480ex flash slow to power-up

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by melissa_eiselein, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. To set the stage...
    <br>I'm using a Canon 10D; Canon Speedlite 480ex; four Duracell AA
    <p>My 480ex takes some time to power-up between flashes. I've seen
    the photogs at work (with a Nikon D1h and some sort of Nikon
    Speedlite flash) take multiple flash shots without skipping a beat
    and they aren't carrying around some sort of external booster pack.
    <p>Is it normal to need to wait 10-15 seconds between shots? While
    this may not sound long--it's like a lifetime when you're behind the
    camera watching facial expressions and hand movements change while
    you're waiting for the green light. Granted, I'm not using fresh out-
    of-the-package batteries each time, but new batteries don't seem to
    do much better. Besides, it's costly to only use batteries once then
    toss them out.
    <p>Would an upgrade to a 550ex give me faster power-up time?
  2. I use the same camera and flash as you have (in addition to a 550EX) and don't have to wait the times that you are describing. If, when you first power the unit it takes "too long" to get to the READY status it means the batteries are weak.

    I no longer have the manual for my 420EX so, I am not sure what the "normal" recycle timing are but, you might want to check it out and compare the chart times with those you are experiencing. IF yours are abnormally high (and it seems they are) then you must be using weak batteries. Have you tried rechargeable batteries? I have been using them for a while with good results.

    Recently, I did a night shoot (at 400 asa) and the 420EX was ready after each shot almost instantly, with the subject being at no less than 20 ft for each shot.

    The rec. times for the 550Ex are from 0.1-8 sec. using NEW Alkaline batteries.
  3. Melissa, for flash, I have the 420EX and 550EX, but I am using rechargable nimh batteries, recycle time is pretty fast, depending on how much power is being used. For fill flash work, I can shoot very quickly, less than 1 sec between flash ready lights. For darker or night time work, the recharge time is 2-3 seconds. The rechargables seem to last quite a long time, maybe 100 shots? When I sense longer delays, I pop in new set. I carry like 40 batteries to weddings, fully charged, and toss the dead/dying ones in a separate pocket for charging later. They do cost a bit up front, but I haven't had to buy batteries for 2 years. The alkalines are useless, they die after 20 shots, and recharge the flash way too slowly.
  4. I will cast another vote for using rechargeable. Not only do they provide more power and a longer life, they will save you a boat load of money.

    When I first bought the rechargeables I did a side by side test with regular batteries and there was no comparison. The rechargeable were miles ahead in terms or recycle times.
  5. 420EX (480EX?) AND 550EX have about the same recycle times, i.e., a full power burst requires 7-8 seconds to recharge to full power with new alkalines. Of course, lower power bursts recycle faster, half the time for closeups. Rechargeable batteries recycle about twice as fast as alkalines and maintain their power output nearly to depletion. Akalines slowly fart out on you, thus yielding 15 sec recycle times.
  6. The 420EX should take 6-8 seconds to recycle after a full power flash pop with a fresh set of alkaline batteries. I have found that some cheaper alkalines take a little more time. Of course, if you are shooting close to your subject, the full power of the flash won't be used and recycle times will be much faster.

    But it doesn't take very long at all for alkaline batteries to be less than fresh and then the recycle times QUICKLY deteriorate to 10-15, and then 15-20 seconds.

    NiMH and NiCad batteries will recycle the flash in about half the time of a fresh set of alkalines and that speed doesn't slow down much until they're nearly exhausted. The mAhr rating of these batteries will have almost no effect on recycle times, but will effect how long they keep going between recharging. The down side is that you have to recharge them before each use as they have a miserably short shelf life to holding their charge.

    Lithium AA's fall somewhere in between these times, but have the advantage of maintaining thier speed and lasting a lot longer than any of the other options. They also have a much longer shelf life than any other battery. Of course, they cost too much to use if you use flash a lot.
  7. Thanks everyone. Seems the consensus is to get the new rechargeables. I'm somewhat of a ditz, so needing to remember to recharge before I head out doesn't appeal to me. I guess I should keep a pack of regular batteries in my bag for those "oops, I forgot" times.
  8. Melissa,
    NiMH batteries are definitely the answer, but as you comment its worth keeping a set of conventional alkaline batteries as back-up. The main thing to watch with NiMH is that they completely loose their charge over the course of a few weeks sitting idle and can be seriously depleted after only a couple of weeks. I therefore tend to charge mine up immediately after use, but then if its been more than a week since I used them I recharge them before use.
  9. Melissa,
    I also use to forget things all the time. As others said, NiMh are the way to go and these days and they have capacities up to 2000mA, making them last very long.
    They also don't suffer from the 'memory' problem of the NiCd batteries so you can charge them back even if they're not completely discharged.

    I've a GP charger (that comes in a kit with 4 AA batteries) that allows you to leave the batteries charging until you need them, so you don't leave with batteries you thought were 100% charged. What I do regarding *my* memory problem is leave the batteries in the charger when I don't use them. I plug the charger in a very visible place in the kitchen and so far I've forgotten many other things but not the batteries :) ;-)

    PS: If you care of your environment, one set of NimH will accept up to 1000 charges per set, saving the same number of alcaline batteries that have to be disposed afterwards.

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