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Nikon SB-900 no longer available for order in several countries

In addition to my initial report from October, I received new tips form several other countries that the Nikon SB-900 speedlight ($479) is no longer available for sale to dealers. Some countries have not received shipments for a while and do not expect any new SB-900 units any time soon.

A new Nikon SB-910 flash has been on my list of products expected to be announced together with the Nikon D800. I will not be surprised if the new speedlight will include some kind of video LED lighting, similar to the Polaroid PL160DN that was announced at the PDN show last month (see coverage here and here). There are also several old flash related Nikon patents listed in this post.

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  • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

    well i for one know there will be no rush on them.
    long live sb 800
    sb910 should come with 6 accus inside

    • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

      *should* read as *i wish*

    • T.I.M

      @Harold
      The SB-900 is a great flash, I had 2 SB-800 but were not powerfull enought for bounced flash.

      • Matt_XVI

        I agree however the refresh time on my SB-900 is TERRIBLE as well as the fact that it seems to overheat only after taking 9 or 10 shots and takes about 5 minutes before I can take another – not so great for weddings.

        • The invisible man

          @Matt
          Are you using MiMh batteries ?

        • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

          I shot a wedding last week with an SB-900 as a remote key for an entire reception tent. Using 2300 mAh NiMh rechargables, I got about 800 flashes and NO lag or overheats. I had a few random overheats prior to the firmware update.

          The SB-900 is a great flash, and the SB-700 is just as good.

        • Bob

          Funny, that SB800 overheats just as much as SB900 only it doesn’t warn that you’re going to fry your flash.

          Funny, that SB900 overheats have always been as a result of incorrect settings eg too low ISO trying to SB the whole room, bouncing off the stadium roof 30m high, trying to overpower the midday sun on HSS at with f22.

          • Not Surprised

            What you call incorrect usage — others call a job.

            • RR

              I call them Noobs
              (bouncing off the stadium roof lol)

      • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

        they have about same power except when zoomed in what makes for bounce no sense. SB800 have over 125% power available with same rated accus.

        I agree that user interface is clunky at best. but i just don’t need to use it. It is switched on since accus are inserted and only sleeps. Remote setting is permanent on those used out of camera.

        • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

          too late night…

          meant to say

          *have over 125% of *capacity* available. Even more when you count that NiMhs are discharging with higher efficiency when they are discharged with lower current.

        • iamlucky13

          I’m tending slightly off topic here, but zoom can be somewhat useful when bouncing. Basically you’re using your bouncing surface as a diffuser, and you have a degree of control over the effective size of the diffuser by zooming the flash head in or out.

          I’ve used zoom on bounce flash this way to retain just a little bit of shadow definition before. It’s subtle, but occasionally useful.

          • Eric

            Be careful : You’re talking about light.
            We only bitch and moan about gear around here!

            • Ulf

              LOL +1

    • Ben Hipple

      the interface on the sb800 is so clunky. i have not tried the newer speed lights but it sounds like they are much better.

      • Lumenatic

        Amen to that. The Sb-800 is a great flash, but the user interface is directly from hell. A friend of mine owns a SB-900, really much better UI Solution on that model.

    • http://www.LouisRafael.com Louis Rafael

      I have a very very special source that tells me the replacement SB-900 will be fully integrated as a pop-up in the D800….. don’t tell anybody though! :D

      • Jon

        Lol! I’ve heard it won’t even pop up. It will embedded in the front of the camera and will have a diameter the same as a pin head. Huge, elaborate modifiers will be available to diffuse the light :p

    • jodjac

      What in the world is accus?

      • Rob

        +1

      • Anonymus Maximus

        nnenglish for rechargeable

        (nnenglish = non-native speaker english)

        • Eric

          Namely : Denglisch

          • Bigus Dickus

            namely, real, british english, not that US slink

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accu_%28battery%29

            • neversink

              Ha Ha… You mean that staid, old and tired, British English that doesn’t evolve and is stuck in the 19th century. American English is king…. British English is a throwback of colonial days and, the sun when it shines on your little island empire, sets everyday….

              Just poking good fun at your Brit etymologists preserving the old tongue….

          • ich bins wieder

            … nein, I don´t want denglishat all.

  • ActionJunky

    I have two of the SB-900’s. They are very powerful and the interface is as simple as any that I have seen. However, I have not used the SB-800. The limitation of the lights is me and my application of them. The lights are very flexible, but very expensive. I just wish I had more opportunity to use them. They are quite good.

  • http://ronscubadiver.wordpress.com Ron Scubadiver

    More vaporware.

    • Not Surprised

      Has anyone considered its not being sold, because it was being manufacturered at the Thai plant? Not sure, but might be the case this far out in its iteration.

