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Flash exposure compensation with the SB-400

I noticed Nikon’s diminutive and relatively inexpensive SB-400 flash and it looked great—I’ve wanted something that size for a while. I have three of the monster SB-800 units (519g with batteries) which I hate carrying; they're big and heavy and klunky to carry around. So they sit in a drawer.

I ordered the SB-400 and it arrived today. But there is one show-stopper problem: I cannot figure out how to dial in flash exposure compensation, specifically -1 2/3 stops for fill flash, as any consumer-grade DSLR with a popup flash can do. That’s all I want to do with the SB-400, I don’t want to use it as a trigger or blast someone blind with it.

I’ve read the inscrutable D3x manual, the SB-400 manual and not a peep on this very basic function. I did find the CV function for locking flash output, but that’s of little use in varying situations. On the SB-800, one dials in compensation on the flash itself. Is this another brain-dead Nikon thing, like whacking the mirror up and down in Live View mode?

If there is a way to use flash exposure compensation with the D3x, I’d appreciate hearing how—thank you. Otherwise the cute little SB-400 is going back to toyland where it belongs.


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