Nikon SB-5000

Radio Slave, GN 34m/118' (ISO 100/35mm)

Top   Intro   Compatibility   Specifications

USA Version   Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations   More

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Nikon SB-5000

Nikon SB-5000 (18.5 oz./526g with 4-AA eneloop, rated GN 34m/113' (measured GN 90'/27m) at ISO 100 at 35mm, about $597) bigger. I got mine at Adorama; I'd also get it at Amazon, at B&H or at Crutchfield.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to my personally-approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Nikon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.

Nikon SB-5000 Nikon SB-5000
Rear LCD. bigger.
Nikon SB-5000. bigger.

 

August 2016   Nikon Reviews   Nikon Flash   Nikon Lenses    All Reviews

Nikon Flashes Compared

How to Use Nikon Wireless Flash

 

Introduction

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USA Version   Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations   More

New   Good   Bad   Missing

Adorama Pays Top Dollar for Used Gear

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I buy only from these approved sources. I can't vouch for ads below.

The Nikon SB-5000 is a full-featured flash with a radio remote slave — a first for Nikon. This lets us set up and shoot these in remote or multi-flash setups with less problems than Nikon's previous optically controlled flashes which needed somewhat of a line-of-site between them for reliable operation.

The SB-5000 works a commander or slave optically, but only as a slave via radio.

 

New

● Radio controlled; no more line-of-sight limitations of Nikon's previous i-TTL system.

● Cooling system allows 100 full-power shots before melting down.

 

Good

● Also compatible with other optically-controlled i-TTL flashes.

● 24 ~ 200mm zoom with 14mm panel.

● Built-in catchlight card.

● Infra-red AF illuminator.

 

Bad

● Too many things crammed on the small dot-matrix LCD, so it's difficult to read.

● Much more expensive than any other Nikon flash. You're paying for the novelty of a built-in radio slave.

● Nikon makes no cameras that can trigger this flash via radio; you have to buy an outboard radio transmitter and these transmitters only work with the D5 and D500 as of August 2016.

 

Missing

● Nothing, just money from your pocket.

 

Compatibility

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USA Version   Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations   More

The SB-5000 works flawlessly with all Nikon DSLRs except the ancient D1 Series and D100. It's also perfect with the 35mm Nikon F6.

The SB-5000 works with both the Nikon i-TTL system (a.k.a. Creative Lighting System, CLS) introduced in 2003, as well as the new Advanced Wireless Lighting (AWL) system new to the D5 and D500 of 2016.

The SB-5000 does not work well with camera models introduced before 2003. On these cameras you'll want to shoot in Manual or in non-TTL Auto modes.

As of August 2016, only the Nikon D5 and D500 can fire the SB-5000 over radio, and then only if you buy the WR-R10 to use as an outboard master wireless controller and buy a WR-A10 adapter to connect the WR-R10 to the D5 or D500's 10-pin remote terminal.

The D5 and D500 have no ability to control or trigger any wireless flash by themselves.

See Usage for more information.

 

Specifications

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USA Version   Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Power Output

Rated Guide Numbers at ISO 100:

at 35mm zoom: 113'/34.5 meters.

at 200mm zoom: 180'/55 meters.

 

Power Source

Four AA Alkaline, Ni-MH or eneloop.

Optional SK-6 power bracket and SD-9 battery pack.

Rated 150 shots with either AA alkaline or 2,000 mAh Ni-MH or eneloop.

 

Rated Recycling Time

1.8s with Ni-MH and eneloop.

2.6s with alkaline.

 

Manual Power Range

Full to 1/256 (zero to --8 stops).

 

Flash Duration

1/1,000 ~ 1/30,000 second.

 

Zoom Head

24 ~ 200mm with 14mm wide panel (full frame).

Silly extra "even" and "hotspot" modes.

 

Bounce Head

7º down to 90º up.

± 180º left or right.

You have to press the lock release to move anything; otherwise it won't move.

 

Exposure Modes

Manual.

Repeating manual flash.

Distance-priority manual.

Non-TTL Auto.

Auto-Aperture.

i-TTL/CLS optical master or slave.

AWL radio slave.

 

Wireless Control

Its rated for line-of-sight optically, and 100 feet (30m) over radio.

it has 6 groups over RF, or 3 over optical.

 

Size

2.87 x 5.39 x 4.07 inches.

73 x 137 x 103.5 mm.

 

Weight

18.537 oz. (525.55g) actual measured weight with 4-AA eneloop,

Rated 18.4 oz. (520 g) with 4-AA alkaline.

Rated 14.9 oz. (420 g) stripped naked.

 

Announced

06 January 2016, along with the D5 and D500.

 

Included

Speedlight Stand AS-22

Nikon Diffusion Dome SW-15H

Fluorescent Filter SZ-4FL

Incandescent Filter SZ-4TN

Soft Case SS-5000

Accessory pouch

 

Nikon's Model Number

4815.

