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In the Nikon Creative Lighting System CLS, a commander is a flashgun or specialised unit which can send out pre-flash signals instructing up to three groups using optical communication or up to six group using radio control of CLS equipped speedlights to fire with a particular setting.

There are four types of commander in the Nikon system currently.

  • A Nikon Commander is a specific device which only issues commander signals, and is attached to the camera hot-shoe.
  • An SB800 or SB900 can act in commander mode, where it can fire itself as Master, and fire A, B and C groups of flash
  • The pop-up flashgun on the D70 and later cameras can act as a commander in the same way as the SB-800.
  • The WR-R10 (introduced 2016) and WR-R11a/R11b (from 20202 onwards) can be used for sending control signals via radio to modern flash units, such as the SB-5000.

Please note: Starting with the SB-5000, Nikon introduced a radio-based wireless protocol in addition to the regular, optic Advanced Wireless Lighting (AWS) system mentioned on this page. The controller for this new system is the WR-R10, replaced in October 2020 by the WR-R11a and R11b controllers. There are several constraints using the WR-R10 and you should make sure you are using one of the latest cameras. With the WR-R11a and WR-R11b, quite a few cameras are compatible.

See also: The compatibility info on the WR-R10 and WR-R11a/R11b pages.

Nikonians Photo Glossary

  • This page was last modified on 23 January 2021, at 17:16.
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