Nikon Learn & Explore

Advanced Wireless Lighting

Advanced wireless lighting is the use of multiple Speedlights set up for wireless remote operation. The technology of Nikon's Creative Lighting system makes multiple flash photography as easy and intuitive as flash photography with one Speedlight.

Why would you want to use multiple flash units? Simply because a single flash will illuminate a scene with what is typically called flat light—light that points directly at the subject. Flat light will give you a good exposure, but often it's not the best choice for flattering, dramatic or creative lighting. That's where multiple flash comes into play.

With Nikon's advanced wireless lighting system, the output or power levels of up to three groups of remote Speedlights—each group comprised of a practically unlimited number of Speedlights—can be controlled from the camera position.

The creative possibilities of wireless remote lighting are practically limitless. You can place the Speedlights wherever you like; no wires, formulas or calculations are necessary. You can set the output of the flash units, using flash compensation, to suit the mood of the scene, or let the system automatically calculate the correct exposure. 

You can control the remote flash units—which can be located up to approximately 33 feet from the camera when the remote unit(s) is located on center, and approximately 15 to 23 feet when the remote unit is located at the periphery—with either your Nikon D-SLR's built-in Speedlight, a camera-mounted SB-800 or SB-900 Speedlight or with the SU-800 Commander (up to 66 feet when the remote unit(s) is located on center and approximately 23 feet when the remote unit(s) is located at the periphery) mounted on the camera's hot shoe or off-camera remote cord. You can choose the flash mode for each additional SB Speedlight—TTL, Manual or non-TTL auto—and set those instructions on the main unit.

Your off-camera Speedlights are designated in three groups: A, B and C. Each group can include one or more Speedlights; the total in each group is virtually unlimited. When you press the camera’s shutter release, in the instant before the picture is made, your settings from the controller are transmitted to the remote Speedlights. With the digital advantage of immediately viewing the picture, you’ll see the results of your decisions right away. If an adjustment is needed, there's no walking from Speedlight to Speedlight; just change the setting on any Speedlight in any group right from the master control unit.