Nikon SB Speedlights, What batteries to use??

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by RMP-NikonPro, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. RMP-NikonPro

    RMP-NikonPro Member

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    I've a small team of 6 Nikon SB-80DX speedlights I use when I'm out on location away from any power source,

    I've been using Duracell procell but I've not been overly impressed them, seem to fade very quickly!!
    I've tried Duracell rechargeables but charging 24 batteries each time before I go is very time consuming!

    Anyone recommend better batteries?
     
  2. kuyman

    kuyman Member

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    While I worked at Best Buy I had the chance to play with dozens of different types of batteries. The batteries that worked the best in the flashes (specially the SB 600 and Canon 480) were the 2800 mah rechargeable batteries. A normal battery holds something like 40% less charge, but the rechargeables gave me a pretty good recycle speed. I also REALLY like Energizer's 15 minute recharger. The Duracell one is just as good, but there's something fantastic about being able to charge your batteries that quickly. That's faster than I can drive to Wal Mart and buy more!

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. rosscova

    rosscova Member

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    Sticking to rechargeables will pay off in the long run in money and time saved (recharging takes a lot less man-hours than going to the shops). The other (more important IMO) advantage is that you'll have a reduced impact on the environment. Rechargeables use a LOT less energy over their lifetime, and put a LOT less harmful waste materials into land-fill compared with single-use batteries.

    Invest in a good charger or two, they're worth every penny especially for someone charging as many batteries as you. You can get individual chargers with 8 or more bays, so charging all your batteries need not be difficult or time-consuming. 3x 8 bay chargers won't cost much compared to your flashes, and then all you need to do is load all the batteries in after a shoot and you're done. A good slow charger will also make your batteries perform a lot better in the long run (those 15min fast chargers are terrible for your batteries), slower is better.

    Here's a few chargers that may make your life easier:

    MAHA 8 bay (with individual battery processing and 4hr "soft charge" mode)

    Lenmar 8 bay (basic, cheap, 9hour charge cycle)

    LaCrosse 4 bay (this is the one I use, and it's brilliant but only has 4 bays)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2010
  4. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Rechargeables are nice. That said, the best battery I've come across in the AA form factor, performance-wise, seems to be the Energizer Ultimate Lithium. Previously known as the Energizer e^2 lithium, and before that version, they were the redtop Energizer AA's.

    I've used them in all of my flashes since 1993, and in every camera's motor drive as well. Very fast recycling in flash units, and a slight increase in fps in the motor drives I've used them in. On my FM2n's MD-11, I went from 3.2-3.5 fps to about 3.8 fps. The MD-4 that I use with my F3P is around 4-4.3 fps now, instead of 3.8 fps.

    -J
     
  5. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    I use batteries rather heavily. Especially during the wedding season. I've used many different types and brands over the years. I've come to the conclusion, that the rechargeable Sanyo Eneloops are by far the best. Also, unlike standard NiHm batt's, they hold their charge over long periods of inactivity. That's very nice and comforting to know. You never know when you'll be called out on assignment or to shoot a wedding on short notice. My previous Duracell 2650mAh batteries. I could fully charge my Duracell or Eveready batteries, but after a week or two of sitting, I'd find that they had lost much of their charge. The Eneloops remain fully charged while sitting idle. As with any rechargeable batteries, a quality "smart" charger will greatly increase thier life. Do not use the "fast-quick" chargers. They will shorten battery life.

    If you only occasionally use batteries and don't want to go with the rechargeables, the Energizer Lithiums are great. Very light, long lasting, and when they overheat, they shut down until they have sufficiently cooled off. They they are good to go again. This thermal cut-off feature may even prevent rapid fire shooters from frying their popper (flash unit). However, when lithiums become depleted or die, you have very little if any warning. They work perfectly until they give out. Which can catch you by surprise if shooting a fast paced event, wedding, etc. Been there, done that. :-(

    http://www.metaefficient.com/rechar...-rechargeable-batteries-battery-chargers.html


    Kiron Kid
     
  6. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    If money is no object, lithiums are the best (the proper e^2, "lasts 8x as long" ones, not the 'advanced' "lasts 4x as long" ones). Added bonus is they are lightweight.

