How to Prolong your Camera Battery’s Life
For all practical purposes, the battery is the heart of your camera- take it out, and it dies. No, really. How often do we actually make that association? If you do, then power to you! If you don’t, here are a few things to keep in mind to help make the most of the juice in your battery.
The Art of Charging
Get a feeling that your battery lasts for a shorter time than a few months back? Don’t ignore it. Older cameras which contain rechargeable Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) or Nickel Metal Hydride batteries (NiMH) lose power after about 500 charge and discharge cycles. This phenomenon is termed as the “memory effect”. To get the maximum out of NiMH batteries, follow the cycle of charging it to its maximum capacity and then discharging
Today, most cameras come with a Lithium-ion battery, which is quite different. They are not subject to the “memory effect” and can be charged over and over again. However, avoid charging Li-ion batteries to their maximum capacity and never let them drain dry.
Not shooting? Camera: OFF
Keeping your camera perpetually switched on even while you aren’t shooting drains battery. It’s quite obvious but many of us are guilty of leaving it on either because we’re too lazy or we hope to capture something that suddenly flashes by us.
Plus One Battery
Most professional photographers carry at least one extra, fully charged battery whenever they take their camera for an outing. Before your Lithium-ion battery completely dies, put the new one in. This exercise will also facilitate a healthy charge cycle for your battery. How? Because the same battery isn’t being subjected to the charge-use-drain cycle over and over again.
Did you know that most DSLRs have two batteries?
The rechargeable one which everyone’s aware of, and the second is a small back-up battery that is used to keep the date and time settings when the main battery is removed!
Alternate the Batteries
If you do keep more than one battery as a standby, alternate the times you use the battery. If you have used one battery one day continuously, give it a break and put the second one in for the next day.
Fast Enough Shutterspeed? Image Stabilisater: OFF
If you’re shooting with a fast enough shutterspeed that isn’t going to cause any unwanted blurs, switch the Image Stabiliser off. Leaving your IS on consumes a significant amount of battery, especially if you use a telephoto or super telephoto lens.
Battery Extremely Low? Autofocus: OFF
In some low-light situations, your camera might find it difficult to focus on the object you want it to focus on. In such situations, the lens continuously ‘searches’ for the object and each time it does so, battery gets usurped. Switch over to manual focus when you find yourself in such a situation. Note that this point would hold true only in extreme situations.
Third Party Batteries
Some third party batteries may cause damage to your camera so it is advisable to buy a battery from the manufacturer itself. While some may be cheaper, do a thorough background check to ensure that they are reliable.
Adjustments to the LCD Screen
A few settings can be made to your screen in order to save battery when it is really low. Dimming the Brightness, minimise picture previewing time (or switching off Playback completely), avoid unnecessarily browsing through pictures, watching videos, etc.
Avoid Flash/Video Recording
Flash and video recording also use up a significant amount of battery and should be avoided if your LCD screen flashes low battery. However, an external flash which you attach to the camera has its own batteries, so it would not affect the camera’s battery life.
Say No to Indiscriminate Shooting
While some people may be addicted to indiscriminate shooting and call it their style, it is a major reason why batteries die fast. When you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have an extra battery, it is smart to be judicial with the number of photographs you make. Don’t stop shooting, just be cautious with respect to your battery life.