Nikon Discontinues the SB-500, Suspends Orders for the SB-5000
Nikon Japan has announced that it will discontinue the production of the SB-500 Speedlite and is also temporarily suspending new orders for the SB-5000 Speedlite due to difficulty sourcing parts.
The company previously had to “temporarily” suspend the production of the SB-500 on August 4, 2022, but has decided not to resume that production due to what it calls an “uncertain future supply of parts.” Nikon apologizes for any customers who were waiting for new supply of the compact strobe.
The SB-5000 appears to be on the same road, as Nikon will temporarily suspend orders for the Speedlite.
“Due to a delay in the supply of parts for the Speedlite SB-5000, it will take some time to deliver the product to customers. I have decided to stop. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers,” Nikon says.
The company intends to monitor the situation and will make further announcements as soon as it determines if it will even be possible to resume production. If nothing changes, it is very likely that the SB-5000 will meet the same fate as the SB-500.
While the announcement does seem like it is directly related to manufacturing and thus will have worldwide implications, at the time of publication, PetaPixel was still awaiting to hear back from Nikon USA if this announcement would have any affect on North American customers. That said, given that the SB-500 is listed as “unavailable” and the SB-5000 is on backorder at Adorama, there is strong evidence that western markets have already been affected.
Nikon launched the SB-500 in 2014 and brought the larger SB-5000 to market two years later. The latter compact strobe was the first to be equipped with a “cooling system” that allowed it to operate continuously for longer periods of time.
In November of 2021, Nikon seemed to indicate that it was at least somewhat interested in divesting from speedlight production when it announced a new partnership with Profoto and Nissin. Back then, PetaPixel surmised that Nikon would drop or de-emphasize its own first-party strobes and allow Nissin to pick up that end of the market. While that was never confirmed, Nikon’s current state where both the SB-500 and SB-5000 are unavailable to purchase seems to line up, though it is entirely possible that this situation is just a coincidence. Unless Nikon makes an official statement, photographers may never know.