Debao SU800 Flash Commander Review

Debao SU800 Flash Commander Review

Nikon has not updated their master commander (SU800) for their CLS system for 9 years. Lucky for us, a Chinese company has made a knock off that is cheaper, has a ton more power and takes AA batteries. For Nikon users looking for a way to remotely control the power of your speed-lights or just have a decent backup, this might be the remote trigger for you. (They also make a Canon version that I did not review.)

Most Nikon and Canon shooters do not even think about using their camera's built in flash control. Honestly it is intimidating, having to go through all the menus to change settings; however, by using the Debao SU800 you don't have to dig through your camera or flash menus to find the right settings. It is all right in your face with a couple of buttons.

fstoppers-su800 (2)

Over the past couple of weddings I have been using the CLS system, and I find it extremely flexible, quick, and free. If I need to get a quick shot from my kicker across the room, I can simply change the power settings or flash compensation if I am shooting TTL. You are able to control multiple flashes on multiple channels with ease. One of my other favorite features of this unit is the AF focus beam. The Debao puts out a grid of light to help focus in low light environments.

jerritpruyn-su800-fstoppers

In the past the argument to not use the CLS system has been that there tend to be miss-fires. Yes it happens because these system work on "line of sight". While using the SB-910 as a master commander I had some miss fires, but when using the Debao Su800 I had far fewer issues; it has a more powerful signal. At times I was able to get the Debao to work around corners. Below are the stats for the Debao vs the Nikon SU800. If you are in the market for your first flash remote or a nice backup, I high recommend buying the Debao SU800. They also have a Canon version as well.

Nikon SU800Debao SU800
Transmission modeInfrared CommunicationInfrared Communication
Transmission power13W20W
Wireless control distance20M35M
Wireless communication channels and wireless groupsFour: 1, 2, 3 and 4 ChannelsThree: A, B and CFour: 1, 2, 3 and 4 ChannelsThree: A, B and C
DisplayLCD, Ready-lightLCD, Ready-light
TTL Modei-TTL、DTTLi-TTL、DTTL
Supports CLSYesYes
Supports HHSYesYes
Supports RPTYesYes
Supports AF assistsYes10mYes 15m
Horizontal rotation angleDon't Support-130 ~ 130 degrees
Recycle time0-4S0-2S
Supports continuous shootNoYes
Required power sourceOne 3V CR123A lithium battery2 x AA battery
Supports for manual flashNoS1 Model manual flash
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9 Comments

David Apeji's picture

Yep, This is just another indication that Nikon is still asleep at the wheel. Their marketing is atrocious. Come on board of directors, you need to fire some members of management already.

Jason Ranalli's picture

Agreed but even this is outdated....why use IR when you can use radio on the new generation of triggers that are coming out? TTL capable radio triggers/flashes are very affordable now.

I love Nikon gear and usually buy their lenses over third party even if it is used, but for flashes and triggers I have much less loyalty. Nikon is behind and overpriced IMO.

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

They are good, however I have seen plenty of pocket wizards give people issues. This is a pretty cheap fix for remote TTL, I have also shot in places that has so much radio interference I could not get a radio trigger to fire. Times Square is one of the places.

Scott Mosley's picture

This unit works great on top of my pocket wizard system giving me complete zone control AND focus assist. It is actually a sweet tool to replace the ac3 zone controller and gives you some nice alternatives to a master-mode flash on your camera.

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

Thanks for the tip Scott.

I love this. Nikon SO deserves it for their overpriced, underpowered junk.

Sounds good!

I tested it, the range is over 35metres https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeyN0uaBdnI