I don't shoot weddings or enough events a year to warrant forking out the money for a full Quantum flash/battery yet.

I am trying to decide if I should either go ahead and get the Quantum battery or use the Canon Battery pack CP-E4 to give me more power and battery life for when I do need it.

The 580EXII works well but is a bit underpowered sometimes with the 4 AA's in it so the recycle time is slow. I have actually caused batteries to pop getting them too hot shooting fast in run and gun situations. Luckily I cleaned out the battery acid before any damage occurred. But it did scare me.

My thought is that it would be better to use an external battery pack to drive the flash. If I bought a turbo I would eventually replace it with one of the Q series flash heads or something similar.

I use the 580EXii and a 580 for off camera flash for remote outside portraits etc. when its not conducive to using something like my Alien Bees SB800's. I also want to use whatever I choose with the MT-24EX for macro work too.

I am not stuck on Quantum and I know that there are other brands. I am looking for suggestions. Go with the CP-E4 for now, get a true flash battery, etc. Many Thanks.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You might be able to get away with some better AA size batteries, 1.6v NiZn cells can halve your recycle time compared to alkaline/MiMh, see this question: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/4235/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Oct 31, 2010 at 13:37

1 Answer 1


I own both several Quantum T5Ds and one CP-E4. My vote is get the CP-E4 for now, its almost 1/10 the price of a Quantum setup and will vastly improve recycle time. Once you stick a CP-E4 on there the recycle time will essentially be instant, you'll no longer be thinking 'is the flash recycled?' you'll just keep shooting. Also, getting the CP-E4 is a good investment either way since the Quantum recycles slower than a 580EXII + CP-E4 so if you have both options in your kit you'll be more versatile.

The Quantums are amazing light sources, it really is like you have a studio quality light with you, wherever you go, including attached to your camera. Its smooth, enveloping, powerful lighting especially paired with a softbox. But it has its downsides, its much bigger and much heavier and will recycle slower than a 580EXII + CP-E4.

So I say get both and start with getting a CP-E4 now and perhaps try renting a Quantum setup down the road.


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