Battery Backup


Digital photography gives amateur photographers more leverage and allows innumerable retakes. But while shooting long exposures of around half-hour or more, the battery does not last till the end of the exposure, despite it being fully charged. However, this is not a problem with manual cameras. I would like to know if there is a solution.
Vishnu Purohit, via email

This story was originally published in August 2014.

Even with fully charged batteries, long exposures (of more than 30 minutes) can easily drain their energy, especially at night. This is because the chemistry of the battery is such that a drop in temperature reduces battery life (this is true for an excessive rise in temperature as well). Older mechanical bodies do not have such problems because they do not use batteries to open the shutter. For long exposure photography, it is wise to carry another battery pack that is fully charged. Keep a watch on the battery status on the LCD screen. If you see that the battery is dying, replace them with fresh ones before they die out completely. If you are shooting exposures longer than an hour with a DSLR, you can also invest in an external battery pack unit. These packs are available with authorised dealers. There are some other things you can do to conserve battery strength, like using the LCD minimally, selecting settings like ISO, aperture and shutterspeed well before setting out to shoot, and keeping the batteries at room temperature. Also remember to switch off any image stablisation or vibration reduction function and use the camera on a tripod. Also, some cameras are equipped with a shutter setting which will not result in battery drain regardless of the exposure time. Do check your camera’s instruction manual to determine camera operation during long exposures.

Tags: Question of the Day, battery backup, long exposures