NIKON – SB-5000 Speedlight – with Radio Announced

Nikon SB-5000

 

Along with the impressive new D5 and D500 DSLR camera bodies, Nikon have announced their first radio enabled speedlight in the SB-5000.

As well as providing radio, and optic, master and slave functions, the new flagship SB-5000 also feature a cooling system which allows up to 120 consecutive full power flashes.

Although the SB-5000 are compatible with most current Nikon DSLR cameras, the new radio function can only be used with the new D5 or D500 camera bodies at this stage (and require a small external WR-R10 transmitter / WR-A10 adapter attached to the camera).

 

Nikon SB-5000

 

With a guide number of 55 meters (200mm zoom, ISO 100) the SB-5000 provide slightly more power than the previous flagship SB-910, though the SB-5000 are now significantly more compact in size.

Nikon SB-5000

 

By assigning a number of functions to the rotary multi selector and OK button, the SB-5000’s interface now provides faster access to commonly used functions, like Flash Exposure Compensation, Flash Zoom, and Flash Mode, .

An “Info” button is also now provided for quick access to your favorite settings.

And when using the radio function settings can now be adjusted directly through the D5 and D500’s camera menu.

 

Nikon SB-5000

 

The SB-5000 also provide a larger dot matix LCD screen interface.

 

Nikon SB-5000

 

 

 

SB-5000 SPEEDLIGHT KEY FEATURES –

 

  • GN 55m (ISO 100 / 200mm Zoom)
  • Flash Cooling System – Enables Over 100 Consecutive Full Power Pops
  • Flash Modes – iTTL / M / Multi
  • HSS to 1/8000th
  • FEC / FEB – 1/3rd Increments (±3 Stops)
  • FEL (Flash Exposure Lock)
  • Manual Flash – 1/256 – 1/1 Output (1/3rd Increments)

 

  • Nikon Wireless Radio (Requires D5 or D500 Camera, & WR-R10 / WR-A10  Transmitter / Adapter)
  • Radio Master Mode – 6 Groups (A /B /C /D /E / F)
  • Combined Optic & Radio Master – 3 Groups Optic (A / B / C), 3 Groups Radio (D / E / F)
  • 4 Channels
  • Radio Slave Mode – 6 Groups, 4 Channels.
  • Radio Range – Approx. 30 meters
  • Nikon Optic Wireless Master & Slave Modes
  • 3 Groups – A / B / C
  • 4 Channels
  • Optic Range – Line Of Sight

 

  • Full Power Recycle – From 1.8 Seconds (Approx. with Ni-MH 2600 mAh Batteries)
  • Flash Duration – 1/980 sec. at M 1/1 (full) output, 1/30,820 sec. at M 1/256 output
  • Head Swivel 0 – 360 Degrees, Head Tilt -7 – 90 Degrees
  • Large Dot Matrix LCD Display
  • AF Assist Light
  • Optic Slave Mode (SU4)
  • Modeling flash
  • Custom Functions
  • Auto Memory Function
  • Sound Prompt
  • Heat Protection
  • External HV Battery Port
  • Optional SK-6 Power Bracket Unit
  • PC Sync Port
  • Dimensions – 73 x 137 x 103.5mm
  • Weight – 420 g (Without Batteries)

 

 

Nikon SB-5000

 

WIRELESS RADIO TRANSMISSION

 

A number of years after Canon released their radio based RT flash system, Nikon have finally introduced radio based wireless transmission to their speedlight system, with the new SB-5000 flash and D5 / D500 cameras.

(The delay likely more a testament to how well the Nikon Optic Wireless System has performed, particularly in comparison to Canon’s Optic System).

Nikon’s AWL (Advanced Wireless Lighting) / CLS (Creative Lighting System) can now be used via radio transmission, and therefore without the line of sight or bright ambient light restrictions faced by the optic system.

Using either the D5 / D500’s flash control menu, or the master interface of an SB-5000 flash mounted on the cameras hotshoe, up to 6 groups (A/B/C/D/E/F) of remote SB-5000 Speedlights can be fully controlled from the camera, up to 30 meters away.