  • http://www.digitalpict.com Thomas Graham

    I like the SB900, it had a lot going for it but it was prone to overheating after a shorter period of time than desired. Hope they fix that on the next one…

    • http://www.willstrange.co.uk Will

      They fixed it on this one by way of a firmware update.

      • T.I.M

        @Will
        True, just load the firmware to fix the heat problem.

  • http://www.zinchuk.ca Zinchuk

    Oh, please, oh please, let it have integrated wireless triggering, and a built in wireless commander in the D4/D800 body to go with it. And let it be wifi, for wireless triggering of the camera from an iphone app.

  • Capt Obvious

    some kind of video LED lighting, similar to the Polaroid PL160DN that was announced at the PDN show last month

    Or the Canon 320EX that was announced back in February 2011. Take off the bias blinders, please.

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      Biased just because I did not mention Canon? Ok, I am preparing another post and I will make sure I will mention the Canon 320EX. Just for you :) Should be online in few hours.

    • Cantard

      Polaroid PL160DN works with Nikon. Canon 320EX doesn’t work with Nikon. Get a grip and go back to Canon and taking videos.

  • Don

    Boooooooooooo!
    One flash for still and a different one for video. Please!!!!
    I don’t want to pay one cent for video capability. A flash that does both probably does neither well.
    Don

    • Jesus_sti

      +1

    • D7000 Fan

      +1

    • photo-Jack

      +1000

    • Ben Hipple

      the video light would make a good focus light for stills.
      you could even use it like a hot light.

    • OsoSolitario

      What about If you are News or Press photographer.. and you need work BOTH photo and video during the covering of an accident for example working with a DSLR that has video… should you use TWO devices (Flash + Led torch), losing a precious time that would hep us to get premium pictures or video?? NO of course!!!
      BOTH video light and flash, is a GREAT idea for a Speedlite oriented for Press photographers who need work fast!

  • http://www.geneinman.com gene

    Good riddance to the SB-900, mine sits on the shelf and I bought 2 SB-800(s) on eBay and can do twice as much without thermal shutdown.

    • Mim

      Obviously too pro to read the manual on how to turn off the overheat warning/disable function.

      • http://www.geneinman.com gene

        Have read the manual and every webpage I could find. You cannot disable thermal cutoff, just turnoff early warning.. Once it’s hot, it shouts down. I’ve tried battery types, and even bought the overpriced Nikon ext battery pack.. Which did help. The best way I have found to to get about 25-50 flashes without cutoff is to zoom the flash to 105mm or above, on external battery.

        I am actully looking to remove the front lens all together.. And replacing it with a defuser, like a Fong to give more airspace. Or cut vents into the flashhead. Will loose any weather proofing it may have had, but if I can get it reliable, it’s worth it.

        The “too pro” comment aside, it’s still very clear that the SB-900 doesn’t perform as good as the SB-800 in all cases. The quality of like may be a bit better on the sb900 and it is 1 stop brighter in range, but with the SB800 you don’t have the question of how many flashes you’ll get before it stops.

        • RR

          Try the Quantum turbo battery, I use one on mine and it helps a lot, no everheating and I shoot all day events.

          Works for me ;)

    • Mooboy

      Can I have your SB-900 then? I’ll even pay for the shipping, and you will gain valuable shelf space!

      I still love the SB-800. Yeap, the user controls are total crap, but I just hate the giant size of the SB-900s… but don’t hate it enough to pass by a free one ;)

      • http://www.geneinman.com gene

        Not giving it away, Paid about $400 I think, local store will buy for $200… So above experiment is only a $200 gamble. ;)

        But I will post pictures when I do it.

    • LM

      I agree, bought a SB900 when they came out to augment my 2 SB800’s. I had to return the SB900 after the first wedding as it kept shutting down from overheating. Firmware upgrade only postponed the shutdown by a few shots. I replaced it with 2 more SB800’s while they were still availalbe and all 4 have been giving excellent service ever since. The SB900 was never a flash suitable for pro wedding or event use where rapid flash firing at high light output is required. One also have to remember that the SB900 was sold as a premium Nikon flash for pro use. Nikon got it right with the SB800, how could they make such a misktake with the SB900. Worse was that they never admitted that the SB900 had a design flaw. Lets’s hope the new flash is properly designed.

  • Mike

    I have the 800 & 900. I’ve never had an overheat issue with them. Mind you, I’m using them with high ISO and big apertures and rarely in spurts of 6 or more. Early on I turned off the overheat warning/disable function.

  • Don

    BTW, I also have two SB-900s and I’ve never had an overheat issue.

