Today's digital cameras depend on battery power to power the LCD monitor and flash which are the components of the highest-power digital cameras. If you use unsuitable batteries or do not save energy adequately, you risk running dry after a few shots, especially if you use the non-rechargeable alkaline batteries that come with the new cameras.
Two types of batteries
It should be emphasized that there are mainly two main types of batteries: the classic "cells" and "batteries". Batteries, generally the stylus ones, are less and less used for digital cameras in which real dedicated batteries are used more and more. The batteries, on the other hand, are always used to operate the flashes. In this article, I will analyze both types.
Original batteries or not?
The temptation of many is to purchase non-genuine camera batteries. I do not recommend it. You may have problems with your camera and the warranty may not cover any damage you may have after using non-original batteries.
Choosing the right type of battery for your camera is a very important aspect that is often underestimated. How many times do you find yourself with flat batteries right at the most beautiful moment having to give up your shots? Below I will provide a series of useful tips for choosing and using batteries correctly.
Types of rechargeable batteries
The camera you normally purchase determines the type of batteries you can use. When replacing exhausted batteries, you should read the instruction manual to make sure you choose the correct type.
If you want to opt for rechargeable batteries, an excellent choice is to move towards NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) batteries as they are rechargeable, non-toxic, rather economical, and above all designed for the intense activity of modern digital cameras; on the other hand, it should be borne in mind that their overall life is around 600 charge and discharge cycles.
Many cameras use two or four AA batteries. In this case, the best choice is NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) for various reasons. They are rechargeable, do not harm the environment (they are made of non-toxic materials), and are relatively inexpensive. They are also specifically designed for high-power applications such as digital cameras. For this reason, NiMH allows you to take more photos per charge than all standard batteries, except the much more expensive lithium-ion batteries. If they have a weak point, it is their overall life which is around 400 charge and discharge cycles.
Another option could be to opt for the so-called hybrid batteries, which combine the advantage of NiMH rechargeable batteries with that represented by alkaline batteries, ie long conservation of the charge over time.
In case of need, you can always use alkaline batteries, but their low cost should not deceive. Those who use them soon discover that they wear out at an incredible speed. The same goes for alkaline rechargeable batteries which have an even smaller capacity than standard alkaline batteries.
The advantage of these batteries is their remarkable life and the fact that they have a regular consumption which makes them predictable in terms of remaining charge. They typically become unusable after about a couple of years of continuous use.
Lithium-ion batteries are increasingly used in digital cameras. They last twice as long as NiMH of the same size and don't lose charge as quickly during storage. They also have a regular and predictable consumption that allows you to have a reliable indication of the remaining charge. They withstand a number of charges and discharges comparable to NiMH but normally become unusable after 2-3 years of intense use.
Some rooms have a specific, non-standard type of battery. It is preferable to have at least two, in order to use one while the other is undercharge.
A similar type, but not rechargeable, is the Lithium battery. They are standard size and voltage batteries, last two to three times alkaline batteries, and can be stored for up to 10 years. These features make them ideal as backup batteries.
Untangling among the many chargers on the market is not easy. A good charger usually carries a higher price too, around 60 Euros for the best models.
The chargers for AA batteries that are sometimes supplied with cameras are not of high quality, therefore it is advisable to obtain one of the highest quality and suitable for the type of batteries chosen.
Here are some things to consider when getting ready to buy a charger: most NiMH battery chargers also charge NiCads, but not vice versa; the faster the charge, the more the batteries are put under stress and consequently have a reduced ability to hold a charge for a long time, as well as having a much shorter life cycle.
Tips to extend the life of camera battery:
•Turn off the LCD monitor while using the camera and use the optical viewfinder.
•Make sure the batteries are completely discharged before recharging them.
•If you will not be using the camera for an extended period, remove the batteries and store them in a cool, dry place.
•When using your camera at home to review or download images to your PC, please use an external power supply.
•Store the batteries
•The batteries should always be kept and used in a single set, in order to avoid the simultaneous use of batteries with different capacities and with a different level of charge.
•The best way to store batteries at home is to put them in a closed container, away from heat sources or particularly humid places.
Use the batteries correctly
•Prevent the batteries from coming into contact with metal objects and causing a short circuit.
•Avoid touching the terminals with your hands, as acid grease is corrosive.
•Avoid exposing the batteries to intense heat sources
•Use only products recommended by the manufacturer.
•Use only equivalent battery sets.
•Limit the use of the LCD display, as it consumes a significant amount of energy.
•Take the exhausted batteries to the appropriate collection points, avoiding abandoning them wherever they happen, as the latter is a highly harmful behavior for the environment.
Batteries on the go
For those traveling, it is useful to have charged batteries, even before your arrival at the airport, because the security officers may ask you to turn on the room. Another very valuable piece of advice is to always carry with you the necessary reductions for the power sockets of the destination country.
For trips involving long periods outdoors, it is better to equip yourself with solar-powered chargers, which while charging very slowly, about 12 hours, are the only valid solution in that type of situation.
A few years ago, to greatly increase the energy supply, an external battery was used to be worn attached to the waist and connected to the camera. The biggest advantage was to work a whole day without worrying about consumption, but also to be able to remove the internal batteries of the chamber and lighten it considerably. With modern DSLR cameras, the additional batteries allow you to take several thousand shots with one charge.