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is nikon SB 105 strobe really that bad?

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#1 gorantrener



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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:06 AM

hello, i am wondering why SB 105 strobes are that cheap?
i mean, these days you can buy unused piece for less then 200 $.
that is significantly cheaper then any other strobe currently being popular.
is really SB 105 that useless or has much less power or what is the trick?
thanks for opinions.
P.S. i am aware of current process where nikon changes 103s with 105 s for free, but
that cannot be the only reason i suppose

#2 Steve Williams

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:07 AM

It's just a little behind by todays standards. Bigger than the more powerful strobes available today, only has three power levels, not as wide as current units. That said a lot of folks still use them and they work. You just give up some capability and ease of use.


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#3 MikeVeitch


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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:24 AM

Nothing wrong with the 105 strobe, its a good one! However, it won't work with TTL with most of the modern cameras as far as I know. You will have to shoot full manual with it. but that shouldn't be a problem

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#4 JimG


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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:18 AM

I have used them for years. Super, quite powerful bit of kit with Nikon quality. As said above, always on manual and I don't believe they are compatible with TTL converters. Don't spread the word round or the price will go up!

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#5 gorantrener



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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:31 AM

hahaha good point Jim! also Mike and Steve, thanks for sharing opinions. i shoot strectly manual so TTL incompatibility doesnt bother me too much. also i see from specs that it has not so wide coverage but in 99% situations you can get away with it. also the weight and power supply doesnt look like too big problem (travell issues)

#6 scuba_d



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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:01 AM

I am still happily using 2 of them. The size has an advantage too. When I put the big dome port on my housing and 2 SB105 the system is just a little negatively buoyant as I like it.


#7 Ken Kurtis

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:43 PM

I recently switched from dual SB-105s to dual S&S YS-D1s (which I love). That being said, I also loved my SB-105s but there are definitely limitiations you have to adapt to. Lack of TTL is not an issue for me since I shoot in full manual. It was a little bit of a PITA to only have three power settings (Full, 1/4, 1/16) which means any change is a 2-stop change. But you learn to adapt. And I mostly shot with them on 1/4 power and then adjusted my subject-camera distance &/or f-stop to get what I wanted. The biggest proboem is getting them serviced if something goes wrong. No one seems to want to touch them anymore. I live in Los Angeles where's there's a walk-in Nikon-operated factory repair center and they farm them out to someone up in the Bay area where the minimum repair charge is $224.

FWIW, if you've still got your heart set on SB-105s (they're compact, run off of AA batteries, and are powerful), I've got 6 - 2 working great and 4 in various stages of working/not-working - that are just taking up space on my shelf. Contact me privately (kenkurtis@aol.com) if you're interested in giving them a new home.

- Ken

P.S. i am aware of current process where nikon changes 103s with 105 s for free, but
that cannot be the only reason i suppose

According to the folks I talk to at Nikon here in LA, they stopped that program in the middle of 2012-ish.

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#8 gorantrener



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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:39 AM

Ken you are right, service problem is an issue, also in Europe noone wants to touch 105s for repair.
About Nikon Europe, i managed to change old forgotten 103 for 105 somewhere mid summer 2012, guess i was lucky then.
After that bought another 2 in ebay, so dont really need another. Thanks for offer anyway, maybe some1 else will catch you when
it is now obvious that nothing is wrong with 105s.

#9 kelpscape


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Posted 02 July 2015 - 11:17 AM

FWIW I got a new SB105 in Feb 2015, in exchange for an SB103 sent in late in 2014.  (It came along with a Nikonos body and lens ordered from eBay).  I heard from a 3rd party that the program was about to end.

The Nikonos is cheap, light, and small enough for a surfy beach entry; and it still is with the SB105.  

#10 dougjgreen



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Posted 15 July 2018 - 11:02 AM

The recall is still active, and I suspect it always will be, because it's a safety (explosion) issue.   Nowadays, Nikon is exchanging the SB-103 strobe heads for a $125 voucher on their website.  I exchanged mine last week after being informed of it by another poster here.


The issue with using SB-105s and most modern  UW cameras and housings, is that they sync via fiber optics.  So you need a separate optical in slave trigger that ignores pre-flashes, and outputs to a Nikonos 5-pin connector.  Those components exist, but they are hard to find, and not mass produced by anyone, hence expensive.

Edited by dougjgreen, 15 July 2018 - 11:09 AM.