You, like I did, might well be wondering what on earth a Shanny is. You’ve probably already assumed that it must be something to do with camera lighting and it is, it’s a Flashgun.
So why might I be interested in whether it should be time for a Shanny, well, on Saturdays wedding (22/08/15) my Nikon SB-900 blew its tube, going off with big bang just inches above my head. Did it make me jump? the dent in the ceiling should confirm that, but regardless of the fright it left me short of a flash. Which for the main part isn’t a problem as I have two others, but it left me needing a work around for the 1st dance where I shoot with three. One commander on the camera, putting out a minimal amount of light, and two slaves either side of the dancefloor and behind the happy couple, thus putting them in a stunning silhouette. So my workaround was to use the pop up flash to command the two slaves, which is fine, but on small dancefloors and finding myself to close to the dancing couple the pop up flash won’t clear the 24-70 lens properly, therefore leaving a shadow on the lower quarter of the image, so when using this work around I simply have to be very mindful of my position and the way I am am shooting.
Sounds like I have experience of using this work around before, and I have, after losing two flashguns at different weddings whereby light stands have toppled over in the wind smashing said flashguns on the floor. Not ideal I know, but the work around works, however, the financial pain of replacing these flashguns is getting a bit beyond a joke.
So I guess I should be more careful, well in the previous two cases I guess there is a call for it, but working under pressure on weddings where every minute counts you can’t always have you mind on the next gust of wind and what may happen to your gear. Having the element explode on me of course is just sheer bad luck and clear sign of how busy I have been of late, but I’m simply tired of having to spend out £225-£335 on either a new Nikon SB-700 or Nikon SB-910 when there are no guarantees that I won’t be replacing these in the near future either, and to be honest if you strip down the flashgun to its bear parts and see whats in there you would never agree that it’s worth that much, they are way overpriced.
Looking at secondhand see the prices drop to a far more manageable £180-£200 for the SB-900 or £240/£260 for the SB-910 but I am still aware that there are 3rd party flashguns far cheaper than this brand new. So initially I investigated the Youngnuo range and was all set to jump in and get one but on reading one review the photographer involved mention a new brand called Shanny and he expressed his surprise at exactly how good the SN600SN was in terms of function and build quality, so I spent the next hour or so checking out videos and blogs and found there wasn’t a huge amount of info but what there was was incredibly positive.
My order, which on the back of the price and positivity towards it, went from one to two flashguns arrived today and I have to say that on just opening the box you get a sense of quality that you wouldn’t really expect from a cheap alternative. I know the box means nothing in reality but it was that same style and build quality that a Samsung or Apple device would arrive in.
Taking it out of the box I’ve found the case it comes with to be decent as well. It’s not just a wrap around material but a padded case with a belt loop and hook. Removing it from the case I found the cold shoe, which is plastic as expected but the lightstand screw mount thread is also plastic, so this is the first negative compared to the Nikon which has a metal thread. I can live with that though, I just have to remember not to over tighten it.
The flashgun itself feels sturdy, well made and looks the part as well and sits perfectly on top of the camera in the hotshoe, and thanks to the Canon style locking mechanism, holds very firmly in place.
Going with the Canon style. I’m not a Canon shooter, never have been, but I do believe its style and function mimics one of their flashes, and if the menu system is the same then I have to say they are very easy Flashes to work with as the menu system and button layout is very easy to get on with. I’ve already figured out how I access all that I would need to and how to change what I would need to change.
Still, I’m finding no negatives, other than the plastic thread of the cold shoe, so I guess I’ll find it’s down fall in the actual use.
My first few shots with it on top of the camera are a perfect success, in fact I used it to light the shots of the flashgun sitting on top of the box. It was in i-TTL mode and nailed the exposure first time. I’ve since gone on to test the exposure compensation settings and as expected it goes up and down in power just as you would expect. So it’s main function seems to work well, but where does it stand on the power side of things, where does it rank against the Nikons.
Obviously I don’t have a working 900 anymore but I do have the 700 and 800, so, I put together a small test that goes some way to show it’s no slouch, though the test was not to the absolute millimeter accurate but it’s as close as it can be without a tape measure.
Basically I put one of the wife’s ornaments on the black TV cabinet, set the SB-700 on top of the camera on manual at 1/1. I set the camera to ISO100, 1/200th and f/22, and the following image was the result shot at 70mm
Next I placed the SB-800 on top and with it also set to manual 1/1 I used the same camera settings to see if it would be any brighter. I took the shot pretty much the same place also at the same 70mm and this was the result.
Lastly I did exactly the same with the Shanny.
As you can see it puts out far more light than the two Nikons, just as an SB-900/910 would do so I’m very happy that it packs enough power into each flash. Thats not to say I shoot at full power, but sometimes when you are battling very bright sunshine in the bride/groom portraiture I might very well need full power.
This last image I shot again with the Shanny with the same flash power settings, and all the camera settings remained the same apart from dropping the ISO to 50 and it brings the exposure to about right, in fact it’s probably just a tad to bright still.
All of these test shots were done with the flash on the camera but how will it get on off camera with the use of my Phottix Odin triggers and receivers. As it happens very well. I went through a few shots, changing from TTL to manual, running up and down the power settings and it all responded just as it should.
Off Camera TTL
My last test was to ensure the Nikon Creative Lighting System works so that I can continue to use it for my first dance sequences and……it’s perfect.
I’m going to be putting these two flashguns to the ultimate test on Thursday when I shoot Tayla & Chris’ wedding, but as far as I can tell these Flashguns have just blown the Nikon ones out of the water. If I get any issues with them on Thursday then I might have to reassess this next line, but I won’t be buying anymore Nikon Flashguns!
Oh, and what did they cost £68 on Amazon, though they can be found on eBay as well. Hence why I bought two, so should I ever smash one ever again I can still shoot my first dance with three flashguns. I paid a little extra in postage to get them here well ahead of the wedding on Thursday so I could put them to the test. I know I can get my SB-900 repaired and it would have probably been cheaper than buying the both of these, but the repair wouldn’t have been done in time. Still, once it is repaired I can sell it for nearly £200 and get myself two more Shanny’s and then sell my 700 and 800 to get some finances back after investing way to much in flashguns that only command the cost due to the name.
I hope very much not to be reporting back on these by Friday but rather to be giving a positive update in 6 months or so on how well they are going….time will tell I guess.
Thanks for dropping by.