Lithium Vs. Alkaline Batteries?????

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by jbylake, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. jbylake

    jbylake Dodging the Men in Black Supporting Member

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    I'm really not sure if this is the right thread or not for this question, so forgive me if it is.

    My question is this. I have 1 mint Canon A1, and 2 mint AE1's, (35mm SLR for all you young guns) That I still shoot, especially B&W. They all use the PX28 style 6V batteries.

    The Lithium sell for 2x the amount of the alkaline.

    Can someone tell me the difference, e.g. life span etc...and are the Lithium worth twice the price?

    Thanks ahead,

    J.
     
  2. CxThree

    CxThree TPF Noob!

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    Lithium will have more life and power.

    Copy the title of this thread and paste it into any search engine like www.bing.com. You will see lots of sites going over all the differences.
     
  3. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Lithium's kick the snot out of the alkalines... esp in flashes as they have MUCH faster recharge times and are pretty steadily fast throughout the life of the batteries. Plus far more flashes.

    HOWEVER... Lithium's heat up a lot on use... some flashes will outright tell you not to use them. I just try to be careful to not be super super fast with them. You're better off getting an external battery if you need that kind of recycle time consistently.

    I mean HOT. Like "Ow crap, those are hot!"
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In flashes yes.

    You need to understand what happens in different batteries to know when it becomes an issue. Alkaline batteries have a really long life and are subject to a gradual drop in voltage that gets worse towards the end. As this happens if the current draw increases the voltage drops a lot (high Thevenin resistance if you wikipedia the electrical principle behind it).

    Lithium on the other hand are very high current and have a very steady voltage which suddenly dies at end of life.

    So a device which doesn't use much power (say like a camera without using onboard flash) gets excellent life out of alkaline batteries. Certainly I know someone who just uses Alkaline in his battery grip for his camera since for his shooting they last longer (I think he's nuts and killing the environment).

    For a flash on the other hand which at every discharge has to draw a huge amount of current very quickly to recharge, Lithiums are a godsend and nearly every battery type will out perform standard Alkalines in this case.

    My recommendation is go with the Alkalines.
     
  5. schumionbike

    schumionbike TPF Noob!

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    Garbz, how did you go from saying lithium are godsend to recommending alkalines? It is because of cost?

    Edit, nvm. he's not using a flash. But I do have a question, would you prolong the life of your flash if you use lithium battery since it doesn't lose charge gradually like other batteries?
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    By 'prolong the life' do you mean the batteries will last longer before needing a recharge...or do you mean the lifetime of your flash?

    I think that most people use NiMH batteries for the best results with flash. Standard NiMH batteries do loose their charge over time so most of use just remember to charge them up before a gig.
    I'm not sure why Lithiums are not more popular. Maybe because of the cost, or maybe it's the heat.
     
  7. schumionbike

    schumionbike TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Big Mike, I meant over the lifetime of the flash. I was told that lithium would make the flash more reliable since the electrical output is constant unlike other batteries. I'm use Ni-MH batteries for my sb-600 and I just recharge them after 150 shots, I think the flash could fire 220 full power flashes on one charge so I just keep it safe and charge at around 150 flashes
     
  8. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This probably won't relate to the flash much, but it should be noted that Lithium batteries weigh a lot less than alkalines or nimh as well. I use them in my F100 and the difference in weight (and battery life) compared to 'normal' batteries is very noticable.
     
  9. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ah yes, I was going to mention the weight. When you consider the weight difference and the number of batteries that we might carry around (not to mention the number of times we lift the camera/flash), lithium batteries can be nice.
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wait... are we talking about rechargable lithium batteries or non-rechargable lithium batteries? I think there is a difference....
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Prolong the usable battery life. Sorry bad choice of words. The idea is simple. Flashes use a LOT of current when charging. This causes Alkalines to dip in voltage towards the end of their life, something that doesn't happen to Lithiums or NiMha, and something that affects the flash's ability to charge. So basically the Lithiums will last longer. The Alkalines however won't be dead when they don't work in the flash anymore.

    In the odd case where I have had to use Alkalines in a flash (quick run to the 7/11 when all other batteries die on a shoot), I still use the "flat" batteries when the flash gave up. One set is currently in my keyboard (still typing as you can see) and another has been in a TV remote for a good 2 months now.

    The same applies to cameras where flashes don't play a big role. So Lithiums would be great in point and shoot cameras, with their screens always on and their focusing using the sensor, whereas Alkalines may again be better for SLRs.

    Oh and your mileage may vary :)

    I think non-rechargeable, given the comparison to Alkalines.
     
  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh ok... there are references in this thread to rechargeable. Is it safe to assume that the power delivery of a non-rechargeable lithium battery is similar to the rechargeables?
     

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