Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F3 - Flash Photography - Accessories - Part I

Some basic accessories supplied along with respective Nikon flash unit (Check with your local distributor for details first before make any decisions, some of the accessories mentioned here could be optional units and may require you to purchase them separately).


<<<---- A simple accessory such as a wide flash adaptor shown at left is a product with great deal effort in research and development to enable them to have a wider, more even flash coverage without at the expense of light loss. And generally, each flash has their own dedicated adaptor.

SB-11: Wide Angle Flash Adaptor SW-3; Sensor Unit US-2; Mounting Bracket SK-4; Flash Sync Cord SC-11 for SB-11; C-Cell Battery Pack SD-7 (comes with SC-16 Power Cord); High Performance Battery Pack SD-8 AA Battery Holder, Optional Coupler AS-9. AS-4, AS-7, AS-17.

SB-12: Wide Angle Flash Adaptor SW-4; Soft Case SS-16; AA Battery Holder MS-6; Optional Coupler AS-9. AS-4, AS-7, AS-17.

SB-14: SC-23 TTL Sync Cord; Wide Angle Flash Adaptor SW-5; Sensor Unit SU-2; Mounting Bracket SK-5; Speedlight Flash Head SB-14; Flash Cord SC-11 for SB-14; Power Cord SC-16 for SD-7; C-Cell Battery Pack SD-7 for SB-14 (comes with SC-16 Power Cord).

SB-140 UV-IR: SW-5 V Filter, 400-1100nm (for visible light). SW-SW Filter, 300-400mm and above 650mm (for Weight). SW-5 IR Filter, 750-11OOnm (for IR light); SC-11, SK-5, SW-3, SW-5V/5UV/5IR. Requires SD-7 battery pack for operation. Flash Sync Cord SC-11; Mounting Bracket SK-5; Sensor Unit SU-3 ; SW-5Adaptor ; SW-5 Visible Ray Adaptor; SW-SIR Infrared Adaptor ; C-Cell Battery Pack SD-7 (comes with SC-16 power cord).

SB-16A/SB-16B: Soft Case SS-16; Wide Angle Flash Adaptor SW-7; AA Battery Holder MS-5; SB-16A Coupler to F3; AS-8 SB-16B Coupler to ISO shoe AS-9.Optional Coupler AS-9. AS-4, AS-7, AS-17.

SB-17: Soft Case SS-17; Wide Angle Flash Adaptor SW-6;
AA Battery Holder MS-6;

TTL Macro Flash SB-21 A/B: Controller/Power Pack AS-12 for SB-21A ;
Controller/Power Pack AS-14 for SB-21B; Case for Controller Unit SS-17; Case for Flash Unit SS-21; Wide Flash Adaptor SW-8; AA Battery Holder MS-6; Adaptor Ring UR-3 (req. with 60mm Micro for AF Operation); DC Power Pack LD-2 (requires SC-21 power cord); AC Power Pack LA-2 (requires SC-21 power cord)l Power Connecting Cord SC-21; 52mm Adaptor Ring for SB-21; 62mm Adaptor Ring for SB-21

The most interesting accessories you can find for your Nikon flash could be those centred around the TTL flash feature. Previously complex calculations required for proper exposure with Multiple flash setups, couldn't be made more straight forward than the TTL multi-flash mode offered by some Nikon SLR cameras.

However, Not all Nikon flash units have such capabilities for TTL flash extension for TTL multiple flash setup. First you ought to determine whether the flash units you will be using have any TTL sync terminal for wiring them up for use in such an operation.

The picture above shows the SB-16A that has both normal sync and TTL flash sync terminals, use the one with the three pins with a optional TTL sync cable. The socket at the right is the sync terminal for cable flash or off camera flash, in auto or manual flash mode, either by connecting them to the camera's PC sync terminal, or the flash (Usually by way of a flash coupler).

Common names for electrical cords to connect flash to camera are PC cord, sync cord and synch cord. The main use for sync cord is to allow the camera to control the flash, so the flash fires at the correct time when the shutter is fully open to accept an even illumination across the WHOLE picture frame - that is why we use the word, "synchronization" repeatedly in this site. One type of electrical connector on camera bodies is called a PC socket. Most flash units have a PC socket, however, with immense development on modern flash exposure control technologies, there is a need for such sophistication to extend to multiple flash unit setups, and thus many of the modern flash units also provide the newer type of sync socket to permit TTL flash exposure control. However, since every manufacturer has their own way to design their speedlights and they can easily 'reallocate the position of their flash connection pins to avoid compatibility among each other (A Pity fact...), it is not as 'universal' as the PC socket which virtually can share any flash and even mix flash units among different manufacturers. Curse them, don't curse me..

Nikon and Nikkormat camera bodies have a threaded socket with collar surrounding the centre electrical part of the socket which is a universal design for standard PC Terminal. Nikon threaded sync sockets can accept those push-in PC type connectors.

But many of the modern AF bodies have removed the PC sync terminal feature now and could be handicapped in times of emergencies (Most higher-end models have both the PC and TTL sync terminal incorporated). Anyway, Nikon has a AS-15 Sync Terminal Adaptor for sale to reinstate the PC socket on the hotshoe for those entry level AF bodies.

