flash units

My built-in flash pops up but fails to flash--have checked all settings so the unit must be broken. What type of flash unit do I need to attach to the hot shoe? I see by the manual that there are SB-910, 900, 800, 700, 600, 400, 300 units that are available. I did try an old flash unit (Sunpack Auto 221) which did work, however, in Auto mode, the flash was too bright so the photo is overexposed. I don't want to spend hundred of dollars for a flash unit.


  • Any flash unit that lists TTL compatiibility with the D5300 should work, and you can pretty much shop by price and power. If Nikon is a bit rich for your blood, you might look at some less expensive Chinese brands. These days Yongnuo has a pretty good reputation, I think.

    Older TTL flashes, such as those used on film cameras, will not work in TTL mode on this camera, but will still work in manual or Auto mode.

    You can easily use older Auto flashes, or even manual flashes, but you cannot use them with auto exposure on the camera.

    If you have that old Sunpack still, put the camera in manual exposure mode. Set the shutter speed to a value lower than the camera's "sync speed, " which I think is around 1/250. For safety something around 1/100 is fine.

    Set the camera's ISO manually, and then consult the printed chart on the flash itself for the aperture. There should be a chart on which the auto modes (if there are more than one) show what distance is covered, and on which a specific aperture is coupled with a specific ISO (or ASA, same thing) rating. So, for example, on the chart, you may see that there is a blue line for the distances covered when the switch is set to "blue" auto mode, and under the column for ASA 400, there will be a value for the aperture of something like F11. Set it accordingly, and the exposure meter in the flash itself will set the duration of the flash, and give you a pretty decent exposure.

    You can also use fully manual mode, but have to figure out then what distance your subject is from the camera, and set the aperture accordingly, as there is no exposure meter feedback in manual mode.

    Shutter speed is non a factor, since all electronic flash operates at a very fast shutter speed. The only requirement here is that the shutter must be at or below the speed at which the shutter opens fully all at once. At faster speeds, the shutter passes a slit across the sensor, and there is no moment at which all the sensor is open at once.

    If you have a lot of ambient light and a slow shutter speed, you'll get fill flash and must lower the flash power to compensate, but for just plain flash pictures, any shutter speed at or near the sync speed will work.

    Many of those old Auto flashes work very well, and will give you a better exposure than you might have expected. If you have one, it's worth a try, even if you decide to go with something newer later.
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