Another flashgun for Nikon 1 cameras, but no radio triggers yet

Along with the new V2 mirrorless camera, the SB-N7 tilting Speedlight has been announced for the Nikon 1 system. But are you as free to use flash with Nikon 1 as you could be?

Nikon 1 V2 with Speedlight SB-N7 in black

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.

Nikon Speedlight SB-N7, black

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.

Nikon Speedlight SB-N7, white

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.Nikon 1 V2 with Speedlight SB-N7 in black

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.

David Selby
Based in the West Midlands, UK, David Selby is editor of Lighting Rumours, a part-time photographer and a statistics PhD student.
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