Best Flash for Nikon D500 [2021 Review]

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The Nikon D500 camera remains a favorite among professional photographers due to its ability to produce high-quality images and easy to use functions. 

Even though the camera is exceptional, you will still need to use an external flash so you can use it to its full potential. The best flash for Nikon D500 can let you take artistically pleasing pictures. 

Our Top Nikon D500 Flash Reviews

If you are new to the world of photography, choosing the right flash can be overwhelming as there are many options and features that could leave you confused. 

For that reason, we’ve picked the best flash for Nikon D500 that has all of the functionality that you need. 

Brand
Best Overall
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight
Best for the Money
Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash
Best Cheap Pick
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash
Product
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)
Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Kit Nikon
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash with Bracket for...
Special Features
intelligent-Through-The-Lens (iTTL) technology tailors the characteristics of the flash to each shot you take
Quick-lock hot shoe Ultra-compact MD1 MK II USB powered charger
Has advanced optical measurement receiver intelligent device
Product Dimensions
6.93 x 3.43 x 4.57 inches
9 x 6.25 x 3.5 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
intelligent-Through-The-Lens (iTTL) technology tailors the characteristics of the flash to each shot you take
Product Dimensions
6.93 x 3.43 x 4.57 inches
Rating
-
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash
Product
Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Kit Nikon
Special Features
Quick-lock hot shoe Ultra-compact MD1 MK II USB powered charger
Product Dimensions
9 x 6.25 x 3.5 inches
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash
Product
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash with Bracket for...
Special Features
Has advanced optical measurement receiver intelligent device
Product Dimensions
6.5 x 1.25 x 4.75 inches
Rating
-
Price

Best Overall Flash for Nikon D500: Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight  

The Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight is equipped with radio control and wireless control to connect to a maximum of six different flashes up to 98 feet away. This will prevent you from setting it up one by one as you can use the SB-5000 AF Speedlight as the commander. The setup is ideal for indoor photoshoots that need bright lights. 

Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight (Black)

You can perform 100 consecutive firings without the risk of overheating because it has a built-in cooling system. 

The external flash has a recycling time of 2.6 seconds, which is longer than the Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash that has a recycling time of 1.5 seconds. It is also weather-sealed, so you can confidently use it outdoors at any time. 

However, the LCD screen of the flash can be challenging to read if you are under direct sunlight. 

Also, guide number 34 is too short because it can only illuminate subjects up to 35 feet away, unlike the Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash that has a guide number of 60. 

Pros: 

  • Light and portable, easy to use while travelling. 
  • It doesn’t overheat thanks to the cooling system. 

Cons:

  • Guide number 34 can only cover subjects that are 35 feet away, which is considered a short distance.
  • The text on the LCD screen can be difficult to read under direct sunlight. 
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 Nikon D500 Flash for the Money: Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash

The Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash has a built-in 2.4 GHz transceiver that allows you to sync it to other flashes or wireless remotes that are up to 27 meters away, which is a shorter distance compared to the Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight.

Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Kit Nikon

At full power, the flash can fire up to 600 shots without overheating. This number is higher compared to the Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight that can only fire up to 100 consecutive shots. 

The external flash has a fast recycling time of 1.5 seconds, and it has a guide number of 60 which can cover subjects up to 60 feet away. 

However, the LCD screen can be difficult to operate when used outdoors since the sunlight affects the visibility of the text. 

Also, it is not weather-sealed, unlike the  Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight, so it is best to clean it frequently and cover it up to keep its quality. 

Pros: 

  • It can fire 600 consecutive shots without overheating.
  • The recycling time of 1.5 seconds is fast, so you don’t have to wait long before you can use the flash again. 

Cons:

  • The LCD screen can’t be under direct sunlight, or it won’t be easy to read.
  • It is not weather-sealed; external elements such as rain, snow, dust, and dirt can affect its quality. 
Sale
Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Kit Nikon
  • Powered by an Extreme Li-Ion Battery
  • Powered by an Extreme Li-Ion Battery Fast recycle time of 1.5 sec (4x faster than AA power) Up to...
  • Up to 1000 shots at 1/2 power Built-in 2.4GHz wireless receiver & transmitter Unique wireless...

