I receive many questions about the batteries that I use in my Speedlites. Here is the exact gear that I use to keep them well fed and happy.
Eneloop AA Rechargeable Ni-MH Batteries—If you’re a power Speedliter, then rechargeable batteries are the only way to go. I use Eneloops because their chemistry–low-discharge, nickel metal-hydride (Ni-MH)–means that they will hold their charge for an extended time. Regular Ni-MH batteries (like Powerex) will discharge over time when not in use. The last thing I want is for my Speedlite to not fire if the batteries I have in my bag have not been charged for a couple of weeks. If you cannot find Eneloops, other brands of low-discharge Ni-MH batteries often have pre-charged, rechargeable on the package.
Eneloops on B&H
Eneloops on Amazon
Regular Alkalines—If you are not a power Speedliter, then regular alkaline batteries are fine. So grab the Energizers and Coppertops when you need a fresh set of batteries.
Avoid Lithium Batteries—Lithium has the ability to hold onto electrons for a very long time. You may have noted that the Use By dates are often a decade away. However, under heavy loads, such as a Speedlite firing again and again, my tests have shown that lithium batteries get extremely hot. In one test, I measured their temperature at 165ºF!
Remove the Batteries—If you are not going to use your Speedlite for a few weeks, remove the batteries to protect against random battery leakage.
Maha MH-801D Charger—There’s no point in having the right rechargeable batteries if you have the wrong charger. The dirty secret about batteries is that they may look the same on the outside, but they don’t discharge at the same rate. So, you want a charger that treats your batteries as individuals rather than as clones. I use the Maha MH-801D because is has eight individual charging circuits. Chances are that the free charger that came with your batteries has only one (or at most two) charging circuits. If you feel like your rechargeables are wearing out, toss that cheap charger and buy the Maha MH-801D.
Maha MH-801D on B&H
Maha MH-801D on Amazon
PowerPax Battery Caddies—I rely upon PowerPax battery caddies to keep my 100+ Eneloops organized. I load freshly-charged batteries with the tips down and used batteries with the tips up. So, at a glance, I know which batteries are ready. PowerPax come in a range of colors, capacities, and battery sizes.
PowerPax on Amazon
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