Battery life on the road

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bob, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. bob

    bob Guest

    There's a bit of a preamble to the question, but I'll try not to bore you to
    tears.

    I've done a great deal of travel to some very out-of-the-way places over the
    years, for periods of 2 weeks to 18 months. In all that time, I've used an
    SLR, and lugged around many pounds of expensive glass to go with it.
    For the past few years, I've been using digicams as well, (Nikon 5000, 8400,
    Canon 20Da) but mostly for astrophotography and as 2nd cameras when
    traveling.
    I'm planning to visit Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for 2 months this winter,
    and have been recently intrigued by some of the newer digitals with IS and
    high optical zoom, namely Canon and Lumix models. Running out of "film"
    doesn't worry me, as memory cards take up way less room than film.
    My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    for recharging. My experience is that none of my digital cameras have been
    stellar in the battery life department, and I have visions of repeatedly
    kicking myself, standing in the middle of paradise with a dead camera in my
    hand.
    What do you guys do?

    Thanks,


    --
    Bob

    Travel and Astronomy Photos
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/bomo
    bob, Aug 10, 2006
    #1
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  2. bob wrote:
    > There's a bit of a preamble to the question, but I'll try not to bore
    > you to tears.
    >
    > I've done a great deal of travel to some very out-of-the-way places
    > over the years, for periods of 2 weeks to 18 months. In all that
    > time, I've used an SLR, and lugged around many pounds of expensive
    > glass to go with it.
    > For the past few years, I've been using digicams as well, (Nikon
    > 5000, 8400, Canon 20Da) but mostly for astrophotography and as 2nd
    > cameras when traveling.
    > I'm planning to visit Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for 2 months this
    > winter, and have been recently intrigued by some of the newer
    > digitals with IS and high optical zoom, namely Canon and Lumix
    > models. Running out of "film" doesn't worry me, as memory cards take
    > up way less room than film.
    > My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available
    > electricity for recharging. My experience is that none of my digital
    > cameras have been stellar in the battery life department, and I have
    > visions of repeatedly kicking myself, standing in the middle of
    > paradise with a dead camera in my hand.
    > What do you guys do?
    >
    > Thanks,


    I have a Canon and the grip. The grip provides the opportunity to use
    AA batteries. They are available almost anywhere. I would guess that
    Nikon also has such an option for their higher end digital SLRs.

    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia duit
    Joseph Meehan, Aug 10, 2006
    #2
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  3. bob

    Joe Guest

    I would also take a film body as a back up.


    "bob" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > There's a bit of a preamble to the question, but I'll try not to bore you
    > to
    > tears.
    >
    > I've done a great deal of travel to some very out-of-the-way places over
    > the
    > years, for periods of 2 weeks to 18 months. In all that time, I've used an
    > SLR, and lugged around many pounds of expensive glass to go with it.
    > For the past few years, I've been using digicams as well, (Nikon 5000,
    > 8400,
    > Canon 20Da) but mostly for astrophotography and as 2nd cameras when
    > traveling.
    > I'm planning to visit Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for 2 months this
    > winter,
    > and have been recently intrigued by some of the newer digitals with IS and
    > high optical zoom, namely Canon and Lumix models. Running out of "film"
    > doesn't worry me, as memory cards take up way less room than film.
    > My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    > for recharging. My experience is that none of my digital cameras have been
    > stellar in the battery life department, and I have visions of repeatedly
    > kicking myself, standing in the middle of paradise with a dead camera in
    > my
    > hand.
    > What do you guys do?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    >
    > --
    > Bob
    >
    > Travel and Astronomy Photos
    > http://www3.sympatico.ca/bomo
    >
    >
    >
    Joe, Aug 10, 2006
    #3
  4. bob wrote:
    []
    > What do you guys do?
    >
    > Thanks,


    With the Panasonic Lumix FZ5 (36 - 432mm equivalent image stabilised Leica
    zoom lens, but weighing only ~320g), I have two batteries, one Panasonic
    and one 3rd party. Can't tell any difference in operation. On a heavy
    shooting day (200+ pictures), I might have to swap batteries in the
    afternoon. I would charge both batteries every night while away, which
    would require a mains source.

    In your position, I would consider an DC-AC invertors, driven off the
    vehicle 12V supply, and also take more batteries, and at least two
    chargers.

    David
    David J Taylor, Aug 10, 2006
    #4
  5. bob

    ASAAR Guest

    On Thu, 10 Aug 2006 13:13:38 -0400, bob wrote:

    > My experience is that none of my digital cameras have been
    > stellar in the battery life department, and I have visions of repeatedly
    > kicking myself, standing in the middle of paradise with a dead camera in my
    > hand.
    > What do you guys do?


