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”.
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.
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.
- 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