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Nikon SB-300
Speedlight Flash (2013-)
© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

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Nikon SB-300

Nikon SB-300 (GN 59'/18m, long 5 second recycling, 4.2 oz./120 g with 2-AAA alkaline or NiMH cells, about $147). My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to it at Adorama or directly to it at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get yours through those links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.


Nikon SB-300, rear view

Rear, Nikon SB-300.


Nikon SB-300 on a D600

The tiny SB-300 is dwarfed atop a Nikon D600 with 50/1.4 G.


Nikon SB-300, rear view

Side view, Nikon SB-300.


Nikon SB-300, rear view

Bounces backwards! Who cares?


September 2013   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews

Nikon Flashes Compared


Introduction         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio
I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

The Nikon SB-300 is a tiny flash for use on any of Nikon's recent cameras that use the i-TTL system, which are all Nikon's SLR cameras that have been announced since 2004, as well as many Coolpix.

It's a tiny little thing, with low power and long recycling times to match.

I don't like it. It uses tiny AAA cells instead of normal AA cells, and these wimpier batteries mean longer recycle times and more changing dead batteries, which mean lost photos.

The SB-300 has no ability to be a TTL commander, it won't work as a slave, it won't work with 35mm cameras other than the F6 (It will work on all DSLRs introduced since 2004) and has no built-in AF illuminator. It doesn't zoom, which doesn't bother me. It bounces, but does not swing from side to side.

I prefer the SB-400, which also bounces, is more powerful, recycles twice as quickly, is smaller, runs on normal AA cells and costs less. I'd forget about this SB-300; the SB-400 is a better flash for less money.

The SB-300 has only one control: the chromed plastic rotary ON-OFF switch. ON is really STANDBY; it will turn itself off if not used to save your batteries, and wake up when you tap the shutter again.


Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More


Power Output

Guide Number 59 feet (18 meters) at ISO 100, rated.

1/1,650 duration at full power.


Lens Compatibility

As wide as 28mm (18mm on DX).


Autofocus Illuminator



Flash Modes

Controlled by camera.


Flash Control

i-TTL (Nikon cameras from 2004 - on) and manual only.



Clicks at 0º, 60º, 75º, 90º and 120º.



2 AAA cells, Alkaline or Ni-MH. No mention in the manual that lithium are approved.

Rated only 70 full-power flashes at 30s maximum recycling time from alkalines.

Rated only 110 full-power flashes at 30s maximum recycling time from Ni-MH.



Made in China.

All plastic, except for metal foot and locking pin.



2.3 × 2.6 × 2.5 inches WHD.

57.4 × 65.4 × 62.3 mm WHD.



4.23 oz. (119.9 g), actual measured with 2-AAA alkaline cells. Ni-MH weigh the same.

Rated 4.2 oz. (120 g) with two AAA alkaline cells.

Rated 3.4 oz. (97 g) empty.



Flash and silly sack.

Nikon SB-300, rear view

Included sack SS-DC1, Nikon SB-300.



05 August 2013 at 12:01 AM NYC time.


Price, USA

$150 list price at introduction, August 2013.

$147 actual selling price, August - September 2013.


Nikon SB-300, rear view

Box, Nikon SB-300.


Performance         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Performance is poor; no better than your built-in flash. It's worse than the SB-400 which sells for less.

The SB-300 works about as well as the built-in flash you already have, but pokes up further above your camera and makes it more susceptible to damage. The SB-400 rides lower, and works faster. I've never had red-eye with the SB-400.

I measured the SB-300's actual recycle time as 5 to 6 seconds with new alkalines, not 4 seconds as specified. This means many lost pictures. By comparison, the SB-400 recycles in 3.6 seconds with alkalines. With Ni-MH, the SB-300 recycles in 4 seconds, while the SB-400 takes only 2.6 seconds. These figures are for full-power dumps, if the flash needs less than full power for the shot, it recycles much faster. A difference of only a half second in recycling often means losing the next shot you wanted to take in a sequence.

Exposure accuracy is determined by the camera, not the flash.

Since it doesn't have much power, daylight fill flash is often dimmer than I'd like, and since it often has to fire at full power, it takes a long time to recycle after each burst.


Compared         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

See also Nikon Flashes Compared.

Built-in flash
Rated GN, ISO 100


2 AA
4 AA

Recycle time, Ni-MH*


6 sec. typ.

4 sec.

5-6 sec.

2.6 sec.

3.6 sec.

2.5 sec.


Rated full-power shots per set of alkaline
Rated full-power shots per set of 2,500 mAh Ni-MH

Widest coverage FX/DX

Bounce tilt
0, 60, 75, 90, 120º
0, 60, 75, 90º
-7, 0, 60, 75, 90º
Bounce swing
AF Illuminator
Wireless remote control
Works as Commander?
Included case
crappy drawstring bag
padded nylon
padded nylon, also includes a diffuser, colored filters and a stand

2.3 × 2.6 × 2.5"

57.4 × 65.4 × 62.3mm

2.6 x 2.2 x 3.1"

66 x 56.5 x 80mm

71 x 126 x 104.5mm.
Weight with bttys*

4.2 oz.


6.3 oz.


16.2 oz.


Price, 9/2013

* Actual measured values


Usage         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Turn on the power switch.

It will go to sleep if not used, and wake right up as you tap your shutter.

If the light is off, it's not ready to fire yet.

If it's on, it's ready.

If the light blinks quickly right after you take a picture, the flash didn't have enough power.


Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

I prefer the Nikon SB-400. It's shorter, more powerful, takes normal AA cells, and costs less.

I see no reason to buy an SB-300, unless you really need it to bend over backwards. The only reason you'd want to bend over 120º is if you had some sort of weird diffuser, but the SB-300 doesn't have enough power to use well with a diffuser anyway.

Just buy an SB-400 instead. You'll be much happier, and will always have AA batteries for it. The SB-300 eats a lot of AAA cells, and good luck finding or borrowing them when you need some in a pinch


More Information         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Nikon's SB-300 user guide


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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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