Saturday, November 15, 2008

Take Care of Batteries


Digital cameras are battery hogs, plain and simple. You shouldn’t expect the batteries in a digital
camera to last very long since they are responsible for running a number of key functions within
the camera:
■ The imaging system, including the exposure controls and the zoom lens motor
■ The LCD display
■ The flash
■ Picture storage


That’s a lot to expect from a set of batteries, and, in fact, they don’t last long—you might
typically expect to get between 100 and 200 shots from a set of batteries, depending upon how
aggressively you use features like the zoom and LCD display.
Rechargeable versus Alkaline If your camera uses typical AA-style batteries, you should avoid
alkaline batteries. Instead, invest in one or two sets of NiMH rechargeable batteries. Yes, they’re
initially more expensive. But they quickly pay for themselves, since you can use rechargeables
several hundred times before they stop holding a useful charge. Do the math: Let’s say that you


The more you use your camera, the more obvious the cost savings become. Once you buy your
first set of rechargeable batteries, additional sets are less expensive (usually under $10) because you
don’t have to buy another charger. So you can see how useful rechargeables actually are.
Get the Most out of Your Batteries With so many demands on your camera batteries, it’s not all
that surprising that they don’t last very long. But there are certainly things you can do to extend
the life of your batteries, making them last longer between charges or replacements.
Just follow some of these commonsense tips:
Use the optical viewfinder
If your camera lets you, turn off the LCD display and look through the optical finder instead. The LCD screen is one of the biggest energy hogs on your camera, and you can significantly extend the value of your batteries by not using it.
Don’t review your pictures
Likewise, avoid gawking at your pictures on the camera’s LCD display. Of course, feel free to review them briefly. But save the slow, careful replays for your computer screen.
Disable the flash when you don’t need it
Sure, there are excellent reasons to use it,even outdoors, but if you are shooting subjects that are 40 feet away and the flash can’t possibly help, turn it off. Your batteries will thank you.
Leave the camera on
If you’re taking a lot of pictures in a brief time, don’t turn the camera off after each and every picture. You might think that you’re conserving battery life, but in fact you’re burning energy every time the camera has to power on. That’s especially true if your camera has to retract the zoom lens every time it powers down and extend the lens when you turn it on again.

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