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Nikon SB-26 AF-TTL Speedlight

Barely a year and a-half after the Nikon SB-25 was introduced, Nikon has strangely introduced another high-spec AF TTL Speedlight to substitute the earlier model. The SB-26 is also a TTL AF auto thyristors, which carries many features similar to its predecessor except there it incorporates a few enhancements in flash control. Both units are quite identical in size and form except again they can be easily distinguished via the front section with the new model has two eye-catching lamps. It partly explains why the SB-25 is more scarce in number as the model has a shorter duration in its product cycle). The SB-26 was actually introduced along with the Nikon F90x in September, 1994 (similar in nature how SB-25 was introduced for the earlier Nikon F90). Although the new update carries a new designation in model name but many Nikon photographers do feel the new features incorporated in the update were far from too impressive (and too speedy to call for such an upgrade). In fact, if you have skipped a few years on such development, these updates can often confuse even a veteran Nikon user (admittedly, although I am not a Nikon expert but easily you can regard me as one of the confused one..).

Anyway, whatever the reasons and purpose. It is true that AF Speedlight has really put advanced Nikon AF cameras such as F90x's many sophisticated features into full use - especially when combines both camera/flash with various TTL flash accessories that slowly developed into a supportive system on its own. The many advanced "standard" features that can be found in a modern Nikon AF flash such as Red-Eye Reduction, Repeating Flash for dramatic strobe effects and FP High Speed Sync which enables the use of a shallow depth of field in bright daylight and its AF-assist illuminator provides autofocus capability even in total darkness with any Nikon AF SLR are equipped in SB-26's basic spec-sheet. However, although many of these functions can also be found in the earlier SB-25 model but the SB-26 has a few 'minor' Xtra things to offer and among the enhancements made to this update, a new built-in Wireless Slave Flash function can be quite interesting, i.e. by using two Speedlights or more - versatile multiple flash photography setup can be performed easily and with more assuring results than anytime before.

Further, as the flash head is virtually similar to the previous model, it offers same capabilities and you can rotate and tilt its flash head for bounced flash photography. Flash coverage automatically adjusts for any focal length from 24mm to 85mm. One of the improvement made to the original SB-25 is a built-in wide flash adapter extends coverage to include that of an ultra wideangle 18mm lense ! Manual control with the SB-26 is also possible with its full 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 and 1/64 output settings. For easy reference - all basic information related to flash photography is displayed on the flash's LCD panel. There"s also a built-in bounce card which you can slide out for catch-light effect.

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Nikon SB-26 Flash / speedlight compatibility chart with various Nikon cameras.

Source: Nikon Europe

Well, if one wants to be picky, there are only two main innovations found in this Nikon flash update. The built-in wireless slave unit was somehow like a replica of the MF Contax RTS III's wireless flash system. Although theoretically, this sounds like a effect solution to substitute previous way of tedious way in setting up multiple flash photography but (If I have not interpreted wrongly what the instruction says), the seemingly perfect wireless solution provided by this Nikon Speedlight does not support multiple flash operation in TTL mode ! So, exposure calculations has still to be depends on automatic flash exposure or operate the few flash units in manual exposure calculation via conventional flash meter, errr .... the next improvement made to the SB-26 from previous model is the built-in feature of pullout flash diffuser The SB-25 is capable of providing flash coverage down to 20mm with its diffuser while the SB-26 has an super-wideangle coverage down to 18mm ! The front section of the SB-26 differs from previous Nikon Speedlight in appearance, just under the main flash head has two lamps with a center switch. This is wireless slave unit. The wireless operation has two selector switches which signifies "D" for delay and "S" for standard function respectively. The delay mode in wireless operation will cause the flash delay firing until the main master unit flash duration goes off while the standard mode fires the flash at the same time as the master flash unit. Another small addition to the feature list in SB-26 was a new symbol for the red eye reduction, very minor indeed.
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In a typical multiple flash photography setup, if you still aim to retain full TTL exposure metering - the only way is to make use of various Nikon TTL-flash accessories such as TTL connecting sync cords, TTL flash adapters with a capable Nikon SLR that offers TTL flash exposure control. The illustration at the side can be of any combination of Nikon TTL flash models. You may need a few of these cords, the common ones are SC-17, 18 1.5m (4.9') and SC-19 (3m (9.8') connection). Please note the connecting terminals of each of these cords provide. In such possible combinations, the AS-10 TTL flash adapter is of an important connecting accessory to bridge all these cables.

