More Power for Your Canon, Nikon or Sony Speedlight
Pixel Pro External Flash Battery Pack for Your Speedlights
Why Use an External Flash Battery Pack? If you have shot weddings or any photographic job where you are using flashguns or speedlights for any prolonged amount of time, you will know the frustration that short battery life can bring.
Whether it is having to run back to your kit bag for fresh batteries or the huge (and distracting) PITA of having to replace batteries during a wedding service, you will know what I mean.
With many types of professional or commercial photography shoot, or any important job for which you are being used, paid or unpaid, the less you have to think about, the more you can concentrate on the job at hand.
If you are constantly worrying about whether you have enough battery power in your speedlight for the next section of a wedding for example, it can take your mind off the job and before you know it you are missing shots…not good!
I know all of this because it has happened to me on many occasions.
I tend to take quick test shots at weddings where I know I need full power flash and of course, that eats into the available power. On one or two occasions, I have missed shots due to depleted batteries.
Finally, I succumbed to the fact that I needed help in the form of an external flash battery pack for my Canon Speedlights (580EX and 580EX II). The only problem was the price.
Canon’s own brand, which holds up to 8 AA batteries, comes in at around £145 through Amazon (and Nikon’s is even more)…far too much in my opinion for what is essentially a plastic box with a few connections.
After shopping around and reading various reviews, I came across the Pixel Pro External battery pack for Canon speedlights. Now before I go on, be aware that this only works with the following Canon Speedlights:
- 580EX II
It doesn’t work with the popular 430EX or 430EX II (for Nikon it works with just the SB-900 and for Sony, the HVL-F58AM and HVL-F56AM Flashguns).
However, if you own either of the 580EX models, I seriously suggest that you take a look at the Pixel Pro External Flash Battery Pack.
I bought two of these through Amazon for both speedlights for just £44.95 each knowing that I would use them a lot as I like to set up a “mini studio” at some weddings for the group shots if the light is failing. I use two speedlights, a set of Pocket Wizards and two stands along with either brollies or speedlight softboxes.
The Pixel Pro comes with a very handy and durable material case with sleeves for either attaching to your belt or other protrusion when using Pocket Wizards for example. You can also remove this outer casing and attach the Pixel Pro to the base of your camera using the supplied adapter but I found that this made using the camera more uncomfortable as it sticks out a bit.
Personally, I simply placed the pack in my pocket when using the flash on the hotshoe…worked a treat as the coiled cable is easily long enough!
You can tell at a glance when the unit is working as it has two flashing red LED’s that let you know all is well. These are on fully when you first plug the unit into your speedlight and then blink as you shoot away.
A great design feature of this pack is the ease of battery access even when using the outer material case. You have a fast release for the cartridge which is complimented by a flap on the outer casing which is accessed through a very sturdy clip.
In a single wedding, I used both flash battery packs with both speedlights for many shots including:
- Church aisle shots from the rear balcony
- Fill in flash outside on a sunny day
- Outdoor group shots in failing light
- Speeches inside a large, relatively dark marquee
- 1st Dance and reception
Both battery packs performed exceptionally well and by the end of the night, they were still running on the original batteries! Each unit takes 4 or 8 AA’s depending on what power you need and I tend to use rechargeable Energisers.
In fact, I am still using the same batteries now, two weeks on, to shoot my kids and run various tests.
This is such an amazing feat for me as I generally get through many sets of batteries at a wedding. It is not so much because I deplete them completely but more to do with the fact that I change batteries for a fresh set before they run out in case I miss an upcoming and important event.
This means I used to get home with about 10 sets of half used batteries.
Now, with the Pixel Pro external flash battery pack, I can keep shooting until they die on me and only then do I replace them. If you only tend to use one speedlight, I recommend that you still buy two battery packs anyway.
One reason being, they are much cheaper than Canon or Nikon’s own brand and two, when one pack runs out, it is just a matter of plugging the second unit into your speedlight which takes seconds. It is also a tidier way of organising your battery power…
Note that even though you still need batteries in your speedlight for operation, these are only used for the rear LCD screen and light of the flash and have no connection to the flash bulb when connected to the Pixel Pro TD – 381. This means the batteries in your flash will last forever when using the external battery pack.
I recommend getting these battery packs through Amazon like I did for the best price, speedy delivery and the convenience and back up of Amazon’s guarantee. I am an affiliate for Amazon and will get paid a small commission to help run this site should you buy through this page but please understand that I only recommend products that I buy, use myself or truly believe are worth it!