Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Six Years of AA Battery Pentax DSLRs

After six years of AA battery driven Pentax DSLRs, since the *ist D, I have plenty of NiMH batteries and chargers in my home! They are of different makes and models, to name a few, those includes Mitshibishi, Panasonic, Sony, Sanyo, GP, Super and so on.. And, I just wonder how much money and time I had been wasted in sourcing a better AA rechargeable solution.

I own four models amongst those AA Pentax DSLRs, namely, the *ist D, *ist DS, K100D and now the K-m. Out of my original expectation, my 7th Pentax SLR body is not the K-7, but the K-m, despite that I was one of the first people who pre-ordered! :-(

Now, thanks to Pentax and their infamous battery issue, my house is still full of those Ni-MH batteries so that I can save the Earth and protect the environment so much! ;-) Anyway, these batteries are useful to me as I have so many remote controls in my home (dozens of - I'm a gadgetaholic, I admit) and also there are just too many other small devices and toys that need AA batteries..

What I want to mention in this blog entry is about the best and the worst Ni-MH batteries and models I ever bought and own. Maybe I mention about the best chargers first, they are those made by Panasonic, highly recommended. Another tips of mine for selecting chargers is that do NOT buy "quick" chargers that charge too fast (say, 15 minutes or something). Those chargers do NO GOOD to the batteries, nor the charging quality is really good. Cooling fan actually doesn't help much. The cooling fan can blow away the heat *outside* the batteries. But how can they get the heat *inside* the batteries Away?

Well, the worst battery I have ever owned is the Sanyo 2500 mAh NiMH (early model, which Sanyo advertised heavily everywhere and claimed to be the highest capacity NiMH created and made ever!), which IMHO is just a Piece Of Junk. In fact, this battery has been "crowned" as "King of Self-Discharge" by photohobbists locally in my city, which it will discharge to nothing usable just after one to two days it has no power at all after that. Really POJ or maybe even just a POS! Indeed, this name of "King of Self-Discharge" is really so exact and is best describing this ever crappy Sanyo rechargeable model, which was with only 100% hype, and solely.

What is the best battery then? Eneloop? Nope.. It is usable but not the best battery I own. Lately, I have found and bought four new Camelion AlwaysReady new-type LSD (Low Self-Discharge) NiMHs and I do find a difference.

When used in my K-m, the AlwaysReady show clearly that it is just superior to the Eneloop. It is more powerful and my K-m is now ever strongest (the motor torque is different, as that can be heard obviously). As what Camelion claims, the AlwaysReady recovers much faster after high drain, or even "short circuit", whereas the Eneloop does recover slower according to my own experiences. With freshly charged batteries, after high drain (say, put the K-m into the Continuous Hi frame mode for five shots), the Eneloop will show "half-depleted" momentarily but the AlwaysReady is still able to maintain its power level, with a green battery symbol. If the batteries are already shown as "half-depleted", further draining the Eneloops will make my K-m shut-down. In contrast, with AlwaysReady, it can still sustain the power until it cuts off very transitionally, but not suddenly (unlike the Eneloop). Even when the battery symbol has just become red (empty), the AlwaysReady can still do a few more shots before the batteries "die", which has never been possible with the Eneloop.

So, the Camelion AlwaysReady is what I highly recommend for all Pentax users with our AA battery driven DSLRs. Finally, there is a better solution to the problem, although it is not offered by Pentax! Combined with Pana's chargers (not too "quick" but reasonable in charging time, say, two hours something), the best result can be obtained. I do not recommend Camelion or those common GP chargers that are widely available though, as I have recently read cases of explosion of both on local press and in another local photo forum. Panasonic is the brand that I mostly trust, with best performance, reliability and safety (although their offers are usually not that cheap).

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