A Guide to Buying the Right Rechargeable Camera Batteries

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A Guide to Buying the Right Rechargeable Camera Batteries

As the specifications of photographic equipment have become more advanced, the demands on their portable energy supply have increased. Rechargeable camera batteries are now designed to last longer than an average rechargeable - or non-rechargeable - battery, in power draining cameras. The different types, sizes, and brands available mean there is a rechargeable camera battery to suit the requirements of every consumer. Investigate brands and individual items to find the right rechargeable camera batteries that will provide many years of reliable service.

About Rechargeable Camera Batteries

Rechargeable camera batteries have become a common solution for many consumers looking to save money. They are more expensive than disposable batteries, but they can be recharged and reused many times. Each recharge cycle costs far less than buying a new set of batteries. Moreover, many consumers are keen to protect the environment by making use of recyclable goods.
Over the years, cameras have been steadily reduced in size by manufacturers; therefore, the batteries that power them must also shrink. However, the LCD screens, playback options and other special features of modern cameras mean a huge demand is placed on the battery, so manufacturers have developed smaller rechargeable batteries with greater capacity especially for use with a camera.

Rechargeable camera batteries come in two main categories; these are commercial, or off-the-shelf, and proprietary. Commercial rechargeable camera batteries are adaptable; they will work in many brands of camera and, similarly, can be recharged with a general purpose battery recharger. Proprietary batteries, on the other hand, are custom built to fit with specific brands of camera; they often come as part of a package and are included with the original purchase. However, their recharge value is limited to around 500 cycles, and photographers often choose to take a second rechargeable camera battery with them in case the first runs out of charge. Therefore, many proprietary rechargeable camera batteries are sold on the aftermarket as supplementary products or replacements.

Choosing Rechargeable Camera Batteries

In general, selecting which rechargeable camera batteries to buy will be a matter of personal preference for each photographer. However, as each type of rechargeable camera battery has particular strengths, there are a number of issues which can be considered to help make the right choice. These will include how often the camera will be used, what kind of pictures will be taken, and what type of equipment the photographer already owns.

Types of Rechargeable Camera Batteries

The first rechargeable camera batteries to appear on the market were in an average AA format. These early products struggled to maintain their performance in high-drain equipment, so over time more technologically advanced rechargeable camera batteries were developed to meet this demand. There are a wide variety of rechargeable camera battery sizes, types, and specifications. However, the capacity of each rechargeable camera battery is measured in milliampere hours, or mAh. Batteries with higher mAh can provide power for longer periods of time. Here is a table to show four of the various types of rechargeable camera batteries that are available.


Lithium-Ion

Lithium-Ion rechargeable camera batteries are commonly found in a range of high powered personal electronic devices. As well as storing large amounts of energy, they can be produced in many shapes. They also come with an on-board safety cut-off feature that ensures they do not overheat. This is the most popular rechargeable battery for camera users despite costing more than the alternatives.

Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH)

NiMH rechargeable camera batteries are an older product. They are cheap and reliable for most devices. However, they can run out of power relatively quickly, and therefore, a backup is advisable.

Nickel-Zinc (NiZn)

The NiZn rechargeable camera battery is quite new to the market and packs a hefty 1.6 volts. They are useful for equipment with high energy consumption and take less time to recharge than other batteries.

Rechargeable Alkaline

Rechargeable alkaline camera batteries work best with low consumption equipment as they tend to drain very quickly in more demanding situations. However, they can be useful to carry as a spare because once charged they retain their power for a long time.

Why Use Rechargeable Camera Batteries?

If a camera does not come with a rechargeable battery, consumers can reduce their costs in the long term by buying them as an alternative to disposable batteries. As well as being a far more environmentally friendly method of powering electrical equipment, they can be charged and recharged many times before replacements are needed. Moreover, because they are not thrown away at the end of each discharge, a rechargeable camera battery will always be on hand when it is needed. With shorter charge times becoming more common, photographers will save both time and money by choosing a rechargeable camera battery.

How to Make Rechargeable Camera Batteries Last Longer

Although rechargeable camera batteries can be expected to last a reasonable amount of time between charge cycles, there are a number of ways to make them last even longer.
Photographers can reduce the amount of energy being consumed by their device in a number of ways. Firstly, when using a digital camera, get into the habit of using the viewfinder when taking a shot instead of relying on the LCD screen. These little monitors are an enjoyable feature but drastically increase the amount of power consumed by the camera. Similarly, limit the amount of time spent looking at previous photographs and videos. Occasionally, ensuring the lighting and composition of a picture is just right will be necessary if a photographer is to obtain the right shot. Otherwise, checking to see how an image has turned out should be left until later if a user wishes to save power.
Photographers can also preserve power by switching off superfluous functions. If the camera has automatic features, such as preview, focussing, or flash, ensure they are only used when necessary. Each process involves the consumption of energy, which is wasted unless it is needed for a shot.
It is extremely frustrating for a photographer to miss a good shot because the camera is drained of power. In order to avoid this, plan ahead. Be aware of the battery usage icon and how much power the camera will use under different conditions. If lots of flash photography and focusing is expected, be prepared with spare rechargeable camera batteries.

Caring for Rechargeable Camera Batteries

To a certain extent, the correct care for each battery will vary depending on the type and the brand in question. However, regardless of any variations, following these general guidelines will ensure consumers obtain the best results from their rechargeable camera batteries throughout the product's lifetime. Always store rechargeable camera batteries in a cool place as extremes of temperature can have a detrimental effect on all batteries. If it is too cold, the chemical reaction that takes place within a battery is slowed considerably, meaning its capacity is diminished. The cold will not cause irreversible harm, though. Indeed, many users keep batteries inside a fridge in an airtight container for long-term storage. However, if a rechargeable camera battery becomes too hot, the unit can begin to discharge its power automatically. Moreover, prolonged exposure to higher temperatures may cause permanent damage to a rechargeable camera battery.

If the camera needs more than one rechargeable battery, always use the same type to obtain optimal performance. Each type of rechargeable battery has different specifications, and mismatched units will not work as well together. Also, be sure to recharge batteries fully before each use to increase their life span.

Conclusion

Rechargeable camera batteries are a valuable part of any photographer's kit. They are available in a wide range of sizes, capacities, and specifications, with products designed to meet the needs of every type of photographer, from the enthusiastic amateur to professionals. Deciding which rechargeable camera batteries to buy will be a different process for every consumer, so spend time researching which product is most appropriate and offers the best value for money. Look into the various brands and types, then focus on sellers and investigate individual items before making a final decision. The right rechargeable camera battery will provide a long reliable service that each photographer can depend on.

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