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Nikon to ship Speedlight SB-910 next month  
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | by Rob Galbraith
Nikon has announced the Speedlight SB-910, an update of the Speedlight SB-900 that retains that flash's key features and overall appearance while tweaking the control layout for quicker menu access as well as reworking the thermal protection so that recycling slows when the unit gets warm, rather than turning off altogether. The SB-910 is also bundled with two hard plastic clip-on incandescent and fluorescent filters, replacing the gel filters that came with the SB-900.

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Flash Forward: Views of the Speedlight SB-900, left, and its successor the Speedlight SB-910, right. Click photos to enlarge (Photos courtesy Nikon)

Notable changes in the Speedlight SB-910

Nikon has identified four areas of change in the SB-910, relative to the model that came before. The first three were inspired in part by the Speedlight SB-700 (our favourite Nikon Speedlight currently). They are:
  • Revised control layout A Menu button replaces the Zoom button, for quicker access to flash settings, while the controls themselves have been restyled to be both a bit larger and to include backlighting. The rear LCD graphics are described as improved too, both the head and body of the SB-910 have been reshaped slightly and there is now a release button on the battery compartment.
  • Smarter thermal protection The SB-900 is designed to turn the flash off for a few minutes when it gets too warm for its own good. The SB-910, by comparison, will slow the rate of recycling, so that the flash will keep firing rather than shut down, albeit at a temporarily slower pace. Like the SB-900, the thermal protection can be disabled, if necessary, in the SB-910. Unknown at this time is whether the SB-910 will also heat up less than the SB-900, and therefore need to invoke thermal protection less often (this is one of the benefits of the SB-700 over the SB-900; the SB-700 runs consistently cooler, even when set to equivalent brightness).
  • Hard plastic filters The pair of thin gel incandescent and fluorescent colour balancing filters included with the SB-900 have given way to molded plastic versions with the SB-910. The new clip on SZ-2TN and SZ-2FL filters can be used with either the SB-910 or the SB-900, and will be automatically recognized by the system, which in turn will adjust the white balance accordingly when a compatible camera is set to Auto WB. (The SB-900's gel filters can be attached to the SB-910 too, inside the same SZ-2 Color Filter Holder.)
  • Modified recycle times Nikon's recycle time specifications for the SB-910 are slightly different than for its predecessor. The new flash is said to recycle from full power in 2.5s with AA NiMH batteries installed, as compared to 2.3s with the SB-900. With Alkalines loaded, SB-910 recycle time is spec'd at 3.0s, which is faster than the official 4.0s figure for the SB-900. Whether all this translates into a real-world recycle time difference for the new flash remains to be seen. Update: the recycle time specifications for the SB-910 in the press release and on the Nikon USA site don't quite match, with the latter being the same as those of the SB-900. We're not sure which are correct.

The remainder of the SB-910 appears to carry over mostly unchanged from the SB-900, though once more detailed specifications are out we may see a few more differences. As before, the flash head's zoom range is a broad 17-200mm (FX Format), plus 14mm with the wide angle panel flipped down. There are three user-selectable light distribution patterns (Center-weighted, Standard and Even), a high-voltage port for external power sources such as the Nikon SD-9 Battery Pack, a PC sync port and four channel/three group remote wireless flash functionality (the SB-910 can serve as either a master or remote unit in a Nikon CLS wireless configuration).

The SB-910 is compatible with the optional SJ-4 Colour Filter set, which is comprised of Warming, Red, Yellow and Blue accent filters.

The Speedlight SB-910 will come with the AS-21 Speedlight Stand, SW-13H Diffusion Dome, SZ-2FL and SZ-2TN Color Compensation Filters and SS-910 soft case. The new flash is to ship on December 15, 2011 in the U.S. at an expected street price of US$549.95.

Lighting specialist Joe McNally has spent some time with the SB-910, and has published several pictures lit with the flash as well as his impressions.

