A tip for photographers: batteries. For speedlighters like me, these are very important – so here are a few tips.
- Camera batteries are Lithium-Ion (LiIon). A battery technology that is used in most of your cameras. LiIon batteries do not need to be “fully discharged before charging”. You can charge them any time, even after just using 10% of the batteries. So go ahead and charge them daily. Never leave home without a full camera battery.
- Also, if you have not used a spare battery (you do have one, yes?) for a month, charge it (top it up).
- Flash batteries are NiMH, and these do have a slight memory effect. So use them up fully at least once a month. Better, get a conditioning charger like a Lacrosse (these can fully discharge the batteries before recharging). Also, these batteries “self discharge” in a month or two (some “low self discharge” batteries take longer, but they still discharge!). So recharge regularly.
- Light meter batteries are specialized. And they last a long time. And they run out when you need the meter… so, carry a spare.
- Pockwizard batteries: here you do not use rechargeables, which self discharge. but you use quality Alkaline batteries (low self discharge rate).
- Strobe batteries: (i.e. those heavy optional batteries for outside use of large flashes): These are lead-acid, like your car battery, and should be kept charged. No memory effect here, either. They must not be discharged fully.
And did I mention “always carry a spare set”?
Finally: when shooting an event or a commercial shoot, or anything else, even a family picnic: make it a routine to replace your flash batteries before you start each section. That way you will not run out.
What do you recommend for flash batteries? My Canon 430 Ex II drinks up Duracell AAs!
Do you use rechargeables? If so, what brand and charger? I’ve never been a fan of rechargeables — they never seem to last very long.
Oh, definitely rechargeable NiMH batteries. Not Alkalines! And definitely with a good LaCrosse charger. Hang on I’ll find the link, I wrote about this here before.
Here’s that link. Lacrosse. And your problems are over: when treated properly, which is easy with a conditioning charger, they last well.
Interesting. So, you use a Lacrosse charger and what type of batteries?
The “eneloop” brand seems promising.
Should I just buy the Lacrosse charge and *just* the eneloop batteries (skipping their charger)?
Robert, yes indeed, I use the eneloops, among others. And yes, just use the Lacrosse plus the eneloops, no other charges needed.
Hi again Michael,
Can you give me a lead on where I can buy these batteries/charger locally? (without having to buy online from Amazon.com, etc.)
I checked at my local Costco (I’d seen them there before) and they didn’t stock them anymore. Future Shop and Best Buy don’t carry them.
Any help from anyone?
Have you tried amazon.ca? I ordered from the US and it worked fine, but perhaps anyone here has a local source?
I found the “family pack” at Canada Computers for $34.99. [Charger+4 AAs, 2 AAAs, 4 Cs, 4 Ds + Carrying Case].
I’ll probably pick up the Lacrosse charger from Amazon.com later when I get a chance to test out the Sanyo charger that comes with it.
Good, try that. But if that charger is not a “conditioning charger”, meaning it also DISchargers, then you need to discharge your batteries, which is a bit of a nuisance to sauy the least.
Either way though, rechargeable is great, you will find.