A little while back we made a short rant about the fact that hot shoe strobes are still using AA batteries and challenged the market for a better solution. It appears that someone has been listening.
The TT850 LI-ION Battery Flash by NEEWER® is just that. Instead of using the familiar solution of quad-AAs to drive 6V (or 4.8V in case of rechargeable) this strobe packs a dedicated 12V LI-ION battery.
Austin Rogers over at Fstoppers took this strobe for a ride and was quite impressed, so you may wanna head over and read the full review. Here are my thoughts on the matter:
Before I dive into an industry analysis, let’s take a look at the specs:
- GN(m ISO 100):58(1/1 ZOOM 105mm)
- Flash Duration:1/300s-1/20000s
- Color Temperature:5600K±200K
- Bounce Flash:Vertical: -7°-90 horizontal: 0-360°
- Flash Mode:M, S1/S2, RPT, HSS
- Manual Focus:24/28/35/50/70/80/105mm
- Output Ratio:1/1-1/128, OF(1/3 as a stop,22steps)
- RPT Mode:1-199Hz,2-100s
- Flash Size:19.5*7.5*6cm
- Additional Function: Wireless Power Control:With Neewer FT-16S(optional), wireless control flash power on/off, focus assist beam on/off, buzz on/off, flash triggering etc.
Just like with the LP180 we reviewed a while back, it is not the big guys who are driving innovation here. Not Nikon, nor Canon took this problem of weak batteries and did anything about it. Is 12V LI-ION in this form factor here to stay? I don’t know, but it is good to see a 3rd party company that goes out on and tests the market.
It is way t0o early to tell if NEEWER are setting a standard for 1232V batteries in small photographic equipment, For all we know Canon will come out with a different 12V strobe battery form factor and NEEWER will instantly become obsolete. Come to think about it, it would probably be Sony.
It is not that the big guys are not doing anything at all. Both CLS and eTTL were a huge leap in strobe evolution, but for the last few years the small companies are testing the market and something will catch eventually being the new killer flash app. Be it quad-sync like the LP180, a touch screen like the mecablitz 52 AF-1 or high value to money ratio like the Phottix Mitros.
Who Is This Strobe For?
Austin have tested the strobe for about 650 full pops compared to 250 with Canikon AA powered flagships.
I can see how this becomes a factor when doing long events, or other shoots. The recycle time from full pop to full pop is said to be 1.5 seconds. Sports shooters and wedding photographers should be pretty happy about that.
Much like other LI-ION batteries (including AAs) the self discharge n this battery should be pretty low. and you can probably toss one in the bag and forget about it till you need it as opposed to charge before you shoot older batteries.
Other High End Features?
I was actually quite surprised to discover that the strobe packs an impressive amount of features if you don’t need TTL.
The strobe triggering is based on the good ol’ single-pin hot shoe, which means that it is pretty much compatible with any camera that can fit the strobe into its hot-shoe (yes, Sony, I’m looking at you).
But aside that simple triggering mechanism, the 850 also has a built in receiver for the NEEWER FT-16s which allows both triggering and power control.
Lastly, it supports HSS.
I have not played with one personally yet, but I am looking forward to it. If you are looking for a hands on review check out Austin Rogers’s review over at Fstoppers
[TT850 LI-ION Battery Flash $100 by NEEWER]