How do i control multiple flashes from my nikon d40?


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Jan 5, 2008
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I want to start up an amatuer studio so that i do not have to pay silly prices for good family portraits, i am "officially" the family photographer now i have bought the d40 but i love it so dont mind at all, but i do not know yet how to control multiple flashes from one camera.

I have heard of sync cables and slave units etc etc but nobody has broken it down in plain englsh for someone who is a complete novice, could someone do this for me please ans also any tips on how to setup a basic studio on a small small budget would be great!! Im far from being too posh for second hand gear so old methods are welcome.

I already have a tripod and have a diffuser ( a real small one ) a spirit level on its way for the hot shoe and two "external" flash units which could go on the hot shoe powered by batteries. I also have a remote control so i can get into the photo.

My email address is [email protected]. I put this here as im not familiar with Forums and do not know if i have set it up right so that i receive the alert of a reply.

Please help!!!

The D70 and higher cameras have a built-in commander mode for controlling multiple external flashes that transmits control signals through the built-in pop-up flash. You can set it so that the pop-up doesn't even contribute to the exposure even though it'll still flash. The D50 and lower don't have this, so you either need an SB-800 flash which has the commander function, or an SU-800 commander which doesn't have a flash built in and is only for controlling remote flashes, but does it a lot easier than through the clumsy menus on either the SB-800 or in the camera menus on the D70 and above. You can also get eBay triggers, but I've never played with those so I can't comment. The Nikon equipment will all maintain full iTTL flash control though for great exposures everytime.

I'll tell you from first hand use that the SB-600/800 will handle like total crap on the D40. If you're on a tripod it'd be okay, but I strongly prefer the tiny SB-400 flash on my D40, which of course won't control remote flashes. An SU-800 is about the same size and weight as an SB-400, which would work great. My hands are already a little big for the D40 though, so maybe it's better for someone with smaller hands. There's an aftermarket battery grip for the D40 that would make using big flashes on the hot shoe handle a lot better.

If you just want to control a single flash off-camera so that you're not dead-on, you can get either an SC-28 or 29 cable. The 29 is more expensive, but has the focus assist lamp built into it which will make focusing a lot easier, especially in dim conditions with a slow lens. I have the SC-29, but haven't used it yet other than for testing and trying it out.

SU-800's and SB-800's aren't cheap. If you plan to do this seriously and frequently, I'd consider upgrading to a used D70/s or even a D80 which both have the commander mode built into them which could save you a lot of trouble. I don't do any serious flash work with my D40 because of this, and leave that to my D80. You could look into those eBay triggers and other non-Nikon solutions, but I didn't want to screw around with any of that stuff and only wanted things that I knew would work and give me good results without messing around.
Many thanks for that but im afraid most of that went over my head. I am on a really tight budget here so it will have to be after market device. I might be wrong but it seems like i need a trnsmitter in the hot shoe transmitting to receivers attaches to the hot shoe fitting of a flash telling the flash to fire. Is it that simple? If so what are the correct names of the "bits" so i can search for them on ebay and ask around etc, and what about mounts for umbrellas and flashes, do they have a specific name? like flooglebinder for those who have seen cocktail???
No clue. :mrgreen: Just try "wireless flash trigger Nikon" on eBay or something. I'm sure there's somebody else here that knows about them, or try a search.
Lovely, thanks again, but are my assumption right regarding the setup? Trigger on the camera remotley activating the other flashes via radio waves

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