How to Maximise the Battery Life of Your Camera

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How to Maximise the Battery Life of Your Camera

When a camera battery ceases to function properly, the cost of a replacement is often a shock to the owner. Camera batteries are usually made to fit a particular make and model, meaning they are not sold in the sort of numbers which can help to reduce costs. This also reduces the number of competing battery manufacturers offering the product, adding further upward pressure on the price. However, getting the best value from a camera battery often just requires the photographer to give a little more consideration to their power unit when operating the device.

Camera Battery Life

If the camera battery is rechargeable, it will have a lifespan of no more than a few hundred charge cycles. Getting the most from each individual cycle will require the photographer to identify any bad habits they have developed and to rectify these.
Once the camera battery's life has been used up, the unit will fail to perform properly and will need to be replaced. A rechargeable battery that has begun to malfunction will usually start to hold a smaller amount of charge or rapidly lose whatever charge it has. When this point is reached, the owner will have no alternative but to purchase a replacement battery and recycle the old power unit.

Camera Battery Purchase

When buying camera batteries, there is a choice to be made between the manufacturer recommended models and aftermarket products. The battery recommended by the camera manufacturer will more than likely offer superior performance and longer life, but will also have a higher price. Unbranded products are often much cheaper, but if the experience they offer is unreliable and short-lived, then their initial perceived superior value will not be realised.
The make and model of battery recommended by the manufacturer can be found either in the camera's manual or on the manufacturer's website. Where it is not possible to obtain an exact match, a compatible model by a well-known battery brand should make an acceptable alternative. Unknown brands should be treated with caution, unless favourable product reviews are obtained.
Where there is a choice of battery specification and the budget allows, it is usually best to opt for the superior device. Batteries specifically designated as high drain devices will give far shorter waiting times between camera flashes. Batteries with higher capacity ratings will offer longer periods of camera use before requiring a recharge. The extra performance offered by higher power and higher capacity devices more often than not justifies the extra cost of these items.

Camera Battery Use

With a little care, it is possible to significantly extend the life of a camera's battery. It can be easy to get into bad habits that diminish the battery's life. Identifying situations where this is happening and taking steps to counter them can be key to maximising the life of the power source.

Economical Camera Use

When handling the camera, it is important to avoid excessive use of the more power hungry features. As the internal flash is by far the largest drain on battery power, this should be used only when absolutely necessary. Most cameras offer the facility to manually turn off the flash facility, effectively changing the default setting from ‘always’ on to ‘always off’. The photographer can then decide when the shot warrants overriding this feature, extending battery life as a result.
Most cameras use significant amounts of battery power when first switched on, especially those with powered zoom lenses. For this reason, a little thought should be given whenever the camera is powered up or down. The camera operator should avoid getting into bad habits, such as fiddling with the controls unnecessarily. After the flash, the next most power intensive camera feature is the zoom lens. Learning to use this efficiently can significantly extend the amount of camera function available from a single charge.

External Flash

Perhaps the most effective way to extend the internal camera battery life is to consider buying an external flash. External camera flashes offer additional power and versatility that can turn illuminated photographs into images that have a more professional feel to them. External flash devices usually operate on their own internal power, saving the battery housed inside the camera itself.

Spare Battery

A spare power source in the camera bag can be a useful fall back should the photographer ever find themselves stuck with a drained battery mid-shoot. Two batteries also give the possibility that one can be charging while the other is in use. This can allow the camera to be used continuously, even in high drain scenarios such as a studio setting.

Camera Selection

When selecting a new camera, the model chosen can have a significant impact on future battery costs. Before committing to the purchase, it can be worth checking the retail price of replacement batteries. Ask the vendor if they would be willing to include a spare battery with the camera to secure the purchase.
For anyone who uses more than one camera, it can be an idea to check if any of the models have compatible power sources. This effectively provides the photographer with a spare battery for both devices, which can be taken along in the camera bag whenever one of them is being used.
For the absolute minimum in battery running costs, nothing can compete with an older camera. Eschewing modern innovations such as power zooming, auto focussing, and auto rewinding can be a liberating affair and also help to improve technique.

Camera Battery Care

Proper care of rechargeable batteries can significantly improve their life and performance.

Camera Battery Charging

Some batteries, most notably those employing nickel cadmium (NiCd) technology, are susceptible to battery memory effect. Partially charging and discharging a battery can lead to the battery ‘remembering’ the points at which this happens. The result is that these points begin to redefine the capacity of the battery, limiting the amount of charge it can hold. Therefore, whenever possible, a battery should be fully charged before use and fully discharged before it is recharged. This is of particular importance when the battery is new.

Camera Battery Storage

Battery technology has advanced to the point where the leaking hazard is now extremely rare. However, where a camera is to be stored for longer periods, it is still worth considering draining and removing the battery as a precaution. Sealing the battery in a plastic container will ensure the risk of damage is further minimised.

How to Buy Camera Batteries on eBay

Camera batteries for just about every make and model of camera are available on eBay. Batteries can be searched or browsed for on eBay using the search facility and links provided.
If the desired make and model of the battery is to hand, simply type this into the search box that accompanies every eBay page. For example, to find the battery for a Casio Exslim camera, type "Casio NP-40" into the box. If none are currently available for purchase, saving the search will make future enquiries quicker.
It is also possible to browse the stock of camera batteries, narrowing and refining the selection until the correct item is found. To do this, select the All Categories tab and choose the option Cameras & Photography. Next, from the Categories panel on the left select Camera & Photo Accessories and then Batteries.

Conclusion

A photographer who gives even a small amount of thought to their camera's battery will be able to significantly extend its life. Care taken when purchasing a replacement battery can result in a device which not only functions better, but for longer too. Using the camera efficiently and the controls effectively can help to avoid wasting battery power. Correctly charging, discharging, and storing batteries can also help to get the best performance from them. The techniques involved in maximising camera battery life can improve camera operating technique, camera performance, and also save money.

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