SC14 NikonF3.jpg
SC-14 TTL flash sync cord: If your priority is only confined to just use off camera flash and still would like to enjoy TTL flash exposure control, then use an accessory called SC-14. It provides a short extension from the camera and still ensure full TTL flash operation with your F3. Note the mounting foot is specifically designed for Nikon F3's flash units.

* Usable flash units with full TTL flash compatibility: SB-12, SB-16A, SB-17 and SB-21A.

AS-11 Flash Tripod Adaptor: If you want to use your F3's spec flash units such as SB-12, SB-016A or SB-17 away from the camera, the AS-11 has a tripod screw so you can attach one of them on a tripod. AS-7, one of the most useful flash coupler enable Nikon F3 to change film without the need of detaching the flash, further, it has a hot shoe that accepts flash with standard ISO-type mounting foot but only restricting to non-TTL or manual flash control.


as7big.jpg (8k) loading..
Thus the use of the innovative Flash coupler AS-7 could have solve not just the open film back issue mentioned earlier and the convenience of allowing flash units with standard ISO type flash mounting foot to use on the F3, but could have helped a little in ensuring without giving too much stress to the film rewind knob. As shown at left - there is one extra contact other than the X-sync contact on the ISO type accessory shoe - which also means even when with a TTL flash such as SB-16 or SB-15 and many other common flash units Nikon introduced in later years will not be able to retain the TTL flash with the AS-7.

Update: a Cheaper alternative in Vivitar TTL-flash coupler for Nikon F3.

The extra contact, in this case is only meant for the ready light. It looks more to me as a commercial decision rather than giving the consumers full benefit of their entitlement (This was created by Nikon, not me...). Anyway, it took Nikon twenty years and only in Y2K that they finally mending the mistake they made for the F3 - but again, I think it more like a commercial decision and streamlining their product line by dropping two products. It is a very well thought accessory. With the AS-7, you can enjoy full TTL flash on your F3 with all those portable flash units designed specifically for F3, i.e. SB-12, SB-16A, SB-17. If you want to use any other flash with standard ISO flash mounting foot on the AS-7 (very much depending on spec) you can only use them either in AUTO or MANUAL mode. If the flash used is a Nikon made thyristor since SB-7E, probably the flash ready light will be there as well.

How about the current AF flash ? Can they be used with the Nikon F3 ? YEAP.
Examine carefully and see if the flash has a sensor in front of the unit (NOT the AF sensor which is cover in red covering), if it has, AUTO and manual (Also checks the selector switch has a manual setting) should be possible, if it doesn't and behind the control panel has only a TTL or manual setting, only manual flash is possible (Frankly, theoretically - any flash can and should operate in manual mode).

Am I too harsh on Nikon ? If you are - you must be a big fan of Nikon and can tolerate their mistakes. But I am a consumer of their product and a poor victim for the last 18 years of their decisions on the flash design... Anyway, the impossible becomes possible with the new tiny device they brought here, the newly introduced Flash Coupler AS-17 - which could have saved all of us plenty of money over the years and keep our equipment list cleaner. The three contacts on top of this accessory shoe duplicate those on the top deck of the F3 and here it goes, ALL Nikon TTL flash units with standard ISO type mounting foot are usable on your FE, retaining full TTL flash compatibility ! But as a Nikon owner, who still doesn't own a SB-12, SB-16, SB-17 flash, probably the F3 has become a backup body, or those who still have not enjoyed the full benefit of TTL flash exposure control with their third party flash all these years, or with a simple SB-15, can have a chance now.... If your system setup is NOT AF/F3 bodies - The F3 can even take all those flash units made for the earlier F and F2. There are a couple of flash accessories made for this purpose (slowly diminishing from Nikon's product list..).

Note: Nikon F2 and F3 series cameras require special couplers that enable the use of the SB-28, SB-27, SB-26, SB-25, SB-22, SB-20, SB-16B, SB-21B and other older Nikon Speedlights with an ISO-type mounting foot. Special couplers may also be required with the use of previous-model Nikon Speedlights and Nikon F2 and F3 series cameras

Would you believe it, by means of Nikon F3 Message Board, I learnt from a visitor named John <> that Vivitar did produced a F3 TTL flash coupler ! That was a good alternative to Nikon's AS-7.

<<<----- Credit: BRUCE <> mailed me this picture of the flash coupler, unfortunately, I don't have a inverse view of the unit to show the three pins which mate with the TTL contacts.

HannuYlioja_VivitarCouplerA.jpg HannuYlioja_VivitarCouplerB.jpg /HannuYlioja_VivitarCouplerC.jpg HannuYlioja_VivitarCouplerD.jpg
Credit: Images of this Nikon F3-Vivitar flash coupler courtesy of Mr. Hannu Ylioja| Contact|) . Images copyright © 2005 All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the respective contributing photographers.

Useful accessory
:- Nikon original Flash couplers for various flash models foot incompatibility

  | Previous | NEXT |
  Back to
of Flash/Speedlights
  Back to Index of Nikon F3 Models
  Back to Pictorial History of Nikon SLRs
About this photographic site
Contributions and Credits
  Home - Photography in Malaysia

Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon F3 - Flash Photography - Accessories - Part I

Copyright © 1999. leofoo ®. MIR Web Development Team.