    That's easy. Choose a digital camera that has stellar battery
    life. If you need to use the flash a lot, all cameras can present
    problems in paradise. Otherwise you can find cameras that are good
    for from 1,000 to 1,500 shots per charge. Somewhat less from
    inexpensive alkalines but even more shots per set of lightweight
    lithium batteries if you don't mind their higher cost. Popular
    cameras with IS are available from Canon, Panasonic and Kodak, among
    others, but I don't know how close their battery performance comes
    to matching the battery performance of models from Fuji and Canon,
    such as Canon's A620 and A700.
    ASAAR, Aug 10, 2006
    #5
  6. bob

    ASAAR Guest

    On Thu, 10 Aug 2006 17:59:39 GMT, Joseph Meehan wrote:

    >> My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available
    >> electricity for recharging. My experience is that none of my digital
    >> cameras have been stellar in the battery life department, and I have
    >> visions of repeatedly kicking myself, standing in the middle of
    >> paradise with a dead camera in my hand.
    >> What do you guys do?
    >>
    >> Thanks,

    >
    > I have a Canon and the grip. The grip provides the opportunity to use
    > AA batteries. They are available almost anywhere. I would guess that
    > Nikon also has such an option for their higher end digital SLRs.


    And also one for their new lower end DSLR. Another poster just
    left a link to an Imaging-Resource D80 review, and it mentions:

    > Speaking of grips, consumers will be able to purchase a Nikon-branded battery grip
    > for the D80, which was unavailable for the D70. The MD-80 vertical grip/battery pack
    > will be compatible with two EN EL-3e batteries (no EN EL-3), or six AA batteries.
    > Price for the MD-80 is expected to be around $166.


    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D80/D80A.HTM

    No mention was made of battery performance. Someone else (or
    another review) recently made the claim that the EN EL-3e battery
    would be good for up to 2,700 shots, but I'd like to see it
    confirmed somewhere else, such as in a Nikon manual or by dpreview.
    If true, the MD-80 would probably be good for at least 5,000 shots
    per charge using a pair of EN El-3e batteries. If AA alkalines are
    used they might not provide as many shots, but a set of AA lithiums
    might well provide more than 5,000 shots.
    ASAAR, Aug 10, 2006
    #6
  7. bob

    Ron Hunter Guest

    bob wrote:
    > There's a bit of a preamble to the question, but I'll try not to bore you to
    > tears.
    >
    > I've done a great deal of travel to some very out-of-the-way places over the
    > years, for periods of 2 weeks to 18 months. In all that time, I've used an
    > SLR, and lugged around many pounds of expensive glass to go with it.
    > For the past few years, I've been using digicams as well, (Nikon 5000, 8400,
    > Canon 20Da) but mostly for astrophotography and as 2nd cameras when
    > traveling.
    > I'm planning to visit Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for 2 months this winter,
    > and have been recently intrigued by some of the newer digitals with IS and
    > high optical zoom, namely Canon and Lumix models. Running out of "film"
    > doesn't worry me, as memory cards take up way less room than film.
    > My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    > for recharging. My experience is that none of my digital cameras have been
    > stellar in the battery life department, and I have visions of repeatedly
    > kicking myself, standing in the middle of paradise with a dead camera in my
    > hand.
    > What do you guys do?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    >


    Well, one solution is to get a solar charger. Slow, but with enough
    spare batteries, it should work. The countries you mention have PLENTY
    of sun....
    Ron Hunter, Aug 11, 2006
    #7
  8. bob

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    > I'm planning to visit Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for 2 months this
    > winter,
    > and have been recently intrigued by some of the newer digitals with IS and
    > high optical zoom, namely Canon and Lumix models. Running out of "film"
    > doesn't worry me, as memory cards take up way less room than film.
    > My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    > for recharging. My experience is that none of my digital cameras have been
    > stellar in the battery life department, and I have visions of repeatedly
    > kicking myself, standing in the middle of paradise with a dead camera in
    > my
    > hand.
    > What do you guys do?


    I think that you'll find that unless you're REALLY in the sticks,
    electricity will be available. Many Canon chargers are "universal", being
    able to run from 110 or 220, 50 or 60 Hz. You'd just need an adapter for
    them. Plus, they'll charge a battery in about an hour. Sit down in a cafe,
    plug in your chargers, have lunch, and there you go.

    On my XT, without an IS lens, I have only drained the battery once - I
    shot hundreds of shots one day (probably 500 - and about 100 of those WERE
    with IS), then about a hundred the next day, and a few the day after that.
    That's a lot of photos, and the XT has a (relatively) small battery. Plus,
    a second battery isn't much. With just two batteries, you've got a minimum
    of 1,000 shots, and perhaps as many as 2,000.

