Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Digital Camera Battery Life

by Christina VanGinkel

If you use a digital camera, you may have run into usage issues with the length of time your camera's batteries stay functional before dying. My new digital camera, a Konica-Minolta DiMAGE Z5, uses Alkaline or Ni-MH rechargeable batteries. The batteries that came with it, disposables, actually held up quite well and I managed to take hundreds of snapshots with them over a period of several days.

I decided I wanted to invest in a charger with rechargeable batteries though, so I purchased a charger that came with four AA batteries, the size the Konica-Minolta DiMAGE Z5 uses. It was an off brand, but was advertised specially for use with electronics, including digital cameras. I charged the batteries as specified and installed them in my camera. Out in the field the next day, actually standing beneath a tree that had a small sized black bear perched up in the crook of its limbs, I snapped a total of five pictures before the camera's battery sensor told me the batteries were going to die. I snapped one more picture and it died on the spot! To say I was a bit disappointed would be putting it mildly.

Thankfully, I still had the disposable batteries that came with the camera in my camera bag. I had removed them when the sensor told me they were low, but had not yet completely died. I reinstalled them and managed to snap quite a few more shots. In fact, the batteries lasted me the rest of the morning, about another hour of continual shots.

The following day I returned the Ni-MH rechargeable batteries along with its charger to the store where I had purchased it. I bought in its place a pack of Energizer batteries, advertised with the Titanium technology. I swapped four of them for the disposables that came with it, still in and still functioning, but I wanted to see if these would last at least longer than the rechargeable batteries. Several hours after installing the Energizers, I was still snapping shots around my house and yard. I even used the video feature on the camera, which I am assuming uses more of the batteries energy than the typical mode. I used the flash on several shots also, and yet the batteries are holding up well.

With this being my second digital camera, you would think I would have been prepared for this, but my Sony Mavica used a built in rechargeable battery. I had a spare, along with a traditional plug in for at home, plus a car charger for when I was out. If one battery died, I either charged it en-route to my next stop in the vehicle, or swapped it for the spare. I never imagined that a camera would use up the power of a rechargeable battery in less than six shots, off brand or not!

For now, I will stick with the Energizer disposables. They work well, and I by keeping a set of spares in my camera bag I can be assured of getting all of the shots I want.

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