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We’re going on a camping trip and will be away from power for our camera’s battery charger. Do you have any tips for extending the battery charge?
Unlike the days of film shooting when analog cameras could operate without electrical power, digital cameras must have electrical power to operate. When vacationing outdoors, it may be some time before an AC electrical source is available to power a battery charger. A battery charger can be powered using an inverter that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter. Another solution is a solar battery charger, though it may take some searching to find one with the compatible cradle and power rating for the specific battery to be charged. Cameras that are powered by AA batteries can be powered by lithium batteries, which last much longer than alkaline batteries. And it always advisable to carry a spare battery or two if you know you will be away from a charger for a while. If you will be in a cold climate keep spare batteries in your inside coat pocket since cold reduces the efficiency of batteries. Rotate the spares with the battery in the camera so the cold battery can heat up.
There are ways to conserve battery power when using a digital camera, many of which involve using the LCD screen as little as possible, the LCD screen being the major consumer of battery power. Here are a few tips on setting up the camera to extend battery life.
- In the camera menu there is either a SLEEP mode or a POWER SAVER mode. These are found in the camera’s SETUP menu. Both modes shut off the LCD and reduce the camera’s power consumption when the camera doesn’t detect any button pushes for a pre-determined period of time. The SLEEP mode can be set up to put the camera to sleep from 1 to 10 minutes after it doesn’t detect button pushes. The POWER SAVER mode puts the camera to sleep at a pre-set 10 seconds without detecting any button pushes. The camera can be awakened by pressing any button.
- Turn off the REC VIEW or, if the camera allows, set the feature to a short playback time. REC VIEW is the feature that displays the image immediately after it has been shot. Turning it off or reducing the time will reduce battery consumption.
- If you are shooting in daylight you have more than enough light to get high shutter speeds, turning off Image Stabilization will reduce power consumption. Only use it when it is necessary, such as low-light situations.
- Review your pictures in the playback mode as little as possible to reduce power consumption.
- Use the flash only when necessary.
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