Disposable batteries are an unnecessary expense when there are rechargeable, environmentally-friendly alternatives available. Camera chargers need to match the make and model of the camera being used, although there are some which are suitable for use with adapters. Old-fashioned, vintage cameras with wind on film need nothing more than a finger operating the mechanical action of levers, buttons, and knobs. Automatic cameras with 35mm film require batteries to operate the shutter and built-in flash as well as to wind on the film. Digital cameras require a battery or power source to manage any operation. As a camera battery is an expensive item, having a facility for recharging it is a money-saving investment. External battery packs use standard or rechargeable batteries that add weight to a camera but give more power. In remote locations, they are often the only source of power for a photographer.
Type of Camera and Choice of Charger
Point and shoot compact digital cameras are simple to use, small enough to slip into a pocket or handbag and are fairly inexpensive. They tend to be used by recreational photographers and so can eat into power as a picture-hungry amateur tries to capture the magic of a holiday, weekend, or special visit with hundreds of snaps. This is not unusual and is a good policy. For those who aren't professional and do not know how to set up a good compositional shot, having many from which to choose once the card is uploaded to a computer offers a great choice that can be manipulated by software to make it more acceptable.
A bridge compact digital camera is for the more serious photographer who knows how to set up a shot for best effect. Control over exposure and other camera settings facilitate some fantastic photographs. Longer zoom range and a fixed lens can produce some remarkable work. Bridge cameras fundamentally mimic many Digital SLR features without the same level of expenditure.
SLR cameras (Single Lens Reflex) use a prism and mirror for the photographer to be able to see exactly the lens view and what will be captured on film. Control and versatility are the hallmarks and attractions of a DSLR camera with its large sensor size and superior finished photo quality. Different lenses allow for different effects on one camera body.
Smaller, cheaper cameras tend to have generic batteries, easily served by compatible quality products. More expensive and exclusive cameras rely on brand name loyalty and exclusivity to drive their sales, and it can be difficult to find a reasonably priced charger to optimise their battery power when recharging rather than replacing the item.
Different Types of Batteries and Different Types of Chargers
Some camera makes have distinctively shaped batteries. This is helpful when slotting back into the camera after charging it because its notch or pins will only fit one way. It is not so helpful when it means it is the only type of device that can be used to charge a camera's battery. There are universal chargers which may be compatible with a variety of models when specific plates are inserted to match the configuration, ensuring that positive and negative posts are correctly lined up to receive power. Check the manual that comes with the equipment to know where the doors and switches on the camera may be found and how to open them, close them, and slot or slide any accessory as required.
Power is measured as number of shots e.g. 500 shots per full charge, up to 1000 shots for a pocket zoom camera.
Styles of Batteries
Proprietary batteries work only with a manufacturer's product. Some cameras are limited to the exact model for using accessories, not just the same make. Depending on the type of materials used to make a battery, the range of rechargeable cycles falls between 100 - 1,000. In digital cameras, as in mobile phones, the brand must match the maker, and the lifecycle is expected to survive 1-3 years or 500-800 charging cycles.
Many automatic or digital cameras use regular batteries in either small AAA or standard AA size. These cylindrical batteries can simply be replaced by new ones or a charging unit can replenish them. To cope with the power surge required in electronic cameras, there are specialist batteries which might use Li-ion (Lithium ion), NiMH (nickel metal hydride) and, where they can be found, NiCd (nickel cadmium).
Recommended by battery retailers, relatively inexpensive and non-toxic, NiMH batteries are a popular choice for recharging a digital camera. Designed for equipment that experiences power-drain, they present none of the memory effect problems other batteries display. Manufacturers claim these batteries offer more pictures per charge compared to other battery types, lasting as much as 40 per cent longer than a NiCd battery equivalent. The environmentally-friendly NiMH battery responds well to a single charge with figures supporting claims that it runs 3-4 times as long as a similarly charged alkaline battery.
Slightly more expensive Li-Ion batteries are securing more of the rechargeable battery market. Lasting almost twice the duration of NiMH batteries, their stored charge is not lost quickly and neither do they show memory-effect problems. There are many compatible rechargeable Li-Ion batteries to serve branded names which use this type in their cameras.
Despite their ability to charge quickly and undergo a huge number of charge cycles, the popularity and availability of NiCd batteries is on the decline. Their production is expensive, and their disposal is hazardous because of the toxic heavy metal Cadmium used in their manufacture. As a rechargeable battery, NiCd has low tolerance of colder temperatures and suffers too from poor memory effect. For cameras which used this type of battery, capable of high current surge that is useful for camera flash units, there is scant opportunity to purchase them unless as specialty batteries for items like cordless phones. Many power tools that used to depend on this type of battery as a power source have shifted to using Li-Ion batteries in their equipment now.
Some alkaline batteries display high rated capacity (up to 2500mAh), which would make them ideal for use in digital cameras, or so it would seem. However, the way alkaline batteries convert their energy from chemical into electrical power limits the amount of their production capability.
Spare alkaline batteries, often the saviour of a photo shoot when power runs out, suffer an affliction worth noting. While recharged alkaline batteries are stored and not in use, they lose 1-3 per cent of their stored power daily. This might be an issue on holiday or over a long weekend when photo opportunities place great demand on a camera's power.
NiHM rechargeable batteries convert stored chemical energy much more efficiently into electricity. The process is sufficiently effective for 2100mAh NiMH batteries to outperform 2500mAh alkaline batteries in digital cameras.
Do not rely on the camera's LED reading when recharging is getting old. It may state that there is sufficient power, yet in reality, when using the batteries available, power falls short of expectations. Keep spares in a bag - recharged spares, preferably.
Plug it in for More Power
Adapter kits may permit a digital camera to operate directly from a mains electrical power source. This could benefit professionals working in a studio when checking photographs that have not been uploaded from a memory card to a computer screen.
There are many rechargers available to keep batteries powered. Wall plug packs usually accept 2 or 4 batteries, and an LED light will show when charging is complete. Theory shows some batteries are more suited to packs which offer recharging as trickle down rather than continuous low impulse, though the results of life extension are negligible in real-time utilisation for photographers. These recharging packs can be used anywhere with the appropriate plug and pin adapters to match the voltage of the country.
Sophisticated chargers offer a variety of functions with microprocessors to cope with battery type, capacity, and charge status. Many of them offer fast charge and reverse polarity protection as well as options for trickle charge, which avoids discharge of cells following fast charges. Status indicators and warranties are standard with brand name products.
How to Find Camera Chargers on eBay
Visit eBay and on the homepage select Cameras & Photography.. From there, chooseCamera & Photo Accessories.. Here, select Chargers & Docks to view the latest listings with items to match a search for Camera Chargers. On the new page, check boxes to limit the search parameters closer to the desired item, for example a mains charger for a compatible brand of a named product. If already a visitor to the site, simply type a keyword, such as ' camera chargers'', into the search box on the top of any page and click Go for results of the day.
There are a variety of chargers to power up the batteries of a camera; these save money, are friendly to the environment, and are easy to find. Consider whether the battery charger can charge NiMH and NiCd batteries alike, and read up to find out how long a charge is expected to take. Battery conditioning, the number of cells capable of simultaneous charging and options for using a USB connection or 12 V power cord for charging from a car's cigarette lighter might also influence a purchase decision.