Rechargeable vs none rechargeable batteries for Speedlites.

Rechargeable vs none rechargeable batteries for speedlites and flash guns.
A little step away from wedding photography posts but i thought this would be interesting for photographers.

I’ve covered this a little in the past when i was trying to figure out what was the best battery type for my speedlites. Back then I decided on rechargeable batteries and after trying out several different brands I stuck with Duracell 2450mAh rechargeable. I’ll talk  more about why this specific brand later.
During a recent visit to California to photograph a wedding I decided to save weight I’d leave behind the normal bag of rechargeable batteries and chargers and pick up some decent alkaline AA’s instead.
I bought some “Duracell Quantum” AA & AAA’s, according to the packaging they are “Number 1 world’s most advanced alkaline battery” I used them during the wedding and they performed well but I felt at higher output they didn’t recycle quite as fast.
To make sure this wasn’t just my preconceived idea that rechargables are better i brought 4 more packs of 30 to bring back to the UK, (so much for saving weight in my suitcase!).
Today i’ve been testing the two, I used two identical Yongnuo YN560-II, firstly because they’re fairly high powered and secondly there cheep and I’d rather play with them for this then use my Canon 580’s
Just to be sure I used both Alkaline and Rechargeable in both flashes but the results were the same.
Both flashes set to full power, fresh out of the pack Duracell Quantums, Freshly charged Duracell 2450mAh (not new, these batteries are about two years old and have been through many many charge/use cycles)

The rechargeables are on the left, the red light means the unit has recycled and is ready to fire.
The rechargeable’s cycled and were ready to fire again in about 2 seconds but the Quantum’s took about 4 seconds! That’s twice as long!!
I continued to fire the flashes a few times during the day then left the batteries in the flashes overnight to make the test a little more real life because i’d normally charge my batteries the day before the wedding or event and i know rechageable’s don’t hold onto there charge for long.

If I left both sets in my bag for a month I wouldn’t expect the rechargeable batteries to perform very well but I would expect the quantum’s to be as good in a month, year or according the the package in 10 years!
The following day I started testing them again expecting the rechargeable to have lost some juice over nigh. What i found really surprised me, the rechargeable batteries where performing pretty much the same but the Quantuns were now taking closer to 6 seconds to recycle!

 

So I’m going to carry on using the Duracell rechargeable batteries and if anybody would like to buy 90, 3 sealed packs of 30 Duracell Quantums give me a shout.
A little addition, I said i’d come back to this. I use Duracell 2450 mAh rechargeable batteries because i have tried several different similarly priced brands and some have performed just as well for half a dozen or so charge cycles but quickly start to fail or the performance droops.
Find out more at www.bryanfarrell.co.uk or give us a call on 07955 888 761
Southport, Southport, Merseyside PR9 7NS, UK

2 Replies to “Rechargeable vs none rechargeable batteries for Speedlites.”

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