 

Nikon SB-500

 

Unlike Canon’s RT system though, which allows at least some backward compatibility with previous camera bodies, the Nikon radio transmission can only work with the new D5 and D500 cameras (and later Nikon camera models to follow).

 

The D5 and D500 also require a small external WR-R10 transmitter module (also previously used for remote shutter release functions) to be attached to the front of the camera.

And as the D5 and D500 have a Nikon 10 pin port in the front of the camera, a small WR-A10 adaptor is also required to connect the WR-R10 transmitter to the camera.

 

Nikon SB-5000

The combined unit then attaches to the front of the camera.

And unlike most other radio transmitter units, this unique system provides one advantage at least of leaving the camera hotshoe free to mount other lights, radio triggers, or microphones etc.

 

Nikon SB-5000

 

The WR-R10 transmitters alone have no flash control interface, so full control of up to 6 groups or remote flashes can be made through the D5, and D500’s new in-camera Flash Control Menu.

As with Nikon’s Optic Wireless System individual Groups can set to TTL, Manual, and OFF, and TTL and Manual Groups can be mixed at the same time.

Nikon have also now added a Canon style A:B ratio adjustment format at well for users who may prefer that option.

 

Nikon SB-5000

 

An SB-5000 speedlight mounted on a D5 or D500 camera hotshoe can also be used as the master interface to control 6 groups of remote SB-5000 speedlights via radio transmission.

 

Nikon SB-5000

 

Combined optic and radio transmission is also possible, allowing legacy Nikon speedlights like the SB-900, SB-910, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600 etc to be used in combination with the new SB-5000 in a remote lighting set up.

In a combined optic & radio set up there are 3 Optic Groups (A / B / C), and 3 Radio Groups (D / E / F) available.

The optic and radio groups can all be controlled through the SB-5000’s master interface while mounted on the camera hotshoe. Or the 3 radio groups can be controlled through the cameras Flash control menu,  and a legacy speedlight (SB-910 etc) or SU-800 transmitter can be mounted on the cameras hotshoe to control the 3 optic slave groups.

 

 

 

 

NIKON SB-5000 SPECIFICATIONS

 

Commander Function – Yes

Remote Function – Yes

Transmission Mode – Radio control and optical communication

Transmission Range – Radio control approx. 98 ft. (30m), optical communication – line of sight

Guide Number – 34.5 m/113 ft. (at 35 mm) 55 m/180 ft. (at 200 mm) (FX format, standard illumination pattern) (at ISO 100)

Electronic Construction – Automatic Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) and series circuitry

Flash Exposure Control – i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash with CLS compatible cameras

Lens Coverage – 24 to 200mm lens, 14mm with wide panel (in FX format)

Illumination Pattern

The light distribution angle is automatically adjusted to the camera’s image area in both FX and DX formats
Standard
Even
Center-weighted

Other Available Functions

Test Firing
Monitor Pre-flashes
AF-assist illumination for multi-point
AF Modeling illuminator

Bounce Function (Tilt) – Flash head tilts down to -7° or up to 90° with click-stops at -7°, 0°, 45°, 60°, 75°, 90°

Bounce Function (Rotate) – Flash head rotates horizontally 180° to the left and right with click-stops at 0°, 30°, 60°, 75°, 90°, 120°, 150°, 180°

Minimum Recycling Time

1.8 sec. (approx.) with Ni-MH (2600 mAh) batteries
2.6 sec. (approx.) with AA-size Alkaline (1.5V) batteries

Flash Duration

1/980 sec. at M 1/1 (full) output
1/1,110 sec. at M 1/2 output
1/2,580 sec. at M 1/4 output
1/5,160 sec. at M 1/8 output
1/8,890 sec. at M 1/16 output
1/13,470 sec. at M 1/32 output
1/18,820 sec. at M 1/64 output
1/24,250 sec. at M 1/128 output
1/30,820 sec.at M 1/256 output

Required Power Source – Four 1.5 V alkaline AA-size batteries

Optional Power Supply – SK-6 Power Bracket Unit, SD-9 High-Performance Battery Pack

Flash-ready Indicator

Rear and Front lights blink: Insufficient light for correct exposure (in i-TTL, Auto Aperture flash, Non-TTL Auto flash, or Distance-priority manual flash operations).
Rear lights up and Front blinks: recycled and ready to fire.

