Faster Than A Speedlight Bullet


Since I started shooting for 405 Magazine, I have found myself using my Nikon SB-800 Speedlights more and more. We shoot portraits on almost every shoot. Some shoots also require on-location product shots. I have never even considered bringing out my big studio lights, choosing instead to utilize the speedlights. Let's face it -- for portability and ease of use, they can't be beat. But that portability and ease of use comes with a price -- most speedlights are powered by AA batteries, and mine are no different.

The difference is that while most speedlights use 4 AA batteries, my SB-800 units have an option to use 5. Since I relish the faster recycle time and slower power drain, I take advantage of being able to use 5 AA batteries in each. There was a time when I would buy AA alkaline batteries for each job, but to save the expense of having to buy those very expensive batteries all the time, I have, like so many others, chosen to go the rechargeable Nickel hydride (NiMH) route. Toward this end, I use Panasonic Enloops.

I have always believed in the theory of having a backup for everything, and batteries are no different. While I've never had to replace batteries in a speedlight in the field, that is always a possibility. Additionally, there have been several occasions when jobs came so close together that I didn't have time to go back to the office, and load up on fresh batteries. That means I have to have spares with me at all times.

The question that comes to mind then, is how to transport those extra batteries, and how to tell at a glance which batteries are charged, and which have been used and are in need of recharging. Enter the little gadget you see above -- a plastic rifle ammo box. These cases are currently $7.75 on Amazon, but they should be available at any well stocked sporting & outdoor store. It holds 50 rounds . . . err . . . batteries . . . perfectly. And to keep track of which batteries are fresh and which need to be recharged, I came up with the idea of simply putting used batteries back in the case button side down. (Yes, I know the label says "new," because I started all this when I was still wasting money buying AA alkalines.)

To be perfectly clear (transparent?), I didn't think this up on my own. I am sorry to say that I don't remember where I first saw this idea, but it struck me as an absolutely perfect way of transporting and sorting AA batteries. I hope it helps you.

PS: Yes, that's a MagMod MagGrip on the SB-800. There are times when nothing works quite as well as a MagMod MagSphere. Hence, all of my speedlights have MagGrips.

#NikonUSA #flash #speedlights #battery #batteries #AA #NiMH #Nickelhydride #rechargeable

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Oklahoma Freelance Photographer

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Don Risi Photography
Oklahoma City 


Based in Oklahoma City, able to travel anywhere in the

continental United States

Using Nikon Cameras and Lenses exclusively since 1979.
Proud member of Nikon Professional Services

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