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The Best Batteries for Speedlights?

Shuo Zhao , Apr 19, 2008; 02:27 a.m.

Hi everyone, the question(s) is fairly simple:

What's the "fastest" AA battery for speedlights?

What type of AA battery would be the longest-lasting for speedlights?

What type of AA battery is "most reliable"?

What type of AA has best price-to-performance ratio?

Assume you're photographing a serious event (such as a wedding), what type of battery would you use?

Thanks.

Responses


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Dawn Kelly , Apr 19, 2008; 02:37 a.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

NiHM batteries by far. 2600mah or higher. A good charger, typically an overnight one. Juice brand batteries have been good for me.

Colin Southern , Apr 19, 2008; 02:53 a.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

"What's the "fastest" AA battery for speedlights?

Lithium

"What type of AA battery would be the longest-lasting for speedlights? "

Lithium

"What type of AA battery is "most reliable"?"

Any disposable battery.

"What type of AA has best price-to-performance ratio?"

NiMh

david garcia , Apr 19, 2008; 03:01 a.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

check bhphotovideo they have pearstone or impact 2900mAH batteries. I have tried both and they working perfectly.

David Bell , Apr 19, 2008; 04:38 a.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

Panasonic rechargeables for me, Ni-MH 2600mAh works a treat, lasts for ages and are very cheap.

Steve C. , Apr 19, 2008; 11:20 a.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

If it's speed you're looking for, as in speed of recycling the flash, even four of the highest capacity AA batteries will fall short in fast-action shooting. You need one of those external battery power units to keep the flash juiced up. Quantum makes some nice ones for your flash. It takes not only high capacity batteries, but some electronics to do the job. These external packs have a flyback transformer and circuitry that boosts output for rapid recycling.

Understand that the MaH rating of the battery itself only has to do with how LONG the battery will provide it's maximum output voltage, not how fast it can recover from a flash burst. MaH stands for "milliamps per hour", which is a measure of time.

I use 2600 MaH cells in my flash, but with only 4 cells, it still takes some time to recycle in rapid flash bursts. Plug in an external pack, and the recycle time is less than a second at full power. Makes all the difference.

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Apr 19, 2008; 12:31 p.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

Instead of asking these questions, just say what it is you are wanting to do. For instance, Colin may be right--lithiums are the 'fastest', however I know they get fire hot when used for a sequence of flashes, such as one would do shooting at a wedding reception, bouncing flash against the ceiling. I know--I've done it. I think anyone that shoots weddings will tell you that high capacity NiMH batteries are the best to use, combined with an intelligent charger--one that evaluates, refreshes and charges each battery individually. Maha is a good brand. So is Ansmann. Particularly the chargers. I have an Ansmann Energy 16 charger that charges 12 AAs at once, and I have been using many sets of NiMh batteries for years (all brands) with absolutely no problems.

Steve is right about speed of recycling. If you need it, nothing will beat an external battery. I have several--Dynalite Jackrabbit, Quantum Turbo SC and regular Turbo, as well as others. If you use Canon, their power pack is considered good. Just be careful of flashing too many flashes in a sequence. You can fry your flash seriously.

David Lisowski , Apr 19, 2008; 02:30 p.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

I have the Maha charger and it like it. I did however get screwed by a bad set (a large set) of batteries that I ordered. I got a Kodak brand to differentiate my batteries as opposed to my kids batteries that they put in the Xbox remote controllers. The batteries appeared to self-discharge; I charged them up but they would only hold the charge for a day or so. Then I went out to shoot and my flash was not reliably firing. I changed to a "fresh" set and they were bad too. And then duh I looked like an idi*t. Must be the flash. I thought the 580 did not like the 1.2V NiMh but sure enough a set of Energizer rechargables worked fine and hold the charge very well, recycle well. I now keep a backup set of alkaline batteries now just in case - they hold a charge for years. And the kids have their own charger and set of batteries.

Shuo Zhao , Apr 19, 2008; 05:16 p.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

Looks like NiMH is the best choice for starters then.

I don't think I need the speed of external power pack just yet.

Steve C. , Apr 19, 2008; 07:26 p.m.

Response to The Best Batteries for Speedlights

It's important to understand that different battery chemistries have different discharge characteristics. Nickel Metal Hydrides are notorious for losing their charge just sitting around, even within a few days. You always have to keep them freshly charged, but they are well-suited for high-demand usage. Lithiums will hold their charge longer, but have other problems such as high temperatures and can explode/combust in certain circumstances. And, high capacity alkalines cost more, last a shorter time, but have the longest shelf life.


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