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Best rechargeable batteries

Mike Plavchak , Apr 12, 2008; 01:02 p.m.

I'm looking for a good brand of rechargeable batteries for use with an SB800 on a D300 for weddings/events. I using Energizer Lithium e2 now and love them. I get a ton of flashes and fast recycle times, but the price is killing me. $9.50 + for a four pack.I'm also using the Nikon battery pack with the Sb800, so that's 11 batteries per flash unit. So I'm looking for something with the same or close to the power and cycle times I'm getting from the Energizers with a reasonable recharge time. Also needs to have a charger unit that holds a lot, more the better since I'm using a lot of batteries at a time. Thanks for any ideas.

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Shun Cheung , Apr 12, 2008; 01:08 p.m.

Mike, take a look at page 19 in the SB-800 manual. Lithium batteries provide the slowest flash recycle time on the SB-800, worse than Alkalines. IMO, NiMH rechargable AAs is the best choice and I get 2900mAH types from B&H.

Additionally, I highly recommend the SD-8A external battery pack to speed up the recycle time. It takes an additional 6 AA batteries and speeds up the recycle time to 1 to 2 seconds. The SD-8A was very hard to find until a few months ago. I like it so much that I actually bought a second one as a backup.

David Bookbinder , Apr 12, 2008; 01:15 p.m.

Consider at least one set of the Eneloop-type AA battery. Although the capacity is less (around 2100mAH), they have a very slow discharge rate when compared to regular NiMH batteries.

Shun Cheung , Apr 12, 2008; 01:25 p.m.

David, what is the advantage of those Eneloop batteries? A very slow discharge rate merely means that if you leave them sitting on the shelf for weeks, they'll lose their charge very slowly. At least to me, that is not important.

Jim Momary , Apr 12, 2008; 01:48 p.m.

Use NiMH as your best best for life and power and cost. Regular or long life Eneloops or Imedions, your choice. My reg. NiMh cells self-discharge to 'useless' in about two+ weeks. I use them in my SB-600s. I don't use the strobes that often, for what I do, so for me the long life trumps a bucket of power. I chronically forget to charge, I know, my issue :-). Anyways, the charger should be selected carefully. I would say a charger that charges the group of cells with an individually monitored circuit is a must have to guarantee all cells get up to snuff. Most cheapie chargers charge cells in a two cell series-string, so if one battery of the two in the series is not as depleted it pre-empts the charger first, thereby not fully charging what had been the more discharged cell. I find I get a lot better performance now that I've changed to that type of charger, regardless of what type of NiMH cells. All cells are at 100% after charging, and the group lasts longer in any device. My thoughts ...Jim M.

Mike Plavchak , Apr 12, 2008; 01:48 p.m.

Thanks Shun. Yes, I have the SD-8A, and am going to get a second on for my other SB800. I know the SB800 manual does not like lithium, but how old is that manual? I get very fast recycle times with the energizer e2. They have only been out a few years, so I wonder if the SB800 manual was printed before this battery came out. Anyway, it does not matter, since I'm going broke buying the lithium anyways. Is there a certain brand that you think is best? Yes I agree, discharge time does not matter since I would do a full charge a day of so before the event.

Shun Cheung , Apr 12, 2008; 01:58 p.m.

The SB-800 was introduced in July 2003 along with the D2H; those were the first iTTL/CLS flash and camera, respectively. So the manual is at most 4+ years old. Earlier before I knew any better, I indeed used Energizer lithium batteries (but not the e2) in my flashes for a wedding, and recycle time was painfully slow.

Anyway, upon recommendations from this forum, I bought a bunch of Impact 2900mAH rechargables from B&H, but that brand name apparently has been changed to Pearstone now.

Paul Trunfio , Apr 12, 2008; 02:26 p.m.

I agree with Shun. The SD-8A is a good way to go and 3 times cheaper than the quantum turbo. But I do find it limiting at times to have the wire. So, lately I've just been changing batteries when the recycle time starts to slow. I use the MAHA NiMH batteries with the MAHA charger available from thomas distributing (based on advice here).

Mitch Falk , Apr 12, 2008; 02:45 p.m.

Try the Power 2000-2900AH batteries, they're great for the days shoot as the "in flash" batteries, but I would get an external pack for an event shoot.

I have a 40watt Digital Camera Battery pack and connecting cable, it really speeds up the flash and goes all day with plenty left to spare.

Craig Gillette , Apr 12, 2008; 02:58 p.m.

The eneloops are convenient for devices that get intermittent use. If you are in a more intense usage cycle where you always have plenty of batteries in a ready state and have charger capacity and a routine to keep rotating, then they probably won't do much for you.

I notice a big difference though in the way they work for my wife's digicam compared to older batteries in my old Fuji S602, and my flashes which I use more intermittently. In the past I had to plan ahead on weekend uses and if I went too long -as in more than about 2-3 days from a charge, I couldn't count on the camera or flashes. My wife went on a cruise with her mother for a week, used her camera every day but not too intensely and she never needed to change or charge batteries. With the S602 and earlier type batteries, if I'd charged for her Friday night before leaving Saturday, she probably would not have been able to take pictures after Tuesday, even if not using the camera much at all.


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