Thursday, January 8, 2015

AA Battery Holder Comparison

I act a bit erratic in my gear acquisition process. Usually, I buy what comes my way and is within my budget - as soon as I can make use of it, of course! This especially goes for small and useful equipment, such as cables, adapters, spigots and battery holders. Oh, there we are! I have three different models, so let´s have a look at them. They only cost a few bucks each, but you should know what you´re going for. Also, they might seem simple, but how DO you handle them?
Running and gunning strobist-style, you always need fresh AA Batteries to feed my flashguns. Keeping and carrying them is easy, but I like to know at first glance, whether I have a pack of fresh or empty batteries in front of me. I also like to keep each set of four together for their whole worklife.

Baybox BATTERY-BOX AA, AAA, CR123A, Flash Cards

This is a smart little thing. Actually, it´s the smartest and largest thing in the whole review.
As the apt name says, this nice box holds AAs, AAAs, CR123s and has slots for CF cards, which can be stored alternatively (four CFs per unit)
As you can see, they can be stacked. Unfortunately, I only own two of these and they seem no longer available but have been replaced by the Akkubox Foto Plus, which is twice the length and capacity. 
The hanger for store display slides out the back. If you slide it in again, it pushes against box and lid, thus locking it tight. Good thing I threw mine away, mindlessly.

How do you identify the full batteries? Easy, it´s even printed on the back. Plus up means charged, minus (bottom) up means empty. You can see the orientation easily through the acid-resistant plastic.

Here is the company´s website. They don´t ship at the moment (Jan 2015), though. Actually, I got mine for free with the purchase of a few batteries in a battery store and I´m glad to have them! 


These things pop up irregularly on ebay. They´re ugly but quite okay, given the price. The lid is velcro´d and there is a plastic window on the front. Again, battery orientation is the code for the status of the batteries. But you have to know how your batts look from the side, when they´re charged. Works for me, too. I have like eight or ten of them flying around here, somewhere. Here´s one with charged batteries:

They feature a belt clip with a snap-fastener, which is very nice indeed! You can clip them to your camera strap, your accessory bag strap, whatever and they will only come off by force. Also, if you don´t need them, they fold flat and weigh nothing. They exist in an AAA version, too. You can fill memory cards in there, too, of course. But it´s not dustproof.

This battery holder is about the only one of the three which can be operated with gloves on.

 I´m sorry I cannot give you a manufacturer here. You have to check ebay from time to time for these


Now, here´s another rather generic item. Here is a link to the only shop where I found these (again, it´s man, where´d I get these couple years ago??). But I´m sure there is a local manufacturer in your country who produces the exact same thing. Let me just utter a few thoughts about these: 

They hold 4 AAs or 4 AAAs (which then would sit between the ribs you can see in the lid. This is nice, because you wouldn´t want to have rechargeables clattering around in an unnecessary manner. They´d get damaged).

These things are compact and very useful. They are a bit hard to open, but that also means that they won´t ever open by accident, leaving you with a pile of fourty-eight batteries inside your bag. The small latch lies almost flush with the box when locked.

Now, here comes the big trick. I was pretty sure that I could do the orientation trick here, but I got confused EVERY time. I guess, initially I defined plus toward the latch as charged like in the picture above. It took fabulous Zack Arias to show me the light. If you want to be 100% sure, just store EMPTY batteries like pictured above. Or the other way round, it does not matter. BECAUSE YOU STORE FULL BATTERIES LIKE YOU´D PUT THEM IN YOUR FLASH! LIKE THIS:

Duh! Facepalm! All too easy, isn´t it? This is one of the magically brilliant tricks in Zack´s fantastic book Photography Q&A which I recommend to anybody. Photographer or not.
This is so smart, I even shot another picture of it:

You see, you actually can put some thoughts into something seemingly silly like a battery holder purchase. It´s the little things that count. You have to handle these each and every day you´re out with your flash and although each item listed here is a good, working and inexpensive product, you may one day walk out and find the one that´s perfect for you. [insert unicorn and flowers here, play soft flute music]

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