Best Flash for Nikon DSLR Cameras


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Having an external flash kit (or Speedlight in Nikon jargon) for indoor photography or portraits lets you have more control over the lighting in the room and lighting setup. The question is how much control you want as this will impact the budget for your Nikon external flash.

Here, we have assembled the top 5 best flash for Nikon DSLR cameras. This list includes Nikon’s own brand ‘Speedlights’ but also a few alternatives from different brands for when you are looking for a low budget option.

Don’t have time to read the full review? Don’t worry! Here’s our top 3 picks:

Nikon SB-700 AF Official Speedlight Flash

  • Genuine Nikon Product
  • Wireless Control
  • 500+ Customer Reviews
  • i-TTL Compatibility

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Read our review
Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight Flash

  • Rotates 180°
  • Zoom of 24–200mm
  • Cooling System
  • Advanced Wireless Lighting

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Read our review
Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight Flash

  • Amazon's Choice
  • 120° Tilt Capablity
  • TTL and Manual
  • Best Budget Flash for Nikon

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Read our review

Best Speedlight for Nikon vs. Universal Flash Models

Best Speedlight for Nikon

An important consideration to make is whether you want to stick to Nikon for your camera accessories or are comfortable with using different brands together. An argument can be made for both sides when looking for a Speedlight for Nikon.

Using only Nikon accessories for your Nikon DSLR will ensure that both systems correspond well to each other. Often, you will also be able to use additional features and technologies when you combine a Nikon Speedlight with Nikon DSLRs.

On the other hand, there are more affordable Nikon external flash options available on the market. There are manufacturers that build universal flashes for cameras and some of these are very decent.

If you are not a professional photographer but would still like to dabble with on or off-camera flashes alongside you’re regular studio lighting such as photography umbrella lighting, then go ahead and look into the more affordable brands. Though they may not have the same seamless communication between devices, there are still interesting functions to play with.

1. Best Flash for Nikon: Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight Review

Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight Review

The best flash for Nikon DSLR cameras is by far the SB-5000. This top of the line external flash is completely decked out and is considered a high performance flashgun for Nikon by professionals.

What sets the SB-5000 apart from other models (by miles) is the hot shoe-mounted cooling system that lets you take up to 100 consecutive shots at full output with its high-speed sync. Where other flashes will slow you down because of the recycling speed or recharging speed, you won’t miss any of the action using this as a creative lighting system.

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As you would expect, this Speedlite comes with more than one flash mode, and can be used in master mode and slave mode. The SB-5000 can be used to build a wireless radio controlled communication system with connectivity of up to 6 different flashes spread nearly 100 feet apart.

The SB-5000 has wide coverage with a 180° rotation and tilt of -7° to 90° with a zoom range of 24 – 200 mm. The flash is also compatible with the Nikon i-TTL so you can be assured that the exposure compensation is perfect time.

Program your settings using the intuitive LCD screen or when using the flash with an RF transceiver, access the settings through the paired camera which is handy when using it as an off-camera flash in a diffusion dome and don’t have easy access.

The SB-5000 has enough functions and features to write a complete product review for on its own. This Nikon Speedlight deserves to be in very capable hands or it will not reach its full potential, it can also be combined with a photography lighting softbox to give you maximum flexibility with your product shots when not using it for family weddings.

  • Guide Number: 113 feet at ISO 100
  • Connection Type: Hot shoe, cord and wireless
  • TTL/Manual Control: TTL and manual
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  • Hot shoe-mounted cooling system for extremely fast recycling time
  • High speed sync TTL or manual flash exposure compensation
  • Lots of accessories included in the package for added functionality
  • Radio Control Advanced Wireless Lighting for an extensive circuit
  • Intuitive LCD screen and RF wireless technology


  • Buying this product is quite an investment
  • System updates needed for flawless execution

2. Best Mid-Range for Pros: Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight Review

Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight ReviewFollowing hot on the heels in second place for the Nikon flash reviews is the Nikon SB-700 Speedlight. Though this is the mid-range partner to the SB-5000, the SB-700 still shares some similar functions.

Like the first Nikon flashgun, this mid-range Speedlight have 2 flash modes and can work as both a master and a slave flash with any Nikon DSLRs. The SB-700 has a wireless control too allowing you to create a circuit of flashes.

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Another similarity is the i-TTL function. This technology causes the flash to read the lighting in the room and adjust accordingly – making your job as the photographer easier.