  • Don

    Oh yeah, I think Joe M has 147 SB-900s and he’s never mentioned an overheating problem.

    • http://www.geneinman.com gene

      Because he doesn’t shoot hi-rate, high power. Denying it has a heat problem when used heavily, at rates the SB800 will handle, is like saying everyone who has the problem is imaging it.

  • David Hirsh

    For everyone commenting about the overheating cut-off issue with the SB-900, I (as a wedding shooter) found this annoying and unacceptable as well, so I took the chance of frying it by simply turning off the auto shut-off. That was approximately a year (and many weddings) ago. Nothing has happened. The SB-900 never fried; it works fine, and this leads me to believe that I am incredibly lucky or the auto shut-off circuit is ridiculously conservative. I vote for the latter.

    Cheers,

    David Hirsh

    • http://www.seanmolin.com Sean Molin

      Hell, just doing the firmare took care of my problems! I’m a wedding shooter as well.

  • Arthur

    If it will have some kind of “PocketWizard” built in I’m buying 3!

  • Worminator

    I’m betting the new unit can talk with the D800 by short-range radio instead of optically when used off camera.

    It’s a relatively minor update, and explains why the SB900 was killed relatively early in its lifecycle and the replacement timed to be released with the new camera.

  • http://www.epicweddingphoto Vudie

    Yup, love the sb900, got 3, prob need one more, have been using them continuously for the last 2 years, just got my first experience with over heating, good feature to have, took around 10 mins to be back to normal (a bit scary)

  • T.I.M

    And now also the AF-s 200mm f/2.0 VRII is out-of-stock !
    I start to be very concern about Nikon’s futur.
    :(

  • Matt

    I look forward to getting one on the used market once the new (and, for me, effectively equivalent) model gets released.

  • http://www.picassoperfectphotography.com picasso perfect

    I am excited by this and I hope it lives up to its potential and legacy of the CLS system!!

  • Scott

    What are the “several other countries” are you refering to [NR]?

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      Do not want to mention the countries online, somebody may get in trouble.

  • http://www.esthiportmann.ch Julian

    I own two SB-900… They overheat from time to time, but only during sommertime when it’s 85°F outside. I had also a SB-800; true the sb-800 didn’t overheat, the sb-800 just exploded :-)

  • Marc

    Does this discontinuation mean that the price will plummet and us poor people can actually afford one new?

  • http://richardcromptonphotography.com RichM0nster

    Suitably pleased there are so many posts about a flash. Most of the posts within the forums I’m looking at just seem to trash the idea of a 36Mp D800 as they all need more than 25,000 iso so flash to them is not even on the radar I presume. I love creating images in the best way to convey the message I want to get across. Flash, ambient, high iso, low iso. It’s all part of the techniques we access to do what we love. Never had the overheating problem. Not sure I ever will. When I use flash for prolonged periods I use my Elinchroms! Good to have a heads up in case I do get that issue though.

  • Ennan

    Like others here I’m hoping for built in radio triggering but also supports the old style CLS simultaneously. Also hope the D4 has a built in commander. That’s one thing I miss on the D3 compared to my old D200.

  • broxibear

    Nikon Corporation Adopts Dassault Systemes’ Version 6 to Drive Designers’ Idea-Generation Process…
    “Dassault Systemes FR:DSY -0.66% (euronext paris:#13065)(euronext paris:DSY.PA), a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, today announced that Nikon Corporation, a leading optical equipment manufacturer, has adopted Dassault Systemes’ Version 6 PLM as its collaborative design platform. Nikon Corporation is expecting CATIA Version 6 to serve as the idea-generation support solution for its designers and as the driver to further enhance quality through higher design precision.”
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikon-corporation-adopts-dassault-systemes-version-6-to-drive-designers-idea-generation-process-2011-11-22

    • T.I.M

      @broxibear
      Dassault Systemes is a French compagny, they also make the best jet fighter in the worls, the Rafale, but it’s so darm expensive that nobody in the world ever bought one (except French GVT of course)
      :)

    • Ric

      meh, Frank Gehry also uses Catia.

    • LM

      I REALLY hope that this is not the system that caused a massive design error when Airbus built the first 380 (I think). The wiring loom had to be totally replaced as massive cost. Oops.

  • Don

    IF the 900 is replaced by a 910 which includes LED lighting as has been suggested, that tells us Nikon is putting more emphasis on video use in their upcoming cameras. Quick change between still and video use of the camera with such a set-up. We all expected Nikon to be working on better video and it is nice to see they have been thoughtful about providing lighting for that video.