Credit: An image modified from a scanned copy of an original Nikon flash multi flash setup.
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Frankly, from a consumer point of view, unless you are in the opinion that there is an absolute necessity to think the new features (in particular the wireless slave flash and super-wide diffuser coverage) can help to enhance your work flow in flash photography, the SB-26 seems a little over-featured in terms of practicality with some of the newly incorporated respective functions to call for justification for a new investment from the older SB-24 as a system flash unit for your Nikon. Comparatively, the revised, highly portable Nikon AF-TTL SB-28 (DX) speedlight and/or an even smaller/cheaper Nikon AF-TTL SB-27 Speedlight with some compromised features that followed can be of a more logical choice if you have just bought a camera such a Nikon F5 or a F100. Naturally, since the SB-28 has replaced the SB-26 now and there is no basis for such comparison in a new set except if you can scout a used unit, it is quite viable then. Anyway, overall I would still think the high performance SB-26 can be regarded as a versatile, high quality Nikon flash to easily satisfy all your flash photographic needs with any of your Nikon AF SLR, so, the next smart thing to do is just how to get it at cheaper rate, thanks to the Net - try places such as online auction houses like Ebay and/or my own baked version by CLICKING HERE.

To some users and depends on what features you depend most from a modern AF flash with the camer version you owned, an older version SB-25 also seems like a good alternative (especially a cheaper used unit) as it almost offer similar configurations. Whatever it is, at a time where users often do not have any choice because Nikon used the SB-26 to replace the SB-25 and if you are aiming for a high performance Nikon TTL AF-speedight during that period of time, this was what you can get. Anyway, as Nikon finally added another inclusion with the Nikon AF-TTL SB-27 model introduced a year later in 1995 (which followed by another revised flash design AF-TTL Speedlight SB-28 in 1997), at least there was another option for Nikon photographers to choose from for their photography. Well, you need not have to think negatively as all I intend to emphasize is the justification of the cost of investment - after all, the flash provides whatever a SB-25 can deliver PLUS more ... whether you can utilize them in practice or not is another question. Please note: The wireless slave flash feature is NOT available in the newer SB-28 model and thus, Nikon F4 users may not be able to utilize flash control rear curtain sync as the SB-28 also eliminated the flash switch.

<<< --- Credit: Images courtesy of Mantis1982® <Mantis1982@yahoo.com>. Mantis 1982 operates a popular Ebay Store and on and off, he publishes many good bargain of used Nikon stuffs. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Below are some of the features in SB-26 outlined briefly with their respective functions:

redeye.gif Red-Eye Reduction Before the shutter is released, the SB-26's Red-Eye Reduction lamp lights up for approx. one second to make the pupils of the subject's eyes become smaller, thus reducing the appearance of Red-Eye.
FPsync.gif FP High-Speed Sync With the SB-26 Speedlight set at the FP mode, flash output continues from the start of the shutter curtain opening until it is fully closed; this allows flash sync with high shutter speeds from 1/250 sec. to 1/4000 sec. You can capture fill-flash pictures even with film that has a high ISO rating, and still maintain wide aperture settings for expanded control of depth of field.
repeatflash.gif Repeating Flash This strobo-effect operation is selectable with the Speedlight SB-26, in which the flash fires continuously at selected rates; you can choose the length of time between flashes (I Hz to 50 Hz), the number of flashes and the flash output amount.
wireless.gif Wireless Slave Flash This revolutionary feature makes multiple flash operation convenient, eliminating complicated wiring by remote cords. One other compatible Nikon Speedlight is used as a master, mounted on a capable Nikon body such as F90x or connected by a TTL remote cord or any sync cord. You then get any number of SB-26 Speedlights into place, and set them for Wireless Slave Flash operation. Because you don't have to connect these units with cords, you have greater lighting arrangement flexibility. No more accidental tripping or fumbling, either. The SB-26 offers a choice of "simultaneous" (S) firing and "delay" (D) firing. With the D mode-the first in the world- you can fire the main flash unit TTL; the other SB-26 units fire immediately after, without affecting the main unit's TTL operation.