    If you're really, REALLY worried about finding electricity, then there are
    other options, such as solar chargers, but those get expensive, and don't
    charge as quickly.

    steve
    Steve Wolfe, Aug 11, 2006
    #8
  9. bob wrote:
    > There's a bit of a preamble to the question, but I'll try not to bore you to
    > tears.
    >
    > I've done a great deal of travel to some very out-of-the-way places over the
    > years, for periods of 2 weeks to 18 months. In all that time, I've used an
    > SLR, and lugged around many pounds of expensive glass to go with it.
    > For the past few years, I've been using digicams as well, (Nikon 5000, 8400,
    > Canon 20Da) but mostly for astrophotography and as 2nd cameras when
    > traveling.
    > I'm planning to visit Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for 2 months this winter,
    > and have been recently intrigued by some of the newer digitals with IS and
    > high optical zoom, namely Canon and Lumix models. Running out of "film"
    > doesn't worry me, as memory cards take up way less room than film.
    > My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    > for recharging. My experience is that none of my digital cameras have been
    > stellar in the battery life department, and I have visions of repeatedly
    > kicking myself, standing in the middle of paradise with a dead camera in my
    > hand.
    > What do you guys do?

    Sounds like you are looking more at a big-zoom compact camera rather
    than an SLR. I have a Canon S2IS, which has just delivered a little over
    700 shots on the first charge of a set of 2500mah AA batteries. I expect
    that on 2nd charge the batteries should be able to deliver a bit better
    again. Even on cheap alkaline AA's, I got about 150 shots on the Canon.
    Compare this to approx 200 shots on a Panasonic FZ5 (a fairly equivalent
    camera), and I think the choice would be clear.
    If I was going somewhere where charging would be dubious, I'd stick to a
    AA camera. The Canon S2 or S3 with a couple of sets of AA's (perhaps
    lithium disposables, or a couple of sets of good quality rechargeables)
    would win hands-down over a bunch of LiIon rechargeables.
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    >
    Graham Fountain, Aug 11, 2006
    #9
  10. bob

    bob Guest

    "Graham Fountain" <> wrote in message
    news:44dc80ed$0$15950$...

    > Sounds like you are looking more at a big-zoom compact camera rather
    > than an SLR. I have a Canon S2IS, which has just delivered a little over
    > 700 shots on the first charge of a set of 2500mah AA batteries. I expect
    > that on 2nd charge the batteries should be able to deliver a bit better
    > again. Even on cheap alkaline AA's, I got about 150 shots on the Canon.
    > Compare this to approx 200 shots on a Panasonic FZ5 (a fairly equivalent
    > camera), and I think the choice would be clear.
    > If I was going somewhere where charging would be dubious, I'd stick to a
    > AA camera. The Canon S2 or S3 with a couple of sets of AA's (perhaps
    > lithium disposables, or a couple of sets of good quality rechargeables)
    > would win hands-down over a bunch of LiIon rechargeables.
    > >
    > > Thanks,
    > >


    This Canon is actually one of the ones I'm considering. I do have a 20Da
    SLR, but wouldn't want to bring it along. My lenses are mostly 2.8 APOs, and
    I want to travel lighter on this trip. I know I won't get f2.8 on a compact
    digital (though the S2 is 3.5 max), or the rich colour of slide film, which
    is what I always shoot when traveling, but I'm willing to make trade-offs
    for weight this time. I do like the big optical zoom in a small package.
    I also really like the versatility of a camera that can take AA batteries in
    a pinch. When we travel, it's not uncommon for us to be away from
    electricity for several days at a time, so I like that option.


    --
    Bob

    Travel and Astronomy Photos
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/bomo
    bob, Aug 11, 2006
    #10
  11. bob

    Marvin Guest

    bob wrote:
    > There's a bit of a preamble to the question, but I'll try not to bore you to
    > tears.
    >
    > I've done a great deal of travel to some very out-of-the-way places over the
    > years, for periods of 2 weeks to 18 months. In all that time, I've used an
    > SLR, and lugged around many pounds of expensive glass to go with it.
    > For the past few years, I've been using digicams as well, (Nikon 5000, 8400,
    > Canon 20Da) but mostly for astrophotography and as 2nd cameras when
    > traveling.
    > I'm planning to visit Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for 2 months this winter,
    > and have been recently intrigued by some of the newer digitals with IS and
    > high optical zoom, namely Canon and Lumix models. Running out of "film"
    > doesn't worry me, as memory cards take up way less room than film.
    > My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    > for recharging. My experience is that none of my digital cameras have been
    > stellar in the battery life department, and I have visions of repeatedly
    > kicking myself, standing in the middle of paradise with a dead camera in my
    > hand.
    > What do you guys do?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    >

    If oyur camera will accept them, take along a few sets of
    nonrechargable lithium batteries. Each set will do for many
    pictures.
    Marvin, Aug 11, 2006
    #11
  12. bob

    VK Guest

    bob wrote:
    > My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    > for recharging.


