On the recommendation of a colleague I decided to pick up the Godox Propac PB960. The PB960 is an external battery pack that can power two Speedlite flashes and improve their performance and recycle time.
For years now I have been in an ongoing battle with Speedlites and batteries. Through the years I’ve gone through multiple solutions. I started out with rechargeable batteries. But I felt they couldn’t hang and the flash took to long to recharge. So I started buying strong one use batteries, but they also really just were not giving a satisfactory performance. Plus it was a nightmare keeping track of which ones were fresh. Then I started using Eneloop Pro rechargeable batteries. This is the one brand of rechargeable batteries that has came close to truly satisfying me. They are very good, but still I needed more.
I even went out and tested the Profoto A1 flash. Maybe that could be the solution, to switch to a different flash altogether. While I really liked it, I felt like it wasn’t the right solution. Too expensive (I would need two units) and even it showed signs that it would struggle on an event where you really pushed it shooting rapidly and with a lot of power.
So I went with the Godox Propac PB960 and finally I feel like my woes are solved.
The PB960 is a nice little battery pack that can clip on to your belt or even fit snuggly inside a large coat pocket. It weights only 500 grams and is about 160 mm tall. It comes with a charger and a shoulder strap. The cable to go from the Propac to your flash is sold separately. The battery on the Propac can be removed so you can easily swap out the battery during an event if you needed to.
According to the Godox website the Propac takes one second to recharge a Canon Speedlite at full power. In my initial test I put the Propac through the worst possible scenario. Outdoors in the evening during the Swedish winter. As dark as you can possibly imagine and also pretty damn cold. I had it powering two flashes (one on each camera) and I was shooting very fast. I’m uncertain as to the power level the flashes were firing at as they were setup on E-TTL with slight minus exposure compensation. But even without knowing the exact power level the flash was on I can’t struggle to think of a more demanding scenario in my day to day work. I found that the recycling time was definitely well under one second and the Propac PB960 kept up and fired on every single frame.
Total satisfaction in my initial test, I couldn’t ask for more. When you are using the Propac you still need to have batteries in the Speedlites or they won’t run, but I no longer need to worry if they are topped off and freshly charged. Instead of a minimum of 8 batteries to charge before a job I now only have one to make sure is topped off and fully charged.
Best of all the Propac is pretty damn affordable. You can pick it up from Amazon in Germany for just 127 euros. If you want an extra battery that will set you back another 57 euros. Cables to connect it to a Canon Speedlite will run you 20 euros a pop.