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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.


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 SU800 Debao SU800
Transmission mode Infrared Communication Infrared Communication
Transmission power 13W 20W
Wireless control distance 20M 35M
Wireless communication channels and wireless groups Four: 1, 2, 3 and 4 ChannelsThree: A, B and C Four: 1, 2, 3 and 4 ChannelsThree: A, B and C
Display LCD, Ready-light LCD, Ready-light
Supports CLS Yes Yes
Supports HHS Yes Yes
Supports RPT Yes Yes
Supports AF assists Yes10m Yes 15m
Horizontal rotation angle Don't Support -130 ~ 130 degrees
Recycle time 0-4S 0-2S
Supports continuous shoot No Yes
Required power source One 3V CR123A lithium battery 2 x AA battery
Supports for manual flash No S1 Model manual flash
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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.

Spy Black's picture

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

Timothy Jace's picture

Sounds good!

Lukas Gisbert-Mora's picture

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

Yang's picture
Pidgeon Pagonis's picture


I can't seem to find this product anymore. Do you know where it has gone or if there are alternatives, to this alternative? Thank you!

Michele Recchia's picture

Hi Jerry, I am just a phot- enthusiastic dentist. I use the Nikon R1C1 system (RU800 controller and sB-R200 flashes). I was thinking to buy this device for my practice. Is it compatible with the SB-R flashes? thanks Michele