Nikon SB-900 speedlight has reached end of life?

I received separate emails from retailers in two different European countries that the Nikon SB 900 speedlight has reached end of life and can no longer be ordered. This is a rather unusual development since the SB-900 was announced in 2008. The previous SB-800 model was announced in 2003. Maybe this is just a glitch in Nikon's ordering system.

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  • anon743

    If that’s a glitch then it’s nothing special…
    But if that were true, I hope Nikon would come up with a successor that has all the goodies of both the SB -800 and 900 in one unit. Compatibility with older film TTL would be much much appreciated.

  • kaze kaze

    It is a good flash, flexible and easy to use, but do kicks into thermal protection unannounced, as many of us has discovered by now. I was once covering a fast peaced evenet under the Aussie summer sun (it was past mid day and roughly 35 deg C), and half the time required the flash (SB900) cause it’s either against the sun or high contrast, popped about few dozen frames and it kicked into thermal protection, lucky I happened to have kept my old SB600 spare in my bag and then alternate between them.

    • Jan

      or you could just have turned it (thermal protection) off

      and the beep is the announcement of thermal protection

      don’t whinge when your flash melts tho!

  • I am hoping for more physical dies for the master mode. It’s a pain to switch modes and power levels with the button and scroll. They should let the user program what modes they want to show up. For example, I usually just use either TTL or M, never really use A mode.

    If they can have dials like the AC3 for adjusting power levels, that would be awesome!!

  • Bynkan

    First off all, sorry for my English, its not the best… I do have a SB-900, I think it is a great flash, but there are many things that could get even better. The way you controle the flash is some time slow, to be able to program it after your own sttings would be great, but what I realy think would boost a new flash would be radiocontroled flash in combination with a radiotransmitter in lets say D800, you dont need to think about the where the flash stands you can always controle it! with that I would buy me 6 new flashes direct! Also need to have a better powersource, so that the flash get ready faster then with SB-900, and solve the overheating problem.

  • jayski

    With more and more cameras going into the video direction, ( like perhaps the soon to be released or maybe not so soon D800 ) would it not be a good idea maybe to develop the next range of speedlites like the Canon Speedlite 320EX flash. With a continous light source. Granted this type of lighting might not be perfect for pro lighting, but combining both into one speedlite must be a good selling point for future generations of these lights. Also, as Radiopoppers seem to give amazing control over off camera lighting, ( totally solving the line of sight issue of IR on these SB’s ) would they not also develop better communication between the camera and speedlight?

    • PHB

      They should have a flash with:

      * Lithium batteries
      * Built in wireless
      * LED flashheads
      * Detachable flashhead so that it can be moved off camera without needing to move the battery pack.

      I am so fed up of having to mess about with a second set of batteries for the flash. The flash and the camera should take the same batteries.

      Strobes are no longer the technology of preference. They are expensive and they only do one trick – a brief flash of bright light. An LED flash can be used in always on mode at reduced power or strobe mode at full power.

      • Hendog

        Strobes are no longer the technology of preference? HAHA Ever tried to get 1/200th with LEDs at any aperture? To get anything like the power of even a tiny strobe with fast shutter speeds for stills you are looking at literally hundreds of LEDs. You must be used too used to mobile phone flashes (LED). Chalk and cheese, jeez, learn more about the difference.

  • stevo

    The SB900 should of had a proper heat-sink built in if/when the prototype proved that heat was a problem early on.
    A small aluminium alloy plate (recessed if ‘finned’) may have been enough to fix it.
    Hobbling the output to compensate was just bad design.
    I think the next evolution is RF on-board, but like many say, you want the camera body to have RF- capability built in too.
    There may be a Nikon-made hot-shoe mounted RF transmitter in the interim to make all older Nikon bodies compatible with new RF triggered Nikon flash. That I think is a real possibility.

  • Peter

    Love this flash. Unless a well thought out equal or better powered flash is on the way, the SB700 is a bit of a step back. Good constructive comments so far about heat sinks, fans, and RF triggers. My pocket wizards are terrific but were high priced. The quality feels Nikonesk, and from what I’ve read they can take a beating. I personally like the thermo-control, have several of the flash units, and swap rather than fry… The amazing flexibility would sure be nice if it were transferred into the camera so that I could view / control the settings from my nice big color LCD. My Sanyo Eneloop batteries have made concerns about the environment / disposal / resources a thing of the past. Nikon, if it is supply chain we can be patient, if it is an upgrade, I look forward to being wowed yet again by your engineers. One additional like: flash focus fresnel that can reach beyond that 200mm lens limit.

  • Mark

    Hello, Admin,

    Sorry for the following critical note (and spelling errors), but, with respect, what does I received separate emails from retailers in two different European countries that the Nikon SB 900 speedlight has reached end of life and can no longer be ordered. mean?

    What is the text of their email? Do they specifically say “end of life” and “no longer ordered”?

    If they said “end of life”, this is a clear conclusion. What facts did they provide to support their conclusion? Please provide them.

    If they said “no longer be ordered” on what basis did they say this? Did they set out the steps they took to order a D900? Did they say whether they received a negative response to such an order? If so, what was the nature of that response? If the effort failed, did they follow up? If so, what was the response from Nikon?

    Indeed, have you, Admin, contacted other retailers (as I am sure you have connections) to ask whether they have had difficulty ordering the product? Have you contacted Nikon in those countries to enquire of any problems that have arisen lately with orders of the SB900?

    Really, two emails ought not to form the basis for such a report by you without particulars. It does nothing but denigrate your otherwise high reputation. Life is short. Let’s not waste your or our time, without facts, revered oracle.


    • @Mark: yes, the emails said that those dealers could no longer order the SB-900 from Nikon because it has reached end of life. I have been doing this for almost 4 years – when I get two emails from different countries saying the same thing, something will happen. I have a follow up story coming up. I now really think Nikon will announce a new speedlight flash. You have to also understand that I cannot post every little detail on how, when and from who I am getting my information. Let’s just say that if I post something online, there is a reason for it, unless I am just running content from another website. And remember, those are just rumors.

      • Mark

        Hi Admin,

        Sorry if my query came across as stroppy, I meant no harm. I did not understand that the email said as you have now described. I will take it for granted in the future that when you use phrases such as “end of life” you are in fact quoting. Life indeed is short and so too must your postings be to be useful. Thanks for the explanation.



  • John Richardson

    My SB-900 rocks! I can’t imagine that they are gonna drop it. It is dead simple to use and if it happens to over heat, I just take out my back up SB-900 and keep shooting. NEVER had any problems ever with it.

    Sounds like Nikon is about at the end of their life if you ask me…

    • Richard

      My guess is that this is to fix the problems which have been complained about.

  • Karl-Olav Nyberg

    I am trulu satisfied with the SB-900 together with my D300s. No problems. And I love the SB-900’s automatic zoom range with ny Nikkor 18 -200 zoom.

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