Friday, October 29, 2010

I Need To Recharge My Batteries Today and Other Battery Strategies

Good Afternoon Everybody,

0629MP-1273-DZ_IMG_1074 We're getting ready for a big Bat Mitzvah this weekend and need to begin at 7:30 a.m tomorrow morning - a pretty early wake up call for all of us. I photographed Olivia's sister's Bat Mitzvah about two years ago so it will be fun hanging out with the family again this weekend.

I have to say, I still enjoy photographing Bar and Bat Mitzvah's. I enjoy watching these young 13 year olds marking their rite of passage into Jewish adulthood. Their year long preparation really pays off as you see them so poised up on the bimah being "Rabbi for the day" to the entire congregation.

And, in the evening, it's always a hoppin' party of the kids and adults enjoying a really good time. Yep, it will be a long day tomorrow but still a fun one.

I Need To Recharge My Batteries Today and Other Battery Strategies

Apple chargerI decided to write today’s post based on a press release I saw recently about Apple announcing their brand new AA battery recharger [link] which is shipped with 6 Ni-MH batteries.  So what’s  the big deal about a new battery charger.  Apple is positioning this new product as a way to constantly be ready to power up a device like a mouse pad, keyboard, etc. once the batteries die – 2 batteries in the keyboard, 2 in the mouse pad, and 2 in the charger.

Now the nice thing about their charger is that once the batteries are charged, the charger drops to a “trickle” charge thereby saving energy and a few cents off your electric bill. The downside for me is that the charger takes about 6-7 hours to recharge the depleted batteries – way to long for me.

Anyway, that’s what got me thinking about today’s post an the battery strategies we use around my studio. So what kind of batteries do you use in your shoe mount strobes?

Energizer chargerI’ve been using good ol’ Energizer rechargeable batteries [link] since I started shooting digital 10 years ago. I usually pick them up at Sam’s Club.  I like the fact that the first sets I picked up came with a 15 minute rapid charger.

The downside of the Energizer batteries is that they only last me about two years and then I need to replace them.  The other downside is that they are NiCad batteries and will begin losing their charge once they come off the charger. I usually charge them up the day of the event and then pack the charger with me just in case I need it, which, BTW is not too often. One set usually lasts me the entire day of shooting.

Enelope batteries Is there a better battery solution available.  I think so, I’ve just been kind of lazy to switch.  The better battery is the Ni-MH battery.  Here is the good news – they hold their charge much, much, much better over the NiCad batteries. Check out the accompanying chart to get an idea how long.

The hot Ni-MH batteries have always been the Sanyo eneloop batteries [link]. And, guess what? They’re even cheaper than the Energizer batteries by about $2 at Amazon. I really do need to make the switch.

IS There A Down Side To The Ni-MH batteries?

The only downside, and I think it is a very slight one is the fact that they don’t come with the rapid charger that I’ve come to prefer. But will they work on my Energizer rapid charger? According to Sanyo, they will but it may reduce the number of charge cycles I could get out of the batteries.

Here is how they answer the question:

“Can I use a "Quick Charger" to charge an eneloop battery?

Though it is possible to charge an eneloop battery in a "Quick Charger", it is not recommended. We recommend charging eneloop batteries in a NiMh charger that is 2 hours or more. Charging eneloop batteries in a "Quick Charger" can reduce the overall life of the battery. It is strongly recommended to use eneloop, GE/Sanyo or Sanyo NiMh battery chargers. We only warrant eneloop if used with an eneloop, GE/Sanyo or Sanyo NiMh battery charger.”

Sanyo eneloop For $10 bucks, I think I want to give it a try.  So, there you have the scoop on battery charging.  All in all, I do plan to switch to the eneloop batteries just because I like the fact that hold their charge so long.  I hate pulling out a flash that’s been sitting in my gear bag for a few days and then finding that the batteries are discharged. I’m going to give them a try on the quick charger too – just ordered 8 – AA’s Ni-MH from Amazon. I’ll keep you posted ;~)

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Hey gang, that’s it for today.  I’m cleaning and polishing lenses, charging batteries, and prepping my flash cards.  We head off to the great state of California early Sunday morning where we will be wrapping our Captured Bt The Light 2010 tour. We hit Ontario, CA on Monday; Woodland Hills, CA on Tuesday; and then finish in Sacramento, CA on Thursday.

It’s certainly been a kick – I hope to see many of you there.  There is still plenty of time to register. Hey, we still have $18,000 worth of door prizes to give away! Here is the link to register right here.

Everybody have a great weekend and I’ll see ya’ on the flip side from the West Coast. -David

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