Best Budget Flash for Nikon [2021 Review]

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Nikon DSLR cameras are known for producing high-quality images, no matter what the condition of the environment is. What better way to maximize their features than to attach an external flash. External flashes can soften the portrait modes and prevent any shadows from showing in the images. 

The common misconception with camera equipment is that the best ones are expensive. However, that is not true. You can get the best budget flash for Nikon and take amazing photos without breaking the bank.

Our Top Budget Nikon Flash Reviews 

Shooting images with a compatible flash will help you create a perfect balance and produce stunning results. The good news is, there are flashes that are within your budget, so you can get a decent flash for your Nikon camera. 

Flash manufacturers now offer handy and unique features at a price that won’t go over your budget. We’ve picked the best budget flash for Nikon cameras so you can start experimenting with your photography style. 

Brand
Best Overall
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight
Best Auto-Focus Flash
Xit XTDF260N Elite Series
Best Digital Flash
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash
Product
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)
Xit XTDF260N Elite Series Digital SLR Auto-Focus...
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash with Bracket for...
Special Features
Has a built-in high-intensity LED light
Supports front curtain synchronous shooting
Camera flash with slave function
Product Dimensions
6.93 x 3.43 x 4.57 inches
3 x 4.75 x 6 inches
6.5 x 1.25 x 4.75 inches
Rating
-
-
-
Best Overall
Brand
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight
Product
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)
Special Features
Has a built-in high-intensity LED light
Product Dimensions
6.93 x 3.43 x 4.57 inches
Rating
-
Best Auto-Focus Flash
Brand
Xit XTDF260N Elite Series
Product
Xit XTDF260N Elite Series Digital SLR Auto-Focus...
Special Features
Supports front curtain synchronous shooting
Product Dimensions
3 x 4.75 x 6 inches
Rating
-
Best Digital Flash
Brand
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash
Product
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash with Bracket for...
Special Features
Camera flash with slave function
Product Dimensions
6.5 x 1.25 x 4.75 inches
Rating
-

Best Overall Budget Flash for Nikon: Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight

The Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight is a lightweight and compact flash that gives you control of the light around you to ensure beautiful images. 

Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)

Measuring 6.93 x 3.43 x 4.57 inches and weighing 8 ounces, it is lighter than the Xit XTDF260N Elite Series and easier to carry around.

The SB-500 AF Speedlight is equipped with a few buttons that are easy to operate. It is powerful and has a guide number of 24 which means it can illuminate images up to 7 meters away, and it can cover up to 24mm in focal length range. 

The flash head can rotate up to 180 degrees from left to right, and it can be tilted up to 90 degrees upward. This will allow you to bounce the light off on surfaces in order to soften the light and shadows, thus creating better portraits. 

Aside from images, the Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight is also great for videos. It can record interviews up close, and it has a built-in LED light that can provide a steady illumination. It can be adjusted at brightness three levels: quarter level, half level, or full power. The flash is ideal for low-light still photography and video shooting. 

However, the recycling time is a bit slow. It takes 4 seconds before you can fire another flash at full power, unlike the Xit XTDF260N Elite Series and the Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash that only take 2.5 seconds. 

Also, the flash is not weather-sealed, and to prevent the deterioration of the quality, it is best to cover it with a cloth and put it in a pouch when not in use.

Pros:

  • Lightweight, easy to carry around while you walk
  • The guide number is high; it can cover up to 7 meters
  • It is great for recording videos thanks to its built-in LED light

Cons: 

  • The flash is slow and takes 4 seconds before you can take another shot
  • The flash is now weather-sealed
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)
  • intelligent-Through-The-Lens (iTTL) technology tailors the characteristics of the flash to each shot...
  • Wide coverage with a guide number of 24/78.7 (ISO 100, m/ft) with 24mm coverage in FX-format and...
  • Head rotates 180 degrees left and right and tilts 90 degrees upward allowing you to bounce light off...

Best Budget Auto-Focus Flash for Nikon: Xit XTDF260N Elite Series

The Xit XTDF260N Elite Series is ideal for any photographic application. It is a standard-sized, third-party flash for Nikon cameras whose features mimic many of Nikon’s Speedlights. 

Xit XTDF260N Elite Series Digital SLR Auto-Focus...

The Xit XTDF260N measures 3 x 4.75 x 6 inches and weighs 13 ounces, making it a bit heavier than the Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight and the Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash and harder to move from one location to another. 

The flash has an LCD display that is great for any photographic application. It is made from high-quality plastic, which means it does not crack or break easily and can take a beating. 

The flash’s head can be rotated up to 180 degrees from left to right, and the swivel head can tilt up to 7 degrees downward and 90 degrees upward. You can attach a diffuser and a reflector on top. 

The flash also has a power-saving mode as it goes to sleep when not being used to conserve battery. It also comes with a brightness control so you can decide how much light can be used on your photoshoot. 

The Xit XTDF260N can cover 200mm of focal range, and it has a guide number of 17, so it can illuminate objects that are 16 feet away from the camera, unlike the Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash that only covers almost 10 feet. 

The recycling time is around 2.5 seconds between flashes, and it takes 30 flashes before you need to cool it down. 

However, the fastening system that secures the flash to your camera is an old-fashioned metal disk that is prone to rust if it is exposed to water. Also, the LED screen is difficult to see in bright light. 