Ready Light – Front – Back

Flash Compensation
-3.0 EV to +3.0 EV in increments of 1/3 steps in i-TTL auto flash, Auto Aperture flash, Non-TTL auto flash and Distance-priority manual flash modes

Min. Number of Flashes / Recycling Time

150/2.6-30 sec. (1.5V AA Alkaline-manganese)
190/1.8-30 sec or more (1.2V AA rechargeable Ni-MH batteries)

Wireless Flash Modes – Master, Remote

Wireless Groups

Radio controlled: Master + 6 groups
Optically controlled: Master + 3 groups

Dimensions – 2.87 x 5.4 x 4″ / 73 x 137 x 103.5 mm (Approx.)

Weight (Approx.) – 14.9 oz. (420 g)

 

 

Nikon SB-5000

 

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

 

The Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights are available for pre-order now from $596.95, and should start shipping around Mid March 2016 –

Adorama, B&H Photo, Amazon, Ebay.

 

 

Nikon – Website USA

 

.

28 Comments
  1. Ulysses 2 years ago

    Elv, I’m glad you’re weighing in on this one.

    At least among a number of my Nikon-shooting colleagues, there’s a lot of ire and puzzlement over this flash. What most pro photographers wanted was a flash more similar to the Canon 600EX-RT, with built-in radio transceiver and radio master control over remote flashes. But what we got from Nikon seems like a mixture of a lot of cons along with a few pros. Allow me to explain.

    At least from my current understanding, the SB-6000 flash can only behave as a true master flash in optical mode. It then behaves more like a Nikon SB-910 flash. However, if you want radio-frequency communication, even an on-camera SB-5000 does not behave as a true master. It doesn’t directly communicate with any remote flashes; the WR-R10 / WR-A10 combo units perform that function, while the photographer has to go into the camera menu (ugggghhh) to make changes to flash settings. I might be wrong about this, but backing up my theory is that Nikon has shown no flash menus of the SB-5000 in radio-frequency mode as far as I know. I hope I’m mistaken here.

    I can see that there might be some flexibility with Nikon’s approach. But it’s an expensive way to go when there are other solutions — simpler and less expensive — gradually coming online to give photographers a master flash with radio-frequency control of remote flashes. Phottix and Godox, just to name a couple of them.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 years ago

      Hi Ulysses,

      Don’t worry, it took me a long time to try an piece together what that functions of this flash actually are.

      As far as I can see now though the flash does have a full radio master mode interface. This can provide control of 6 groups in radio mode, or even 3 groups of optic and 3 groups of radio at the same time.

      As far as I understand the flash is communicating back through the camera and still requires the WR-R10 / WR-A10 combo to transmit the signals in any case. As far as the radio interface goes though, you should be able to use the camera menu or SB-5000 interface.

      Yes I’ve seen the comments with a lot of people a bit underwhelmed with this. You would expect with the advantage of time Nikon would have tried to regain the lead in the flash department and one up Canon. Patent issues are likely not making things easy for them though either. Canon even have a patent on radio communication between the flash and camera, so its only a matter of time before physical hotshoe connections become redundant.

      For many people though the SB-5000 will be a major step forward. Unfortunately the third party options for Nikon have all been a bit neglected, or still need refinement. The main issue at this early stage is obviously the expense. To upgrade everything to new bodies and flash units just to have any radio compatibility is going to be a big outlay.