Nikon USA press release

Press Release

THE NEW NIKON SB-910 SPEEDLIGHT HARNESSES POWERFUL FLEXIBILITY AND CONTROL FOR THE REVOLUTIONARY CREATIVE LIGHTING SYSTEM

New Nikon SB-910 Speedlight Offers Advanced Flash Technology and Intelligent Features

MELVILLE, N.Y. (November 29, 2011) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the addition of a new flagship speedlight, the powerful and capable SB-910 speedlight. Building on the versatility of Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS), the SB-910 incorporates an enhanced intuitive operating system and graphic user interface (GUI). The SB-910 speedlight comes equipped with a wide zoom range covering the most popular focal lengths as well as FX/DX-format identification that optimizes zoom settings based on the camera body. This new speedlight also provides more efficient battery usage as well as an enhanced Thermal Cut-Out function.

“As Nikon’s new flagship speedlight, the SB-910 provides exceptional high performance and versatility that users have come to value in Nikon’s Creative Lighting System,” said Lisa Osorio, general manager of marketing at Nikon Inc. “By addressing the needs of photographers that work in challenging lighting scenarios, the SB-910 delivers a new level of portable lighting functionality, with performance and intelligent features that adapt to a wide range of lighting challenges.”

The SB-910 speedlight is designed to provide easy operation and menu navigation, with its enhanced operating system featuring illuminated function buttons, a dedicated Menu button with quick access to custom settings and an improved LCD screen graphic user interface. Whether the unit is used as an on-camera flash, wireless commander or remote, the SB-910 speedlight will provide dependable and consistent flash exposure. Engineered to address the creative lighting challenges faced by today’s photographers, the SB-910 speedlight includes quick on-demand performance and the ability to adapt seamlessly to nearly any possible lighting scenario.

Additionally, the new SB-910 incorporates a new Thermal Cut-Out function, which offers protection against damage to the flash panel and body from overheating during continuous flash use. Now, the flash recycling time is automatically delayed if a significant rise in temperature is detected, rather than ceasing operation to protect the unit. For additional durability, heat-resistance and ease-of-use, the SB-910 uses new hard-type color compensation filters for fluorescent and incandescent color temperature balancing. When using these filters, the flash automatically recognizes which filter is being used and adjusts white balance accordingly on the connected Nikon D-SLR camera. Additionally, the AF-assist illuminator of the SB-910 is compatible with the complete line of AF systems used in Nikon D-SLR cameras.

The SB-910 speedlight features three illumination patterns (standard, center-weighted and even) which are designed to match almost any shooting situation when utilizing the speedlight. The “standard” pattern will cover all conventional, standard flash coverage. The “center-weighted” pattern provides larger guide numbers than other light distribution types at the same focal lengths. This illumination pattern is ideal for subjects such as portraits, in which the light falloff at the image edges can be disregarded. When “even” is selected, the light from the flash will cover a subject from the center to the edges without light falloff. This pattern is applicable for shooting group photographs indoors. For coverage with a variety of lenses, the SB-910 speedlight incorporates a multi-step power zoom range that covers a wide 17-200mm angle of view, and can automatically detect Nikon FX and Nikon DX formats to help select suitable light distribution.

The SB-910 speedlight includes support for Nikon’s advanced wireless TTL operation and can function as a wireless commander with control over three separate groups of speedlights or as a remote speedlight triggered by other SB-910 speedlights, SB-700 speedlights, SU-800 Wireless Commander or the built-in speedlight set to Commander Mode on compatible Nikon D-SLR cameras. The SB-910 incorporates a high-speed recycling time of approximately 2.5 seconds for full power with NiMH batteries, and approximately 3.0 seconds with AA Alkaline batteries.

Optional water guards will be available for select cameras to protect the connection between the flash and camera, allowing users to utilize the flash when weather conditions are less than ideal. The SJ-4 Color Filter set provides a Warming, Red, Yellow or Blue filter for adding color to the background, foreground or just to accent the scene. The SB-910 will come equipped with the AS-21 Speedlight Stand, SW-13H Diffusion Dome, SZ-2FL and SZ-2TN hard type Color Compensation Filters and SS-910 soft case.

Price and Availability
Nikon’s new flagship speedlight, the SB-910, will be available in mid-December 2011 for a SRP*of $549.95. For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

About Nikon
Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics as well as the new Nikon 1 advanced camera with interchangeable lens system. In 2011, production of NIKKOR lenses surpassed 65 million, creating a new milestone in Nikon’s heritage of superior optics. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit http://www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers to the Web's most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon and other photographers on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nikon and get the latest news and information from Twitter by following @Nikon_USA.

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