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New NiZn Batteries Offer Lightning Fast Recycle

As you know, 1.2v NiMH rechargeable batteries recycle most flashes faster than do 1.5v standard alkaline batts. This is because the NiMH's excel at delivering current, which is usually the bottleneck in the flash's recycle rate.

But what if you could combine the fast current delivery of an NiMH with a voltage that is even higher than an alkaline?

You'd have a turbo battery disguised as a AA, is what you'd have.

Sounds great, huh? Well, there is one small caveat …

Live Fast, Die Young

That's exactly how Canadian wedding photographer Brian Tao (who made the videos below) put it, and I'd be inclined to agree.

The nominal voltage on an NiZn battery is 1.65v -- already above the voltage most AA-based flashes are expecting. But the actual metered terminal voltage is reportedly up around 1.85v, which will pretty much redline your flash PDQ:

As you can see, Brian is dumping full-power shots, one after the other, at very high speed. And that flash is dissipating all of the extra current as -- you guessed it -- heat. Since the SB-900 has a thermal scale built in to the flash, you can actually watch it happen in the video.

Truth be told, it doesn't matter if you run that many, rapid 1/1 pops through a flash via NiZn AA's or an external turbo battery. That current has to dissipate somehow.

So don't think it is the necessarily NiZn batts' fault. It's physics.

Of course, Brian being a guy, he had to see just how long it would take to throw the SB-900 into thermal overload.

Answer: Not very.

For run-and-gun shooters (PJ, wedding, etc.,) NiZn batts might be a good tool for everyday use -- provided you don't redline them like this, of course. But if you are gonna stick them in your flash -- and I am not recommending it, just throwing out some early info -- mind the total energy going through your flash.

Obviously, running at 1/4 or 1/8 power in a typical portrait session would be both safer and blisteringly fast. But still, keep an eye out.

In fact, if you do try them in your flash please hit us up in the comments with the following info:

1. Make and model of your flash
2. Make and model of NiZn batts you used
3. Recycle time at full, 1/2 and 1/4 power
4. How long it took for your flash to explode
5. How many nearby people were hit by flying debris when it did

(And don't forget to wear goggles when you shoot!)


(Thanks to Jonathan for the tip via the comments.)


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