Thursday, November 3, 2011


It’s one thing for the fast recycling NiZn batteries to fail and another thing for the failure to occur at Grandparents’ Day!  After unexpected problems in mid-August, I sorted through my NiZn batteries with a volt meter, discarded a few and gave the remaining ones another try. A month later, I used those batteries at my granddaughter’s birthday party and my confidence in NiZn returned.  Today, six weeks later, two of the four batteries in the 580EX II (right, not yet using the YN565EX mounted on my 7D) let me down.

I admit to not recharging the NiZn batteries last night before using them  today.  I think the last time the batteries were charged was mid-October and they’ve been used for perhaps 10 flashes since that re-charging.  Still, I’m unhappy to get only five flashes from the NiZn batteries today before I noticed my wife waving her arms and mouthing, “The flash is not working!”.  I immediately removed the 580EX II and popped up the little built-in flash in the 7D.  Fortunately, my granddaughter’s small classroom was well lit and, with the 7D set for ISO 1600, the built-in flash generated sufficient fill flash.

Why didn’t I simply change batteries once I realized that the NiZn’s had failed?  Because I foolishly, but intentionally, left my camera bag in the car – that’s why.  I didn’t even drop a spare set of batteries in my pocket.  After all, we were only to be there for an hour. 

Tonight I checked my supply of NiZn batteries.  Of the 13 spare batteries, 2 were bad.  So of 17 total NiZn batteries, 4 were found bad today.  For all I know, the remaining batteries are fine but I no longer have faith in NiZn.

PowerEx 2700 mAh NiMH batteries served me well for several years and were my battery of choice before NiZn.  I’ve also tried Sanyo Eneloop 2000 mAh batteries.  The Eneloop batteries definitely hold a charge longer than the PowerEx but also do not produce quite as many flashes.  My strategy now is to first use PowerEx but to have the Eneloops in my pocket.  Of course, I can’t really bring myself to toss out all those NiZn batteries so I’ll keep them around for a while as unreliable extras.

Signing off to order Eneloops …

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