No photographer wants to miss a great shot while waiting on a recycling flash. Bolt’s Cyclone PocketMax Compact Power Pack is designed to save you from the frustration of underexposing a critical moment when shooting an event or trying to capture a fast-moving subject. This 5200mAh lithium-ion battery pack is compatible with select Canon, Nikon, Sony, Nissin, and Bolt flashes, making it an appealing option for photographers who shoot across brands. I was given the opportunity to pair one with Sony’s HVL-F60M External Flash to see how well it holds up in practice.
The PocketMax has size and weight on its side. Its build is slightly smaller than what you would expect from a portable external hard drive, and it weighs slightly more than 11 ounces. Living up to its name, it is easily pocketable or can be attached to a belt via a hook-and-loop strap on its carry case. In addition to powering a slew of flashes, the PocketMax is also capable of charging devices via USB adapter. This versatility adds to its appeal, making it more of an everyday carry than a specialized accessory. Spare yourself some frustration by being attentive when aligning the prongs of the power socket. It may appear connected even if proper contact has not been made. Once it is correctly attached, however, it does a good job of staying in place.
When paired with the HVL-60M, the PocketMax significantly boosted its performance by (at least) halving recycle time when triggering consecutive flashes in manual mode. With great power comes great responsibility: because of the amount of power the PocketMax provides, be careful to not burn out your flash. Bolt advises users to limit themselves to bursts of twenty consecutive full-power flashes to avoid damaging your flash.
While I didn’t have the patience to test the claim of 1,000 full-power flashes per charge, the battery held up well during my test. This is a good thing, because it takes a whopping five and a half hours to fully charge from empty. Luckily, three LEDs on the top of the battery indicate power levels so you will never be surprised when it runs out of juice. For long shoots, I would recommend packing two units, to be safe. For photographers who are truly on the go, the PocketMax comes with interchangeable US, UK, and EU plugs for recharging.