Nikon Speedlight SB-5000 adds wireless radio control

The Nikon SB-5000 is the first Speedlight with wireless radio integration, and also offers an "onboard cooling system".

Nikon SB-5000

After a big head start from Chinese manufacturers, then Canon, Nikon has finally started incorporating radio control into its flash units. The new Nikon Speedlight SB-5000, announced alongside the flagship D5 DSLR, also claims to be the “world’s first compact flash unit to boast an onboard cooling system”.

Nikon SB-5000

The SB-5000 works as a master or a slave when supporting optical signals — maintaining compatibility with older Speedlights — or as a slave for radio control, triggered by the WR-R10 module for the D5 and D500 DSLRs.

Radio signals have a longer range and better reliability outdoors and through obstacles. The “Unified Flash Control” lets you control the SB-5000 from a PC, using the Camera Control Pro 2 software.

Nikon SB-5000

Nikon SB-5000

The WR-R10 module lets you control the flash through your camera menus, and for now there is no equivalent to a radio-enabled master flash or controller like Canon’s ST-E3-RT and 600EX-RT, Phottix’s Odin and Mitros+, Nissin’s Air Commander or other offerings. You also need a shiny new camera to get access to this feature, but that’s par for the course with camera manufacturers’ own-brand flash systems.

Nikon SB-5000

Specifications

  • Guide number 34.5
  • Electronic zoom from 24–200mm focal lengths, plus three illumination patterns
  • –7–90° tilt, 360° swivel
  • Flip-down diffuser (14mm equivalent) and bounce card
  • Diffuser dome included
  • Wireless radio control (30m range)
  • Wireless optical control
  • Up to 100 full-power shots without overheating
  • External battery support

Nikon SB-5000

The Nikon SB-5000 has a recommended retail price of US$599.95, to be released in March. You can pre-order now from B&H Photo, Adorama and other dealers.

David Selby
Based in Paris, France, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a quantitative analyst.
selbydavid.com