Nikon SB15 Speedlight Comaptibility

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Garry Douglas, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Can any of the Nikon users let me know if a SB15 Speedlight is
    compatible with any of the Nikon dSLRs? I had problems with my Canon
    flashes when switching from film to digital and had to replace them and
    a Nikon user friend is now going through the same change from film to


    Garry Douglas, Apr 24, 2012
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  2. Garry Douglas

    Savageduck Guest

    The SB-15 is 10 years old, and intended for use with Nikon film
    cameras. It is also somewhat limited as, it does not have i-TTL
    function which is desirable for the modern Nikon DSLRs. I am not sure
    of specs with regard to voltage differences across the hotshoe
    terminals on the Nikon SLRs or DSLR's, or if the SB-15 might damage any
    of the Nikon DSLRs.

    The SB-15 is valued at about $20. Nikon's current i-TTL speedlight
    offerings are the SB-400 at $120, and is good value when compared with
    the SB-700 at $326, and the SB-910 at $547.

    If your friend is looking for good discontinued Nikon speedlights which
    work with the Nikon DSLR systems, look for a used SB-600 ($75-$200) or
    a used SB-800 ($280-$380). Otherwise pick up a new SB-400, or SB-700. I
    use an SB-800, and I am quite happy with it.
    Savageduck, Apr 24, 2012
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  3. Not really compatible. Can nearly certainly be used as a manual flash
    and probably as an A-mode flash, but no chance it works in TTL.

    Digital sensors had such drastically different reflectivity from film
    that the old "off-the-film" metering system for through-the-lens flash
    automation had to be given up. Nikon's new (for digital) iTTL system is
    based on pre-flashes instead. And the old flashes don't know how to do

    (I think Canon found the same thing, and had to reinvent their own flash
    system roughly the same way, hence both of them requiring a change like
    this of people.)
    David Dyer-Bennet, Apr 24, 2012
  4. Garry Douglas

    Mort Guest

    The SB-400 is quite weak in its maximum light output, and is suitable
    only as a fill-in light or for close work. For general use, I would opt
    for a flash with higher light output.

    AS a general statement, using a decades-old flash with a newer digital
    camera is fraught with the danger of blowing out the camera's
    electronics. Don't do it.

    Mort Linder
    Mort, Apr 24, 2012
  5. Garry Douglas

    Savageduck Guest

    I agree, there is no need to risk the new camera with the false economy
    of using an out dated flash just because you have it in your old bag. I
    suggested the SB-400 as it seems to fill the same role as the SB-15 did.

    I have been happy with my SB-800 which has similar output and features
    to the SB-900 & SB-910 where the major changes have been improvements
    to the menu system. If the OP could find an SB-800 for a decent price
    it would be.
    Savageduck, Apr 24, 2012
  6. Garry Douglas

    Savageduck Guest

    I didn't complete that sentence did I?

    I meant to say, if the OP could find a used SB-800 at a decent price
    ($300-$380) not the excessive price some are asking. In some cases as
    much as $825!!! Which is ridiculous when a new SB-910 can be had for
    Used SB-800s are hard to find as they are being retained as very good
    off camera slaves.
    Savageduck, Apr 24, 2012
  7. Garry Douglas

    Chemiker Guest

    Well, bad news first. The SB-15 is obsolete. Don't chance using it on
    a newer Digital camera.

    Good news. Newer Nikons support a wireless trigger that fits into the
    hot-shoe, and there is a receiver that can be mounted onto a light
    stand or a tripod, and the SB-15 plugged into it. Then your newer
    camera can trip a remote SB-15 so you still have that light source as
    part of your studio lighting system. A little tinkering will allow you
    to adjust its lighting level to match your main lights. I use an
    SB-700, plus 2 SB-28's and 4 little manual Vivitar 252's. You can also
    do this with light switches, but its a little trickier.

    For on camera use, you really should update your flash unit. If budget
    is tight, the SB-600 looks good.

    Chemiker, Apr 24, 2012
  8. Garry Douglas

    Pete A Guest

    Nikon DSLR camera hot-shoe flash sync terminals are ISO 10330-1992
    compliant: any flash having a positive trigger voltage up to 250 V is
    suitable. The SB-15 uses a low voltage trigger.

    A few studio strobes use a high negative trigger voltage, which will
    damage any electronic camera.

    Pete A, Apr 24, 2012
  9. Thanks for all the helpful advice guys. I will pass it on to my friend
    and he can decide what to do.

    Garry Douglas, Apr 24, 2012
  10. Garry Douglas

    PeterN Guest

    IMHO the 800 and the 900 are both excellent units. The menu system on
    the 900 is much easier to use, but according to my event shooting
    friends tell me that the 900 has an overheating problem, when shot in
    fast sequence.
    PeterN, Apr 26, 2012
  11. So does the 800. The 900 goes into thermal shutdown, the 800 melts.
    Your choice :). (I haven't run into a problem with my 800, myself.)
    David Dyer-Bennet, Apr 27, 2012
  12. Garry Douglas

    Savageduck Guest

    Even with adding the optional fifth battery I haven't run into problems
    with my SB-800. That is not to say they don't exist.
    Savageduck, Apr 27, 2012
  13. I've seen photos of badly melted lenses from an SB-800. I think you
    have to push it FAR harder than I ever do to reach that point, though.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Apr 27, 2012
  14. Garry Douglas

    Pete A Guest

    Last year I gave my SB-15 to a college student. The flashgun was about
    12 years older than her yet it was still working perfectly. It (the
    SB-15, not the student) was designed before the advent of NiMH cells
    although my use of these cells never did the flashgun any harm.

    My 26 year old Metz 45 CT-5 has never overheated even using the much
    more recent NiMH batter pack. I've deliberately tortured my SB-700 and
    Metz 45 CL-4 in an attempt to discover when they overheat: I got bored
    well before they become too hot.

    Anyone who is overheating Nikon Speedlights clearly has a fault with
    their photographic knowledge rather than the equipment (or has more
    money than sense). Those who regularly destroy SB-800s and 900s
    should've bought a D3s.

    Hope you found that amusing ;-)
    Pete A, Apr 27, 2012
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