      • Ulysses 2 years ago

        Some of the pros I’m speaking with are saying the high cost of the equipment could be overlooked IF the SB-5000 brings the features that they want. But you’re right. It’s quite the layout to get fully set up. For example, let’s suppose I have an event where I need to set up at least six remote flashes plus an on-camera flash (easily conceivable for the types of events we shoot). That’s $4200; then $200 for each WR-R10 / WR-A10 combo, which I’d need a minimum of 2 and more likely 4. So that’s $5000 total to get started with just Nikon’s new lights. But wait… I still need to get outfitted with cameras that can actually utilize this system. I like a big camera, so that’s $6400 for the D5, and let’s say I’m willing to buy all D500 bodies for my auxiliary bodies at $2000 per camera. So an additional $12,400. I think I can start to sweat now. 🙂

        It would be much more helfpul if Nikon communicated a little more clearly about how this system works, and if they could confirm whether or not an on-camera flash could be used as a full-radio master. I hope you’re correct, and that my understanding is inaccurate.

        Otherwise, it seems like two steps forward but one step backward for Nikon. Radio capability is good. Mix of TTL and Manual modes is good. Mix of radio and optical is good. But there are also problems. The additional and expensive WR-R10 / WR-A10 combo units isn’t exactly elegant. The range is merely 30 meters. I’m not yet convinced the on-camera flash can work as a radio master. And thus far, Nikon has only mentioned the in-camera menu for controlling the flash settings (I truly hope I’m wrong on this point and can’t wait for you to get a sample or for the SB-5000 user’s manual to become available). And then there’s the cost.

        Please keep us posted with any positive insights you might have. Nikon shooters have been waiting a long time for their own version of the Canon 600EX-RT.

  2. Till Ulen 2 years ago

    So the new SB-5000 is rated for 120 continuous shots at 5-second intervals without overheating. How does that compare to the SB-910?

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 years ago

      Hi Till,

      The Canon 600EX-RT will do up to around 70 shots before the heat protection cuts in, and the SB-910 are fairly equal these days as far as I understand. So this is a decent advantage.

      Though Nikon went through a difficult time with the early heat protection in the SB-900’s. This was a big cut back from the SB-800 etc which didn’t really have much in the way of heat protection. So this is an issue Nikon have been trying to deal with and improve on for some time now.

      The Nissin MG8000 Extreme speedlites have a vented head and quartz flash tube which they claim will allow 1000 consecutive full power pops. I don’t know if that figure is completely accurate, though they will go for hundreds of pops, even with a fast external battery pack.

      This has always been one of the biggest limitations with speedlites though, so its good to see someone other than Nissin raising the bar with this. Hopefully other third party options will see the demand for this now as well, as they are generally more conservative than the Canon and Nikon units. It does add to the price though.

  3. Thomas Geist 2 years ago

    Bring on some Firmware update for the D800/D810/D750/D4 and we’re talking.

    Otherwise this flash is utterly useless unless you want a deLuxe SB-910.

    Maybe, just maybe Nikon wait out the D5/D500 sales for a while and then release a firmware update? Would be nice …

  4. tomK 2 years ago

    I’ve been anticipating this announcement for some time, and it comes with massive disappointment. Doesn’t work with the D750, and doesn’t work without a plug-in transmitter dingus.

    Guess I’m not leaving Canon anytime soon.

    • Al 2 years ago

      Personally for me this is a big disappointment. Although Nikon is heading in the right direction, they seem to be playing the field, testing the waters.
      1. The WR-A10/WR-T10 is a step backwards. What would have been better is a transceiver with a LED/LCD readout.
      2. The radio control distance of 30m if find for most but for the true professional it would have been nice if Nikon matched the 100m of the third party vendors.
      I’m not sold. I would rather spend my money a Godox AD-360II TTL.

      • Robert T. Johnson 2 years ago

        I agree with you 100%

  5. Robert T. Johnson 2 years ago

    Really Nikon another addon transmitter just to operate the flash from the new camera, flash and addon transmitter, really. I am invested in Shanny product and now looking at Godox new speedlight and transmitter that can be had for under $200 when Nikon wants $599 for the flash alone, really.

