Vagabond Mini Lithium Battery Review

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The Vagabond Mini Lithium is a battery pack designed for photographers who need to operate studio lights in locations where electrical outlets are hard to come by. It’s a 3.5 pound miracle to photographers like me who don’t want to be limited to using small speedlights in these situations. It can handle up to four studio lights, and with the USB port you can even charge your phone.  The front of the unit features two 3-pronged outlets, an on/off switch, a USB power outlet, LED power level indicators, a charger port, and a fuse. On the back side of the Vagabond Mini is the lithium battery that powers the device. It can be changed and swapped out for a spare in just a few seconds. Extra batteries can be purchased from the Paul C. Buff website for $90. Three small green LED lights at the front of the unit give an approximation of how much power is left in your battery. If all three are lit, then the battery has 75% or more power left. Two LEDs represent roughly 50% power left, and a single LED represents 25% power. When the charge drops below 25% all three LEDs will dim. If you find yourself with a completely drained battery, it takes about three hours to recharge it to full capacity. The recycle time of the Vagabond Mini is roughly 3 seconds when using one Einstein 640 flash (or two AlienBees B800) at full power. That’s a little less than twice the amount of time that it would take if it were plugged into a normal wall outlet. This is the biggest sacrifice that you have to make when choosing to use a battery as the source of power for a light. Among competing products, the Vagabond Mini requires slightly more time than other batteries. This is something that I am willing to overlook when I take the Vagabond Mini’s price and weight into consideration. Overall, I have been very pleased with the performance of the Vagabond Mini. It performs like a heavyweight, consistently delivering power, but its small size and weight make it pleasantly portable. Not only is it great at what it is designed for (powering studio lights), it also works as a suitable power supply for most small electronics. All of these great features are packed into a device that’s roughly $240. That’s a competitive price for such a professional product.

Pros

✔ 400-500 flahses at 640 watt seconds ✔ Power up to 4 flash units ✔ Two 3-prong outlets ✔ Replaceable battery ($90) ✔ Stand mount and strap ✔ Made in the USA + 1 Year Warranty

Cons

✖ Battery life estimated at ~400 cycles (1-3 years) ✖ Slower recycle time than competing products

Available from $139.95

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