Speedlight is the brand name used by Nikon Corporation for their photographic flash units, used since the company's introduction of strobe flashes in the 1960s. Nikon's standalone Speedlights (those not built into the company's cameras) have the SB- prefix as part of their model designation. Current Speedlights and other Nikon accessories make up part of Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS), which includes the Advanced Wireless Lighting, that enables various Nikon cameras to control multiple Nikon flash units in up to three separate controlled groups by sending encoded pre-flash signals to slave units.
Nikon's competitors like Canon and Ricoh use the similar name Speedlite for their flashes. Both names indicate that strobe flashes produce much shorter and more intense bursts of light than earlier photographic lighting systems, such as flashbulbs, or continuous lamps used in some studio situations.
Nikon's Speedlight units are:
- SB-24 (discontinued)
- SB-25 (discontinued)
- SB-28/DX (discontinued)
- SB-50DX (discontinued)
- SB-80DX (discontinued)
- SB-600 (discontinued)
- SB-800 (discontinued)
- SB-900 (discontinued)
Models compatible with the latest I-TTL System
(GN 69 ft, 21 m @ 27 mm) SB-400 Low-end lightweight shoe mount flash unit. It uses 40 mm xenon tube. Despite its small size, SB-400 is a very capable flash with variable degree bouncing head. It does not feature CLS. It is mostly made in China.
(GN 98 ft, 30 m @ 35 mm)
Mid-range model - weighs approximately 300 g without 4 AA batteries
The Nikon SB-600 is a flash made by Nikon for their digital and film single-lens reflex cameras. The SB-600 can mount to any Nikon camera with a four-prong hotshoe. The SB-600 cannot control other flashes through a wireless connection; however, a flash commander can control it wirelessly. The SB-600 is part of Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS) and features the intelligent-TTL (i-TTL) exposure mode. This model is the most compatible unit with older model film and earlier digital cameras like Nikon D100 as well as recent cameras.
(GN 92 ft, 29 m @ 35 mm) Semi-professional model features a newly designed interior xenon head and locking shoe section identical to SB-900 and SB-910 models. SB-700 shares similar features and menu system of SB-900 and SB-910. The SB-700 is part of Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS) and features the intelligent-TTL (i-TTL) exposure mode. It weighs approximately 360 g without 4 AA batteries. It is mostly made in China. Announced September 2010 and available since October 2010.
(GN 125 ft, 38 m @ 35 mm)
SB-800 is a very high quality professional model which weighs approximately 350 g without 4 or 5 AA batteries (optional fifth battery for quicker recycling) The Nikon SB-800 is a flash made by Nikon for their digital and film single-lens reflex cameras. It has electronic interfaces for through-the-lens (TTL) automatic exposure and automatic zoom to match lens focal lengths from 24 to 105 mm (35 mm equivalent), plus 14 and 17 mm with the use of the built-in diffuser or 14 mm with the external Nikon Diffusion Dome, as well as film speed in the range from ISO 3 to 8000 (25 through 1000 in TTL mode with film cameras). Its guide number is 38 meters / 125 feet at ISO 100 and 35 mm, with a maximum range of 58 m when adjusted at 105 mm. 
The SB-800 is part of Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS) and features the intelligent-TTL (i-TTL) exposure mode. With compatible SLR cameras (such as the D2H, D2X, D3, D40, D50, D60, D70, D80, D90, D200, D300/s and F6), it can be used as master commander as well as remote flash unit within a CLS wireless lighting setup. It is one of the highest-quality flashes built for Nikon which features metal joints and supports inside the body. All SB-800 units are made in Japan.
The Speedlights.net says that "for many professional photographers this flash is still the best hot shoe strobe out there today" with smaller size than the successor SB 900, but has bigger Guide Number 38 over 34.
SB-900 (discontinued) and SB-910
(GN 111 ft, 34 m @ 35 mm) SB-900 is a larger professional model released 30 June 2008, weighs approximately 415 g. It is a flash made by Nikon for their digital and film single-lens reflex cameras, released on June 30, 2008. It has electronic interfaces for through-the-lens (TTL) automatic exposure and automatic zoom to match lens focal lengths from 17 to 200 mm (35 mm equivalent) and 12 to 200 mm in Nikon DX Format.
The SB-900 is part of Nikon's Creative Lighting System (CLS) and features the intelligent-TTL (i-TTL) exposure mode. With compatible SLR cameras (such as the D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, D70s, D80, D5000, D90, D200, D300, D700, D7000, D2h, D2hs, D2x, D2xs, D3, D3x and F6) can be used as master commander as well as remote flash unit within a CLS wireless lighting setup.
As of November 2011 the SB-900 was replaced by the SB-910 which is technically very similar to the older model. There are minor changes like the push button on the battery lid, semi transparent function buttons, redesigned soft case, different accessories and improved thermal cut off circuit. In terms of power level, looks, inner works and functions of both units are identical. All SB-900 and SB-910 units are made in Japan.
- R1C1 Wireless Close-Up System
- SB-R200 Wireless unit (GN 33 ft, 10m @ 24mm)
- SU-800 Wireless Commander - no flash, controls other speedlight units
- "Autofocus Speedlight SB-800: Instruction manual". 24. p. 27. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- "Autofocus Speedlight SB-800: Instruction manual". 24. p. 31. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- "Autofocus Speedlight SB-800: Instruction manual". 24. p. 120. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- "Nikon Speedlight SB-800 Flash". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
- Wireless flash setup from momentcorp.com
- Flash products from Nikon USA
- Speedlight comparison chart from bythom.com
- Creative Lighting System overview
- Creative Lighting System review
- Overview and detailed description of all Flashes from SB20 - SB800
- Comparison: Nikon Speedlight SB-700 vs. Nikon Speedlight SB-600 review
- Nikon Speedlight SB-700 vs. SB-900: overheating (thermal cut-out) test
|Nikon DSLR timeline (comparison)|