Nikon have announced a new miniature speedlight for their 1 series of mirrorless cameras. The SB-N7 has a guide number of 18 and provides an i-TTL-compatible flash for the Nikon 1 V1 and Nikon 1 V2. It is more powerful than the older SB-N5 and you will pay £50 more for the privilege, but you lose and gain features in equal measure.
Unlike the N5, you can’t swivel this flash left and right, as the N7 merely tilts upwards from straight-on to 120°, making it less versatile for bouncing off walls and ceilings. You’re also losing the LED lamp that was used to illuminate Smart Shot bursts, a feature that the new V2 camera does not have any more. The SB-N7 draws its power from a pair of AAAs rather than from the camera, which means your camera battery will last longer but you need to keep your flash batteries charged separately.
Style-conscious photographers will appreciate that this speedlight comes in white as well as black. The SB-N5 before it was available in any colour you like as long as it was black — causing internal emotional strife for owners of white Nikon V1s who wanted a flashgun but couldn’t bear the thought of it not matching their camera.
Of course, it may be a moot point when discussing the new Nikon V2, which is by all accounts a hideous camera with all the worst cosmetic features harking back to the 1990s. Moreover, if Nikon have decided to go all ugly duckling on us, could the swan underneath be a more “serious” photography camera allowing for increased creative control? The ergonomic grip and less cheesy features suggest so.
A more powerful flashgun will of course be appreciated by many buyers, but will the same customers enjoy paying £50 to lose the ability to swivel the SB left and right? Might we be better served with a standard hotshoe adapter or a Nikon 1 radio trigger? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
You can pre-order the Nikon Speedlight SB-N7 for £149 in the UK or US$156.95 in America for a January release. The less potent but more swivelly SB-N5 can be yours now for around £100 (USA: $146.95). The Nikon 1 V2 camera, coming by the end of the year, will set you back $799.95 for the body, while in Blighty you will find kits starting at £799.