Credit: Image of SB-26 courtesy of Mr. Oleg Kipnis® <skipnis@hotmail.com> who operates an Ebay Store. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

AF-Assist Illuminator Dedicated Nikon Speedlights with autofocus illuminators - the SB-28, SB-27, SB-26, SB-25, SB-24, SB-23, SB-22 and SB-20 (and others) - send an LED-patterned beam of light to the subject, making it possible to take sharply focused pictures even in total darkness.

sb26LCD.jpg sb26bouncecard.jpg sb26bouncewideadapt.jpg
Far left: the self-luminous LCD control panel; the built-in Bounce Card (middle) and built-in Wide Flash Adapter (right)

Technical Highlights:
Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash with Monitor Pre flashes
(with F5, F100, F90(x), F 80(x) or F70 series and D-type AF Nikkor)
Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill Flash with Monitor Pre flashes
with F5, F100, F90(x), F 80(x) or F70 series and CPU lense
* except D-type AF Nikkor)
Slow Sync (with F90x, F70 or F-60 1)
Rear-Curtain Sync
(with F5, F100, F4-series, F90(x),, F70 or F-601 and other capable Nikon SLRs)
Red-Eye Reduction
(with F5, F100, F4-series, F90(x), F70 or F-601 and other capable Nikon SLRs)
FP High-Speed Sync
(with F5, F100, F90(x) and other capable Nikon SLRs)
AF-Assist Illuminator
(with any AF SLR)
Repeating Flash
Manual flash output level compensation
Wireless Slave Flash
Built-in bounce card
Automatic power zoom coverage from 24mm to 85mm
(with F4-series, F90x, F70 and other capable Nikon SLRs) with a CPU lense )
Built-in wide flash adapter: to cover 18mm.

Versatile all direction tilting/rotating flash head

LCD panel with illumination * CPU lenses refer to those AF Nikkor, AF-i Nikkor or Ai-P Nikkor lenses which feature a built-in microcomputer and CPU contacts. ** With F4-series, Ai-S or Ai -Nikkor lenses are also usable.

Credit: Image of SB-26 courtesy of Mr. Norm Greene® <gmbfoto@hotmail.com> who operates an Ebay Store. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Specifications for Nikon SB-26 AF-TTL Speedlight

Electronic construction: Automatic Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) and series circuitry
Flash exposure control: TTL automatic flash: TTL automatic flash control with F5, F100, F80 series, Nikon F4 series, F90x, F70, F-601, or F-50 ; non-TTL automatic control with any Nikon SLR (with Flash Unit Coupler AS-4, TTL-AS-7 and/or AS-17 required with Nikon F3-series). Manual control: full 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/169 1/32 and 1/64 output
Guide number (ISO 100, m): 36 (with zoom head set at 35mm)
Flash coverage: 85mm, 70mm, 50mm, 35mm, 28mm, 24mm; 20mm, 18mm (with built-in wide flash adapter)
Film speed range in TTL auto flash mode: ISO 25 to 1000 with F5, F100, F80 series, Nikon F4-series, F90x, F70, F-601 or F50
Recycling Time:Approx. 7 sec.
Number of flashes: Approx. 100
AF-Assist Illuminator: Automatically fires LED beam toward subject when performing autofocus with F5, F100, F80 series, Nikon F4-series, F90(x), F70, F-601 or F50 in low-light conditions
Power Source: Four 1.5V AA-type alkaline or NiCd batteries; usable with optional DC Unit SD-7 and high performance Battery Pack SD-8

Credit: A few interesting notes highlighted at Nikon Links:

# Coverage for lenses as wide as 18mm, 8 settings - 18 and 20mm (with built-in wide flash adapter), 24, 28, 35, 50, 70 and 85mm; auto power zoom with the Nikon F90x/N90s, F90 Series/N90, F70 Series/N70, F4 Series, F801/N8808 and F801s/N8808s; manually set with other cameras.
# Three power switch settings; OFF, STBY and ON; at STBY position with Nikon F90x/N90s, F90/N90, F70/N70, F4, F801/N8808, F801s/N8808s, F601/N6006, F50/N50, F401x/N5005, F501x/N2020, F301/N2000, F401/N4004, F401s/N4004s, FA, FE2, FG, Nikonos-V, FM2 or FG-20 the SB-26 turns off automatically after unit is not used for approx. 80 seconds and turns on when the camera is turned on.
# TTL Mode : Used with Nikon F90x/N90s, F90/N90, F70/N70, F4, F801/N8808, F801s/N8808s, F601/N6006, F601M/N6000, F50/N50, F401x/N5005, F501x/N2020, F301/N2000, F401/N4004, F401s/N4004s, FA, FE2, FG, Nikonos-V. Useable aperture f/1.4 - f/22 at ISO 100. Shooting distance .6-20 meters (2-66 ft.). Distance scale can be changed from meters to feet with lever inside battery compartment.
# Flash sync in two modes. Normal front curtain sync for all cameras listed above. Rear curtain sync for Nikon F90x/N90s, F90/N90, F70/N70, F4, F801/N8808, F801s/N8808s.
# FP High Speed sync flash - available with Nikon F90x/N90s, F90/N90 enables high speed shutter (1/250 or faster) for flash sync.
# Monitor pre-flash - available with when used with Nikon F90x/N90s, F90/N90, F70/N70 and AF Nikkor lens.
# Red eye reduction lamp fires before main flash with Nikon F90x/N90s, F90/N90, F70/N70.
# AF Assist Light : LED beam automatically fired using AF in insufficient light with Nikon F90x/N90s, F90/N90, F70/N70, F4, F801/N8808, F801s/N8808s, F601/N6006, F50/N50, F401x/N5005, F501x/N2020, F401/N4004 and F401s/N4004s

