A digital camera battery is probably the most important digital camera accessory. Some digital cameras can consume power at an alarming rate, providing no more than a few hours of continuous shooting time before the battery is drained. Other cameras are renowned for the long life of their digital camera battery which allows users to snap away with barely a thought to power consumption. It is important to know how you intend to use your camera and what type of battery it needs.
There are two types of digital camera battery. The most widely available digital camera battery is a standard AA-size battery. The other type of digital camera battery is a rechargeable battery that is made by the manufacturer, otherwise known as a proprietary battery.
A proprietary digital camera battery offers the advantage of being lighter and more compact, but they are substantially more expensive, making the prospect of buying one or two backup sets much less appealing.
The alkaline AA-size digital camera battery usually has a very short life - less than an hour in extreme cases - when used in a digital camera. This type of battery makes an acceptable emergency backup, especially if you are travelling with your camera. However, the Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) digital camera battery can be used instead of the alkaline ones with a charger and this rechargeable NiMH digital camera battery has a substantially longer life at an affordable price.
Another type of AA-size battery is the non-rechargeable Lithium batteries and rechargeable Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) batteries. The lithium digital camera battery has a superior life to alkaline AA's and offers good cold-weather performance but their price and non-rechargeable nature make them less useful than rechargeable NiMH batteries. It is also important to ensure that your camera can take a lithium digital camera battery. On the other hand the NiCD digital camera battery offers the advantage of retaining their charge while unused, unlike NiMH cells, but have shorter lives and need to be discharged completely before recharging which can be extremely inconvenient.
The LCD screen of a digital camera is responsible for consuming the most power from a digital camera battery so it is worth only using the LCD when necessary to help conserve the battery life. Always try to carry at least one backup set of batteries, especially if you plan on being away from power outlets for an extended period of time. The universally-available alkaline AA-size battery can make a convenient emergency backup if your regular digital camera battery fails.
This article was posted on November 17, 2005