Syl Arena's book on Speedliting really gets into detail on this subject. He explains why the different types are good for different types of shooters. Alkalines have one advantage, that being availability. Lithium batteries have long life, but are slower between shots. Professionals tend to use Ni-MH rechargeables, which recycle the flashgun faster than alkaline or lithium. Low-discharge Ni-MH have a long storage life once charged, but are slower from shot-to-shot compared to high-discharge Ni-MH. High-discharge will not hold a full charge for long, during storage, but have a faster shot-to-shot ability.
For a shooter who will diligently charge his/her batteries before an event, high-discharge Ni-MH therefore have an advantage for firing many shots repeatedly. This rapid shooting can overheat a flashgun, so multiple flashguns might be needed.
Eneloops are low-discharge Ni-MH. I just opened our first packs of Eneloops,
so have no long-term experience yet. I also just opened our first packs of Powerex, which are high-discharge Ni-MH. I bought both through Amazon. Why both types? Eneloops hold their charge longer, but I can charge-up the
Powerexes right before I expect to need to really use flash heavily.
I have been using Delkin Ni-MH for a while, due to local availability. I think they are high-discharge, due to their high milli-amp rating. It does seem that they will lose much of their charge if sitting inside a flashgun or case for a few weeks, but really work well if freshly charged, which is another
indication they are the high-discharge type. I cannot find much information on Delkins, but they are locally popular, though not so much as Eneloops.
Regarding external packs, not all flashguns have the necessary connection ports. In the current Canon line, I think only the 580EX can use the external battery packs.
I am no expert on flashgun batteries! I did read recommendations by Syl Arena, Joe McNally, and countless others, and listened to local photographers, before recently ordering the Eneloops and Powerexes. I do use my 580EX flashguns frequently, because I work at night. I was going through far too many alkalines, so I had switched to Ni-MH Delkins, but I think Eneloops may be better for most of my needs.
I recently acquired Maha chargers, which treat each battery as an individual, and can be set to recondition each cell with a discharge and then a slow re-charge.
My wife photographs death scenes, mostly at night, and had been using Energizer lithium batteries, but was not too happy with them, due to slow recovery between shots. She will be trying Eneloops now.
Last edited by RexGig
on Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Canon 5Ds R/7D2/7D/5D/40D/1D2N; Nikon F6/D3s/D700/FM3A/Coolpix A. Lens selection undergoing changes; some favorites: Zeiss 2/135 APO Sonnar, Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS and 135L, Nikkor 14-24/2.8G and 200/2 VR.