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Archive 2013 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?
  
 
Stephen Elms
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


I'm getting a bit tired of the amount of Alkaline batteries I go through and am looking at going with the Sanyo Eneloops for my SB900 flash (I've read so many great reviews on the Sanyo Eneloops). I'm just wondering how many more flashes I can expect to get out of a set of Eneloops vs the Alkalines? I find I change my alkalines often during a wedding shoot as I've had them run right out at the worst possible times. The end result is a whole bunch of half drained alkalines in my bag by the end of the wedding. I'm hoping the Eneloops will help alleviate this issue. Generally speaking, how much longer will the Eneloops last vs Alkaline in flash use?


Sep 11, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Cant tell you how many flashes I get , but I now only use eneloops (actually an Eneloop type) in my 580ex. In fact if i can i use them in anything that takes an AA



Sep 11, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Mr Joe
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Check out this great post about batteries for your flash: http://www.aaronpriestphoto.com/2012/08/maintenance-tips-for-rechargeable-batteries/

Getting a good charger to go along with your batteries is important to keeping them at their peak and helping them last a long time. I'm using Eneloops with the Maha MH-C801D: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000E5S648/ref=pe_385040_30332190_pe_175190_21431760_M3T1_ST1_dp_1



Sep 11, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Bearmann
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


You'll definitely appreciate the NiMH batteries over the alkalines. With a fresh charge, something like the Powerex are the best. If you let them sit for a few months before you use them, then the low self discharge Eneloops are better. Get a good charger. Maha PowerEx is good, perhaps the best. Some people like the LaCross 700 charger. Some like the Titanium chargers for multiple bays.


Sep 11, 2013 at 10:06 PM
lukeb
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Love my enloops

Maha chargers are the only way to go - both of my LaCross charges went south in less than a year.



Sep 11, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Stephen Elms
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


So what is the difference between the Maha charger and the Sanyo charger that you can get with the Eneloops?

Thanks for the replies!



Sep 11, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Access
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


In short, it depends on the usage.

With heavy flash use, lots. If the flash is used only lightly, with long waits in-between, it may not be as dramatic.

BTW the sanyo charger you get with the eneloops is no good, avoid using it if at all possible. It seems like just a 'dumb' charger that will overcharge your batteries, which is no good. Get a good smart charger with temperature monitoring and/or peak detection.



Sep 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM
mgutman
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Eneloops seem to have great capacity. My observations are that they outlast alkaline batteries significantly in my flash. The low self discharge rate is a big plus over other rechargeable batteries.


Sep 12, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


I've never counted the flashes--who the heck does!?--but standard Eneloops last a long time. Obviously the big advantage over alkalines is they are rechargeable, are not prone to leaking and yet hold a charge much longer--years longer--than most other rechargeables. If you're worried about capacity, Panasonic (owner of Sanyo) makes a extra high capacity variant:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0058GZWXQ/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=3SYXOL69N2VDG&coliid=I3JMEPXIG6L23I

I agree with others, if you plan to use high performance batteries, match it with a high performance smart charger that will optimize the charge/discharge cycles for battery condition. The stock Sanyo charger is a turd. I use a LaCross BC1000 but the Maha is know to be excellent as well.

The only real difference in performance I noticed from alkaline is they maintain constant output across hundreds of flashes rather than a gradual power decline. Of course, when they die, it's pretty sudden.



Sep 12, 2013 at 07:44 AM
Roland W
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


The new version Eneloops with the 2500 mAH are kind of expensive. I have been using the Imedion AA cells for a long time in a variety of devices, including the 580EX, and the Canon 8 cell external power packs, with great results. The current version of the Imedion cells are rated at 2400 mAH, which is basically the same as the new Eneloops. I have been happy with Thomas Distributing for a big selection of cells and chargers, and I suggest you check them out. Here is a link to the Imedion AA cells:

http://www.thomasdistributing.com/16-Pack-Maha-Imedion-2400-AA-Low-Discharge-Batteries_p_2449.html

For sure go low discharge with either Imedions or Eneloops, because the capacity is nearly the same now as regular NiMH cells. Note that older Eneloops with only 2000 mAH capacity are still available, and are usable, but higher capacity is nice. Also note that from Thomas Distributing, the Imedion 2400's are about half the cost of the Eneloop 2500's, so they look like the best value right now.

And as others have stated, get a good charger. The MAHA chargers have worked well for me. The MAHA MH-C801D AA - AAA Battery Charger is a very nice 8 cell charger that works well. Thomas sells a full selection of chargers also.



