December 3, 2022

Camtraptions has launched a solar panel for speedlights – Nope, not an April Fool’s joke

Its for utilizing with video camera traps that are frequently left out in the wilderness for days or weeks at a time or around harmful animals where you do not have the capability to swap out batteries every day.

As I currently mentioned, many speedlights do not charge the internal batteries from an external power source and thats precisely how the Camtraptions solar panels work.

The Camtraptions speedlights themselves appear like simple rebrands of Neewer flashes on the outside. The Camtraptions Z1 Zoom Flash, for instance, looks pretty much identical to the Neewer NW580, although the description on the solar panel recommends that theyre a little various internally and they state that the solar panels can just be utilized with Camtraptions flashes. It would make sense that theyre different internally. As I already discussed, the majority of speedlights do not charge the internal batteries from an external power source and thats exactly how the Camtraptions solar panels work. They d require to be different on the inside.

The solar panel essentially keeps the speedlights batteries topped up throughout the day so that it can do its thing during the night without user intervention. It plugs into an adapter cable that enters into the external power socket on the Camtraptions Flashes and after that charges up four Ni-MH rechargeable AA batteries inside it.

Its an intriguing concept for camera traps and gets rid of among the biggest concerns with utilizing them at night. Undoubtedly, you need flash, but having done timelapse tests myself with flash using speedlights, the batteries dont last long at all (about 16 hours and getting nowhere near their max flashes-per-charge output) and powering them externally typically isnt an option. The majority of speedlights that do even use a socket for an external pack dont allow it to recharge the internal batteries and still need batteries with a charge inside the speedlight in order to work.

Offered the date, it does seem like an useful joke, however no. Camtraptions has actually launched a solar panel for speedlights. Yup, you heard me. It definitely seems a little odd, however theres a practical application here thats pretty particular. Its for using with video camera traps that are typically left out in the wilderness for days or weeks at a time or around harmful animals where you do not have the ability to swap out batteries every day.

There arent lots of use cases for this product and it is extremely niche however its ideally suited to video camera traps where you desire to have additional light available for night shots without needing to review the area daily to switch out batteries. I can also potentially see it being utilized for long term timelapse jobs where you want the consistency and control of flash in a dark environment as long as youre able to pop the panel someplace that it gets sunshine throughout the day to keep topping up the batteries.

The Camtraptions solar panels are offered in 1W and 3W capabilities for ₤ 24+VAT (~$31.50) and ₤ 26+VAT (~$34.10) respectively and you can get them on the Camtraptions site.

A lot of speedlights that do even use a socket for an external pack dont allow it to recharge the internal batteries and still require batteries with a charge inside the speedlight in order to function.

The Camtraptions Flash does enable the internal batteries to be charged over that socket and the Camtraptions Solar Panels– readily available in 1W or 3W variations– can automate the whole procedure, allowing your video camera to utilize flash in the evening to illuminate the animals that wander in front of your camera while leaving it to charge up the batteries during the day when flash is not needed.