  6. Ricardo Gomez 2 years ago

    I like it. I think the adapter attaching to the camera is a better idea than a chunky transceiver attached to the hotshoe. They always add bulk. If the interface is good, controlling the flashes through a camera menu is a much preferable way for me at least. And there are plenty of hotshoe-transeiver that don’t have a great interface either. I think a simple firmware upgrade to all newer cameras will make this flash compatible with them. No worries there. It can also be cheaper. And there’s the rub….

    I’m value driven. I’ll buy an expensive piece of equipment if it’s superior to others in a way that’s important to me. I think Nikon did a great job with this flash in many ways. I really like it. But is it worth the premium?

    Pricing is a bit prohibitive. I just saw the Canon system on B&H for $469. At that price, it’s becoming more reasonable for me. The Canon system started out very pricey as well. But what’s really important to me…

    Other manufacturers have the advantage of having their own strobes they can use with the same transceivers used to control their speedlites. That’s extremely important to me. I don’t want two different systems with all their accessories and backups for each when one manufacturer can combine the two systems.

    If you’re a pro with a big budget and can afford two different lighting systems or if you only use speedlites, then I think the Nikon SB-5000 could be a great choice. Especially when the price comes down.

  7. David C 2 years ago

    I have to agree with the other. This is a disappointment. Ideally they will come out with firmware upgrades that allow the use of a D810, D750, D7200 etc.

    Also, they need to provide other options than the WR-A10/WR-T10 and in camera menu. I would like to see a hotshoe mount SU-800 replacement that takes the place of the WR-A10/WR-T10 and in camera menu. I would also like to see a flash with the commander radio transmitter built in. Finally, I would like to see a receiver that a prior SB (SB910, etc) can be put on top of to enable radio communication. Then it would be a system that makes sense.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 years ago

      YongNuo will likely be the ones to provide a compatible receiver unit, I can’t see Nikon doing that.

      Its the backward compatibility with current cameras that’s really the killer though. Canon have rarely provided firmware updates to upgrade previous camera models they way Nikon have in the past. I don’t know if Nikon would do it or not, though this is major incentive to push people into new camera models, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Nikon follow Canon’s tactics.

      Also regarding third party gear, at least it could be possible for a third party to provide a more powerful WR-A10/WR-T10 transmitter module alternative, while still being able to use a genuine SB-5000 flash on camera. Whether that will happen is another thing though.

  8. Robert T. Johnson 2 years ago

    Here’s the thing that I find very confusing, Nikon had the opportunity to design their new cameras with the build in ability to communicate with the new flash instead of the addon transmitter/receiver which comes at an extra cost, after all Canon bodies have this ability. With many of the third party manufacturers creating flashes with the master transmitter/receiver built in, I am hard pressed to see the benefit of purchasing Nikon’s $599 flash when Godox, Shanny And YN has affordable flash options that are reliable and proven. Nikon has a new flash and I would not expect to see anything else from Nikon in another 5 years. Nikon could rebrand Godox, Shanny or YN at lease Nikon would appear to be innovative. I am a Nikon user and very disappointed in their latest offerings.

    • Author
      Flash Havoc 2 years ago

      Robert its possible someone already has a patent on building radio into the camera body. I don’t know if that is actually the case, (though we do know Canon have a patent on that for short range communication from camera body to a flash mounted on the hotshoe).

      There are a lot more restrictions on trying to build a system like this than you would realise though.

      I’m surprised Nikon have not picked up on the range issue though, as building a stronger transmitter is something they could surely do if the will was there. It does feel like they are doing their best to just match Canon, and not improve on them.

