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.

11 thoughts on “Gear Friday: Sanyo Eneloop Batteries

  1. Pingback: The best rechargeable batteries: Sanyo Eneloops – ;prettyGeeky

  2. I’ve been using Eneloop for my strobes for the past few years as well, after catching a recommendation from another photographer. He mentioned they output a full charge until dead, so your power level doesn’t fluctuate. I always purchase my batteries from Amazon or Thomas Distributing[1] for the best prices and those plastic 4-pack carrying cases! http://www.thomasdistributing.com

  3. Pingback: Gear Friday – Powering your Speedlites « Serious Amateur Photography

  4. Great timing with the post – I was just considering replacing the sets in my 430 EX’s.

    Have you considered setting yourself up as an Amazon affiliate – this way when you make recommendations like this and people buy via your link, you’ll receive a very small cut that might be nice payback for the work you do keeping the blog going…

    • Richard,

      Thanks for reading. I decided long ago not to advertise on my blog and given the latest FTC regulations I think this was a good decision. Now I can provide my honest opinion on the products that I use without folks wondering if my motives are pure. I support my blog as a key part of my photography business selling posters, prints, books and workshops. And I blog to give something back to the community of photographers that continue to support me on my journey. It’s just good Karma!

      Jeff

  5. Hi Jeff, i feel your pain recharging so many batteries, just an observation from my experiences

    Used Energizer NIMH 2500mah batteries for about 3months, bought 8x AA and hated them, they cannot be stored for more than a week or two without loosing their charge significantly…

    Spent about a year in searching for ones that would do the trick, Canon ones where a hit and miss, Uniross kept their charge but my smaller 430EX could drain 4 batteries in under 50 shots so they landed up out as well…

    Surprise surprise when by accident i picked up a set of 4 x Duracell 2650Mah NIMH about 1 year ago and did a complete wedding shoot on one set 300+shots, and once charged i took out a set about 6months later and they where still by my guesstimates 70%+ full 200 shots on a 430 EX

    That all being said an done 8x of these guys in a CP-E4 battery back connected to a 580EX II have yielded me 350-400+shots on a warm day and about 250+shots in -3 degrees (Celsius) weather.

    and it wasn’t a fluke set have 5 sets(4x) of the 2650NIMH and they been great plus for some or other reason i keep being able to pick them up for about ZAR120 ($15) at a chemist in Knysna South Africa when i visit there and the the rest of the NIMH batteries go for about R199-R300 ($16-$30) and seem to be useless…maybe worth a look, my 5cents worth anyway

    Dino (South Africa)

  6. I’ve been using these batteries for about 2 years and I love them. I don’t have to worry about them dying in the middle of my shoot. You don’t hear much about them, but anyone that uses them will tell you how great they are.

    • Gloria,

      Thanks for reading. I just finished shooting a corporate Christmas party and did over 150 portraits using Canon 580EX IIs with battery packs. The eneloop batteries performed flawlessly.

      Jeff

  7. Yes, these batteries are great! I’ve been using them for a couple of years now w/no problems And they’re pretty too. šŸ™‚

  8. I been using the Sanyo Enloopes most of the past year in my speedlights and battery packs. I got a Pearstone Battery maintenance center that can charge or condition up to 8 cells at a time in single increments. Some of the best batteries I have seen. I have acquired almost 48 of them to date to power four speedlights and two Battery packs that I have and my PWs. I want two batteries for every one that I need and plan on buying a second charger soon. to assist in maintaining them. I like the Pearstone unit since it will discharge the cell then recharge it to full status and uses a bar graph to show you status. If a cell is bad it blinks letting you know. I haven’t found another battery maintenance center that does the same for the price. I just wished they made a 12 or 16 cell unit instead of the 8 cell. That way I could maintain more batteries at the same time. Also the unit can be powered by the power plug in your car or by the 120to 12vt adapter both come with the unit.

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