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What is the best external flash for Nikon beginner?

Total newbie here. Used my D90 + Nikon 18-200mm VR II to take holiday photos. But I am fascinated by portraits and generally do mostly indoor shots. I would like to get better, try new things.

What would be the first indoor light that I could buy for portraits and indoor shooting? Price is of a big concern here, so I wouldn't mind DIY advice too.


Read the Strobist 101 series on the David Hobby's Strobist site. http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

He provides an amazing amount of knowledge on use of small flash. It also provides some homework assignments that can serve as inspiration to help you get out and use it.

You can get a manual off-camera flash for under $200. You can get a stand, swivel and umbrella for under $100. For $300 it will change how you shoot.

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I also recommend David Hobby's Strobist 101 but I recommend the Yongnuo flashes - they don't have the build quality professionals require but they are cheap and work really well.

You can get the fully manual YN-460 for $40 or the TTL (check if your camera is compatible before buying) YN-465 for $70.

A cheap radio trigger set will cost you another $15-$25 and will let you easily take the flash off camera.

A lightstand, swivel and umbrella are also highly recommended and will greatly increase your flexibility but are not strictly required (you can always find somewhere to put the flash and use any white surface as a bounce board, or build a DIY softbox from a cardboard box).

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  • I use the Cactus V triggers, about $35 each, you need a two, transmitter and receiver. Work great for the money. There are lots of discussions of Yongnuo flashes and other inexpensive flashes in the strobist flickr group. – Pat Farrell Dec 24 '12 at 18:57

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