Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rechargeable Batteries- Sanyo Eneloop

The photographers quest for perfect batteries is never-ending.  There is NO perfect solution out there.  I've tried just about everything and for a long time gave up on rechargeables.  I'm not a wasteful person so running through batteries and throwing away money on them is incredibly annoying.  In my opinion, everyone shooting flash should be using rechargeables.  I have not tried every option out there by any means, but I've found a solution that works well for me.  Enter the Sanyo Eneloop battery.

(Product Shot taken with Nikon D3S, using SB-900 flash unit with LumiQuest SoftBox 3 under the batteries, and one SB-900 bare unit from above and left.  All triggered via PocketWizards.)

Not only does it look cool (coolness is very important to my generation) but it has the performance to back that up!  I used to use the energizer rechargeables and found myself disappointed that I would put the batteries in my flash, use them for a few shots, try and shoot the flash again a week later, and the batteries were almost dead.  The problem with most rechargeables is that they lose their energy very quickly if stowed away and not used within a few days of charging.

This was THE most annoying thing ever.  I have the 20 minute quick charger, but found that it worked very poorly, and needed to be run twice just to fully charge my 2500 mAh batteries.  When you talk about mAh, that's the amount of power the battery can hold.  A higher mAh equates to more flashes per charge.  The Eneloops run at 2000mAh which is still great, but I wish it was a bit higher.  They will be releasing the 2500mAh batteries called the "XX" this December.  Those may be the perfect battery.

Back to the annoying discharge....  The Eneloops are engineered in a different way (That's all I really understand.)  They hold their charge for WAAYYYYYYYY LONGER than any other rechargeables!!  So much so in fact that when you first pull them from the box, they still have 80% or more of their charge!  Even if they've been on the shelf for a full year.  This is huge for photographers that aren't running their flash every single day of the week.

I've found that they run plenty long and actually are always fully charged in one charge cycle.  Also, their website states that they run better than alkaline or other rechargeables in cold weather.  This is great news as I'm often out shooting in -10 degree weather.

There are so-called "quick-chargers" available for the Eneloop, though I'd hardly consider it fast.  The standard charger takes 7 hours.  The "Quick-Chargers" take 4.......

Because of the slower charge time, I went ahead and ordered 3 chargers.  There are chargers available from other companies that could work well and charge 20 or more batteries at a time, but Sanyo recommends only using theirs and I'm sticking with that.  I also purchased about 20 batteries.  20 batteries and 3 chargers cost me $72.49 through B&H Photo.  Check them out here: B&H Photo Video Eneloop Batteries

It may seem costly initially.  But when you think that 24 alkaline batteries (6 flash sets) which will die and end up in a landfill costs at least $20, your saving a ton.  Sanyo claims the new batteries get 1500 or more charges before they die.  For the same amount of sets in alkaline batteries, your price would be $4,995!  That's a crazy thought!  $18.50 for 4 batteries and a charger, or $4,995 for 6000 alkalines, the decision is yours, but I'm all set and happy with my Sanyo Eneloops!


Elias said...

I've been using these eneloops for quite some time now and they sure are great. Doesn't matter if you have your backups in your pack for a month or even two, when you need them they're fully charged. Sure they're a little slow charging but what I do is just plug them in over night and you're good to the next day. And ofcourse they're both good on your wallet and on our environment ;D

Dave Wright said...

Sanyo announced new 2500mAh XX eneloop batteries today:

Post a Comment