I received several sets of Eneloops in February and label told they were produced in April - so they sat at warehouse for nine month. I put them into camera and they worked just fine. Kudos Sanyo!
I should also mention that Sanyo includes reusable battery holders with each set of four. These holders do not look very sturdy, but they perfectly usable.
Technically, Sanyo solved the main problem with NiMh technology - frightening self-discharge rate (up to 40% a month for standard cells). By doing this Sanyo reduced cell capacity down to 2000 mAh from today's top line of 2700 mAh.
Simple calculation shows that due to self-discharge a good 2700 mAh battery holds only around 2000 mAh after a month and a half.
So the answer to the question "which battery is better - Eneloop or standard NiMh" - lies in the usage pattern.
If you always keep batteries in your camera in top-notch charged condition, then standard 2700 mAh set is a winner. For occasional shooters who always forget to charge batteries (like me), Eneloop makes lot of sense because in three month I get around 1900 mAh out of Eneloop and only 1400 mAh from the standard cell. So Eneloop is a winner for everyone who keep batteries inside the camera or any other device for more than 6 weeks.
And, well, if paragraph above looks too technical with too many details and numbers - then Eneloop is a clear winner too, because it just behaves the way battery should behave - without forcing users to know how it works.
This observation made me buy additional sets of AAA Eneloops to use in my wireless mouse, keyboard, voice recorder and LCD flashlight. It should be taken into account that Eneloops are four times more expensive than Alkaline cells, so it is reasonable to use them for devices that require fresh batteries at least twice a year.
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