Gear Friday: Sanyo Eneloop Batteries

I’ve been using small strobes (Speedlites) for my product photography work for some time now and one problem that continues to dog me is inconsistent battery life. I love the flexibility my Canon 580EX II’s provide me but these little buggers will drain a set of NiMH rechargeable batteries fairly quickly so I’m recharging sixteen to twenty batteries almost every night.

The other problem with typical NiMH batteries is predictability. I never seem to get the same number of shots from any two sets of freshly charged batteries. Since I shoot with three strobes this means one or two always seem to give out just as I get things rolling. I also hate the fact that NiMH batteries seem to self-discharge rapidly when NOT being used. This means that I always have to recharge the batteries right before a shoot.

A few weeks ago a friend suggested I look at Sanyo’s eneloop batteries, which he said “solved the self-discharge and consistency” issues I’d been facing. So I bought a set of four, along with a charger and set out to see if he was right. Man, was I in for a few pleasant surprises!

  • Sanyo eneloop batteries come pre-charged just like alkaline batteries and can be used right out of the box.
  • Sanyo eneloop batteries seem to last MUCH longer than NiMH batteries AND alkaline batteries in my Canon 580Ex II’s.
  • Sanyo eneloop batteries actually cost slightly less than conventional NiMH batteries.

Today I use Sanyo eneloop batteries in all my Canon 580EX II’s and my CP-4E battery packs. I can shoot hundreds of product shots in a day without having one or more strobes give out in the middle of a shoot. I’m not constantly changing out batteries and using every outlet in sight to recharge batteries right before a shoot.

I know this may seem trivial on the surface, but it’s one of these little things that has always annoyed the hell out of me. Now I can concentrate on getting the shot rather than fiddling with batteries all day long.

For more information on how the Sanyo eneloop batteries work please visit Sanyo’s eneloop web site. Most of what I read went right over my head but you might have better luck. BTW, Sanyo does not sponsor Serious Amateur Photography or myself and all opinions discussed in this editorial review are my personal views based upon my personal experiences. As always, your mileage may vary.

Posted in Photography Tagged: Canon 580EX II Speedlite, Photography, Sanyo eneloop batteries, Strobist