Batteries are something that photographers use a lot of. We used to use a ton of Duracell and Energizer batteries that we had to throw away as soon as our flashes started to recycle too slow. That was harmful for their environment and bad for our pocketbooks, as we could easily use $10-$20 worth of disposable batteries in a single wedding.
Nowadays, rechargeable batteries are very common and getting very good. There are lots of different types but the best type of rechargeable batteries we have come across are the Sanyo Eneloop Batteries. We mainly purchase them through Amazon.com but we have now seen them in stock at our local Costo warehouses as well.
Why are these batteries so great? First of all, they come pre charged and ready to use. Secondly, they hold their charge and the claim is that they can hold 85% of their charge even after an entire year of non use. Now there are lots of batteries that may have slightly higher amps or can charge really fast, however, none can hold charge as long as the Sanyo Eneloops. These batteries are rated at 2000 mAh.
We keep about 20-30 of them in a bag within our shooting bag and we grab them whenever our flashes start to slow down. We simply put the used ones in another pocket letting us know they need to be recharged.
Since we don’t usually deplete all of our batteries at a wedding, it is great to know the ones that are still charged with stay charged for a considerable amount of time. It might be luck of the draw that they stay in there for weeks without being charged and so holding charge is key.
Also, the Sanyo Eneloops are very cheap, at about $10-$12 for 4 AA’s. That is a really good deal considering we may use them for a few years and charge them hundreds of times. We like to mark with a permanent marker on each battery the month and year we purchased it so after a while I will know which ones are the oldest. At some point I will know those may be ready for replacement with this marking on them, or if I notice they are not holding a charge or are starting to deplete quickly I can check their age and replace. When you use one type of rechargeable battery it does not matter which ones you grab and put into your flash. They are all the same so different amps, types of battery, etc is not relevant.
As for charging these little gems, we have used various chargers. I have had no real issues with the Sanyo Chargers that you can also buy as a set with the AA’s, however, we are exploring better options that charge each battery individually, have different modes of charging like slow and fast, and can also deplete the batteries and re-charge which, in effect, reconditions them and preserves their life.
The good thing about the Sanyo chargers is that they are small and fit into our bag easily. They have flip out AC plugs which fold in for convenient and snag free storage. I do forget them time to time at venues, so the fact that they are cheap means I don’t get too upset if I leave behind and decide to leave behind permanently! We do put our name and phone number on them just in case though so we can be contacted if they are found by a venue.
The downside of the Sanyo charger is that two batteries need to be side by side in the charger in order for them to be charged. There is no option to see how much juice a particular battery has, if it is under or over charged, if it a bad battery, or anything like that. But the charger is great for travel and is a bargain at around $10-$15.
We have just ordered this particular charger from Newegg.com since it has many features to help preserve the life of the batteries, give us more info about each battery and its charge, as well as, holding 8 batteries at a time so we can have more going at once when we are shooting long weddings and need a ton of batteries recharged at once.
We hope you enjoyed our post about batteries. We really like these Sanyos for our flashes and other miscellaneous gear that needs AA power. If this post was helpful at all, please leave a comment and we will do more articles like this one.