Wither 2CR5?

A RadioShack 2CR5 that I purchased earlier tonight...
A RadioShack 2CR5 that I purchased earlier tonight…

Tonight I was photographing at Rob Hulett’s mixed martial-arts training gym for a story on some of the people training for the “Battle at the Blue Note” on Friday in Columbia, Mo. as part of a group project in my Advanced Techniques course. I’ve been using the Canon ST-E2 wireless flash commander quite a bit recently, and on my mental “to-do” list I had added “get a spare battery,” but that never did happen. As luck would have it, the battery that’s been plugging along inside of it since 2007 chose tonight to kick the bucket.

“Fortunately,” I thought, “there’s a grocery store across the street.” The 2CR5 that runs the ST-E2 used to be a very common lithium battery, and I know that I purchased the previous two batteries for the ST-E2 at places like grocery stores and pharmacies. However, not the Gerbes/Kroger, nor two Walgreens carried the 2CR5. Out of absolute desperation, I asked my GPS to find a Radio Shack and, sure enough, they had one…….for $20. No joke. This is a battery that should cost no more than $12. I grumbled and bought it any ways, jumping back into my car to rush back to the Hulett House Gym.

But, what did I discover upon my return? The 2CR5 that Radio Shack sold me–their own brand, of course–is so weak that the ST-E2 did not turn on at first, and then, once it did, it allowed me to get one photograph before pausing to recycle for six or seven seconds. This is a transmitter. It has NEVER had a recycling time in the past.

To my horror, I realized I hadn’t packed a TTL cord in my bag, and I had to bounce the flash off of the ceiling of the room while mounted on camera. I know that you just shuddered from reading that–believe me, it wasn’t easy to do!

I am left to wonder if this is a battery format that is simply on its way out. I am going to order some (name brand) batteries online and also try to return the Radio Shack P.O.S. battery tomorrow. In the mean time, I do wonder about the future of the 2CR5, and with it, the Canon ST-E2.

Canon Teleconverters & Sticky locking pins

I am not certain to what extent it is common knowledge that Canon’s teleconverters (TC’s) can develop problems with their locking pins. Specifically, that the locking pin becomes “sticky” and does not always engage into the lens to which it is being attached.  This past April, on Artie Morris’ Fort DeSoto, Florida IPT, one participant’s Canon DSLR and 1.4x TC fell off of his 500mm lens.  The TC’s faulty locking pin, which never engaged into the 500mm lens, led a counter-clockwise turn of the camera and lens (via the lens’ tripod collar) to become a near disaster.  Thanks to a flash cord attached to the camera’s hot shoe, the camera splashed in the salt water but bounced back up and later recovered–it was never wholly submerged.

Ever since that event, I’ve been far more aware of the condition of all of my Canon TC’s and extension tubes.  I noticed shortly thereafter that my 1.4x II TC’s locking pin began to engage only half of the time.  Pushing the lever forward would force it to work, but did not constitute a fix.  Finally, I sent it to Canon Jamesburg at the very end of April and had it repaired for $70.00.  However, the fix did not last!

This November at Bosque del Apache I noticed that the locking pin was developing the problem that Canon repaired at the end of the spring.  It had been six months and three weeks: three weeks outside of Canon’s warranty on all repairs.  The good news–and kudos to Canon–is that sending it in with a letter explaining the problem, and a copy of the dated invoice from the repair in April, led them to repair the TC free of charge.

Just let it serve as a warning: if anything is not working as it should, and it is of enough concern that you need to remind yourself whenever using it to exercise caution because it could break, just get it fixed!  The last thing you want is to lose a $4000 camera body because you didn’t want to pay for a $70 repair.