Resolving Speedlight Zoom Issue

In General Stuffby Patrick

I have not yet pulled the trigger on the SB-5000 speedlights yet. For client projects I rely on the Profoto B2 system, but for wildlife in my backyard studio and select things I still use the SB-900. It has been a bit of workhorse for my wildlife photography and I have gotten good mileage out of it.

While using it the other day, I noticed that the zoom was stuck at 17mm and would not move. I was unable to zoom it in or out. Resetting the light by powering it on/off did not help the issue. I tried all the trouble shooting tips that I could find online and nothing helped. I thought this might be a sing that I am going to need to invest in a new speedlight. The setup I had was the Nikon D5 attached to my 200-400 VRII. I had the light on a RRS light bracket using the SB-28 cable to the D5 hot shoe. I was also running the SD-9 battery pack for quick recycle time. As I was shooting wildlife, I had the MagMod light extender on as well.

My simple fix for the zoom issue was to remove the MagMod which was giving the speedlight false information that the diffuser dome was on. With the diffuser dome the zoom will stay locked according to the manufacturers specs. Once off, the zoom worked fine. I thought, am I not going to be able to use the flash extender from MagMod? I have the better beamer as well and had no issues with it, but the MagMod has really cool attachments and I would prefer the MagMod. I re-attached the MagMod and the zoom worked. I now know that I cannot have any of the MagMod hanging over the edge of the speedlight. It has to be tight. Simple fix that took some trial and error. Hopefully this will help someone else who may have had this issue.

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