    Bob, unless you are going to some REALLY remote and out of the way
    place, electricity will not be a problem. So I'd take an extra battery
    and not worry about recharging problems.

    Vandit
    VK, Aug 11, 2006
    #12
  13. bob

    Philippe Guest

    VK wrote:
    > bob wrote:
    >
    >>My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    >>for recharging.

    >
    >
    > Bob, unless you are going to some REALLY remote and out of the way
    > place, electricity will not be a problem. So I'd take an extra battery
    > and not worry about recharging problems.
    >
    > Vandit
    >

    Either that or bring an exercise bike-type generator.. Think of it as
    exercise incentive for photography..

    <BEG>
    P.
    Philippe, Aug 11, 2006
    #13
  14. VK wrote:
    > bob wrote:
    >> My concern is battery life, and the probable lack of available electricity
    >> for recharging.

    >
    > Bob, unless you are going to some REALLY remote and out of the way
    > place, electricity will not be a problem. So I'd take an extra battery
    > and not worry about recharging problems.

    There might be electricity in the area, but question is if you will have
    access to it for long enough to charge a couple of batteries. Depending
    on how you are travelling, it is quite conceivable that you won't get a
    chance to recharge. The S2IS (and presumably the new S3 is the same)
    with NiMH batteries will get far more shots per charge than any other
    camera in the class, regardless of if they have LiIon or not, and you
    have the option of Lithium disposables for even more shots on a set of
    batteries. Even on standard alkalines it will deliver similar life to
    most of the LiIon cameras. So if you are in the slightest bit concerned
    about power available, I'd suggest the S2 for battery life.
    >
    > Vandit
    >
    Graham Fountain, Aug 12, 2006
    #14
  15. bob

    Bill Guest

    Graham Fountain wrote:

    >There might be electricity in the area, but question is if you will have
    >access to it for long enough to charge a couple of batteries. Depending
    >on how you are travelling, it is quite conceivable that you won't get a
    >chance to recharge.


    That's always a possibility if camping out is part of the travel.

    > The S2IS (and presumably the new S3 is the same)
    >with NiMH batteries will get far more shots per charge than any other
    >camera in the class, regardless of if they have LiIon or not,


    Just curious where you got that info?
    Bill, Aug 12, 2006
    #15
  16. Bill wrote:
    > Graham Fountain wrote:
    >
    >> There might be electricity in the area, but question is if you will have
    >> access to it for long enough to charge a couple of batteries. Depending
    >> on how you are travelling, it is quite conceivable that you won't get a
    >> chance to recharge.

    >
    > That's always a possibility if camping out is part of the travel.
    >
    >> The S2IS (and presumably the new S3 is the same)
    >> with NiMH batteries will get far more shots per charge than any other
    >> camera in the class, regardless of if they have LiIon or not,

    >
    > Just curious where you got that info?
    >

    From having used the things either myself or having close contact with
    people who do. When I tried a Panasonic FZ7 I came in at under 200 shots
    on a charge. A friend has a Sony H1 and reports it to be similar on a
    set of AA rechargeables. In my S2IS, over a space of about 4 weeks I
    took about 700 shots on a set of 2500mAH AA rechargeables (on their
    first charge, which is always poor). I have now taken another 700 shots
    with the batteries on their 2nd charge and no sign of a low battery
    indicator. A set of no-name $2 shop Alkalines was good for 150 shots. A
    set of Energiser E2 Titaniums was good for 300 shots. I haven't used E2
    Lithiums in it yet, but past experience with other cameras indicates
    that they usually perform similar or better compared to 2500mAH NiMH.
    Ok I admit I haven't tried the S3, but I see no reason to suspect it
    will be significantly different to the S2. The only cameras I've seen to
    deliver better battery performance are SLR's - and they are not in the
    same class as an S2.
    I always use the camera with image stabilisation turned on. For the
    first few weeks I had it, I had a broken arm that prevented me from
    holding the camera up to my eye to use the EVF, so I was limited to the
    larger rear viewfinder. By turning off IS and using the EVF instead of
    the viewscreen, I'm sure battery life could be extended further.
    Graham Fountain, Aug 13, 2006
    #16
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