Elia Locardi is Back

This Is The Best Gift For a Photographer for Under $35

This Is The Best Gift For a Photographer for Under $35

Having the right gear as a photographer can get quite expensive. We spend all our money on the camera and lenses only to find out later we need all kinds of other gadgets and gizmos to run our business. Often we invest in something that we use a few times and then it gets buried in our bag never to be touched again. As I was thinking about all the gear I have the one thing that came to mind as one of my most valuable was a gift from my wife and cost her just $35. Read on to find out what it is...

A couple years ago my wife knew that I was constantly having to buy new batteries for every shoot. I had rechargeable batteries but they never seemed to give me the same kind of life as just buying regular AA batteries. She did a bit of research and found a battery charger on Amazon that had some good reviews so she picked me one up for my birthday. Now most of us may think all battery chargers are created equal, however I have got to say that is far from the truth. The charger she picked up for me and which has been an absolute work horse for me the last couple years is the La Crosse Technology BC-700 which currently sells on Amazon for less than $35.

LaCrosse Technology Battery Charger - Trevor Dayley Photography

See the problem with most battery chargers is that they charge all the batteries at one time or sometimes do it in pairs. The issue is when one of those batteries hits a full charge then it turns the charge off, thereby leaving the other batteries falling short of a full charge. The BC-700 is different in that each battery is charged on a independent channel with it's own LCD display. The charger also has overheat detection to make sure that once your battery hits 100% charged it changes into a trickle mode to keep it charged fully without putting excessive wear on the battery. These two features alone insure that when you put four AA batteries into the charger each one will be individually taken care of and will all get the full charge.

Most often when I get home from a shoot I'll remove the batteries from my Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flashes and pop them into the charger and let it do it's thing. However, about once a quarter I will refresh my batteries thereby getting rid of any memory they are holding onto and in short turning them brand new again. This is done using the BC-700's REFRESH mode. A refresh starts with a discharge to determine the cell's remaining charge capacity, then it charges the cells back up and drain it down again to determine its new capacity. It will repeat this Charge/Discharge cycle multiple times until the capacity stops improving. Finally it charges the cell in the end. This process can take days. But once complete my batteries are refreshed holding onto no old memory loss and fully charged ready to roll.


Another mode on the charger is the TEST mode. The test mode, first charges the rechargeable battery to full capacity, then discharges completely to measure rechargeable battery capacity and then recharges each rechargeable battery to full battery capacity. The charger also has a DISCHARGE mode if you would like to drain all the batteries and then charge them back up again.

Now don't get confused with all these different modes. 95% of the time I just pop in the batteries after a shoot and let them charge normally. However having the Test mode to check my batteries and the Refresh mode to make them new again is very useful and something not available on many chargers on the market. In addition to the different modes the charger also has different speeds of charging your batteries ranging from 200mA to 700mA. Most often I will let the charger default to 200mA but if I am in a time crunch I will change the mode to the faster charge thereby sacrificing a bit of quality on the charge for the speed to be able to use the batteries sooner. The company estimates that for a 2000mA battery it takes ~10hrs for a full charge at 200mA and ~3hrs at 700mA.


Over the last couple years this charger has been used week after week with no issues. It just simply does what it is suppose to. I have been so happy with it that I picked up a second one so I could have one in my camera bag at all times in case I need it on the job. When I jumped over to Amazon I was surprised to see that it now ranks as the #1 sold battery charger on the site. Actually I guess it doesn't really surprise me since I love the thing so much but I am just amazed that some of the larger companies haven't manufactured something similar that works just as good.

Founded in 1985, La Crosse Technology introduced the first radio-controlled clocks to the U.S. market in 1991 and continues to be on the cutting edge of new technology in America. Their consumer electronics products include radio-controlled clocks and watches, wireless weather stations, and power monitors. La Crosse has built themselves quite a following in the wireless weather stations and atomic clocks department. Hopefully now they will also be able to realize just how valuable their incredible battery chargers are for industries like ours that use batteries often. After all I would love to see one of these battery chargers come in a 8-cell, or even 12-cell model.