    Next best is Eneloops, followed by other low-self-discharge rechargeables.
     
  7. largeformat pat

    largeformat pat Member

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    What about Nickel metal rechargeable? the other option would be a battery insert and use wired leads to a larger source. Some companies made a pack that fitted into standard battery slots, then you plug in a battery eliminator or power pack. I your case you could use you could then use bigger recharging batteries outside the unit.
    pat
     
  8. RMP-NikonPro

    RMP-NikonPro Member

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  9. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    One more wierd opinion. I have a location battery powered rig made of an old Braun, and a 60CT1 metz. Both are pack and head. The metz I run on UPS gel cell batteries They are half the price of the OEM battery, and being lead acid, they are very slow to self discharge. For the Braun, which I rehabbed from a dead state, it needed 8V. I found 2V dry cell lead batteries made by Hawker called Cyclones.

    The recycle times with the cyclones is really good. They are 2V, and the X cell size ones I bought have a short circuit current of 65A. The flash on full power manual (GN 180 ISO 100) recycles in under 6 seconds for over 100 flashes on a single charge.

    They will not fit inside your flash units. I have made carved wooden blocks that have screw nails in the place to make contact with the flash power terminals, and the stick this into the battery compartment, and notch the cover to allow the wire attached to the screw head to get to the offboard battery packs.
     
  10. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I use Sanyo eneloop re-chargeables in my flashes. I was going through AAs so fast on shoots, I'd be spending $$$ and just making more landfill.
    Great thing about these is they retain up to 90% of their charge even when they sit around.

    Have 12 on hand so that I can keep shooting even when they run down and are charging.
    Used in Nikon SBs and Canon Speedlites - never had a problem. Work great and I'm saving a ton of cash in the process.
     
  11. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Eneloops are where it's at. Solves the problem of NiMH going flat between recharging and use, which is where most of the charge goes for me.
     
  12. Colden

    Colden Member

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    Search the strobist community (http://www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/) for NiZn if you want 2 second recharges. I am planning to switch my farm of SB-26s to NiZn soon. Standard disclaimers apply if you fry your strobes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    don't speedlights take cr 123's ?
    the problem i have had with nimh batteries
    for flash or winders is they seem to not give off
    the same energy as regular batteries.
    often times video games say NOT to use these batteries
    for the same reasons.

    if you need cr 123's i have a ton of them, guaranteed 10year shelf life
    ( they are a year old ). i stopped using my speedlight soon after i
    got the batteries ... murphy's law i suppose.

    - john
     
  14. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Most of Nikon's speedlights take AA batteries, but there are several that use the CR123. The SB-30 and SB-R200 each take one, and the SB-50DX takes two (which is why I ditched it for an SB-600).
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    thanks richard ...

    there is a place called surefire.com that sells cr123s for almost nothing ( about $1 each ).
    that is where i used to always get mine. otherwise at the usual retail outlets
    they cost something like 7$ each.

    it is amazing what the markup is on those things ...

    john
     
  16. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I use batterystation.com. It's just a bit more than $1 each. I use them in flashlights, and used to go through a lot of them at my job.
     
  17. Colden

    Colden Member

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    There are several tests on Youtube showing side-by-side NiMh and NiZn recharge times.

    NiZn cells are relatively new, but they have three very important advantages: they are much safer for us and for the environment, they don't blow up if punctured or "overcharged," and they provide significantly quicker recharge times in strobes. They may have downsides, too, like slightly too high for AA voltage (1.6 or higher depending on how freshly charged). Another downside is that you will need to buy a new NiZn charger, ones made for NiMh (even the "smart" ones) will not work.

    They remain somewhat obscure despite a loyal following among the "strobist" group. The interesting thing is that other devices made for AA cells may not benefit from extra voltage, but portable flash units most definitely do. In all seriousness, the recharge times with four x NiZn approach 1.5 seconds on the new SB-900. Definitely look for videos on Youtube.