Nikon SB-300

With the weakest power output in this round-up, the SB-300 is one of two entry-level flashguns from Nikon (the other being the SB-400).

Nikon SB-300

Nikon SB-300

Offering just a few improvements over the standard in-built flash, it’s designed for those looking for a minor performance upgrade only. Measuring just 57x65x62mm (WxHxD) and weighing 97g, alongside the Canon, it’s easily the most pocketable option in this test. This could make it a great choice if you’re looking for somethingthat could get you out of a jam, but that doesn’t take up much room in the kit bag. However, it has a weak maximum Guide Number of 18 (at a fixed 27mm), and no zoom functionality. It’s head is also partially fixed, allowing adjustment upwards by 120° for bounce flash, but no right or left rotation, seriously limiting how its light can be directed. This is further hampered by the lack of a bounce card.

With the only on-device control being an on/off switch, all settings are selected via the host camera’s flash-control menu. This means that while TTL and basic manual control of the device’s power are still possible, the SB-300 is less straightforward to use than its rivals. There are no inputs and no AF assist light on this flashgun, though firmware can be updated via a connected camera. Powered by two AAAs, the SB-300 has a slightly slow 4-second recycle time when used with alkaline batteries. Shipped in a carrying pouch, the flashgun does at least have a very solid build quality worthy of the Nikon name, and a durable metal hotshoe complete with locking switch. 

Specification

This review was first published in the March 2016 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.