"AAA", alkaline and NiMh

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Don Mudd, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. Don Mudd

    Don Mudd Guest

    I got a small 4 megapixels digicam with no optical zoom and fixed focus
    lenses. The camera weigths only 100g so I use it as an anywhere-I-go camera.
    It is powered by two "AAA" to keep down the size and weight.

    So I put two fresh alkalines (the premium type...) and I could hardly
    shoot... 10 pictures before the camera warned me for low battery. Dear God!
    I then pessimisticly tried two freshly recharged 850mA NiMh as recommended
    by the user's manual and the salesmen.
    HUGE difference !I could easily take... over 100 pictures, a few 30 second
    videos along with some menus digging and pictures reviewing. And the
    batteries are in their first cycle!!
    I knew NiMh have a longer autonomy but that much... It seems to me that the
    difference between NiMh and alkaline is even greater with "AAA" than with
    "AA".
     
    Don Mudd, Aug 21, 2005
    #1
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  2. Don Mudd

    Mark² Guest

    You will get significantly better performance with NiMh batteries, provided
    you don't let them sit for weeks un-used. They are far better performers
    when kept fully charged. Alkaline's only real benefit is shelf-life, and
    availability in a pinch (for when you can't charge your NiMh batteries.

    Honestly though, AAA batteries are so tiny, that I can't see the wisdom in
    designing a camera around them... :( Surely the exrtra size would be
    minimal compared with the far better power numbers offered by AA... But
    there you go... You'll be pleasantly surprised by NiMh.

    Mark
     
    Mark², Aug 21, 2005
    #2
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  3. Don Mudd

    John Bean Guest

    If my Sony U30 had AA batteries there'd be no space left in
    the case for the camera. Some cameras are *small* ;-)
     
    John Bean, Aug 21, 2005
    #3
  4. Don Mudd

    Mark² Guest

    Ya, but I wasn't talking about toy cameras...
    :)
     
    Mark², Aug 21, 2005
    #4
  5. Don Mudd

    Don Mudd Guest

    I think it is relative to the current consumption of the camera, its overall
    design and the available features. No zoom and no auto focus along with a
    smaller LCD surely draw less power out of the batteries. Friends of mine
    with bigger cameras using "AA" cannot take much more than a hundred of
    pictures per charge, some even less, some more...

    Don
     
    Don Mudd, Aug 22, 2005
    #5
  6. Don Mudd

    Mark² Guest

    Yes. Most people don't shoot digital camera with none of the above.
    If you do, then more "power" to ya! (yuk-yuk-yuk...batam-TING!)
    :)
     
    Mark², Aug 22, 2005
    #6
  7. Don Mudd

    ASAAR Guest

    The aren't suitable for most digital cameras. But there's no
    reason why they wouldn't work exceedingly well in low drain digital
    cameras. There are a number of them that are fixed focus, and it
    should be possible to have cameras using AAA cells that can take
    many hundreds of shots per set of batteries.

    Lithiums are the best, but they aren't especially economical.
    Alkalines have about 1/2 the shelf life which amounts to about 8
    years. That should be more than adequate for most people.

    My camera uses 4 AA cells (a Fuji) and could probably take 1000
    shots if the flash isn't used. When the flash is used it can take
    over 200 shots. With Fuji's newest sensor, the same exposures could
    be made with a flash that uses less than 1/2 the battery power
    needed by current models. This would allow nearly 500 shots per set
    of AAAs. Replace them with AAA cells and you're still above 200
    shots. And put them in a camera that has no mechanical zoom and the
    number of available shots can only go up. And of course it they're
    replaced by NiMH AAA batteries, the number of shots nearly doubles
    again.
     
    ASAAR, Aug 22, 2005
    #7
  8. Don Mudd

    MarkH Guest

    AAA Alkaline cells are very small and yet perform well, unless you try to
    use them in a high drain device. They work well in remote controls and
    small torches, they are not really suitable for digital cameras though.

    If you need some emergency batteries with a long shelf life then get some
    lithium cells, otherwise just stick to the NiMH cells.

    On www.dpreview.com there are some cameras that can take over 500 shots on
    4 x AA cells, but that would add too much weight and bulk to a small
    camera.
     
    MarkH, Aug 22, 2005
    #8
  9. Don Mudd

    SimonLW Guest

    As others have said, The Alkaline battery does not handle high current loads
    well. In fact. after removing the ones that seem to be run down from the
    camera and put it in another device, such as a remote control, they will
    continue to have a full life. No sense in wasting them.

