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This post is for my classmates, but pretty much anyone who uses a speedlight (or Canon speedlite) can get some information from it. Read this post to learn why what batteries you use in your flash unit can really affect how it performs.
|My Duracell 2650mah Nimh batteries charging on a Lacrosse Charger. These guys
are over 2 years old and still pumping out consistent high capacity power.
In Wednesday class Photojournalism class, Ms. Finch gave use the lecture on portable flash units. I was actually pretty impressed by her lecture, because she was 100% accurate about how easy it was for people to become scared of using portable flash power. This post isn’t about magic tricks on how to use the flash, resources on that are found all over the web at websites like this , this, or for the basics check this out here. What this post is actually about is batteries, and how batteries can get you the most out of your flash. Trust me, the read is worth it.
Trent Notes : I’m writing this through years of use and experience. I’ve tried out numerous other battery solutions, and also been through oodles and oodles of weddings and events so my experience comes from hard usage of these batteries.
One of the best things about speedlights is their portability, and a main factor in their portability is the use of small batteries to power up the flash. Normally these batteries are the common double A’s that we’ve been using since the dawn of battery time. Double A batteries in the Alkaline form are pretty much ubiquitous, and can be purchased almost anywhere. Obviously this makes the convenience factor of the double A standard to be pretty darn useful. So here comes the kicker. About 10 years ago NIMH batteries started becoming extremely affordable as a replacement for alkaline batteries. The marketing pitch for NIMH batteries were they were more powerful (capacity and amp wise), they were reusable, and also had little memory effects in comparison to older rechargeable technology. I highly suggest any techy science people read up on the above wiki link if they need help going to sleep.
So how does this affect you as a photographer using a speedlight?
Well I’ll just throw you the hard details. NIMH batteries should be the ONLY TYPES of batteries you use for your speedlight unit. Here’s the reasons why.
So these are three major reasons why to use NIMH batteries. There’s actually some other great reasons such as being environmentally friendly using Nimhs, and also using precharged NIMH’s but those factors are more universal where the above reasons really hit at home for photographers. Something not covered in this post is using smart chargers for NIMH batteries. While the units are more expensive than the cheap $6 units you can get that charge, smart chargers can increase the life span of your batteries by months or years. Also something not covered is as mentioned the precharged NIMHS which on paper seem weaker with their standard 1800~2000mah ratings, but they do provide some advantages. Please search google to find out more about those batteries.
I want to thank David Hobby at Strobist.com for his article on NIMH’s. I actually have never read it before, and while researching some links while writing this article stumbled upon it. Mr. Hobby has been one of the most important people in the photography world the last few years, so I’m quick to make props to him.