I would like more specifics on how a 580EX II would work on a Nikon D5000 and if it is even worth it.

This is the scenario, I have available a Canon XTi with a 580EX II for buying; I own a D5000 Nikon and a SB600 flash.

I know the 580EX II is equivalent to the SB900 Nikon and would love to know if it is possible and worth to buy that setup for the flash alone? Would that work with the SB600 as an external in case it cannot replace it?

I am no expert and trying to learn the trade but I can tell, by my short experience, how much I admire you guys out there, capable of just picking up any camera and doing such a wonderful job. My God! So many little details to make a picture perfect!!!

The kit I am talking about is selling for 650U$ used but in great shape. The XTi comes in great condition and has no signs of wear. The flash looks brand new.

Any suggestions will be so welcome. Please forgive me for so many questions but I gotta rely on you to be able to make a wise decision. Note: I even wondered if it would be worth to sell my D5000 and keep the XTi/580EX II setup but, reading, I am not sure would be a wise decision.


2 Answers 2


You have a lot of questions in your question, many of them un-answerable, but I'll focus on the title, "Canon 580EX II flash on my Nikon D5000". This can certainly "work", as in "function", but because the Canon and Nikon hotshoe contacts are different (apart from the center pin) and because the TTL "language" is different, you'll only be able to use the Canon flash in manual mode on your Nikon. There's certainly nothing wrong with that if you know how to use manual mode, but there are cheaper ways to get a manual-only flash with comparable power. It can work as an external with the SB-600, but not via Nikon CLS...you'll need to use a PC cable or optical trigger or other means of firing it (PocketWizard or similar).

Of course, the Canon flash will work quite well in automatic/E-TTL mode on the XTi and give you access to (nearly) all of the features including high-speed/FP, and AF assist beam (some of these require modifications to the camera settings).

  • \$\begingroup\$ OP posted this comment (I rejected it as edit): thank you very much for your kind answer but, as much as I'd love to, I'm too new to photography to use it in manual mode. I will evaluate if I should dish my D5000/SB600/18-55mm/55-200mm setup to go Canon but don't know what would a comparable setup to a D90 as it is hard to find a professional that uses both brands. It is very personal and everyone uses just one or another. I was tempted by the D90 but this opportunity came along and now I'm lost :) Anyway, Thank you so much for your kindness on answering most of my questions! \$\endgroup\$
    – Imre
    Feb 3, 2012 at 10:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please forgive me but just want to make sure I thank djangodude and Imre for your answers. I was forced to sell the 580ex II and trying to get a Nikon flash since I've got my D90 and will stick to what I know. Canon was nice but a bit confusing for me, at least at my stage of learning. Anyway, extremely grateful to all of you guys!!! \$\endgroup\$
    – user8785
    Mar 3, 2012 at 17:12

Both Nikon and Canon use ISO-compatible flash hotshoes on their cameras and feet on their flashes, so the Canon flash will fit on the Nikon hotshoe, its sync voltages are well within the limits a Nikon hotshoe can sustain, and the ground signal (rails) and sync (fire signal--the pin in the center of the foot's square) will be recognized and work, so the flash will fire in sync.

But that's pretty much it. All the other pins/contacts don't meet, so there's no other electronic communication between the flash and the camera. You cannot use iTTL, FP/HSS flash, 2nd curtain, or control the flash via the camera in any way, let alone CLS wireless control. It will become, for all intents and purposes, a manual-only flash on a Nikon hotshoe.

You can, of course, still tilt and swivel the flash, and if you put in M mode, you can set the power level directly. And if you want automated power setting, you can use the External sensor in the 580EXII, much as you would have used an old autothyristor flash.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.