So as mentioned above, I have a D90 and an SB600. I can set up the SB600 to be used as a flash on-camera and off using TTL w/ the D90 as a commander. What I'm trying to understand is can I fire the SB600 without using my on-camera flash as a trigger? Maybe I don't quite understand how CLS/TTL works, but I was thinking that I'd be able to put the SB600 wherever I'd like and could fire it wirelessly (there's also an AA setting that i'm not sure about). I know that Pocket Wizards and Cactus wireless triggers exist and I think I understand how they work, but I'm wondering if they're a requirement when you're using all nikon gear with a body that is a commander...



2 Answers 2


You can absolutely use other triggering mechanisms, but the wireless part of the CLS uses the on-camera flash.

One way that's cheaper than the PocketWizard route is a cable. Refer to Strobist's Lighting 101 Series for hints on connectivity options.

If you're using Commander mode, did you set the on-camera flash to -- (essentially off)? From what I can tell, by shooting a picture of my camera and my SB-800 into a mirror, the on-camera flash does appear a little bit, so you might see it catchlights (as I recently did), but does not contribute significantly to the lighting of the scene.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the response! The big thing i find is that the light output i get in manual mode (on-camera) is WAY more than when i run it as a slave off-camera. I've tried upping the compensation and whatnot but with no luck... Thoughts? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 20, 2010 at 18:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm still just finding my way through all of this, my main advice is to try to make a list of all the independent variables (settings). Study what they do, experiment to confirm your understanding, and then when you go to shoot use it as a checklist of what the different settings are set to! For example, what's the zoom head set to? That can affect the amount of light getting to your subject. Is the diffuser dome on? (Does the SB-600 come with one?) That recently cost me a lot of grief when I was shooting through an umbrella and couldn't figure out why everything was so dark! \$\endgroup\$
    – jfklein13
    Aug 20, 2010 at 18:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just found a very useful looking Nikon-based lighting blog that you might find helpful: nikonclspracticalguide.blogspot.com/2008/01/…. \$\endgroup\$
    – jfklein13
    Aug 20, 2010 at 21:20

Another option that I use the Hahnel Wireless Remote when I want more distance. It does not support TTL so you have to be full manual on your flash.

I use this with my D90 and SB600 combination.


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