The SB-700 has a zoom range of 24 – 120 mm, tilt of -7° to 90° and a 360° rotation (double the rotation of the SB-5000).

Though the mid-range Nikon fllash does not have the hot shoe-mounted cooling system functionality, the SB-700 does make sure that your flash won’t burn with the Flash Tube Overheat Protection. This technology helps to reduce the recycle time so you won’t have to wait as long as with the budget flash models.

Although this can be considered the mid-range model, you are not paying for the brand alone, you are also paying for its features. The SB700 is still a good recommendation for professional photographers.

  • Guide No: 92 feet at ISO 100
  • Connection Type: Hot shoe and wireless
  • TTL/Manual Control: TTL metering and manual
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  • A creative lighting system and flash unit for a mid-range price
  • Multiple flash modes (master and slave)
  • Intuitive controls and radio triggers (wireless trigger)
  • Lightweight flash with good power output ansd solid build quality
  • Long battery life even with LCD display on


  • Can slow down due to overheating
  • High-speed sync but recycling speeds of 2.5 seconds might be too slow for action photography

3. Best Flash for Nikon for Beginners: Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight Flash

Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight Flash for Niokon

The entry-level branded external flash is the Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight Flash. Still meant for capable hands, this model is perhaps the best option for serious hobbyists.

The SB-300 is a well-designed introduction to working with a flash for indoor photography. Still featuring the i-TTL, this speedlight gives your composition better-balanced coloring and compensation for shadows and reflected light.

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There is no LCD screen but with fewer functionalities compared to the SB-5000 and SB-700, you won’t miss the screen either. Instead, the SB-300 comes with a simple on/off dial and manual control for the 120° tilt.

Pairing a Nikon designed external flash will always give you better results than pairing your camera with another brand’s version because of the synchronization of same brand products.

If you are looking for the best flash for your DSLR on a budget and don’t want to venture into different brands then the SB300 is the best choice.

  • Guide No: 59 feet at ISO 100
  • Connection Type: Hot shoe and wireless
  • TTL/Manual Control: TTL Flash and manual
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  • i-TTL metering compatible
  • Entry level price for a branded speedlight
  • Fits easily into carry bag as head faces up
  • Lightweight and compact design


  • Limited tilt angle of the flash head
  • Low guide number compared to other flash models
  • Limited control compared to higher-end speedlights
  • No LCD display

4. Cheap External Flash: Yongnuo YN560 IV Wireless Flash

YONGNUO YN560 IV Wireless Flash for Nikon

It is rare to find the best flash and DSLR cameras on a budget that can be used as both a master and slave external flash, with reliability. Somehow, Yongnuo has managed to do so with the YN560 IV Wireless Flash.

You can build a wireless circuit with this budget flash alternative for DSLRs. Though not as seamless as with a specialized flash, putting the system together is still a fun way to experiment with lighting.

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The Yongnuo YN560 has a decent recycle time for its price point. For an external flash that is far below $100, you can’t help but be impressed with its speed.

Other things to note are its decent basic features; 270° rotation, -7° – 90° tilt and up to 105 mm zoom range. The range may not be as wide as the Nikon DSLR flash models but are still good enough for creating balanced indoor photographs, either with a diffuser or without.

If you are only recently venturing into indoor photography and have never used an external flash before, this Yongnuo model offers you an affordable chance to practice. It might just help you decide whether indoor photography is your new passion project or not.

  • Guide No: 190 feet at ISO 100
  • Connection Type: Hot shoe and wireless
  • TTL Flash/Manual Control: Manual power
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  • A budget option that is still capable of master and slave functions
  • Decent horizontal rotation and tilt for better flash exposure with a reflector card
  • Able to program different settings for each flash in a circuit


  • Not compatible with i-TTL technology
  • Limited instructions so needs practice through trial and error
  • No repeat mode

5. For Amateur Photographers: Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite

Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite Review

Another non-Nikon contender for the best flash for your DSLR on a budget is the Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite. Neewer is known for its respectable low budget external flash options with the TT560 model being one of its best.

The Neewer TT560 is a very basic external flash for DSLR cameras. You won’t find the features of the higher end models and may need to use a diffuser but it does a good job in balancing out lighting and filling in shadows.

