The Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS)

Nikon’s advanced Creative Lighting System (CLS) supports a variety of features thanks to improved communication between the camera and compatible flash units.

Features Available with CLS-Compatible Flash Units

Flash unit

0

SB-5000

The SB-5000

SB-910/SB-900/SB-800

The SB-910, SB-900, and SB-800

SB-700

The SB-700

SB-600

The SB-600

SB-500

The SB-500

SB-R200

The SB-R200

SB-400

The SB-400

SB-300

The SB-300

SU-800

The SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander

The SB-5000

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

4 1

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

4 2

qA

Auto aperture

4

A

Non-TTL auto

GN

Distance-priority manual

4

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

4

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4

qA

Auto aperture

4

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

4 3

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

4 4

Color Information Communication (flash)

4

Color Information Communication (LED light)

Auto FP high-speed sync

4 5

FV lock

4 6

Red-eye reduction

4

Camera modeling illumination

4

Unified flash control

4

Camera flash unit firmware update

4

  1. Not available with spot metering.

  2. Can also be selected via the flash unit.

  3. Choice of qA and A depends on the option selected with the master flash.

  4. Supports the same features as remote flash units with optical AWL.

  5. Available only in i-TTL, qA, A, GN, and M flash-control modes.

  6. Available only in i-TTL flash control mode or when the flash is configured to emit monitor preflashes in qA or A flash control mode.

The SB-910, SB-900, and SB-800

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

4 1

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

4 2

qA

Auto aperture

4 3

A

Non-TTL auto

4 3

GN

Distance-priority manual

4

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

4

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA

Auto aperture

4

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

4 4

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

Color Information Communication (flash)

4

Color Information Communication (LED light)

Auto FP high-speed sync

4 5

FV lock

4 6

Red-eye reduction

4

Camera modeling illumination

4

Unified flash control

Camera flash unit firmware update

4 7

  1. Not available with spot metering.

  2. Can also be selected via the flash unit.

  3. qA/A mode selection is performed on the flash unit using custom settings.

  4. Choice of qA and A depends on the option selected with the master flash.

  5. Available only in i-TTL, qA, A, GN, and M flash-control modes.

  6. Available only in i-TTL flash control mode or when the flash is configured to emit monitor preflashes in qA or A flash control mode.

  7. Firmware updates for the SB-910 and SB-900 can be performed from the camera.

The SB-700

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

4 1

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

4

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

GN

Distance-priority manual

4

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

4

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

Color Information Communication (flash)

4

Color Information Communication (LED light)

Auto FP high-speed sync

4 2

FV lock

4 3

Red-eye reduction

4

Camera modeling illumination

4

Unified flash control

Camera flash unit firmware update

4

  1. Not available with spot metering.

  2. Available only in i-TTL, GN, and M flash-control modes.

  3. Available only in i-TTL flash-control mode.

The SB-600

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

4 1

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

4 2

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

GN

Distance-priority manual

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

i-TTL

i-TTL

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

Color Information Communication (flash)

4

Color Information Communication (LED light)

Auto FP high-speed sync

4 3

FV lock

4 4

Red-eye reduction

4

Camera modeling illumination

4

Unified flash control

Camera flash unit firmware update

  1. Not available with spot metering.

  2. Can also be selected via the flash unit.

  3. Available only in i-TTL and M flash-control modes.

  4. Available only in i-TTL flash-control mode.

The SB-500

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

4 1

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

4

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

GN

Distance-priority manual

M

Manual

4 2

RPT

Repeating flash

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

4 2

i-TTL

i-TTL

4 2

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

4 2

RPT

Repeating flash

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

4

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

Color Information Communication (flash)

4

Color Information Communication (LED light)

4

Auto FP high-speed sync

4 3

FV lock

4 4

Red-eye reduction

4

Camera modeling illumination

4

Unified flash control

4

Camera flash unit firmware update

4

  1. Not available with spot metering.

  2. Can be selected using the [Flash control] item in the camera menus.

  3. Available only in i-TTL and M flash-control modes.

  4. Available only in i-TTL flash-control mode.

The SB-R200

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

GN

Distance-priority manual

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

i-TTL

i-TTL

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

4

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

M

Manual

4

RPT

Repeating flash

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

Color Information Communication (flash)

Color Information Communication (LED light)

Auto FP high-speed sync

4 1

FV lock

4 2

Red-eye reduction

Camera modeling illumination

4

Unified flash control

Camera flash unit firmware update

  1. Available only in i-TTL and M flash-control modes.

  2. Available only in i-TTL flash-control mode.

The SB-400

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

4 1

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

4

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

GN

Distance-priority manual

M

Manual

4 2

RPT

Repeating flash

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

i-TTL

i-TTL

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

Color Information Communication (flash)

4

Color Information Communication (LED light)

Auto FP high-speed sync

FV lock

4 3

Red-eye reduction

4

Camera modeling illumination

Unified flash control

4

Camera flash unit firmware update

  1. Not available with spot metering.

  2. Can be selected using the [Flash control] item in the camera menus.

  3. Available only in i-TTL flash-control mode.

The SB-300

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

4 1

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

4

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

GN

Distance-priority manual

M

Manual

4 2

RPT

Repeating flash

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

i-TTL

i-TTL

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

Color Information Communication (flash)

4

Color Information Communication (LED light)

Auto FP high-speed sync

FV lock

4 3

Red-eye reduction

Camera modeling illumination

Unified flash control

4

Camera flash unit firmware update

4

  1. Not available with spot metering.

  2. Can be selected using the [Flash control] item in the camera menus.

  3. Available only in i-TTL flash-control mode.

The SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander

When mounted on a CLS-compatible camera, the SU-800 can be used as a commander for SB-5000, SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB‑500, or SB-R200 flash units. Group flash control is supported for up to three groups. The SU-800 itself is not equipped with a flash.

