Burn the Flash

a.k.a. "How not to set yourself on fire"

There is a very good reason why Nikon prints the warnings in their flash manual.

Exhibit A - SB-400 Flash, only 1 year old (click for bigger)

This flash has MELTED, CRACKED and had started to emit smoke and smell funny.

Might have had something to do with how I was using it.

Nikon Recommended Use My use Extreme use
15 (auto) 50 100
40 (manual) 200 1000

There was only ONE time where I attempted to use the same pair of batteries up to 1000 shots, upon putting them in my jacket pocket I started to smell something burning. The flash does start misfiring after a certain amount of shots as it has to recharge.

I can normally manage about 200 shots with flash before I swap the batteries out to let them cool down. Once they cool down a bit they are usually good to go again.

I never actually worked out how the front of the flash melted. It just ended up that way one day after I used it and it didn't really make that much difference to the photos.

Recently the flash has started to misfire more often and it has now been retired. The SB-400 is a very popular flash and I had trouble finding it in a store. I would recommend it if you have any of the Nikon SLR's and want a flash you can put into your pocket and go as it makes taking photos at parties and events much better.

Thanks, Tim Chmielewski, 24th November 2008.

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