Digital Camera Batteries

Without doubt one of the biggest bugbears with digital cameras is just how fast they consume batteries. Although there have been significant advances in the last couple of years you are still likely to need to replace batteries every couple of hours or so. This can prove to be expensive, so what can you do to conserve battery power and therefore keep the running costs low.

Tips For Conserving Battery Power

It is an unfortunate fact of life that some of the most attractive features of digital cameras are also the heaviest users of battery power. In my experience nothing runs down the batteries quicker than shooting a movie. That doesn't mean that you should never shoot a movie with a digital camera, but be selective about when you do.

Using the LCD screen is another big power user. To be honest there isn't a simple solution to this one. Most digital cameras allow you to turn off the LCD screen and use a viewfinder for picture composition, so if you are comfortable using the viewfinder you will get more mileage from the batteries.

Heavy use of the built in flash eats into battery life. Again there is little you can do to avoid this. It is worth remembering that the range of the internal flash is limited. This doesn't mean that you can't use your digital camera to take night shots or indoor shots without the flash as there is often natural light that you can use to your advantage. Make sure the flash is turned off in these instances so that you avoid unnecessary use.

Using a motorized zoom lens runs down the batteries too, but if you need to zoom in there is nothing you can do about it.

All of the digital cameras that I have seen have a Power Saving mode. By default this is normally switched on. It causes you digital camera to shut down, although not switch off, if you haven't used it for a period of time. Make sure Power Saving is always switched on. The obvious one is to also make sure you turn off your camera when it is not in use.

Save Money by Using Rechargeable Batteries

A good long term investment when you buy a digital camera is to buy a set or two of rechargeable batteries to go with it. The majority of consumer level digital cameras currently use AA batteries. There are two types of rechargeable batteries that you can use to save money on single use alkaline ones. These are Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) and Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries.

The main differences between the two is that NiMH batteries tend to be more powerful, whilst it is also best to make sure that NiCD batteries are fully discharged or used before you recharge them. If they are not then they suffer from something called memory effect. In a nutshell this means that they last for a shorter time after they have been charged.

As ever in life it's never quite as easy as you think! You also need to check the mAh rating on the batteries. For a battery powering a digital camera to last for a decent length of time it needs a mAh rating of at least 2000. I'll hold my hands up here and admit this was a mistake I made when I bought my first set of rechargeable batteries. I wondered why after a few shots the batteries died on me once more.

The other type of battery that is common in digital cameras is Lithium-Ion batteries. These are supplied with certain digital cameras together with a charger. They tend to last longer than AA batteries, but you do lose the convenience of being able to buy them so easily. Each camera manufacturer tend to produce their own range of batteries as well, so if you own a Nikon camera that uses a Lithium-Ion battery it won't work with the new Canon camera that you are planning to buy. It is quite common for people to buy spare Lithium-Ion batteries to use as a back up. You can save money on the spare by buying third party batteries from companies such as Uniross.

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