Other Useful Nikon Flash Accessories

In addition to the Multi-Flash Bracket Unit SK-E900, there are several useful accessories. I found the SC-17 TTL Remote Core and SU-4 Wireless Slave Flash Controller very useful. But, if you have already had some Nikon flash accessories, you might have the SC-18/SC-19 TTL Multiflash Sync Cord in your collections. In this case, what you need is a AS-10 TTL Multiflash Adapter. If you need to use non-Nikon TTL-compatible flashes, the SC-15 Sync Cord and AS-15 Hot-Shoe Adapter will be very useful, although you certainly can use other equivalent items.

SC-17 TTL Remote Cord

SC-17 TTL Remote Cord Connecting SC-17 and AS-E900

The AS-E900 adapter cord is too short (1 ft) for any practical purpose except for connecting the camera and a flash mounted on the SK-E900 bracket. If you intend to move your flash farther away from the camera, an additional cord is required. The SC-17 TTL remote cord can serve this purpose well (see above left). One end of this 5-foot long coiled cord has a connection unit which mounts on the hot shoe of the AS-E900 adapter (see above right), while the other end is a hot shoe to be used with a Nikon Speedlight compatible TTL flash unit, and two TTL multiflash terminals for connecting additional flash units using SC-18 or SC-19 cords.

With SC-17, you can move your flash off the camera. Moreover, if you have a flash bracket (e.g., Stroboframe Bracket Quick Flip 350), you will need a SC-17 cord. You can also connect several SC-17 cords together to increase the total length.

SU-4 Wireless Slave Flash Controller

While one can use SC-18 and SC-19 cords for multiple flash photography, I prefer to use the SU-4 Wireless Slave Flash Controller. See images below. Moreover, the internal flash of a 950/990 can trigger the flash unit mounted on a SU-4! However, it is known that SU-4 may not work with Nikon's newer DX type flashes.

SU-4 Wireless Slave Flash Controller Speedlight SB-28 and SU-4

The SU-4 package contains two items, a diffuser for reducing the brightness of the on-camera flash, and a SU-4 unit. The diffuser is supposed to be mounted on the hot shoe of a camera. The on-camera or internal flash is the master. Another flash, a slave, is mounted on the SU-4 unit, which, in turn, can be mounted on a tripod. For 950/990, the internal flash is the master. If the internal flash is turned off and an external flash is attached to SC-17 and/or AS-E900 adapter, the external flash is the master. Note that multiple SU-4 units can be used. All flashes on SU-4's are slaves.

The master flash relies flash control information to all slaves using infrared signals and the camera metering system determines the duration of all flashes. When the master flash stops, all slave flashes stop immediately. As soon as the ready-light comes on indicating the mounted flash is ready to fire, the SU-4 unit beeps. If the mounted flash fired in full power, SU-4 generates repeating beeps. This means either the image is under-exposed due to insufficient illumination or the infrared sensor on SU-4 did not pick up the signals properly. In either way, exposure could be incorrect.

SU-4 can be operated in auto mode or manual (i.e., M) mode. Under the auto mode, the on-camera metering system controls everything. Under the M mode while the slave flashes still synchronize with the master flash, each slave's flash output intensity can be adjusted independently from the master flash. In the auto (resp., M) mode, the effective shooting distance is 23ft or 7m (resp., 131ft or 40m).

A Simple Example

The following is a very simple example that illustrates the use of external flashes. More examples are available on other pages.

Internal Flash Only One External Flash Two External Flashes

The left image was taken with the internal flash in the A-REC mode. This direct flash does not generate shadow because the shadow is hidden behind the subject. However, the image looks dull. The middle one was taken using a Nikon Speedlight SB-22s connected to the camera with a SC-17 cord and an AS-E900 adapter. The flash is placed to the left of the subject and raised above with an illumination angle of 45 degree. As you can see from the image, texture on the subject is shown much better than that of the left one. However, the shadow is strong. To eliminate this strong shadow, a slave Nikon Speedlight SB-28 is mounted on a SU-4 and placed to the right of the subject. As a result, both shadows are much lighter than that of the middle image. Note that the last two images were taken in the M-REC mode with the internal turned off.

To soften or even eliminate these shadows, one need some other simple accessories which will be covered elsewhere. As mentioned above, the flash mounted on a SU-4 can be used as a slave triggered by the internal flash in the A-REC mode.

SC-18/19 TTL Multiflash Sync Cord and AS-10 Multiflash Adapter

Like the SC-17 TTL remote cord, SC-18 is also a TTL remote cord. Unlike the AS-E900 and SC-17, both ends of SC-18 are Nikon's TTL connectors rather than hot shoes. SC-18 and SC-19 are 5' and 10' in length. See the left image below. One end of SC-18 screws into the TTL multiflash terminal on the camera, and the other end into the TTL multiflash terminal on the flash unit. However, not all Nikon flashes have TTL multiflash terminals. For example, Speedlight SB-28 has one, but SB-22s does not. If your flash does not have a TTL multiflash terminal, you will need a AS-10 TTL multiflash adapter. Screw the other end of SC-18 into the TTL flash terminal (see the right image below) and install a Nikon TTL compatible flash on the hot shot of AS-10. Then, you will have a setup (i.e., SC-18 + AS-10) equivalent to that of SC-17 + AS-E900. Moreover, SC-18 + AS-10 is lighter because this setup has only one hot shoe, and is longer because it is not coiled.!

SC-18 TTL Multiflash Sync Cord
and AS-10 Multiflash Adapter
Plugging SC-18 into a TTL multiflash
terminal of AS-10

Note that multiple SC-18 and SC-19 can be plugged into a AS-10 or SC-17 for multiple flash operation.

SC-15 Sync Cord and AS-15 Hot-Shoe Adapter

Since your camera may not trigger a non-Nikon TTL compatible flash mounted on an AS-E900 flash terminal, SC-17 TTL Remote Cord or AS-10 TTL Multiflash Adaptor, you will need an AS-15 Hot-Shoe Adapter (left image below). AS-15 has only one contact point and is not TTL capable. The use of AS-15 is easy. Just slide the mounting shoe into the hot-shoe of AS-E900, SC-17 or AS-10 and you are all set. See the middle image below.

AS-15 Hot-Shoe Adapter
and SC-15 Sync Cord
AS-15 on a TTL hot-shoe Attaching SC-15 to AS-15

There is only one sync terminal on the AS-15 and no hot-shoe. Hence, you need a PC Cord to connect your flash and AS-15. Most flashes come with a PC cord. If yours does not have a PC cord, you can use the SC-15. One end of SC-15 screws into the only sync terminal (right image below) while the other end connects to your flash. Note that SC-15 is not TTL capable.

Because neither AS-15 nor SC-15 is TTL capable, even though your flash is Nikon TTL-compatible (e.g., SB-22s or SB-28), it can only be used in the Automatic (A) mode or the Manual (M) mode. Moreover, please note the following: