I agree. I have an SB-50 which I use on the fm3a and an F80. I've given up on all the automatic settings and use the manual settings figured out by the guide number. I find it much more reliable. In other words, you don't need an expensive nikon flash.
That said, one great thing about the SB-50 is that it can function as an off-camera slave, and is fired when it senses a flash going off on the camera (so the camera flash can be a real cheapo). This tends to give much better shadows than one flash next to the lens - i think anyway.