Now, the Nikon d5100 is one of the most popular entry-level DSLR cameras on the market right now and after its price reduction a few months ago, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people who are reaching out for advice on what camera accessories can improve their image quality. We have posted a few articles over the last few weeks going into a number of popular camera accessories that seem to have gone down well with our readers so we have decided to stick with this trend today.
We have had a look over the various questions that we keep seeing people asking in relation to the camera and one of the most popular ones over the last month or so is people asking for advice on the best external flash for Nikon d5100 cameras. Due to this, we have decided to make this the subject of today’s article and take a look at what we feel is the best flash unit on the market right now for the d5100.
We would like to point out that we have limited our selection to the entry-level camera flash units due to the Nikon d5100 being an entry-level camera so we have estimated the budget that our readers may have available for them. Now, we feel that the Neewer VK750II is probably the best all-round entry-level flash unit on the market right now for its price tag.
We would highly recommend any of our readers who are looking to add a Nikon d5100 to their collection of camera accessories seriously consider adding it to their collection of camera accessories. Since its release it has gone from strength to strength and earned itself an excellent reputation for itself amongst the community.
Now, if you are on a very tight budget then we do have a cheap flash recommendation for your Nikon d5100 too in the form of the Neewer TT560. It is an extremely basic flash unit but for this price point on the market, we really can’t expect much more for the price it retails at. Again, the Neewer TT560 has a solid reputation amongst the community that just keeps getting stronger.
That said, as the Neewer VK750II is our primary flash recommendation for your camera, we will be focusing on it exclusively for the remainder of the article. We feel that this gives us the opportunity to take a more in-depth look at the flash unit and go into why we feel it is the best option for our readers with a d5100 who are in the market for an external camera flash.
Performance And Functionality
The VK750II is a powerful flash unit with a guide number of 58 with a number of variable settings that you can tweak to meet the needs of your session. In our opinion, this is exactly what you need for a camera like the Nikon D5100 as the versatility of the flash unit ensures that you are able to use it in pretty much any flash photography niche you can think of. As the Nikon D5100 is an entry-level camera, many people who own it may be developing their flash photography skills in multiple niches so having a versatile flash is a must.
The flash unit also comes with the 2.4g wireless remote control flash trigger system too allowing you to remotely trigger your flash unit if needed. In this day and age, this is a common technology found on entry-level external flash units but some units can have bugs with syncing. Thankfully, the system on the VK750II is flawless so you don’t have to worry about these syncing issues as you would with some compeating flash units.
The VK750II also supports TTL, manual, and multi-mode as well as both slave one and slave two configuration too. Depending on what you are doing this may be useless to you and you may only ever use TTL and manual but the other modes are a solid addition if you are planning to use your Nikon D5100 in a multi-flash unit set up.
In addition to its fixed 5600k color temperature, the unit also has some great customization options for the actual flash output too. This ensures that you can tweak the flash unit activations to meet the needs of your actual session rather than being stuck with one generic output like many other entry-level flash units. These include a flash duration ranging from 1/200 of a second to 1/20000 of a second, eight different levels of flash control output from 1/128 to 1/1, 16 selectable channels, and a sync speed of up to 1/250 of a second.
Now, many people think that the fixed three-second recycle time on the Neewer VK750II is a drawback but it is completely in line with pretty much every other flash unit we can think of on the market at the time of writing and it is by design. One of the main reasons that flash units overheat is due to photographers using a quick recycle time with a short flash duration over a long photography session. Fixing the recycle time of the Neewer VK750II to three seconds is a quick and easy way for Neewer to help prevent overheating issues in the flash unit and in all fairness, should still be ideal for the vast majority of entry-level photograph situations anyway.
When it comes to maximum battery life, Neewer lists the maximum number of flash activations per set of batteries from being as low as one hundred up to over a thousand. Now, we have never seen a single report of anyone using the Neewer VK750II saying they have been able to get over a thousand flash activations out of their flash and the average seems to be around the three hundred mark.
In all fairness, this is a pretty solid number of flash activations and is in line with what we would expect from a flash of this type with the settings available on it. Keep in mind that using low-quality batteries will reduce this number so we always recommend that you use a set of decent AA batteries with the flash. This will ensure that you are getting around three hundred flash activations with ease, if not more.
Now, when you keep the low price tag of the Neewer VK750II in mind then it is easy to see why it is so popular with entry-level photographers or anyone on a budget. It is a solid bit of kit with great performance and a ton of functionality and we only expect its popularity to increase as time goes on. Many of the photographers who use the VK750II as their flash of choice for their cameras have also posted their own independent review of the unit that can be worth reading as it offers some solid insight into the performance of the flash.
User Interface And Control System
The interface is based around the standard LCD panel, button, and directional pad system that is very effective amongst flash units these days. The LCD panel is very bright and easy to read even if you are using it in low light conditions allowing you to see all of the data that the screen is displaying too. Although this may sound like a simple feature, so many entry-level flash units have very dull screens making it a nightmare to actually see the data that it is displaying.
All of the buttons on the flash unit are responsive and easy to press when required with the VK750II actually registering the button press too. Another issue that a large number of the entry-level flash units is that you can often press the button without the unit responding, especially if you are working in wet or cold conditions. Thankfully though, this is not an issue with the Neewer VK750II as it is buttons are excellent and responsive.
The actual navigation menu on the flash unit is also very straight forward and easy to use too. If this is your very first flash unit you should be able to quickly and easily get to groups with how to set it up and customize your settings as required. This allows you to learn the menu and how to tweak the settings without having to spend hours playing with the unit.
Build Quality And Design
Now, one of the best things about these heavier materials being used for the case of the flash is that it is very robust and tough. If you do have to pack your photography kit up on a regular basis and travel between locations then this is an absolute godsend as it ensures the flash can take any bumps without breaking.
The Neewer VK750II also comes with a standard hot shoe mount so it will mount directly to your Nikon D5100 within seconds. This lets you hot-swap between your various camera accessories as required without having to waste time. For example, switch between your flash unit after a spot of photography to an external microphone for some videography. The Neewer VK750II also offers a vertical tilt of 0-90° and a horizontal pan of 0-270° to ensure that you can easily bounce your flash as required in various situations.
That brings our article going over what we feel is the best external flash for Nikon d5100 to an end. As we mentioned back at the very beginning of the article, the Neewer TT560 can be a solid cheap flash unit for your Nikon D5100 but it is very limited when it comes to functionality. The Neewer VK750II is a much better option in our opinion and can make a much better addition to your camera accessories to help improve your flash photography image quality.
If you are still on the fence though and have not made your mind up, we would recommend that you spend some time reading a few of these independent reviews of the article. They have been published by independent photographers who are using the VK750II as their go-to flash unit of choice and wanted to share their opinions.