Pros:

  • The flash is made of high-quality plastic that does not crack when you accidentally drop it
  • The head can be rotated and tilted easily
  • The flash is fast as it only takes 2.5 seconds before you can fire another round

Cons:

  • The LED screen can be difficult to read at times, especially in bright light
  • The fastening system is made of the old-fashioned metal disk instead of the latest high-quality plastic materials 

Best Digital Budget Flash for Nikon: Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash

The Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash has numerous useful features to ensure an easy, accurate, and creative flash photography experience. 

Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash with Bracket for...

The Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash measures 6.5 x 1.25 x 4.75 inches and weighs 4.8 ounces, making it lighter than the Xit XTDF260N Elite Series and the Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight and a lot easier to carry around. 

The flash is compatible with a commander, so you can adjust the brightness and position even if you are a few feet away from the camera.

The flash head has a bounce card, and the panel can be deployed, so you can take images at any angle and in any environment. The recycling time takes 2.5 before you can fire another round. It can cover up to 120mm in focal length. 

Also, the flash automatically detects the camera’s sensor, and it distributes the light evenly to ensure high-quality images without any shadows. It also detects if filters are attached to the lenses, so it creates a white balance setting. 

However, the guide number of the flash is only 12, which means it can only illuminate subjects up to almost 30 feet away, unlike the Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight that can illuminate subjects up to 10 feet away. Also, it is not weather-sealed, so you will need to cover it up to protect it from dust, dirt, and water droplets. 

Pros:

  • The flash head can be tilted and swiveled, so you can use it at any angle and in any environment
  • It can distribute light to up to 12mm in focal length
  • It can detect filters for a balanced color distribution 

Cons:

  • The flash is not weather-sealed; elements such as water droplets, dirt, and dust can affect its quality
  • The guide number of 12 is low and can only illuminate subjects up to 10 feet away
Sale
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash with Bracket for...
  • Great light source for indoor and outdoor photography, use it as a flash or additional light from a...
  • Package Dimensions: 5.08 H x 18.796 L x 6.604 W (centimetres)
  • Package Weight: 0.136 kilograms

Features to Consider in a Budget Flash for Nikon

Like Nikon cameras, flashes also come with varying features. There are numerous flashes available on the market, and you don’t have to go over your budget just to get one that can suit your needs. 

The best budget flash for Nikon cameras that you choose will have to depend on the type of photography that you are doing and the gear that you want to attach it to. There are many things to consider, such as the guide numbers and the focal length range of the camera’s lenses. 

Below is a quick rundown of the important features that you need to look for before you get a flash for your Nikon camera. 

ProductRecycling TimeGuide NumberFocal Length Range
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight4 seconds2424mm
Xit XTDF260N Elite Series2.5 seconds17200mm
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash 2.5 seconds12120mm

Recycling Time

The recycling time of the flash depends on the genre of photography that you do. Professional photographers need fast flashes, especially when they are using them for weddings, events, photojournalism, and other assignments that require speed. 

Nikon Speedlight flash

The flash recycling time depends on the unit that you use, the type of batteries that the flash needs to operate, and how much they have drained. If you are looking for a flash that has a fast recycling time, you can get either the Xit XTDF260N Elite Series or the Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash, as both have a recycling time of 2.5 seconds. 

Guide Number

The guide number of the flash can measure how far it can illuminate the subject. This means that the higher the guide number is, the farther the flash’s light can cover. 

The Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight has a guide number of 24, so it can cover up to 22 feet, the Xit XTDF260N Elite Series has a guide number of 17, so it can cover up 16 feet, and the Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash has a guide number of 12, and it can cover subjects up to 10 feet. 

The guide number that you choose for your flash depends on the distance of your subjects.

Focal Length Range

Flashes can even distribute their light depending on the maximum focal length range of the lens attached to the Nikon camera. This way, any unwanted shadows on the pictures can be eliminated, thus ensuring clear images.

You get to decide the focal length range of the flash that you attach to your camera. The Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight can cover up to 24mm, the Xit XTDF260N Elite Series covers a maximum focal length range of 200mm, and the Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash can cover up to 120mm. 

Budget flash

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Flash Different from Speedlight?

Flashes and speedlights do the same tasks. They both illuminate subjects for better images. The only slight difference between the two are the intended use of the terms and how they are used by professional photographers. 

A flash is a universally acknowledged term; it is a piece of camera equipment that produces a flash of light. Meanwhile, a Speedlight is a term that is trademarked by Nikon for flashes that the brand manufactures. 

How Can I Know If a Third-Party Flash Can Be Used on a Nikon Camera?

You’ll know if a third-party flash can be used on a Nikon camera by checking the pins on the foot of the flash and see if it matches the contacts seen on the hot shoe of the Nikon camera. 

Also, you will need to check the specifications of the flash to know if it can be used on a Nikon camera. If the flash is not a Nikon brand, it is possible that some features of the camera will not be able to function, so it is best to check the list to know what you will be missing if you decide to use a third-party flash. 

Conclusion

The best budget flash for Nikon cameras is proof that you don’t need to spend too much just to get high-quality equipment to complete the tools needed for your desired type of photography. 

At the end of the day, what really matters are the specifications of the flash that you choose, and making sure that they suit your needs so you can take stunning images.