Nikon SB-24 Speedlight

Nikon Speedlight SB-24 : Review for Strobists

Nikon Speedlight SB-24 : General Features

A model from the early 1990s (and perhaps earlier), the SB-24 is what you’d expect from a Nikon flash from that era. It was intended to be a professional quality unit, and it does feel nice and solid, even after nearly 20 years.

A quick look at the rear panel reveals the strobe’s features.  From the top left, the first switch controls whether the flash syncs to the front or rear curtain (when used on camera). The next switch is the shooting mode selector: A gives auto exposure according to the speedlight’s meter, M allows for manual power adjustment, the third position is an icon that indicates multiple-flash mode, and finally, there is TTL mode, in which the camera’s meter adjusts the exposure according to the through-the-lens meter.

The “Zoom” button holds no surprises, and allows you to zoom the lens from 24 to 85mm (24, 28, 25, 50, 70, 85). Next to the zoom button is the M button, which changes the power level of the flash in manual mode. The SEL button and two arrow buttons work in conjunction to select and change different values (ISO, aperture, etc) within the LCD view screen.

Nikon SB-24 : Rear Controls
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter Nikon SB-24 : Rear Controls

The bottom row of controls holds a light button (light bulb icon), which turns on a smooth, blue-green backlight on the LCD. The next button is a strobe release/ready indicator which turns red when the flash is fully charged. Finally, there is a power switch, which includes Standby mode between the typical ON and OFF positions.

Strobist Advantages

The SB-24 fills all of the basic strobist requirements. It is capable of full manual control, with power levels ranging from 1/1 down to 1/16th. Of course, it has a hot shoe if you’re using a Cactus-type trigger, but more importantly, it has a PC jack on the left  side. The PC jack makes it simple to connect a Pocket Wizard or one of the RD-616 style Ebay triggers.

Strobist Drawbacks

There aren’t any significant drawbacks to this unit, but a couple of minor issues are worth mentioning. As I mentioned previously, the power level only goes down to 1/16, wich isn’t great for close up work.  Additionally, there is only one button that controls the manual power level, and it only adjusts down (before returning to the top). So, if you’re on 1/4 power and want to move up to 1/2 power, you’ll have to scroll through 1/8, 1/16, and 1/1.

The Verdict

An excellent choise for the strobist as long as long as you don’t primarily shoot close up with shallow depth of field.

Nikon SB-24 Front
Matthew Gore | Light And Matter Nikon SB-24 Front
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Geo k. Weissler

Thank you Matthew you used short clear and consice wording to discribe the important aspects to this older Nikon flash. It is a shame that many newer amateur photo enthusiasts
do not understand the value in some of these older speedlights. You do not necessarily
require the newest the most perfect flash in order to achieve some fantastic photographs.
What it is about is creating works of Art with the equipment available and at a cost that is acceptable to our person here with the camera. An SB 24 can do a about a ton of work for about $50.00. Not a bad option at all for those looking across the isle at the new SB 5000’s ‘price tag of about $600.00……….it’s worth more than my camera and lens combined……..WHAT.?? How can thins be


Got one recent for about $ 45 at eBay.With modern light weight cameras it is a heavy weight champion to bear with.Very powerful flash compared to Camera built in flash and can say it is nearly 10 times or more powerful.Tried this on Nikon D5200 and Canon D350.The flash is working well in both A & M modes.But the image metadata says no flash fired.In manual need to control flash output from 1 to 1/16 Level.High or low setting of our own will reflect in the image.In Auto it is perfect but we need to set zoom, ISO & Aperture F setting on flash as per camera setting.Further for Nikon D5200 camera Auto ISO option to be set OFF, else it will be light flooding in image as auto ISO sets upwards as per ambient lighting and camera seems not recognize flash is mounted.But in Auto if flash is properly set as per camera setting the resultant image is perfect.Missed several trial snaps with light flooding on Nikon D5200.Finally after put OFF Auto ISO its OK.Despite it is being from 80s it is working flawless but of course with limited functionality with modern cameras.For those who need a basic function flash with some advanced features it is a Good choice considering its current price range.The only drawback is its heavy weight at 500 gms inclusive of batteries.