Supported features

Single flash

i-TTL

i-TTL balanced fill-flash

Standard i-TTL fill-flash

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

GN

Distance-priority manual

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Optical Advanced Wireless Lighting

Master

Remote flash control

4

i-TTL

i-TTL

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

4 1

qA

Auto aperture

A

Non-TTL auto

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Remote

i-TTL

i-TTL

[A : B]

Quick wireless flash control

qA/A

Auto aperture/non-TTL auto

M

Manual

RPT

Repeating flash

Radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting

Color Information Communication (flash)

Color Information Communication (LED light)

Auto FP high-speed sync

4 2

FV lock

4 3

Red-eye reduction

Camera modeling illumination

4

Unified flash control

Camera flash unit firmware update

  1. Available during close-up photography only.

  2. Not available when RPT is selected as the flash control mode for the remote flash unit.

  3. Available only when i-TTL is selected as the flash control mode for the remote flash unit or when the flash is configured to emit monitor preflashes in mode qA.

Notes on Optional Flash Units

Be sure also to consult documentation for the optional flash unit before use.

  • If the unit supports CLS, refer to the section on CLS-compatible digital SLR cameras. This camera is not included in the “digital SLR” category in the documentation for the SB-80DX, SB-28DX, and SB-50DX.

  • If the flash-ready indicator (c) flashes for about three seconds after a photograph is taken in i-TTL or non-TTL auto mode, the flash has fired at full power and the photograph may be underexposed (CLS-compatible flash units only).

  • i-TTL flash control can be used at ISO sensitivities between 64 and 12800 equivalent.

  • At ISO sensitivities over 12800, the desired results may not be achieved at some ranges or aperture settings.

  • In mode P, the maximum aperture (minimum f-number) is limited according to ISO sensitivity, as shown below:

    Maximum aperture (f-number) at ISO equivalent of:

    100

    200

    400

    800

    1600

    3200

    6400

    12800

    4

    5

    5.6

    7.1

    8

    10

    11

    13

    • If the maximum aperture of the lens is smaller than given above, the maximum value for aperture will be the maximum aperture of the lens.

  • The SB-5000, SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600, SB-500, and SB‑400 provide red-eye reduction in red-eye reduction and slow-sync with red-eye reduction flash modes.

  • “Noise” in the form of lines may appear in flash photographs taken with an SD-9 or SD-8A high-performance battery pack attached directly to the camera. Reduce ISO sensitivity or increase the distance between the camera and the battery pack.

  • The camera provides AF-assist illumination as required. AF-assist illuminators on optional flash units will not light.

  • When an SC-series 17, 28, or 29 sync cable is used for off-camera flash photography, correct exposure may not be achieved in i-TTL mode. We recommend that you select standard i-TTL fill-flash. Take a test shot and view the results in the camera display.

  • In i-TTL, do not use any form of flash panel (diffusion panel) other than the flash unit’s built-in flash panel or supplied bounce adapter. Using other panels may produce incorrect exposure.

Flash Photography

Flash photography cannot be combined with some camera features, including:

  • silent mode,

  • video recording,

  • high-speed frame capture, and

  • HDR overlay.

Using FV Lock with Optional Flash Units
  • FV lock is available with optional flash units in TTL and (where supported) monitor pre-flash qA and monitor pre-flash A flash control modes (see the documentation provided with the flash unit for more information).

  • Note that when Advanced Wireless Lighting is used to control remote flash units, you will need to set the flash control mode for the master or at least one remote group to TTL, qA, or A.

Other Flash Units

The following flash units can be used in non-TTL auto (A) and manual modes. The options available do not vary with the lens used.

Flash unit

Supported features

SB-80DX, SB-28DX, SB-28, SB-26, SB‑25, SB-24

Non-TTL auto, manual, repeating flash, rear-curtain sync 1

SB-50DX, SB-23, SB-29, SB-21B, SB‑29S

Manual, rear-curtain sync 1

SB-30, SB-27 2, SB-22S, SB-22, SB-20, SB-16B, SB-15

Non-TTL auto, manual, rear-curtain sync 1

  1. Available when the camera is used to select the flash mode.

  2. Mounting an SB-27 on the camera automatically sets the flash mode to TTL, but setting the flash mode to TTL disables the shutter release. Set the SB-27 to A.

Metering Areas for FV Lock

The areas metered when FV lock is used with optional flash units are as follows:

  • Stand-Alone

    Flash control mode

    Metered area

    i-TTL

    6-mm circle in center of frame

    Auto aperture (qA)

    Area metered by flash exposure meter

  • Remote

    Flash control mode

    Metered area

    i-TTL

    Entire frame

    Auto aperture (qA)

    Area metered by flash exposure meter

    Non-TTL auto (A)

Flash Compensation for Optional Flash Units

In i-TTL and auto aperture (qA) flash control modes, the flash compensation selected with the optional flash unit or with [Flash control] in the camera photo shooting menu is added to the flash compensation selected with the [Flash compensation] item in the photo shooting menu.

Modeling Illumination
  • Pressing the control to which [Preview] has been assigned using Custom Setting f2 [Custom controls (shooting)] causes CLS-compatible flash units to emit a modeling flash.

  • This feature can be used with Advanced Wireless Lighting to preview the total lighting effect achieved with multiple flash units.

  • The effects of shadows cast by the flash are best observed directly rather than in the shooting display.

  • Modeling illumination can be turned off by selecting [OFF] for Custom Setting e5 [Modeling flash].

Studio Strobe Lighting

To adjust the color and brightness of the view through the lens so that shots are easier to frame, select [Adjust for ease of viewing] for Custom Setting d8 [View mode (photo Lv)].