Sep 12, 2013 at 05:11 PM
 

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Lasse Eriksson
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Mr Joe wrote:
Check out this great post about batteries for your flash: http://www.aaronpriestphoto.com/2012/08/maintenance-tips-for-rechargeable-batteries/

Getting a good charger to go along with your batteries is important to keeping them at their peak and helping them last a long time. I'm using Eneloops with the Maha MH-C801D: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000E5S648/ref=pe_385040_30332190_pe_175190_21431760_M3T1_ST1_dp_1


+1



Sep 13, 2013 at 09:45 AM
Bearmann
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


The standard NiMH batteries, like the PowerEx, provide more power if you charge them within a few days (maybe longer) of use. I like to keep some Eneloops on hand too, in case I forget to charge my batteries and I need some right away. The high capacity Eneloops provide only a marginal improvement over the originals.


Sep 13, 2013 at 04:16 PM
mogud
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


I just made the change over from Alkalines to the Eneloops and I won't go back. I went with the LaCrosse BC1000 charger only because it gives me a digital display of whats going on during charging for each cell and the price was right. Can't go wrong with either the Maha or the BC1000.

The best advantage of the Eneloops is the drain during use. Alkalines drain slowly during use. Whereas rechargeables keep their charge until the end and then just die. I use the Eneloops because they keep their charge for a long time during inactivity.



Sep 13, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Chris S.
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


In my use with SB800 and SB26 flash units, Eneloops can deliver about four times as many flashes as brand-name alkaline batteries. Of course, in the interest of maximizing the Eneloops' working lives, I rarely use them to complete exhaustion. Even so, three times as many flashes is about where I change them.

I do a lot of automated, focus-stacked, macro shooting under studio conditions. Many of the stacks are in the range of 1,500 individual shots, usually with multiple flash units. Before switching to Eneloops, I often went through 32 AA alkaline batteries per day. Accordingly, and as the resulting images are numbered, I acquired fairly precise knowledge of how many shots I could get with a given flash on a given power setting before needing to change batteries. When I first tried Eneloops, I tested a number of them to failure at various power settings, and found them to last about four times as many flashes as alkalines.

I disagree with the negative comments about the inexpensive Sanyo Eneloop brand chargers. I have six of them, and they are in constant use.These chargers work slowly, and do not heat up the batteries. When not shooting with flash, I have left fully-charged Eneloops in these chargers for months on end. So far as I know, none of my Eneloops has been damaged by this.

Let's remember that the same company that makes these fine batteries also makes these chargers specifically for them. In the absence of hard data to the contrary, I'd consider the claim that a much more expensive charger is worth the money to be a costly urban myth.

--Chris



Sep 15, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Access
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Chris, unless there has been a change, the 'free' charger that comes in the box with eneloops is a 'dummy' chargers, constant current with no peak detection or temperature shutoff. They just keep charging the batteries and never shut off or go into trickle charge mode. This may not be dangerous (as with lithium cells) but it's also far from optimum if you want your batteries to have a long cycle life (greater than 25 cycles) and performance. Overcharging can hurt both these things. Eneloops are pretty tough batteries, so you may not immediately notice any immediate difference, but over the long run the difference will be there.

The chargers aren't made to be optimum for use with the batteries they are sold with, they are just made to be cheap since they are essentially given away for free.



Sep 15, 2013 at 06:20 AM
Chris S.
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Access wrote:
. . .unless there has been a change, the 'free' charger that comes in the box with eneloops is a 'dummy' chargers, constant current with no peak detection or temperature shutoff. They just keep charging the batteries and never shut off or go into trickle charge mode.


Access, it appears that Sanyo has made a few different models of chargers, and some are "smarter" than others. I have two models: NC-MQN06W (two of these), and NC-MQN06U (four of these). They around $13 each, if you buy them alone without any batteries. They are reasonably "smart" chargers; when you first insert depleted AA batteries, they charge at about 300mA (or 150mA, for AAA). During this time, an LED light blinks green. When the batteries reach a target voltage, the current drops to a trickle charge and the LED changes to continuous green. In one independent test posted online, the tester measured 286 mA average during the charging phase, and 33 mA average during the trickle charge phase.

Some of this is discussed in Sanyo's data sheet for the NC-MQN09U. There is additional independent test data on similar models in the thread I referenced in the prior paragraph.

