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Article - SB-20 Mod

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I have purchased several Nikon SB-20 flash for use with my off camera flash project. Recently, I found this article to perform some minor surgery to make it compatible with non-Nikon cameras, specifically if you want to use it with Canon cameras (all manual mode) - see link here. I am more comfortable of using it now as an on-camera flash with my Pentax DL, and occassionally, Canon G2.

Unlike traditional flash head, it is a little difficult to mount a light modifier to it (such as a snoot), due the the shape of the flash head.

SB-20s are nice flashes, tt offers 45, 60, 75 and 90 degree tilt, so you can bounce off the ceiling, but does not allow you to swivel the head. But I do find it a little lacking when I bounce off the ceiling, so I thought I'd try a small mod to see if it would help.

first pic - on camera, bounce off of ceiling:

I noticed the SB-20 has a slot right behind the flash head.

That gave me an idea, so I prototyped a bounce/reflector with a card board material.

Set the flash head tilt to 90 degrees, I noticed an immediate difference, even with the small size of the reflector, what this gave me is that I don't have to use full power with the flash, so that means faster recycle time. Notice my prototype has a small tilt.

The card board reflector works, but doesn't really look very nice. I was hoping I can hit some sign companies here in town for some scrap material they have, but a quick stop at Home Depot, I found some acrylic sheets that are fairly reasonable, so I grabbed a couple of sheets for fun. And with some trial and error, I made this:

Hmm, why is it wider than the prototype? Well, while I was at Home Depot, I also picked up some white paint swatches, and they happened to be wider, :).
And this is what it looks like:

Unfortunately, although I have mastered the technique to cut and shape the acrylic, bending it require some special heating strip/tool, so my acrylic reflector mod is straight up, but it doesn't seem to have any ill effect.

Here's the result, same camera/flash setup as above photo, does bring in a small amount of shadow, but I'll work on another mod for that, :).

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