SB26LucasB.JPG SB26LucasC.JPG

Credit: Image of SB-26 courtesy of Mr. Lucas Budman® <lucas4@qwest.net> who operates an Ebay Store. Image copyright © 2003. All rights reserved.

Dimensions (without mounting foot): Approx. 79mm (W) x 135mm (H) x 101 mm (D)
Weight (without batteries) Approx. 390g
Other features: Ready-light, open-flash button, sync/ multiple flash terminal, LCD panel illumination
Accessory provided: Soft Case SS-24
Nikon flash accessories There are various ways of connecting Nikon Speedlights to the F90X other than direct mounting. For instance, you can use the Nikon SC- 17 TTL Remote Cord for off-camera flash photography (approx. 1.5m). Up to two more units can be connected to the SC-17's terminals through the TTL Multi-Flash Sync Cord SC-18 or SC-19 for TTL multi-flash photography. There's also the Nikon SK-6 Power Bracket Unit for hand holding the Speedlight just beside the camera.

| previous | NEXT | Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight SB-27

Main Index Pages for Nikon Flash Photography with Nikon F4 and others:
| Part I | Part II | Part III |

Nikon AF-TTL Speedlights | SB-20 (1986) | SB-22 (1987) | SB-23 | SB-24 (1988) | SB-25 (1991/2) | SB-26 (1994) | SB-27(1997) | SB-28 (1997) | Nikon SB-29(s) (2000) | Nikon SB-30 (2003) | Nikon SB-600 (2004) | Nikon SB-800 (2003)
Nikon AF-TTL Speedlight DX-Series:
Nikon SB-28DX (1999) | SB-50DX (2001) | SB-80DX (2002) (updated)

Nikon BC-flash Series | Original Nikon Speedlight
SB-2 | SB-3 | SB-4 | SB-5 | SB-6 | SB-7E | SB-8E | SB-9 | SB-E | SB-10
| SB-12 | SB-14 | SB-140 UV-IR| SB-15 | SB16A | SB-17 | SB-18, SB-19 | SB-21A (SB-29) Macro flash | Flash Accesories | SF-1 Pilot Lamp

The Camera Body - Features | Reliability | Focusing | Metering | Exposure Control | Lense Compatibility| Various Power Sources | Interchangeable Prisms | Data Film Backs | Focusing Screens | Flash Photography | Other system accessories | Cases for Nikon F4 Series | Remote Control |

| Specification | Main Reference Map | Nikon F4 Variants
Instruction Manual: PDF (4.5M) - External Link

| BACK | to Main Index Page Nikon F4 Series SLR camera Models

| Message Board | for Nikon F4 Series SLR model(s)
| Message Board | for your Nikon Optics in a shared environment
| Message Board | Specifically for Dispose or Looking for Nikon/Nikkor Photographic Equipment

| Back | to Pictorial History of Nikon SLR / rangefinders / Nikonos / digital cameras.

weblibrary.gif   Nikon F | Nikon F2 | Nikon F3 | Nikon F4 | Nikon F5 | Nikon F6 | Nikkormat / Nikomat | Nikon FM | Nikon FE/ FA | Nikon EM/FG/FG20 | Nikon Digital SLRs | Nikon - Other models

Nikon Auto Focus Nikkor lenses:- Main Index Page
Manual Focus Nikkor lenses:- Fisheye-Nikkor Lenses - Circular | Full Frame | Ultrawides Lenses - 13mm15mm18mm20mm | Wideangle Lenses - 24mm28mm35mm | Standard Lenses - 45mm 50mm 58mm | Telephoto Lenses - 85mm105mm135mm180mm & 200mm | Super-Telephoto Lenses - 300mm 400mm 500mm 600mm 800mm 1200mm |