  • T.I.M

    @Peter,
    Houston with have a problem,

    Almost every Nikon pro lens and cameras are OUT OF STOCK in most large online stores !

    Is it just a Xmas thing or does Nikon have a REAL PROBLEM to provide the products ?
    Any idea of what’s going on ?

    • ich wieder

      as a nnenglishman I would say: Nikon, WE have a problem..”
      Seems that Nikon have many problems…

      • T.I.M

        LOL !
        Yes I have a problem with the we !
        :)

        • Ric

          There is a pill for that.

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      Yes, this has been pretty much the situation in the past few months.

    • Psycho McCrazy

      Recently I ordered a 16-35VR at my local brick and mortar store of a big camera chain.

      I was told that it was out of stock, and even Nikon wasn’t giving them an ETA.

      When I asked that this is a Made in Japan lens, not in Thailand, he told me that even for pro-grade stuff made in Japan, a fair bit of the supply chain depends on Thailand, and with that under water, there’s no way stuff’s gonna be in stock.

      I have heard that from December, Nikon will start the alternate sites production. I sincerely hope that they also take care to establish alternate supply lines and get their pro-gear production back on track!

      • Psycho McCrazy

        PS.: I am currently in Japan. Pro grade stuff is out of stock back at Nikon’s home too.

  • Don

    Most likely the result of two things: product changeover and production disruptions due to natural disasters.

    • Cam

      I think they have all new stuff and waiting to clear out all their stock!!

  • Flash Gordon

    Apparently both the Nikon SB-900 and the Canon 580 EX II (i.e., the flagship flash from each company) have essentially the same heat isuues. Read the manual (available as PDF download) for each of those flashes and you will see essentially the same warning about overheating from each company. Let’s just hope there will be some progress made regarding heat in future models — from both companies.

  • Flash Gordon

    TYPO… the same heat issues

  • MB

    Nikon SB-900 is the best flash currently available on the market, same as SB-800 was before.
    Heat is inevitable on powerful flashes and overheat protection is a good thing, it saves money and time on repairs. The problem with SB-900 overheat protection was that Nikon engineers were too cautious and conservative about it, but they fixed that in firmware update.
    If Nikon prepares something new it will be the best flash for years to come.

  • Cam

    After Nikon comes out with their next speed light and professional camera. There will be no reason to buy another camera for the rest of your life. This is the Ceiling we have all been waiting for!!

    • Robert Ash

      I certainly hope you are right and from the D800 rumored specs it sounds like you just might be. I’d like at least 5-6 years of not needing to upgrade due to megapixel or low-light significant improvements. 36 MP with D3 or D3s low-light performance should do it for me – unless something even more astounding come out later :) But 30 MP for $5000 has been my dream for some years now and it looks like the D800 could do better both in MP count and come in at a lower price which would be wonderful :)

      • Anonymus Maximus

        No worries about upgrading. It will take nikon anyway 5 to 6 years to come up with the next Gen!

  • Peter Lai

    I am quite excited about the new SB910 if it is true. Always nice to see new stuff coming out :-) People must know the SB900 overheats because of rechargeable batteries, but recharge time for 1/1 power is almost instantaneous. Using alkaline batteries gives it longer recharge time, maybe 5 seconds for 1/1 but doesn’t tend to overheat unless really REALLY pushed.

  • georg

    @SB900 overheating: I’ve 3pc 900 and 1pc 600. I’m using the 3pc 900 in action photography together with D700 wireless at max. fps and never had an overheating problem.
    I have new firmware (don’t know if it is the latest), Eneloop 2000mAh accumulators for normal use and for max fps external batteries.

    @Cam: The ceiling for which I’m waiting for is a mirrorless FX camera.
    Low weight, not bigger than a F3, with 60fps at 24MP (many MP not for quality reasons, just for crop in when I’m too lazy/stupid/slow to put a tele on), min. 4sec buffer, at least 120fps at FullHD video, at least 2 stops better ISO performance than D3s, integrated wireless flash commander (with no restrictements like free line of sight), electronic viewfinder which is as good as an optical one, AF faster and more precise than D700, a small integrated flash would be nice but not necessary. External (mountable) connection box (maybe in an mountable accumulator case) for everybody who needs USB/HDMI/Network/WIFI/youtube/facebook/whatever.

    The next cameras like D800/D4 are just updates for the normas DSLRs we already know. The real revolution comes, when camera makers remember the needs of professional usage and get rid of that clumsy old mechanical stuff which was needed for film, the geek stuff like 1000 connectors no one really uses but is needed for the reviewers which never do any serious photography but tell us and the camera makers what we need, and the desastrous increase of size and weight which began many years ago with SLRs.

    Just my 2 cents.

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