 

Made In

China.

 

Price, USA

$597, July 2016.

 

Getting a Legal USA Version (for USA only)

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USA Version   Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations   More

USA versions have a small white Nikon USA warranty card marked "Nikon Inc. ACCESSORY ONE YEAR USA LIMITED WARRRANTY" in the box. It is stamped "SB-5000," but the serial number section is left blank.

Nikon SB-5000 USA Warranty Card

Nikon SB-5000 USA Warranty Card. bigger.

If yours has no USA card, you got ripped off with a gray market version from another country. This is why I never buy anyplace other than from my personally approved sources. You just can't take the chance of buying elsewhere, especially at any retail store, because non-USA versions have no warranty in the USA, and you won't even be able to get firmware or service for it — even if you're willing to pay out-of-pocket for it when you need it!

If a gray market version saves you a significant amount of money it might be worth it, but for $100 or less I wouldn't risk having no warranty or support.

Always be sure to check yours while you can still return it, or just don't buy from unapproved sources or at retail so you'll be able to have your camera serviced as needed.

US versions include two printed manuals, one in English and uno en español.

Get yours from the same places I do and you won't have a problem, but if you take the risk of getting yours elsewhere, be sure to check everything while you still can return it.

 

Performance

Top   Intro   Compatibility   Specifications

USA Version   Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Recycling Time   Measured Power   Ergonomics

 

Recycling Time

Performance          top

I measure 1.65 seconds from full-power dump to ready-light ON, with 4 freshly-charged AA eneloop.

I measure 2.2 seconds from full-power dump to ready-light ON, with 4-AA eneloop at 60% charge on the ZTS tester.

This is excellent, and even better than rated. Bravo!

This is the most important performance aspect of a modern flash: whether it's ready for the next shot or not.

 

Measured Guide Numbers

Performance          top

The measured guide numbers are only a half stop less than rated, which is good because most Japanese flash measure one stop less than rated.

Zoom Setting
Measured GN
14mm
40' / 12m
24mm
70' / 21m
35mm
90' / 27m
50mm
95' / 29m
105mm
120' / 37m
200mm
130' / 40m

 

Ergonomics

Performance          top

I like the power lever, and the lock keeps it from getting knocked.

You have to press a release button to move the bounce head in any direction. I find this a pain, I prefer no lock on the flash head.

The battery door works well, but the polarity markings are not easy to see in the dark when you need them.

The LCD backlight is dim.

Half the buttons are lit, half are not.

 

Usage

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New Trick

To see the flash system's information, press the D5 or D500's INFO button twice.

 

Wireless Control

See How to Use Nikon Wireless Flash.

To create a multi-flash system, you can use either the traditional optical or the new radio system, or use both at the same time.

 

Optical Wireless Control

For most of us, our existing flashes we used with last year's Nikons will work the same way as optical masters and slaves as they always have.

 

Radio Wireless Control

Only the D5 and the D500 as of August 2016 have any ability to control radio slaves, and even then they only do it if you buy a WR-R10 and WR-A10 adapter.

Otherwise, the SB-5000 can't do anything by radio.

 

Recommendations

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USA Version   Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations   More

This is Nikon's top flash as of 2016, replacing the old SB-910. The reason to get the SB5000 is if you want radio control, otherwise the SB-700 does the same things with the same power.

This SB5000 is a pro flash for people who need radio control or want a flash that can fire at high power more or less continuously without melting.

If you want to shoot via the traditional optical remote system, you don't need to pay extra for this flash's radio ability; the SB-700 does the same thing optically for much less money. Any Nikon camera with a built-in flash that works as a commander can control the SB-5000 optically — but you're not using the radio feature for that.

If you only plan to shoot this flash mounted on your camera's hot shoe, you only need the SB-500 or SB-400, or the SB-700 if you want a lot of power for use for daylight fill at longer distances.

Radio remotes are for wedding shooters with assistants to hold and move the flashes around. The SB5000 is a bad idea for studio use. For studio or fixed-location remote use, use real AC-powered strobes that cost much less and have much more power. For instance, this $400 kit has three strobes, stands and umbrellas, and is perfect for use in a studio or in a fixed location like senior or executive portraits or product shots.

If you're out on the beach or in the woods, again I'd use serious battery-powered professional strobes instead of these expensive and weak Nikon flashes. You can buy the larger pro units for less than the cost of this Nikon flash.

 

Where to Get Yours

I got mine at Adorama; I'd also get it at Amazon, at B&H or at Crutchfield.

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Nikon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken, Mrs. Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

More Information

Top   Intro   Compatibility   Specifications

USA Version   Performance   Compared

Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Nikon SB-5000 manual.

Nikon's WR-R10 manual.

Nikon's SB-5000 press release.

 

© Ken Rockwell. All rights reserved. Tous droits réservés. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

 

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

 

 

 

05 August 2016