Nikkor Link.jpg

Index Page
  Special Application lenses:
Micro-Nikkor Lenses - 50mm~55mm -60mm 85mm -105mm 200mm Micro-Zoom 70-180mm
Perspective Control (PC) - 28mm 35mm PC-Micro 85mm
Dedicated Lenses for Nikon F3AF: AF 80mm f/2.8 | AF 200mm f/3.5 EDIF
Depth of Field Control (DC): 105mm 135mm
Medical Nikkor: 120mm 200mm
Reflex-Nikkor Lenses - 500mm 1000mm 2000mm
Others: Noct Nikkor | OP-Nikkor | UV Nikkor 55mm 105mm | Focusing Units | Bellows-Nikkor 105mm 135mm
Nikon Series E Lenses: 28mm35mm50mm100mm135mm | E-Series Zoom lenses: 36~72mm75~150mm70~210mm

MF Zoom-Nikkor Lenses: 25~50mm | 28~45mm | 28~50mm | 28~85mm | 35~70mm | 36~72mm E | 35~85mm | 35~105mm | 35~135mm | 35~200mm | 43~86mm | 50~135mm | 50~300mm | 70~210mm E | 75~150mm E | 80~200mm | 85~250mm | 100~300mm | 180~600mm | 200~400mm | 200~600mm | 360~1200mm | 1200~1700mm

Tele-Converters: TC-1 | TC-2 | TC-200 | TC-201 | TC-300 | TC-301 | TC-14 | TC-14A | TC-14B | TC-14C | TC-14E | TC-16 | TC-16A | TC-20E

Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst

W A R N I N G: The New G-SERIES Nikkor lenses have no aperture ring on the lense, they cannot adjust aperture(s)when operating in manual exposure control even with certain earlier AF Nikon SLR camera models. Similarly, not ALL features provide in a modern AF-S series AF-Nikkor lenses can be utilized fully with a Nikon F4. Please refer to your local distributor for compatibility issue(s).

PLEASE NOTE: Complimentary links are appreciative but it is not necessary, I have limited bandwidth here in this server... So, PLEASE don't distribute this URL to any bulk mailing list or unrelated user-groups, just be a little considerate, thank you. (The more you distribute, the slower this server will response to your requests...). I am NOT a Nikon nor Nikkor expert, so don't send me any mails, use the Message Board Instead. While the content prepared herein should be adequate for anyone to understand and evaluate whether you should invest into a used Nikon F4 pro-camera system for your kind of photography. Well, IF you like what you have seen so far, please help to perfect this site by reporting any broken links or any errors made.

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About this photographic site.

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HOME - Photography in Malaysia


Credit: Chuck Hester, US for his patience, encouragement and help to setup the various content in this site; Robert Johnson for some of his original images on the F2H-MD appeared in this site; my ex-staff, KiaSu for his superb 3-D logo appeared in this Nikon F2 site; Marc Vorgers from Holland who generously provide me with some of his images of F2AS; MCLau®, who has so much time with me to re-edit the content in this site and not to mention buying a Nikon Coolpix 990 just for this site; Paul Armstrong (pkared@ameritech.net) for his explantion of the FF2 Slidemagic and Nikon F2 Pin Camera Keat Photo, Kuala Lumpur for providing their Nikon F2A to take some images for this site; Mr Edward Ngoh the great camera collector who provides us his collection of F2AS with MD-2; hawkeye.photographic.com for their images on the Speed Magny film backs; Sean Cranor for his image on Nikon F2 25th Anniversary Model; Ted Wengelaar®, Holland for his continuous flow of input on some of the early Nikon bodies; Genesis-Camera for granting permission to use an image of the SS-F2 camera; Mr Sover Wong, Australia for those great images of his rare F2 Gold;CYLeow ®, photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia for some of his images used in this site. Ms Rissa Chan, Sales manager from Shriro Malaysia who has helped to provide some of the very useful input. HiuraShinsaku®, Nikomat ML, Japan for some of his images on various F2 models; my staff, Wati, Maisa, Mai and my nephew, EEWyn®, who volunteered and helping me did so many of the film scanning works; Hong-sien Kwee of Singapore for all the Nikon F2 Pin camera images appeared in this site; Luigi Crescenzi for many of his images on the Nikon F2 Titan; John for two of his images of the Nikon F2/T used in this site; Contributing photographers or resellers: Jen Siow, Foo KokKin, Arthur Teng, Mark Fallander, John Ishii, Ed Hassel, YoonKi Kim, Jean-Louis, M.Dugentas (Dell Corner.com.), Mr "Arsenall", Yang Zi Xiong and a few images mailed in from surfers with no appropriate reference to their origin. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their own work to publish in this site based on educational merits. The creator of this site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from such possible dispute except rectifying them after verification."Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. A site made with an Apple IMac.