Batteries for speedlights

A reader called to ask: “what batteries do I use for speedlights”?

Good question. And a very important one. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Bring enough of them. Twice as many as you think you may need. Then some more.
  2. Ensure that they are charged before the event.
  3. Swap them often – after every part of every shoot.

And now as for which ones:

  1. Use NiMH rechargeable batteries. They deliver more current (lower internal resistance while charged) than Alkalines. And they are cheaper since they are reusable.
  2. Use “low self discharge” batteries. These are marked as such, or they are marked as “ready to use”. Sanyo Eneloops are the most famous battery of this type.

And now for a very important last factor:

Get a conditioning charger, like a LaCrosse or Maha charger (Google; or just try This type of charger can discharge your battery before charging again; doing this every now and tehn ensures your batteries never develop a memory effect; i.e. they will stay better, longer.

I am off to sleep, since for the next three days I speak at the Imaging Show at Mississauga’s International Centre.


3 thoughts on “Batteries for speedlights

  1. I never knew about the LaCrosse or Maha chargers, this is good information to have!

    Last weekend when I was shooting with my speedlight, I noticed that over time, the flash was not ready as fast as it was during the earlier hours of the night. When this happens, is it the batteries that are drained and need replacing? I wasn’t shooting non-stop so I didn’t think it was an overheat issue. –How many consecutive pictures at full power does it take before the flash needs to “cool down”?

    I’ll see you at the Imaging show Michael!

  2. Regarding Eneloops: Sanyo makes equilvent Eneloop battery with other names on the labels. I call them “Eneloops in disguise”. The two most common “Eneloops in disguise” are:

    – President’s Choice Rechargeables: They are white in colour (just like Sanyo Eneloops) and on the package it should indicate that it is “Made in Japan”. Even at regular price of $12.99 (4 AAs) it is still very good value.
    – Duracell Rechargeables. Quite often you will see Shopper’s Drug Mart have them on sale for $8 or $9 per 4 AAs. However you have to be careful as some Duracells have a black tips on the positive terminal and some have white tips. The Duracell “Eneloops in disguise” have white tips and package again reads “Made in Japan”. (The ones with black tips are made in China and nowhere near as good.) If you see Duracell “Eneloops” for sale at Shopper’s, don’t think – buy a pack or two right away.

    I use them for my flash and Wii remotes and they work very nicely.

    As for charger, I really like my Maha MH-C401FS. I have the MH-C9000 WizardOne as well, but I like the C401FS because it’s simplier to use.

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