I'm looking for a flash with a budget of < $200. I have a Nikon D3100, and I'm a beginner with photography, who is taking some classes and wants some flexibility with a decent bounce flash.

I was surprised to find that the only Nikon flash < $200 is the $119 SB-400, which I'm concerned might be a little too limited. But the next jump up is around $279+ to the SB-600, and up from there with the SB-700.

I'm looking for some strong recommendations for alternative brands that will provide comparable functionality of an SB-600 at a more affordable price.

If there are no options, then we'll consider the higher priced Nikons, or postpone the purchase 'til we have a bit more cash, so if you feel really strongly that we have to go with one of the more expensive Nikons, let that be known.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking for TTL support? \$\endgroup\$
    – Evan Krall
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 3:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ya, I do think that TTL support is something that we'd want to have. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fauxcuss
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 4:46

5 Answers 5


There's one that I've looked at several times as a possibility for my next flash - although I have no personal experience with it - the Vivitar DF383.


  • TTL
  • Swivel and Tilt
  • GN45
  • AF focus assist
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like the same flash is also sold as Cactus AF45 \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 21:43

have a look on METZ flashes - they have wide range of products and good price/performance ratio.


I recently bought a Yongnuo YN465 for about $80 from Hong Kong, I cannot comment on how it compares to the Nikon ones but it beats the on-board flash hands down. It has tilt, swivel, ttl and will zoom to some degree. Also has a slave function built in to fire off another flash.


Nissin Di622 Mark II seems to be the good candidate:

  • Guide Number : 44m, 145ft. (ISO 100), 62m, 205ft. (ISO 200)
  • Illumination coverage : 24-105mm (16mm wide angle diffuser)
  • Turning head : 90 degree upward, 90 degree to left, 180 degree to right
  • Power source : 4 X AA or equivalent Mi-MH, lithium
  • Number of flashes : 200-1500 flashes by fresh alkaline batteries
  • Energy saving system : 2 minutes to stand-by mode, 30 minutes to shut down after the power on or the last use of flash unit
  • Recycling time : 5 sec., with fresh alkaline batteries.
  • Flash exposure control :
    • E-TTL and E-TTL II for Canon cameras
    • i-TTL for Nikon cameras
    • Manual(Variable power) : 6 levels : Full - 1/2 - 1/4 - 1/8 - 1/16 - 1/32 powers
  • Wireless mode :
    • SD: Slave Digital (with 6 level)
    • SF: Slave Film (with 6 level)
    • Wireless TTL remote Channel 1 Group A (Controlled by master flash)
  • Flash Power Lock: FE lock (for Canon) / FV lock (for Nikon)
  • My TTL Setting
  • AF Assist light : Infrared LED for distance of 0.7 to 6 meter.
  • Color temperature : 5,600K (same as daylight)
  • Flash duration : 1/800sec. to 1/20,000sec.
  • Camera contact : Hotshoe , X-contact, External Synchro socket
  • Accessories included : Shoe stand, pouch

The only missing feature for me is the high-speed sync support.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks good too, though pushes just over my $200 limit, but may consider it since it's juuuust over by a few hairs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fauxcuss
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 21:02

One option is to get non-TTL flash. For example LumoPro LP160 recommended by strobist is around $160, so you'd get lighting power of hi-end Nikon flash at lot lower price. Put the remaining $40 to umbrella and PC sync cord and you're done.

The downside obviously is that that flash is fully manual, so you need to adjust the power yourself. But at $200 you need to do compromises somewhere, be it power, automation, reliability or something else.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Compromise on power, automation, or reliability. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Yongnuo listed below is a great example of rfusca's point. \$\endgroup\$
    – Evan Krall
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 6:29

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