From my use, I can attest that the amount of time it takes for the LEDs to change from blinking to solid (indicative of the charger changing from charging current to trickle current) correlates well to the level of charge left in the batteries when I put them into the charger. This change occurs rather quickly for barely-used batteries that I'm topping off, and much more slowly for deeply discharged batteries. I can also attest that fully-charged batteries left in the charger (while it is powered on, with the LED glowing solid green) for a couple of months never feel warmer than room temperature to the touch; there has to be some heat energy being released, but it must not be all that much.

While looking this up, I read data sheets for several other Sanyo Eneloop chargers. Some appear to behave like mine, while others operate on a timer--they supply a charging current for a set amount of time, then switch to a trickle current. The LED light behavior also differs from mine. These chargers do seem less smart than the ones I use--but I wouldn't want to assert, without test data, that this materially affects Eneloop battery life or performance. And I see that Sanyo also offers "fast" chargers for Eneloops. This sounds even more sub-optimal to me, but I have not looked for data to confirm or dismiss that sense.

Many of my Eneloops have been recharged dozens of times--but this is nowhere near the 1,500 cycles claimed possible by Sanyo. Will my cheap chargers give me a few hundred cycles shorter life than an expensive charger would? Only a lengthy test would tell. Even if this turned out to be the case, I'm not sure that the additional cost of a fancy charger would make economic sense, given that Eneloops are very, very cheap on a per-recharge basis (about 1/10 of a penny in battery depreciation), so it would take many added uses to recoup the cost of the fancy charger. If you are looking to spend an extra $50 on an expensive charger vs. a cheap one, you'd need to get around 50,000 additional charging cycles out of your Eneloops to break even. How many of us are going to do that?

Meanwhile, with six cheap chargers, I can recharge 24 batteries at one time. This keeps up with my rate of use most of the time, and lets me recharge in a few goes after a trip. For the same money, I could have bought one really nice charger with four-battery capacity--and be forced to feed my discharged Eneloops slowly through the queue.

Cheers,

--Chris






Sep 16, 2013 at 03:38 AM
Michael White
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


I use both Enloops and Energizers depending on what's available. Ie if I have the Energizers I use them especially for the first set then switch out to the Enloops after that as I have two complete sets for each flash, battery pack and radio trigger. I've even gone to rechargable coin batteries for the PWs mini. The only rechargable that I do not have are the 123 batteries used in the cameras and co pilot from Quantum.


Sep 16, 2013 at 07:11 AM
Access
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Chris S. wrote:
(four of these). They around $13 each, if you buy them alone without any batteries. They are reasonably "smart" chargers; when you first insert depleted AA batteries, they charge at about 300mA (or 150mA, for AAA). During this time, an LED light blinks green. When the batteries reach a target voltage, the current drops to a trickle charge and the LED changes to continuous green. In one independent test posted online, the tester measured 286 mA average during the charging phase, and 33 mA average during the trickle charge phase.

Some of this is discussed in Sanyo's data sheet for
...Show more
Well that's far better than the older ones, but still not really optimal (peak charge and/or temperature cutoff when fast-charging). I guess just make sure you have one of the newer ones.

The problem with using voltage alone is that will vary with the ambient and cell temperature, length of charge, time since use, etc. Looking at delta-V is the only way to know that the battery is truly charged. Looking at voltage alone will result in undercharge (not a huge deal here with the trickle charge mode) or overcharge which immediately degrades the overall capacity as well as long-term will degrade the cycle life. Finally 33mA is a bit on the high side for a modern trickle charge (esp. for batteries that don't lose much charge over time).

All things considered, they're probably okay for most people out there, as long as it's the newer one, yes we are talking about batteries that are inexpensive and easily replaceable. But on the other hand a peak charger is also relatively inexpensive compared to most things a practitioner will buy for their photography.



Sep 16, 2013 at 11:24 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


mgutman wrote:
Eneloops seem to have great capacity. My observations are that they outlast alkaline batteries significantly in my flash. The low self discharge rate is a big plus over other rechargeable batteries.


And not only that they seem to outlast normal NiMh and recycle faster too.

Imedions are also good.



Sep 17, 2013 at 01:33 AM
Bearmann
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Eneloops vs Alkaline in Speedlight?


Pixel Perfect wrote:
And not only that they seem to outlast normal NiMh and recycle faster too.

Imedions are also good.


The Eneloops are excellent, but they don't outlast a quality, freshly charged, regular NiMH. You can't have your cake (slow self discharge) and eat it too (highest capacity). I agree that the Imedions are also good.

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=677074



Sep 17, 2013 at 07:23 PM





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