Now I would love to hear your thoughts. What is your favorite piece of gear you own and use often for less than $50?

I was not asked by La Crosse Technology to share this, nor was I paid or given any product for it. This is simply my review and me sharing something that has worked amazingly well for me and hopefully it will be useful for you as well. If so, spread the word!

Trevor Dayley's picture

Trevor Dayley (www.trevordayley.com) was named as one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the US in 2014 by Brandsmash. His award-winning wedding photos have been published in numerous places including Grace Ormonde. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and together they have six kids.

Log in or register to post comments

Can't wait to try it!

I think you'll love it! I know I do mine.

You beat the hell out of my bank account again Trevor!

Ha ha! You'll love it Jay.

I love my LaCrosse charger. It does have a problem - if a cell is really dead, it won't begin the charge cycle. A minute or two in a cheap Eneloop charger and you can go back to the LaCrosse. I have also read of a solution where you can simply electrically connect it to the cell next to it with a coin and this will be enough to get it started. The non-dead cell signals the circuit with the dead cell to begin.

That is interesting. I have never encountered that issue. Is that with batteries that are dead and have been sitting dead for sometime? Or maybe those killed by the regular consumer chargers? Is it something that happens often to you or just has happened once before? Awesome tip Peter.

I've experienced the same problem with completely dead batteries. My solution: toss it on the el-cheapo Panasonic charger for 5-10 minutes, then back into the LaCrosse.
My LaCrosse came with four 2600 mAh AA batteries. From my experience, they SUCK. I've only been able to charge them to ~600 mAh using LaCrosse's Refresh mode.

Had this happen to me as well and I just stuck the super dead batteries in the freezer for 24 hours, then let them thaw for a couple hours, popped them on the charger and good to charge! I'd say the cheap Eneloop charger is a better method unless you don't have one.

in the uk it seem's this is the same thing..


get a maha... you have no clue whats good

Your choice of words cracks me up... I am sure the Maha is a great charger as well. But to tell me I have no clue is quite funny. I have been using this guy for a couple years now and I can definitely tell you it's a good one! I am sure your recommendation is a good one as well though.

For an 8-cell charger, I would check out the Powerex Maha MH-C801D.

For under $50: Third party camera batteries, lens hood, 1month at Lynda.com, small roll of white seamless paper, Ilford 13 x 19 Luster printer paper, Lexar USB 3.0 card reader, etc...

I just realized how a lot of under $50 items add up to a lot of money.

Thanks Heath... that does look like a good one. If I didn't have two of the La Crosse ones that would have probably been a good choice. Thanks for the other suggestions as well - all great ones!

I've been using the MH-C801D for over to years and it is THE BOMB. I'm suure this La Crosse model is great, too, but I need to charge more than four batteries at a pop.

Trevor- thanks for the great article, though! This may be something to purchase, as you indicated, to throw in a gear bag.

I just bought this charger a few weeks ago and I also love it. I have lots of rechargeable batteries and it's nice to be able to check their health and restore them back to health when necessary.

Pierce... do not read. Thanks Trevor!


Good stuff! Keep 'em coming Trevor!

The absolute “top of the class” battery charger, is a charger from Ansmann:


Not under 50$, but does pretty much everything you describe + can charge 16 different
size batteries individually at the same time. For me having 4 flash guns, 6
radio triggers etc. , that is one extremely important feature on top of all the
other things that it does.

I heard that eneloop batteries are really good and I bought some from ebay. I used it once with my Canon Speedlight and now the battery is dead and don't recharge at all. Has this happened to anyone else?

You have to be careful with batteries as a lot of fake ones are out there.

Thanks for the response Trevor.

I think ebay was the problem, not the batteries.

