PMA 2001 Show
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Creative Lighting With the Nikon Speedlight SB-50DX!
By Kim Brady, The Imaging Resource
(Sunday, February 18, 2001 - 00:58 EST)

You've heard the news about Nikon's new D1X and D1H professional digital cameras (see Dave's excellent overview in the IR Newsletter "PMA 2001 Preview" at, but you may not know that Nikon introduced another product at PMA that we think deserves at least comparable fanfare -- the Nikon SB-50DX Speedlight.

Designed to complement all Nikon SLRs with through-the-lens (TTL) or compatible flash control, the SB-50DX can serve as a bounce flash, wide-angle flash with its 14mm adapter, TTL wireless slave flash, and an infrared commander to trigger off wireless TTL or manually controlled Speedlights.

That's fine for Nikon's professional cameras, but what about using it with Nikon's mid-range digicams? We discovered that the auto-TTL remote function should also work with the Coolpix 990 and 950, provided that you use an SB-50DX flash on both the camera's hot shoe and remotely. The built-in 990 and 950 flash units aren't compatible, but slip one SB-50DX on the Coolpix, and use the other one off-camera, and you've got a nice little remote flash set-up. Cool, eh?

Nikon Inc. introduced a new Speedlight flash system at PMA 2001, the SB-50DX, designed to expand creative flash control with built-in Speedlights on the Nikon 35mm SLRs, as well as the D1, D1X, and D1H professional digital SLR models.

When mounted on Nikon cameras with built-in TTL flash, the SB-50DX can fire either independently, or simultaneously with the camera's Speedlight. If you want the extra power provided by two flash units, but don't want the harshness of direct flash exposure, you can use the accompanying diffuser on the built-in Speedlight to soften output, and bounce the SB-50DX off the ceiling or walls to give your subject soft, even illumination from all directions.

The new Speedlight features 3-D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash capability for Nikon digital SLR cameras with compatible performance, including the D1, D1X, and D1H models. It permits close-up shooting, to 11.8 inches, by tilting the flash head down 18 degrees. For bounce flash, it tilts up 90 degrees.

The SB-50DX also features an AF-Assist illuminator, which automatically fires the LED beam toward the subject to augment dim light, or for making pictures in total darkness, with compatible Nikon AF cameras. It provides flash compensation from +3 to -3 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments for film, and in one-sixth-step increments for digital cameras, plus a wide-angle adapter, flash button for test firing, diffuser for double-flash operation, and light sensor for remote operation.

Scheduled for early spring delivery, the Speedlight SB-50DX comes with a soft case and Infrared Filter SW-91R. For additional information, visit Nikon's Web site at

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