Lengthen the life of your camera battery

Michael King
12 November, 2011
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Have you ever missed a terrific photo opportunity because your camera’s battery ran out of juice? The following tips will help you extend your camera’s battery life and keep you shooting longer.

Use the viewfinder: If your camera has both a live-view LCD and an optical viewfinder, you can save some power by composing exclusively with the optical viewfinder. On-screen live view is great – but if your battery is low, stick with the optical viewfinder to eke out a few more shots.

Review pictures later: Try to resist the temptation to look through all your shots while you’re having lunch or taking a break. Running the LCD screen for long periods will quickly run down the batteries. It’s also best to wait and delete pictures when you get home, unless the memory card is running out of space.

Shorten the LCD preview time: Another way to avoid the battery drain of an LCD screen is to minimise the length of time your camera previews a captured image. Frequently cameras set this function to five seconds or more by default, but most cameras allow you to reduce the time or turn preview off altogether.

Turn on power-saving modes: If your camera has a power-saving mode, turn it on to boost battery life. Once you’ve activated the mode, the camera will automatically shut down after a set period of time if you forget to turn it off yourself.

Turn off continuous autofocus: If you are not shooting moving subjects, turn off continuous autofocus to conserve power. Look instead for a single-shot autofocus mode (or switch to manual focus) to ensure that the camera doesn’t constantly hunt for the right focus.

Avoid automatic flash: The automatic flash setting is generally pretty good at predicting when you need some extra light, but it isn’t perfect. If you are taking landscape shots in low light, or if you are positioned far from the action, the flash will have almost no effect on your final image. Turn off the flash to save the camera battery.

Keep batteries warm: If you are shooting in cold climates, you will quickly find that a camera battery doesn’t last as long in the cold as it does in temperate conditions. When you are not using your camera, keep it warm by tucking it away safely under your coat and close to your body.

Carry a spare: Pack an extra battery to ensure that you always have a backup if your first battery gives up on you. Spare batteries are available from most reputable camera dealers.

Take care of your battery: If you are storing your camera for a prolonged period of time, remove the battery. If you can fully discharge the battery before removal, that’s even better. Be sure not to keep it in this state for too long, however; make an effort to charge and use the battery at least once a year.

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