Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon SB-15/SB-17 - Operational Manual - Part II

Basic Operations - Setting up

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1. Open the battery chamber. Depress the battery holder release locks (the knurled surfaces on the top and bottom of the left side of the flash head) and the battery holder MS-6 will pop out.

2. Load the batteries. Power is supplied by four 1.5V AA-type pen light batteries; insert them, making sure the positive and negative ( + and -) terminals are installed according to the diagrams inside the holder.

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Note: 1) When replacing batteries, it is a good practice to exchange all four with a fresh set.

2) It's also possible to use AA-type rechargeable NiCd batteries, but the performance of the SB-15 will not be comparable to that with alkaline-manganese cells.

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3. Replacing the battery holder MS-6.

Push the battery holder MS-6 into the battery chamber until it clicks into place. Note: Be sure not to put the battery holder In upside down.

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4. Attach the flash unit to the camera's accessory shoe. First turn the locking nut on the mounting foot counterclockwise until it reaches its upper limit Then slide the mounting foot forward into the shoe as far as it will go.

Note: With Nikon F3-series cameras, the AS-4 or AS-7 Flash Unit Coupler must be attached to the camera's accessory shoe before mounting the SB-15. With the new AS-17, you can mount directly on the flash coupler.

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For SB-17 which has a different mounting foot for the Nikon F3 bodies (except those models with DE-4 finder). Followed the steps illustrated at the left and right:

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5. Lock the Flash unit securely into place. Tighten the locking nut to prevent the unit from accidentally slipping off.

4. Attach the flash unit to the camera's accessory shoe. First turn the locking nut on the mounting foot counterclockwise until it reaches its upper limit Then slide the mounting foot forward into the shoe as far as it will go.

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Note: With a Nikon F3-series cameras, the AS-4 or AS-7 Flash Unit Coupler must be attached to the camera's accessory shoe before mounting the SB-15. With the new AS-17, you can mount directly on the flash coupler.
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6. Rotate the flash unit to the horizontal position.

Turn the flash unit 90°, so that the exposure calculator dial is on top for easier reference and proper flash coverage for horizontal format composition. The same applies to SB-17 on a Nikon F3.

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7. Set the mode setting knob .to "N" (Normal). Turn the knurled knob in the center of the exposure calculator dial until the "N" is opposite the index.

(Steps 8 through 14 are divided into two sections according to the model of Nikon camera you are using.)

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ORANGE section: 8-A. (TTL Operation with the Nikon FA, FE2 and FG that has standard ISO accessory shoe).

Set the camera's shutter speed/mode selector to "P" (Programmed AE) for Nikon FG or FA or "A" for FE, FE2, FG, FG-20, FA or EM); for FM (1/125 sec or below), FM2 (1/200 sec setting or 1/125 sec and below), FM2n models (1/250 sec or below).

Note: With any Nikon SLR models that offer TTL flash exposure control, TTL operation is possible at all manual shutter speed settings, except M90 (with the FG), M250 (with the FE2, Nikon FA) or B. However, Normal AUTO and manual flash is possible at these settings. (Each camera has their own maximum permissible flash sync and shutter speed settings, click here for the Nikon FE2, Nikon FA and Nikon FG (as shown)).

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9-A. Set the ASA/ISO film speed.

Turn the ASA/ISO film speed setting ring (the outside ring of the exposure calculator dial) until the ASA/ISO index is opposite the speed of the film loaded in your camera. Note: If camera's ASA/ISO dial is set higher than 400, the top and bottom warning LEDs will blink alternately to let you know the film speed is above the usable range.

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10-A. Choose an f-stop from the calculator dial. BEFORE you proceed, you MUST understand TTL flash exposure also has its limitation and certain guideline (Especially with the effective flash working distance) must be followed in order to achieve a higher degree of rate-of-success . Depending on how far away your subject is from the camera, you must select an appropriate working aperture by referring to the calculator dial. You'll notice that each f/stop (from f/2.0 to f/22) has its own color-coded line above the white distance scale indicating the range of distances at which you can shoot. For example, if you're using ASA/ISO 100 film and want to shoot subjects up to 6 meters (20 ft.) away, you can select f/4.0, f/2.8, or f/2. At f/4.0, the automatic shooting range is indicated by an orange line; it indicates you can shoot any subject between 1 and 6.2 meters (approx. 3 and 20 feet) away.

11-A. Set the lens aperture ring to the appropriate f-stop. If you decide to shoot at an aperture of f/4.0, then you must set the aperture ring on the lens to f/4.0.


12-A. Set the SB-15''s shooting mode selector to TTL setting.

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Slide the selector to the right as far as it will go for automatic through-the-lens (TTL) flash exposure control.

There are four settings on the selector switch. "A" (Automatic) flash mode is separated into two A1 and A2, each has its working distance. The "MD" setting next to the "A" is the Motor drive setting which can be used for stropic effect in rapid sequential shooting with popular Nikon motor drive units like MD-12 for Nikon FM, FE and FA model(s), MD-14 (For Nikon FG, EM and FG-20) or MD-15 for the Nikon FA. For non-TTL automatic flash in this setting, you can use them on other models as well (Even the mechanical FM, FM2 models and the electronic Nikkormat EL models with the dedicated Motor winder AW-1). The "M" setting is for manual flash, in this case, FULL flash output and intensity is at its maximum. The "TTL" is for through the lens and meter the flash output off the film plane and by far this is the most accurate and effective way of flash exposure control especially in close up and multiple flash setups.

* More info available at the Control in detail section.

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13-A. Turn on the flash unit.

Slide the ON/OFF switch to the right; immediately the green LED will light up indicating TTL operation.

Note: The green LED may blink for a short time after the power switch is turned on, but this does not indicate a malfunction.

14-A. Wait for the ready light to come on.

First turn on the camera's meter by lightly depress ing the shutter release button. Then wait for the LED ready-light inside the finder to light up, indicating that the SB-15/SB-17 is ready to fire.

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At the same time, the ready-light built into the back of the SB-15/SB-17 will come on. < Viewfinder ready-light Illustrated at left is using Nikon FG. Check Nikon FA or Nikon FE2.

In the case of Nikon F3/SB-17 combination:

As soon as the LED ready-light comes on the flash is ready to fire. If you depress the shutter button halfway, you'll notice that the LCD displays 80 indicating that the proper synchronization speed of 1/80 sec. has been automatically set by the speedlight.

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With the new AS-17 coupler, TTL flash may be possible with SB-15 or another flash with normal TTL flash exposure control capability.

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Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon SB-15/SB-17 - Operational Manual - Part II

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