Photographers need the best batteries possible to ensure their power-hungry gear works when it's needed most. Question is, which lithium AA batteries are best right now?
There are many shortcuts photographers can make when buying gear if funds are low. One area I would never compromise on is batteries. If you have no power you have no pictures. As more and more companies enter the battery market, it can be difficult to know which brand you should carry in your camera bag. Thankfully for us, Project Farm over on YouTube is back to give us an answer to this question. He also provides an update in this video to his NiMH AA battery test which has been running for the last two years.
For those who have not seen a Project Farm video before, Todd does a great job at being very methodical and fair in his testing. As a bonus in this video, not only do we get the typical capacity tests, but we are also given important details such as diameter, weight, and type of charger for each battery. This last point can be a deal-breaker if you plan on traveling light or don't have much space in your bag. This information brought up some interesting insights such as not all the batteries were the same size. I know I have a few devices which I have to struggle with to get some brands of AA battery inside. The various types of chargers also came as a surprise too. Everything from traditional chargers to various docks, to USB ports on the side of the batteries themselves.
All the batteries were tested for capacity with an industry-standard battery tester and the results were compared to their advertised capacity. It will probably not come as a surprise to learn that almost all of the batteries fell short of what the companies claimed they could hold. Since watching Project Farm's last battery video, I have become much more skeptical about what the battery companies claim. Todd went on to test the batteries in a "real world" environment by using handheld fans to see which would be the last one standing. Towards the end of the test, it boiled down to one of the cheapest versus one of the most expensive brands. This is a great reminder that the price of an item is not always the most accurate indicator of quality.
Smartools, Maxlithium, and AmpTorrent are some of the batteries you'll have probably heard of, as well as many other brands that may be new to you. If you're looking to invest in some lithium batteries any time soon I would check this video out first.
Lead image by Danilo Alvesd used under Creative Commons.