Nikon today announces its first Speedlight with a built-in LED light, the SB-500.
A great lighting accessory for photographers and moviemakers alike, the portable SB-500 is an incredibly handy way to control the quality and direction of light. In a first for Nikon, a high-intensity LED light is built into the front of the unit, which makes this Speedlight the smart choice when you want the flexibility to shoot movies without carrying extra lighting gear.
Compatible with Nikon D-SLRs and specific COOLPIX cameras, as well as the Nikon Creative Lighting System, the SB-500 also enables wireless control of multiple flash units. The flash head and LED light both cover a wide 24 mm angle of view in FX-format, and easy-to-understand controls on the rear of the unit ensure simple operation.
Simon Iddon, Group Product Manager (D-SLR Lenses and Accessories), Nikon UK, says: “The Nikon SB-500 is an ideal addition to a kit bag that offers photographers and videographers a lighting solution that comes in a compact, affordable and easy to operate package. The Speedlight is extremely flexible and fun to use, yet is a great tool for creating still images or movies that boast a professional look and feel.”
Built-in LED light
With a high-intensity (100 lx) LED light on the front of the flash unit, the SB-500 is a smart choice for moviemakers or photographers who want additional light. It’s ideal for shooting movies in dimly lit surroundings, and can be incredibly useful when shooting close-up still images. When used with compatible cameras, the colour information of the LED light can be transmitted together with that of flash, and the colour temperature control has a central value of 5400K, which enables more natural looking light. In addition, the LED unit features a surface light source with a built-in diffuser, which softens harsh light. A switch on the back of the flash unit alters the intensity of the LED light so it will shine at full power. For more subtle light, the LED can be set to shine at a half or quarter of its full intensity. The LED will illuminate a scene for approximately 60 minutes when using rechargeable Ni-MH batteries, and approximately 30 minutes when using alkaline-manganese batteries.
The flash head tilts up to 90° and rotates horizontally through 180°, allowing the light to be angled just the way you want. Simple to operate, the SB-500 ensures even newcomers to flash photography will be able to use light to their advantage and add impact to daylight shots, expose subject detail in tough backlit situations, or soften light by ‘bouncing’ the flash off the ceiling. For more advanced lighting, the SB-500 can be used as a master flash for multiple off-camera flash setups (when used with cameras that feature a built-in flash commander mode). The flash fires 140 (or more) times on a single charge of rechargeable Ni-MH batteries, and will fire 100 or more times when using alkaline-manganese batteries. Minimum recycling time is approximately 3.5 seconds when using rechargeable Ni-MH batteries, and approximately 4 seconds when using alkaline-manganese batteries.
Easy does it
The SB-500 combines superior ergonomics with easy-to-understand controls on the rear of the unit for incredibly easy operation. Additional functions and flash mode can be set via a camera menu, which activates automatically when the SB-500 is attached to the camera. Firmware can be upgraded through the camera, and this Speedlight is powered by just two AA-size batteries.
The SB-500 comes with the SS-DC2 Soft Case and the AS-23 Speedlight Stand.