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Rechargeable Batteries for your Flash

Sanyo Eneloop Review

The photographers quest for perfect batteries is never-ending.  There is NO perfect solution out there.

We’ve tried just about everything and for a long time gave up on rechargeables.  We aren’t wasteful people so running through batteries and throwing away money on them is incredibly annoying.  In our opinion, everyone shooting flash should be using rechargeables. We haven’t not tried every option out there by any means, but here’s the best solution we’ve found thus far.  Enter the Sanyo Eneloop battery. 

Not only does it look cool (coolness is very important to our generation) but it has the performance to back that up!  Using the energizer rechargeables was a disappointment, we would put the batteries in a flash, use them for a few shots, try and shoot the flash again a week later, and the batteries were almost dead.  The problem with most rechargeables is that they lose their energy very quickly if stowed away and not used within a few days of charging.

This was THE most annoying thing ever.  We would use the 20 minute quick charger, but found that it worked very poorly, and needed to be run twice just to fully charge the 2500 mAh batteries.  By the way, mAh is the amount of power the battery can hold.  A higher mAh equates to more flashes per charge.  The Eneloops run at 2000mAh which is still great, not quite as high.  They will be releasing the 2500mAh batteries called the “XX” soon.  Those may be the perfect battery.

Back to the annoying discharge….  The Eneloops are engineered in a different way.  They hold their charge for WAAYYYYYYYY LONGER than any other rechargeables!!  So much so in fact that when you first pull them from the box, they still have 80% or more of their charge!  Even if they’ve been on the shelf for a full year.  This is huge for photographers that aren’t running their flash every single day of the week.

We’ve found that they run plenty long and actually are always fully charged in one charge cycle.  Also, their website states that they run better than alkaline or other rechargeables in cold weather.  This is great news if you’re often out shooting in -10 degree weather!

There are so-called “quick-chargers” available for the Eneloop, though we’d hardly consider them even slightly fast.  The standard charger takes 7 hours.  The “Quick-Chargers” take 4…….

Because of the slower charge time, we initially ordered 3 chargers.  There are chargers available from other companies that could work well and charge 20 or more batteries at a time, but Sanyo recommends only using theirs.  We also purchased about 20 batteries.  Everything cost just $72.49 through B&H Photo.  Check them out here: B&H Photo Video Eneloop Batteries

It may seem costly initially.  But when you think that 24 alkaline batteries (6 flash sets) which will die and end up in a landfill costs at least $20, you’re saving a ton.  Sanyo claims the new batteries get 1500 or more charges before they die.  For the same amount of sets in alkaline batteries, your price would be $4,995!  That’s a crazy thought!  $18.50 for 4 batteries and a charger, or $4,995 for 6000 alkalines, the decision is yours, but we are happy with our Sanyo Eneloops!

We give the Eneloops a rating of 7 out of 10.  They are GREAT batteries, but we wish they could fire more flashes per charge.

The chargers however get a 4 out of 10.  Sanyo doesn’t offer larger chargers and they take a long time to charge.  We just wish there were more options covered by warranty.


    • Haven’t had a chance to try those yet, looks like we need to do a little online research and find out more!

  1. Hi,
    I had been using eneloops for sometime with a standard charger. Some of the batteries i had in my kit started to lose some performance and were becoming unreliable in cold temps. Bought a maha 801 and it brought them back to almost brand new when i have tested them at -30C and it charges them way faster. Thomas distributing has them at the best price.


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