Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon First AF Flash Unit SB-20

Autofocus Speedlight SB-20

Just to complete the number from SB-1 to SB-21, there is a necessity to slot in the SB-20. Unlike any other flash units mentioned and discussed earlier in other sections, the SB-20 is a autofocus flash. Generally, when used with a flash coupler like AS-4, AS-7 or even the newer TTL coupler AS-17, most flash produced by Nikon can fit into a camera such as Nikon F3 or direct mount onto any Nikon camera that has a standard ISO type accessory shoe. This can safely applies onto most of the current AF flash units as well.

The SB-20 was designed originally as a companion flash unit for the second Nikon AF SLR camera, the F-501 toward mid of the '80 after the Nikon F3AF in 1983. In many ways, although it was designed as an AF flash, but most of its features can also be use on any of the TTL or non-TTL Nikon bodies with some limitations.

It has a high-tech styling, and packed enough features to supplement the autofocus Nikon F501 (Or called N2020 in U.S). With the F-501, F801 or any Nikon made AF cameras, you can use them safely even in total darkness and still obtain perfect, automatically focused pictures. This is how it works: When the existing light is below a certain level, the focus-assist LED AF illuminator of the SB-20 automatically turns on when the camera is set for Single-Servo AF shooting mode.

The illuminator gives contrast to the subject allowing the N2020 autofocus system to function as though it were daytime. Exposure control is automatic too. ALL you do is set the selector of the SB-20 to TTL and the F501, F801 or other equivalent AF bodies with the exposure mode selector to any of the AUTO mode - and you don't even have to worry about shutter speed error as along as you are using a Nikon AF body.

Extra features as selectable flash coverage angle and bounce flash make the SB-20 an even more attractive addition to the autofocus system. You can even select three different flash lens angle coverage without optional accessories; the SB-20's flash tube rotates for wide coverage of 28mm, 35 and 85mm. And you get bounce flash capability as its uniquely designed flash module.


Automatic Mode Operation The SB-20 lets you choose from five alternative apertures indicated on the back panel. Manual Mode Operation Lets you choose from five different levels of flash light output: full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16. TTL flash Mode. The TTL mode lets you enjoy the ease of TTL flash exposure control as long as the subject is within the flash working range, you have have the widest selection of aperture to control depth of field.

The flash has an additional TTL sync connecting socket provided at the side which made this flash a ready companion if you intend to setup your camera for TTL multi-flash operations. It is simple and straight forward in its layout and I think this can well be a very good alternative if you find the SB-16B too bulky to carry along on a short trip. For the Nikon F3, it is less appealing prior to the arrival of the new AS-17 which opens up a lot of potentials on TTL flash options for F3. Anyway, with the AS-4 and AS-7, you can either enjoy normal AUTO flash or operate it in full manual control.

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Light output control: Silicon thyristor-controlled rectifier and series circuitry Automatic TTL flash output control with Nikon F501 (AF assisted), F301, FA, FE2, or FG; automatic exposure control with any Nikon SLR (with Flash Unit Coupler AS-4. AS-7 or AS-17 required with Nikon F3); manual control: choose from full, 1/2 1/4 1/8 and 1/16 output Guide number (ASA/ISO 100 In feet) 100 with zoom head set at N
Angle of coverage: 45° horizontal and 60° vertical; with zoom head set at N
ASA/ISO film speed range: ASA/ISO 25-1600
Recycling time: Approx. 7 sec
Number of flashes: Approx. 150
* AF assist LED Automatically fires LED beam at the subject when below predetermined level of brightness when F501, F801 etc. is set at Single AF Servo mode. * With fresh alkaline-manganese batteries at full output
Power source: Four 1.5V AA-type penlight batteries
Dimensions (excluding mounting foot): Approx. 2.8"(W) X 4.3"(H) X 2.7"(D) (71mm X 110mm X 70mm)
Weight (excluding batteries): Approx. 9.2 oz. (260g)
Other features: Ready-light, open-flash button, sync/multiple flash terminal Accessories provided Soft Case SS-20

Download a free instruction manual in PDF (4.1MB), courtesy of Mr. Jim/ pls send a thank you note on my behalf as well.

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Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Nikon First AF Flash Unit SB-20

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