Friday, January 6, 2012

Itsy Bitsy Nikon SB-N5 Speedlight for V1

Unlike the J1, the more "pro" V1 do not come with a built in flash; to provide extra illumination you have to purchase the tiny SB-N5 Speedlight.

At NZ$328.00 a pop, that is a lot of money for very little light! You have no other alternative either, because the "hot shoe" on this camera only accept this itsy bitsy flash! Not that it is all bad... the combo look really neat!
A handsome match, the made for V1 SB-N5 Speedlight mounted on the left side of the camera.

Other advantage of the V1 only design is the quick release in mounting and dismounting the flash from the proprietary "hot shoe".

The strong full metal "shoe" contain a whole row of electronic contacts which might cause havoc with dampness or dirt. The camera was given to me without the shoe cover, which I imagine can be easily misplace or get lost.  Not good!

The tiny flash draw it's power from the camera battery, the flash can double as a continuous light source illuminating for six seconds during both Motion Snapshot and Smart Photo Selector modes. I am concern how much power is drawn if the flash is use continuously! 

What about the light output from this tiny flash unit?

With a guide number of 8.5m, the mini SB-N5 is far less powerful than the Sunpak RD2000 for my G12, the Sunpak which cost NZ$198.00 pump out a whopping guide number of 20.0m!

The much more powerful Sunpak RD2000 flash on the Canon G12 and the Nikon 1 V1 with the SB-N5 Speedlight.

What about the ability to bounce the light output?  Thought you never ask! If you read my previous post, you would realise that if possible; I always try to bounce my flash for softer, more even result.

The SB-N5 excels in bouncing with multi rotating flash head. The Sunpak can only bend upwards and bounce in a single direction!

The SB-N5 bouncing side way.
The SB-N5 bouncing it's output backwards.
Mirror mirror on the wall... watch me bounce the Speedlight :)
Because of the rather low output of the Speedlight, the following bounced test shots were all done at ISO800.

Direct flash was used on the top picture of our living room and bounced light for the bottom take.  If you compare the two carefully, you will notice the direct flash gave a harsh and flat result. The bounced on the other hand, delivered 3D like rendering; compare the two coffee table and you will see what I am talking about.
Ming -N getting ready to serve the roast vegetables for our New Year Day dinner. The bounced light compliment the soft late evening sun from the kitchen window.
Meng, explaining the shooting menu on the Canon S90 to our friend Ken; looking on is Evelyn. The Speedlight was turned side way, left; to direct the diffused light on the subjects.
The scrumptious honey mustard glazed ham that Ming-N prepared. A straight forward bounce off the ceiling.
Jeff carving the ham for our New Year Day dinner.
This deep fried NZ blue cod in sweet and sour sauce was shot at our dinner last night. The SB-N5 was bounced off the restaurant's ceiling. ISO800 and f5.6 were used. 
Same lighting set up was used for this dish of white-cut chicken. Notice the accurate colour the flash delivered. This of course will depend on the ceiling it is bounced on, in this case; the reflecting surface is very neutral and gave a accurate and pleasing rendition.
Famous Last Words...

The tiny SB-N5 Speedlight is a versatile flash unit with a weak output. Personally I feel Nikon should have made the flash slightly larger (own batteries) for higher light output, as it is; the miserable guide number of 8.0m made most bounce result none effective!

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icejack said...

Agreed the flash lack power,

patandfritz said...

How well does this flash work in a low light situation such as a banquet hall that has the lights turned down and the room is almost dark???

cy.leow said...

The output from that little flash is so weak you will be lucky to illuminate a small dinning room! A hall? I don't think so! - CY