Working in the portrait photography industry you need a good strobe light that gets the job done. The Nikon SB-910 is the only flash you need to cover all of your portrait lighting situations. The SB-910 replaces the discontinued SB-800 and packs a bigger punch than the SB-700. Whether you are working in the field or in a studio, this is the only flash you need for portrait photography.
It is no surprise I am a Nikon shooter - I have been for over 10 years faithfully. I am not going to spend the time writing about a Canon equivalent just yet, let's wait and see if Canon matches the D800's sensors and megapixels before spending the time to review Canon's rival flash.
Flash Modes: i-TTL, AA, A, M -- this flash works wonders in i-TTL in addition to setting it up with wireless triggers in remote or slave mode.
Bounce Capability: rotates from -7 degrees to 90 degrees, with 4 stops in between
1/880 sec. at M 1/1 (full) output
1/1100 sec. at M 1/2 output
1/2550 sec. at M 1/4 output
1/5000 sec. at M 1/8 output
1/10000 sec. at M 1/16 output
1/20000 sec. at M 1/32 output
1/35700 sec. at M 1/64 output
1/38500 sec. at M 1/128 output
Minimum Recycling Time
2.3 sec. (approx.) with Ni-MH (2600 mAh) batteries
3.0 sec. (approx.) with Oxyride (1.5V) batteries
4.0 sec. (approx.) with Alkaline-manganese (1.5V) batteries
4.5 sec. (approx.) with Lithium (1.5V) batteries
What Stands Out From This Flash
The Nikon SB-910 separates itself from the rest of the flash field for several reasons, first it's unique ability to select one of three flash modes. You can direct the flash to shoot in standard, portrait, or group mode. Portrait mode illuminates using a center weighted flash while group mode throws light evenly for indoors or group portraits. The quality of light from this flash is downright fantastic. It isn't cheap, with an MSRP at $545, the SB-910 does require a bit of an investment - but it is well worth it. I personally like to operate with two strobe lights, you could use the SB-910 as your main light and a less powerful, less expensive SB-700 as your background or fill light.
Durable and powerful
Portable and easy to use color gels
High quality of light
The SB-910 in the Field
In the end photography is a funny industry that gives back what you put in. If you want high quality lighting for your portraits you need to invest in a quality light. The SB-910 is what I call the only flash light you will need because it is portable, can be used on stands with wireless or IR triggers, or can be used on your camera's hotshoe mount. It is versatile, effective and efficient, with quality. Don't overlook the ability to use flash diffusers for portraits or weddings, in addition to using colored gels to give a dramatic portrait. One thing you will always find in my camera bag is my Nikon Speedlight - it comes in handy in tight spaces, in the studio or in the field.
This photo above shows an example of using the SB-910. I threw the speedlight on my Nikon D800 hotshoe mount, my model is actually posed against a neutral wall - and I wanted something fun and lighthearted (hence the goggles). This shot became extremely easy using the flash in i-TTL mode, the flash balanced the natural light with just the right amount of light for my model. If I had a second portable speedlight with me I could use a lightstand and light my model's hair from behind, but this is a perfect example of using one light source from a flash and coming away with an excellent portrait.