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Re: Problem with SB-600!!!!
Batteries may have leaked. Open battery chamber and clean ---especially the contacts situated at the bottom -- with pencil erazor. Blow out any loose bits and with new batteries try to switch the unit on.
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1) i-TTL: TTL flash control by 1,005-pixel RGB sensor, built-in flash, SB-800, SB-600, SB-400: i-TTL balanced fill-flash and standard i-TTL flash 2) AA (Auto Aperture-type) flash: Available with SB-800 used with CPU lens 3) Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 28, 27, and 22S 4) Range-priority manual flash; available with SB-800
Series of images is the KEY. If the Power you set the SB-600 is HIGH it will take a LONGER time to recycle than the SB-800. If you try to take a photo before the SB-600 is ready you will get a dark image. The randomness you get is due to the time between shots. In general try to run remote flashes at a lower power so they recycle faster.
I like the SB-800 because it can take 5 cells. 5 cells can really make a difference in the recycle time (faster) The SB-600 only takes 4 cells so it is slower.
You probably haven't changed the camera and/or flash back to TTL mode from wireless mode. Make sure they are both set to TTL, not commander mode and you should be fine. Note that the LCD on the flash will indicate which mode it is with a little graphic. On the D70 you had to switch between TTL and Commander mode to set it up to work using the built in flash as the commander, so you just have to switch back.
My SB 600 is doing the exact same thing. I used Nikon's online support service and this is the response I got:
"I would try doing the 2 button reset on the flash and then see if that helps. Also disconnect any battery packs you may have connected especially if its a third party battery pack. If none of the above work then please service the speedlight"
Sounds like they don't know what it is, either. I tried the reset to no avail. I'm not sure I want to send it in to have it fixed, since it does seem to be working. But you're right, it's annoying.