and blast them off to wonderland).

Anyway, here are some results:

My second sister.

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Wireless firing opens a new vista of creative opportunities:

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Warm light reflected off the flash’s gold box (eldest sister here).

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Low-key lighting.

Still have loads to learn about creative lighting, though.

It is easy to use the flash, but uneasy to master it.


  1. Bro nice flash!!!!!!! Awesome touch to the Nikon. -dana-

  2. Yo Dana, thanks man. It's real fun playing with it lol.