Sunday, November 18, 2007

What's In Your Camera?

Over the years I've had clients contact me about which camera I would recommend for them to buy. However, there is one component of a camera system that I've never been asked advice on. What type or brand of batteries should be used in a camera? Whether you're using a film or digital camera, each will require a battery or batteries to operate. So, from my experience I thought it might be a good topic to share what I've discovered about batteries.

The first thing I want to tell you is that not ALL batteries are created equal. I've been a professional photographer for 32 years and I've tried numerous brands on the market. The clear winner (for me) is Duracell. When it comes to staying power and output I haven't found an equal. Now, if you look in my camera bag you will find both Energizer and Duracell batteries, but only because the Duracells are not always available. Here's the second biggest tip I will give you CVS Pharmacy has the BEST price on AA/AAA batteries with up to a 50% discount sometimes.

Alkaline Vs Nickel Metal Hydride . Don't waste your money on alkaline batteries. First of all, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries have a higher output. Currently, the Duracell NiMH batteries are rated over 2600 (that's an important number to look for). Second, NiMH batteries are rechargeable. And, third, with numerous recharges available to you in the long run their initial cost of $10-$14 dollars will prove to be cheaper.

Next, buy the right charger. Unfortunately, the right charger is like buying the right digital camera. It's great for today, but it's obsolete tomorrow. Here's my best advice. When you purchase your first set of NiMH batteries purchase the charger that comes with it. The charger is designed to charged the batteries at the proper output rate. To get a handle on this issue, take a magnifying glass and read the label on your battery (See photo). It will tell you what the standard charge rate should be and for how long. Now, take the same magnifying glass and check out the back of the charger to see what its charge output rate is (see photo). If it's below what the battery requires, not only will it take your batteries a longer time to charge, but they may NEVER charge to full capacity.

Finally, from time to time take a pencil and use the eraser end to scrub the +/- posts on the batteries to assure a good contact. And, don't throw away worn down NiMH batteries...they're great for clocks and other items that run off small batteries.

Well, I hope this article helps you to understand batteries a little better.

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