      • Robert T. Johnson 2 years ago

        Not sure if that’s the case but Nikon could have follow the path of the third parties and create a transmitter/receiver for the hotshoe that not only communicated with the new flash but also give control from the camera to older Nikon flashes, they could have updated the optical system to radio just like Godox and Pixel, a system like that would have been more innovative to me after all the third parties are running the segment and leading the way all without infringement. And I find Nikon’s price for a flash $599 obscured, when companies like YN, Godox and Pixel have complete systems that will work with new and old flashes. Godox just released new triggers for their product line that will also work with any of the third party flashes as well as Canon and Nikon, so has Pixel and YN ever heard of the YN622″s. This is why it’s disappointing for me, just my opinion.

  9. Mark 2 years ago

    I guess you could say that this is positive for Nikon, over the fact that they have finally gotten into the radio flash market. But frankly this is a ridiculous implementation. So in my mind, this was one step forward and three backwards. I will keep what I’m using with my D750(s) and wait for the mirrorless systems to get better and then leave Nikon for good. Hopefully my D750(s) will holdup until that time.

    • Robert T. Johnson 2 years ago

      I am not sure about being a positive step forward when Nikon did not release a transceiver for the new flash. At this present time one would need to purchase two $599 flashes one to control the other or how about this purchase the YN622N/TX to use with the new flash. Great release a new flash and unless you have the new body to communicate or I almost forgot one must also purchase the adapter to attach to the camera body for the communication to function. I don’t see this as being a step forward when Nikon must compete with Godox, Shanny, Pixel and many others that offer radio based systems with transceivers that work with any brand.

    • Motti 2 years ago

      Agree, Sony seems to listen closely to their customers. Nikon…not that much.

  10. Motti 2 years ago

    “…Although the SB-5000 are compatible with most current Nikon DSLR cameras, the new radio function can only be used with the new D5 or D500 camera bodies at this stage (and require a small external WR-R10 transmitter / WR-A10 adapter attached to the camera)…”

    Compare with third party flashes (that are WAY cheaper) and the Canon new radio transiver flash this one is like going back to the 80’s 🙂

    So you can only use it with two camera models AND need an adapter? Are they joking?

    • Ulysses 2 years ago

      >>So you can only use [the SB-5000] with two camera models AND need an adapter? Are they joking?<<
      I rather agree, Motti. Nikon's effort at a radio frequency flash on the surface seems to have some flexibility associated with it. But it was definitely NOT what most Nikon photographers have been asking for. 🙁

      • Motti 2 years ago

        Indeed. It seems that they are not as committed as Canon and Sony. Too bad.

  11. Chris 2 years ago

    I just bought the flash and I’m more disappointed in the build quality. The swivel is very stiff and I have to man handle it. This isn’t good and may cause it to break way sooner.
    The SB-910 is a better flash in every aspect. Just use Yongnuo 622N for your wireless system. $100 setup instead of a cropped sensor D500 or that camera that no one can afford. I just don’t understand why Nikon would make a bad move. They even took out an auto focus assist beam causing an issue with the single center point focus.

    DON’T FIX WHAT ISN’T BROKEN!

    • Motti Bembaron 2 years ago

      I am sorry to hear that…For almost $600 you would expect much better equipment. They say you get what you pay for, in this case it is not true. Since I bought my Godox V850 and V860 my SB-910 and SB-900 are for backup.

      It has been over a year now.

      • Ulysses 2 years ago

        I’m sorry to hear that, too, Chris. When these flashes were announced, careful reading about what the SB-5000 is capable of and what is is NOT was pretty eye-opening. Many Nikon photographers feel that Nikon went completely off the rails with this system, missing the entire point of what most photographers wanted and expected out of a radio-frequency capable system. I won’t buy it. There are too many other good options that fit a lot better with my needs.

        • Motti Bembaron 2 years ago

          Nikon was NEVER good at listening to its users. No wonder that Nikon’s yearly sales are around $2.5 Billions compared to Canon’s more than $8 Billions…

  12. Sandalsfootacious 1 year ago

    Will this flash work with the phottix odin receivers?

  13. Fer 11 months ago

    Does anyone know if this speedlight can be used to control other speedlights’ gain, if they are all mounted over YN622N transreceivers? Thank you!

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