Best Cheap Flash for Nikon D500: Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash

The Xit XTCF1BRK is an excellent third-party external flash that fits the Nikon D500 camera well. The recycling time of the flash is 2.5 seconds, which is slower than the Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash, which only takes 1.5 seconds. 

Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash with Bracket for...

The flash has a bounce adapter, a feature that measures how much light is needed. It prevents shadows that are caused by harsh lighting from showing in your images. 

The external flash can also serve as a commander for other compatible flashes. The Xit XTCF1BRK can be triggered to activate up to six flashes at once, so you won’t have to set them up one by one. 

However, its guide number 12 can only reach up to 12 feet, unlike the Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash that can cover up to 60 feet. 

Also, since the flash does not have a cooling system like the Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight, you will need to pause in between flashes and give it time to cool down or may overheat. 

Pros:

  • It can trigger up to 6 other flashes at once, saving you time; it is ideal for studio photoshoots. 
  • The bounce adapter can measure the amount of light that comes out of the flash to prevent shadows on your images.  

Cons:

  • The guide number of 12 can illuminate subjects that are up to 12 feet away, which is not that far. 
  • It has no cooling system; it can be prone to overheating. 
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 Flash for Nikon D500

External flashes mounted on your Nikon D500 lets you capture exceptional images even in low light conditions. 

Hundreds of external flashes are available and they come with different functionalities.  What makes the best flash for Nikon D500 is its unique features and ease of use. 

Product Guide Number Recycling Time Built-in Cooling System
Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight 342.6 secondsYes
Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash  601.5 secondsYes
Xit XTCF1BRK Digital Slave Flash122.5 secondsNo

Guide Number

The guide number gives you an idea of how far the flash can illuminate a subject. 

High guide numbers are usually used for outdoor photography because it lets you shed light to subjects that are a couple of feet away from you. 

If you wish to get an external flash for your Nikon D500 with a high guide number, you can get the Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash as it has a guide number of 60, which means its light can go as far as 60 feet. 

Close up of a camera flash

Recycling Time

The recycling time is the amount of time the flash needs before it is ready to fire shots again. Flashes need to gather power from the battery before it can have enough light to be used again. 

Flash photography requires speed. If you want an external flash with a fast recycling time, you can get the Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash as it has a recycling time of 1.5 seconds. 

Cooling System

Flashes get pretty heated since they produce light constantly. An active cooling system can circulate air around the flash’s head to cool it down while you use it. 

If the flash does not overheat, it will last longer. The Nikon 4814 SB-500 AF Speedlight and the Modus 600RT MK II Wireless Flash are equipped with a cooling system. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Canon External Flash Compatible on a Nikon Camera? 

Canon flashes can be used on Nikon cameras. The vice versa is also possible because you can attach a Nikon flash to a Canon camera. 

Man holding a Nikon D500

However, the other features like the wireless connectivity will not work well, only the flash gets triggered. 

What is TTL and How Important is it on Flashes?

Through the Lens or TTL metering measures how much light is being returned to the sensor. It uses a series of flash bursts before the flash fires. 

The flash information is returned to the camera, adjusting the flash power to set a well-balanced shot. This prevents dark spots on the images. 

Conclusion

Flashes can give you lighting control and measure how brightly lit you want your photos and videos to be. There are numerous external flashes released by different brands, and each of them has specific functionality that you can benefit from.

The best flash for Nikon D500 is created to work well with the camera, and it creates beautiful effects that will give you amazing results. 

Jared Bauman has spent more than twenty years in the professional photography profession. He founded Bauman Photographers in 2001, which is a wedding and commercial photography studio in San Diego, California. The company has been in business for 20 years, and has a stellar reputation in the community. In 2007, Jared co-founded ShootDotEdit, the premium post production company for professional wedding photographers worldwide. The company has edited millions of images for photographers around the world. Jared has spoken and presented at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference 9 years in a row. He has also given several multi-day courses on Creative Live, in addition to two national speaking tours.