AA alternatives

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Robert Coe, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    In one or two threads recently, lively discussions have erupted regarding the
    good, the bad, and the ugly of rechargeable AA cells. What was absent from
    those discussions was the merits, if any, of the more powerful alternatives to
    the AA. I sure wouldn't mind not having to spend many hours juggling my three
    4-cell chargers (two at home, one at work) to get my 50 AAs ready for a shoot.
    And one of the alternatives, the Quantum Turbo 3, gets the highest user
    ratings I think I've ever seen at B&H for any piece of photographic equipment.
    (The most hostile reviewer gave it four out of five stars.)

    But the Turbo 3 is wildly expensive: $714 with the cables necessary to power
    two speedlites. Is it, or any of the other big batteries, really worth that
    kind of money? Has anyone here used the Turbo 3 or something similar? Does
    anyone here actually own one? Etc.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jul 6, 2013
    #1
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  2. Robert Coe

    Robert Coe Guest

    :
    :
    :
    : On 7/5/13 8:16 PM, in article ,
    :
    : > In one or two threads recently, lively discussions have erupted regarding the
    : > good, the bad, and the ugly of rechargeable AA cells. What was absent from
    : > those discussions was the merits, if any, of the more powerful alternatives to
    : > the AA. I sure wouldn't mind not having to spend many hours juggling my three
    : > 4-cell chargers (two at home, one at work) to get my 50 AAs ready for a shoot.
    : > And one of the alternatives, the Quantum Turbo 3, gets the highest user
    : > ratings I think I've ever seen at B&H for any piece of photographic equipment.
    : > (The most hostile reviewer gave it four out of five stars.)
    : >
    : > But the Turbo 3 is wildly expensive: $714 with the cables necessary to power
    : > two speedlites. Is it, or any of the other big batteries, really worth that
    : > kind of money? Has anyone here used the Turbo 3 or something similar? Does
    : > anyone here actually own one? Etc.
    : >
    : > Bob
    :
    : Depends upon your frequency of use.
    :
    : Back in the 80s and early 90s, doing a LOT of event work, like it seems that
    : you do, I had similar problems with my C-Cell Metz 'potato-masher' strobe.
    : It was chewing on batteries faster than Joey Chestnut downed conies. And,
    : back then, I could not find rechargeables. So, I bought a Quantum Turbo, but
    : only was ~$300 at that time. Later, when I turned to studio work, I found
    : myself losing it less and less. I found that my Canon Speedlights would work
    : well for what limited event work that I still did. It WAS a lot less
    : equipment to haul around and the battery pack of the Quantum wasn't pulling
    : down my pants like a homeboy, being attached to my belt.
    :
    : It seems that you have a lot invested in the rechargeables that you have.
    : But, if you can justify it, do it and keep your system as a backup. You
    : might find some used equipment ay some large camera houses like B&H or some
    : of the NYC boys. Or, an Ebay offer. I would bet that my old unit still works
    : fine. Good luck with your decision!

    Thanks, George. It's helpful to have feedback from someone who's been down
    that road.

    I'm really not badly equipped at present, with my two Canon belt packs and two
    8-cell inserts for each. But at the Fire Department ceremony the other day, I
    found myself holding back a bit. They were swapping in a new combination of
    award recipients, FD bigshots, friends, and relatives every 90 seconds or so,
    and even a brief stop to swap in new batteries might have caused a logjam.
    OTOH, if I'd shot any faster, I might have overheated my flash; so maybe a
    bigger battery wouldn't have mattered. At least I probably won't see a more
    hectic event until the City Council inauguration in January, so I have some
    time to think about it. ;^)

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Jul 6, 2013
    #2
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  3. lithium 1.5 volt AA factor primary batteries.
    Expensive, long shelf life, *lots* of power stored (roughly
    3x as much as an alkaline AA cell, IIRC).
    - Buy Eneloop, charge after use, store, use as needed.
    (Unless you store them for 2+ years at room temperature,
    in which case they may only have 50% charge left).

    - Buy a couple 8 or 12 slot chargers (of reputable makers
    and quality).

    And is a NiMH, just like your AA cells. Which you probably
    still need (in Canon flashes, the electronics always run from
    the internal batteries, IIRC).
    What's it's selling point over the much cheaper CP-E4 and
    similar (i.e. high voltage from 8 AA cells to recharge the
    flash for fast recharges and more staying power)?

    The flash will heat up much faster at full auto fire than
    the batteries will drain from it. The high voltage allows
    fast flash-to-flash times already with the CP-E4. So ... the
    only advantage I could see is if the Turbo 3 had *a lot* more
    energy stored than 8 AA cells and you couldn't pause and/or
    reach the flash and change batteries in the flash or CP-E4 ...


    -Wolfgang
     
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jul 6, 2013
    #3
  4. Robert Coe

    Mort Guest

    Hi,

    Be really careful about using lithium AA cells, and consult the owner's
    manual before using them. They put out a lot more current than alkaline
    or NiMH cells, and can fry some sensitive electronics.

    I have had good luck with Eneloop cells, albeit their voltage is 1.2
    instead of the alkaline's 1.5.

    Whatever batteries or cells you use, take along plenty of spares, in
    your pocket and not in the car out somewhere in the parking lot.

    Good luck.

    Mort Linder
     
    Mort, Jul 9, 2013
    #4
  5. Robert Coe

    Guest Guest

    Hi,

    Be really careful about using lithium AA cells, and consult the owner's
    manual before using them. They put out a lot more current than alkaline
    or NiMH cells, and can fry some sensitive electronics.[/QUOTE]

    lithium aa *can* source more current, but it doesn't necessarily do
    that. it depends on the circuit. nimh can also source a lot of current.

    what does affect some devices with lithium aa is the voltage, not the
    current. it's higher, at about 1.6-1.7 volts, versus 1.5 for alkaline
    and 1.2 or so for nimh. this isn't normally a problem (especially with
    recent devices), but it could be in some.
    those work well, and with a low self-discharge. however, some devices
    don't like the lower voltage, especially ones that take 6 or 8
    batteries, where the voltage difference is more than minor. with an 8
    cell pack, there's a 2.4v difference (12v versus 9.6v).
    that's true, but being in the car is better than left at home.
     
    Guest, Jul 9, 2013
    #5
  6. In other words: They have a low internal resistance,
    which is a *very* good thing for cameras and flashes.
    High internal resistance means the voltage drops dangerously
    when e.g. charging a flash or handling and storing the image
    just shot --- the batteries can't give much of the charge
    they actually have.

    Only old circuits that are stupidly designed to depend on
    the battery to limit the current by the batteries' internal
    resistance are affected.
    Which doesn't matter for properly designed circuits: Alkalines
    only have 1.5V for a very short time in their discharge,
    they drop to 1.2V pretty soon.
    "plenty" depends a lot on what you do.


    -Wolfgang
     
    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jul 10, 2013
    #6
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