Thanks CoffeeWithChris. I

Nope. I use both the Eneloop and the Eneloop xx batteries in my speedlight (XX provides faster recycle... at a cost). Never had a problem with either of them. I understand that there are some scams with regular batteries or knock off rechargeables being sold as Eneloop batteries on eBay. Hope that didn't happen to you.

Thanks Brian.

Can anyone tell me if the power adapter for it works on a range of ~100V-240V AC?

I love the BC 700 as well. The BC 700 is available from many companies who just seem to rebrand it to their own label.
But the type of batteries is also important. Eneloop are really really great

Thing I use most often and less $50 ...... my brain.

The "7 Day Shop" does a great own brand 8 battery recharger that charges each battery on it's own circuit. Theirs also has the discharge option as well. Great thing is that it's really cheap! I can also recommend their own brand batteries as well.

If I get my sh*t together I'll be mounting a couple of these on a board so I can have a big bad charger bank.

They're doing maintenance right now so I can't link directly to the product but it's not hard to find in the section.


I've had 3 of these chargers. Although the first on was its bigger brother (and much rarer brother) the BC1000 (no surprises that it charges at unto 1000mA. I've since purchased 2 of the BC700 as my former colleague acquired the original!! They are absolutely amazing and seem to be able to put more charge into the batteries that what they are rated at. I always do a 'discharge' and then 'recharge', just so I know if I have any dodgy batteries that need a refresh or throwing out. It will tell you exactly how much charge has been placed into the battery this way. If you only charge it will only tell you how much you have charged it up by, which is fine if you have used them to the max in the flash, etc!

They are also branded as 'Technoline', but that might just be the UK and they are about £35 here too!!!

My favorite gear is my Gary Fong diffuser. Ouch it is not under 50$. I know some people hate him but this is just great to catch people's attention which eventually make them remember me. And for the pictures too by the way.

I have been using the 1000-model for many years and could not have been more happy with it. Really nice feature is that it can tell you when batteries are dead. I also like that it can tell you capasity.

What battery chargers are you used to using? I got a $12 Rayovak charger at walmart that charges the batteries independently. Granted it is not as feature laden as this one, but it has served my well for years.

This charger is also sold as the Voltcraft IPC-1 or IPC-1L. Works like a charm. For people that have a problem with 'dead' batteries not being recognized by the charger: Put the battery in the charger, put a good battery next to it in the charger. The short the + terminals of both batteries with a paperclip. After a couple of second, the charger will see the 'dead' battery and starts charging it. Remove paperclip.

I own the charger and it's great although I do need a second larger charger to charge all of the batteries after a big gig. My favorite item under $50? The Eye-fi card (ok, mine cost more but you can get one for $45). I shoot to two cards (raw to CF and jpg to the eye-fi) and they immediately sync with my iPad. It's great to show a couple of image immediately after the shoot and send them to clients as a teaser.

My favorite "less than $50" piece of gear is an Aputure 3N intervalometer/remote shutter control I bought last year. I use this for every thing from making timelapse movies to long-exposure stills of the night sky. My IR remote shutter release has not seen the light of day since I bought the Apurture.

60 $ on Amazon Canada. :-(

I own five of them ... started buying when David Hobby recommended them on strobist years ago. I own 7 speedlights plus 5 pocketwizards, i feel sometimes i am draining the local grid when charging :)

Anyways i have 2 sets of 4-batteries for each flash so i always have a charged set ready to go, beside the set in the flash. Each set of 4batteries live together, while charging and while in flash, i actually mark them... i read somewhere that this keeps them in a better shape. Yes have the same issue with drained batteries but i use a cheapo charger to start them up then move them to the lacrosse charger. Charger works like a champ and when set to max power (1000mah) charges a set in about 2 hours.

On a final note... owning a battery caddy ( www.amazon.com/Storacell-Powerpax-Battery-Caddy-Clear/dp/B006IZKMJA) helped organize my battery workflow. Its a must if you juggle a lot of AA's ;)

yea, I need it..