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You cannot use the i-TTL technology in combination with this hot shoe mounted flash but the TT560 Flash Speedlite does have a specific button that lets the flash test the lighting in the room and alter the power adjustment automatically.

This external flash is only capable of a positive tilt of the flash head of up to 90° while still having a good horizontal rotation of 270°. The other settings are controlled by a simple button console.

The Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite really is quite basic for a flash. If you are new to photography and want to experiment, then this is an easy entry-level and cheap flash to use.

  • Guide No: 125 feet at ISO 100
  • Connection Type: Hot shoe
  • TTL Flash/Manual Control: Manual power
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  • Good battery life performance
  • Decent recycle speed, especially at lower power
  • Very cheap for the build quality of the flash
  • May require use of a diffuser or bounce card


  • No wireless trigger option
  • No battery life indicator
  • No LCD screen

DSLR Camera Flash Buying Guide

There are a few basic things to note when you are deciding which is the one for you, what works best with your DSLR and meets your photography requirements, such as flash power.

These are the guide number, connection type, whether it is compatible with the Nikon i-TTL or is only a manual and how flexible the head is.

Guide number

Usually given in meters or feet, the Guide number shows how powerful the flash is. Be careful to compare the correct figures between different flash models by comparing against the same ISO. You rarely need to use a flash on full power when doing flashgun photography.

Connection type

This simply refers to how the flash is connected with the camera and other flashes. Usually, the connection type will either be a hot shoe, meaning it sits on top of the camera or it will have wireless.

TTL / Manual

Budget external flashes will only have a manual function, while the best Speedlights for Nikon cameras are compatible with its i-TTL feature. TTL is similar to the smart-mode of basic digital cameras that reads the composition and adjusts its settings accordingly.


Indicates the vertical movement of the head. A downward tilt is measured in negative degrees while an upward tilt is measured in positive degrees.


Indicates the horizontal movement of the head. The horizontal and vertical angles of the flash are what lets you control the bounce of light.

Other Considerations

Other than these basic technical details, you should also consider how often you need the flash and whether you need extra flash adjustments and features to enhance your control via the wireless settings on Nikon cameras. These last two considerations will have a big influence on the required budget.

If budget is an important deciding factor then look into a non camera brand that produces good universal external flashes for DSLR cameras. You will have to give up many technologies that the Nikon designed accessories have but the other brands will still have the basic functions that you need.

Photography can become an expensive hobby if you want equipment used by professionals so take the time to think about how important the flash functions are to you. Using camera flash guns can get tedious so unless you are a professional, some of the low budget options might already meet your needs.

If you’re looking into external flashes for smaller items, it could be worth checking out lightboxes for product photography as these are much easier to use and typically produce better results (we’ve also got some top pro tips for using a light box).

On the other hand, if you are a professional photographer, then the added features of the best high-end flash for Nikon cameras cannot be matched.

But the low budget options will not give you the precise control you need to let your creative vision speak through the photo.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions new users have when looking at buying a flashgun.

Is TTL flash necessary?

If you require High Speed Sync then you’ll want to pick a flash with TTL. A manual flash is extremely limited by your cameras shutter speed.

If you’re a beginner or hobbyist, then TTL and High-Speed sync is not something you’ll likely need.

What is I TTL flash for Nikon?

i-TTL – Is an evolution of D-TTL that incorporates more accurate systems for pre-flash. Metering is performed using light from the pre-flash reflected from the shutter curtain before exposure as with D-TTL. However the pre-flash fired is much stronger and of much shorter duration than D-TTL to achieve greater accuracy using the flash sensor.

Here’s an official guide to all of Nikons TTL technologies.

What is the difference between a flash and a Speedlight?

There is no difference between a flash and a Speedlight. Speedlight is simply the name of a range of flash guns produced by Nikon. Current Speedlights and other Nikon accessories make up part of Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS)

What is the best Nikon Speedlight?

I like to keep all my systems within one brand to ensure future compatibility so would recommend the Nikon SB-5000. Whilst it’s not the cheapest option, the official Nikon Speedlight range features 100% compatibility and means you’re futureproofed when adding new equipment into the eco-system.

Are LED lights good for photography?

Yes, when used correctly. LED lights are typically used for product photography when a flash is just too powerful. Most photography light boxes come with built-in LED lights that have been tested to provided the best results. LED ring lights are also used in macro photography, and either slide around the lens or sit on top of the camera.

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