Drawingablank wrote:It does seem odd that different camera gear gets such radically different performance from batteries...
Depends on the equipment's load resistance, required voltage and current it draws, and how that matches to the battery's voltage, internal resistance and current capabilities. Some electronics will actually specify a type of battery, or even a battery model within a type, but for camera's it usually just a type, or your choice of a few. And some models of cameras are simply dogs, or a lemon off the production line.
The older F5 with the motor film advance got the fastest motor drive with the Ni-MH packs. The AA tray filled with alkalines was a tiny bit slower, held up fine but not as many rolls, and that's driving the older heavier 80-200 2.8 AF lenses. I could load, shoot, rewind & unload a roll of 36 in 12 to 14 seconds. Fortunately, that was rarely required. The Ni-MH packs would do more rolls, but would die without warning. In sub-zero temperatures, I could swap one AA tray out for another from inside my jacket once the ones in camera got too cold with slow film advance, and swap them back later. The Ni-MH packs would shoot longer in the cold, but would die suddenly and without any recovery once warmed up. When shooting lots in the heat, I ended up doing similar: swap AAs out to let them cool off. Nikon's black camera with black lenses sucked in the heat, so I made a white ripstop cover so it wouldn't cook the film, batteries, or delaminate lenses. Of all the AA's, I found the Rayovacs would do the same or sometimes slightly better than the big two.
Most of my heavy flash use was weddings or grip & grins, and needing lower ISOs for image quality when shooting 35mm, so I needed flash right now
with no delay, so in-flash batteries wouldn't cut it. So I got an external battery back, powered by a NiCad pack. Through the years it ran various Nikon SBs and a pair of Vivitar 285HVs, and only required new cells for the pack once. It semi-fried the SB-24: always worked great on the external, but after a month on the external when on AAs only it would cycle around 80% slower and with a loud whine - when I retired it I walked in off the street and gave it to a photo student working at a camera store in NYC who was happy to get it even with that defect.
(I still have film in the fridge, including 35mm, 120, 220 and 4x5, including around a dozen rolls of Kodachrome Pro 200. I thought I had some of the Kodachrome 50 left, but I guess not. Can't process it anymore anyway.)