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I have read a lot about the SB-800/SB-900 but I am on a low budget (around ~120$). Is there an external flash that I can have to start learning to use it? I do not want absolutely TTL compatibility so it can be an older model. I have a Nikon D5000.

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This is pretty similar to: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/3842/picking-a-hotshoe-flash –  chills42 Nov 2 '10 at 19:32
    
Sunpak - DigiFlash 3000 is around $49, and i think it is totaly worth it, to try out flash photography. –  user27029 Mar 26 at 3:42

5 Answers 5

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I also have the Nikon D5000 and have been very satisfied with YongNuo speedlight. I used YN-460II and recently bought a YN-560.

Both are very good, with easy manual adjustment controls. The YN-560 is bulkier but have electronic zoom feature so this will let you do more experiment with your lighting setup.

I found that I'm not missing the TTL feature as I can guess and required flash power and quickly fine adjust with the button control.

YN-460II costs $50 while YN-560 is $85, so you can get them cheap.

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One of the best manual flash options is the LumoPro LP160, but it's a bit outside your price range at $199.

One of the other options that is well within you budget is the Vivitar 285HV, which is a little older design, but a very good product.

You won't get any of the more advanced automatic options, but these should both work great as a simple external flash.

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I use the SB400. It's a basic external flash that, despite being plain, is much more effect than the camera's onboard flash. The front of the SB400 can be tilted upwards at varying increments, enabling you to direct your flash elsewhere, or bounce it off a ceiling. The unit uses two AA batteries, and is compact enough to slip in a pocket until needed.

There are higher end units from Nikon, including the SB600 and SB900. They are bulkier, offer more options (e.g. horizontal pivot) and are progressively more expensive.

For a beginner, the SB400 will be more than enough.

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I like the sb-400 because of it's small size. Usually I can just put it in my pocket and attach it when required.

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External flash that can't be turned left or right is significantly less fun. –  che Nov 2 '10 at 21:15

I've had a YN-560 for a while now and it's a great piece of kit, very cheap too!

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Could you expand your answer to explain why it's good? That would make the answer more useful right now, and also more useful in a few years when the YN-560 isn't available so people can see what features they need to be looking for rather than a specific model. –  Philip Kendall Mar 26 at 12:08

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