Hey fellow photographer, how is it going? I’m Michael Zelbel, and in this little video I would like to share my strategy for re-chargeable batteries in photo shoots with you. There’s pretty much nothing more disheartening in my opinion than you have the opportunity to shoot a good photo and all of a sudden the batteries go flat dodododo, you can’t shoot any more. Now that’s bad!
This is why I care about my batteries a lot and I would like to share the strategy for that with you, and this is also because last week on my blog, in the comments cousin jan-Marco asked how would I handle rechargeable batteries especially during energy consuming talent shoots. But anyway in my opinion it is always the same, we have to care about power and digital photography, it’s just like that.
But it comes down to, in my opinion, to 3 very easy things, very obvious things actually, the first one being:
1) Have enough batteries! Just have enough. Camera batteries they last quite a while but I have 3 batteries per camera with me and that is usually enough. I have a very big battery for my laptop, an external batteries so that my laptop keeps going for ages and AA batteries for my speed lights and my radio remotes and whatever, I have 24 of them with me because so many things, especially these speed lights are running of AA. This brings me to the second thing;
2) I am using high quality batteries only. I tried cheap batteries; they don’t just work for me. For instance this important AAs, these are all Panasonic Infinium Batteries. They have this inner loop technology which keeps a charge for weeks or months while our batteries give up their charge within usually a couple of days. I had been the impression that in a matter of hours but these babies they just keep their current and those are 2,000 milli-ampere hours. Sounds like not so much, yes, sounds like batteries for wimps right? But I tell you those batteries are really good, we tested them in the lab, charging them and dis-charging them, and so on and metering all the battery behavior and the results just blew me away. Those batteries are excellent, I can highly recommend them and I use them only. Especially for my flashes they re-charge much faster than a… let’s say a normal Duracell battery would do it and they just work.
Then I go this hypermac battery. That is also very high quality battery, it has got 150 Watt hours which is enough for my mac book to keep going for now depending on the load, 5 to 8 hours. That’s quite a… that’s a very good one and then the topic of camera batteries, I use original manufacturer batteries, even though they are insanely expensive and I did try a number of cheaper knock offs, quite a number I have to admit but they all didn’t work, they usually … they sort of work in the beginning and then they give up working after 2 or 3 months while those babies they go typically for me for 4 years and are absolutely reliable. So they are well worth the investment. Just in case I don’t have enough of them then my camera got an adapter and it’s running on AAs, pretty much like everything in photography, isn’t that cool? But so far I never needed it. I always had enough batteries with me. The next thing which is important is;
3) Recharge early and often! When I go on location, I usually figure out where is the power, where can I connect the power, and I have something like this with me, it is multi purpose power plug, I can plug in our German power plugs or British plugs or Chinese, or whatever, ‘cause I buy equipments all round the global, and the charger I usually use is this little charger it is fast double AA charger, GP power bank, so it may look a little bit cheap and it is a bit cheap but it is good, it is very very good. It provides me with feedback about batteries, it tells me how much charge or what the current of the battery is, it tells me when a battery will go down or it’s getting broken and it re-charges AA batteries in a matter of minutes! It’s really cool, it’s really handy.
What I do during the photo shoots is usually this, once I finish the first scene, once we did shoot the first couple of photos I take my first speedlight and exchange the batteries even if they are still quite okay, I alread take them out and put them into the charger and so that they are recharged and exchange them against fresh batteries. And then after the second scene I do the same with my second speed light, right after the third scene with my third speed light, so the batteries are on rotation all the time and the basic strategy is I recharge faster than I consume battery power with my speedlight set up. That’s pretty much it and it is working quite well because the speed lights can do a bunch of flashes with a one battery load so it is always enough for a couple of scenes but I start directly after that first scene. I directly start to recharging. If I’m on location for a very long time, if the external laptop battery would go flat, then I would take it off and recharge it and have the laptop in the meantime running on its internal battery, that’s okay as well. Like I said with the 3 camera batteries so far they were always more than I needed.
Okay finally, I want to know anything about batteries, I want to know if those batteries are good, who do I ask? Usually I ask people who are into model making, you know these little ship models and model planes and so on, they know a ton about re-chargeable batteries, really and they have got the instruments to measure everything so I usually go to them and ask them.
Okay that’s it for today, what I would like to know from you is, is this information useful for you? Is it good or is it something where you will say, Michael, I know all that stuff and so why are you babbling along all that crap, so please tell me, is that useful for you or not? Okay I hope to see you next Thursday and until then, I wish you good light.