    As the digital camera manufacturers improve the power performance of their
    cameras, we may see a trend of more conventional power sources being used
    (AA, AAA batteries) instead of the Li-ion batteries that are often
    proprietary, expensive (especially if you want a backup battery) and seem to
    lose capacity after two or three years.
    -S
     
    SimonLW, Aug 22, 2005
    #9
  10. Don Mudd

    SimonLW Guest

    As others have said, The Alkaline battery does not handle high current loads
    well. In fact. after removing the ones that seem to be run down from the
    camera and put it in another device, such as a remote control, they will
    continue to have a full life. No sense in wasting them.

    As the digital camera manufacturers improve the power performance of their
    cameras, we may see a trend of more conventional power sources being used
    (AA, AAA batteries) instead of the Li-ion batteries that are often
    proprietary, expensive (especially if you want a backup battery) and seem to
    lose capacity after two or three years.
    -S
     
    SimonLW, Aug 22, 2005
    #10
  11. Don Mudd

    SimonLW Guest

    As others have said, The Alkaline battery does not handle high current loads
    well. In fact. after removing the ones that seem to be run down from the
    camera and put it in another device, such as a remote control, they will
    continue to have a full life. No sense in wasting them.

    As the digital camera manufacturers improve the power performance of their
    cameras, we may see a trend of more conventional power sources being used
    (AA, AAA batteries) instead of the Li-ion batteries that are often
    proprietary, expensive (especially if you want a backup battery) and seem to
    lose capacity after two or three years.
    -S
     
    SimonLW, Aug 22, 2005
    #11
  12. Don Mudd

    SimonLW Guest

    As others have said, The Alkaline battery does not handle high current loads
    well. In fact. after removing the ones that seem to be run down from the
    camera and put it in another device, such as a remote control, they will
    continue to have a full life. No sense in wasting them.

    As the digital camera manufacturers improve the power performance of their
    cameras, we may see a trend of more conventional power sources being used
    (AA, AAA batteries) instead of the Li-ion batteries that are often
    proprietary, expensive (especially if you want a backup battery) and seem to
    lose capacity after two or three years.
    -S
     
    SimonLW, Aug 22, 2005
    #12
  13. I've seen this with older digitals. I THINK it has less to do with
    total energy in the battery than the way the camera uses it, and with
    the way the camera detects a depleted battery.

    The camera I had would shoot about 8 frames before complaining the
    alkalines were low, even though the manual said alkalines were OK.
    NiCads gave about 80, and lithium about 100 or so.

    There's a difference in total energy, but not THAT much. The alakaline
    voltage probably dropped too much under load, and the camera didn't
    like it. Which leads me to believe that disposable alkalines are not a
    good digital power source, despite the fact that so many people seems
    to prefer them...
     
    Scott Schuckert, Aug 22, 2005
    #13
  14. Don Mudd

    Dave Cohen Guest

    I've followed this ng for at least a couple of years and I never got the
    impression there was any preference for Alkalines. If size and weight aren't
    critical, NiMH give good service, particularly when shooting many pics in a
    short period (vacation, etc.). I tend to not use the camera (A95) that much
    and cells are in camera for upto 3 months, at which point I'm probably down
    to about 150 shots or less, as opposed to 250 plus when used within a 3 week
    period.
    Dave Cohen
     
    Dave Cohen, Aug 22, 2005
    #14
  15. Don Mudd

    Prometheus Guest

    The problem is that alkaline cells have a higher internal resistance
    (Ri) which reduce the terminal voltages causing some equipment to give a
    low battery power (more properly voltage) warning before it is
    exhausted. In fact the Ri can rise with a current pulse and take several
    seconds to return.
    They will make the cameras smaller or add more power consuming
    functions. I.E. larger LCDs with a brighter backlight that can be used
    in Sunlight.
     
    Prometheus, Aug 22, 2005
    #15
  16. Don Mudd

    McKev Guest

    Same on my fuji too - i have no problem with 4 AAA NiMH batts.

    McKev
     
    McKev, Aug 22, 2005
    #16
  17. Don Mudd

    keith_nuttle Guest

    I use the lithium non rechargeables in my digital cameras. I use it
    most for trips, vacations, and family events, thus I may take serveral
    hundred pictures in a short time and then not use the camera for months.
    I have been getting about six to eight months from the lithium nor
    rechargeabel. As for expense, it cost about $10 for four AA's.
     
    keith_nuttle, Aug 23, 2005
    #17
  18. I may have overestimated, but there always seem to be people looking
    for recommendations on a camera; and a typical requirement is for AA
    batteries. I interpreted this as disposable batteries; do you think
    they all meant rechargable AA's (as opposed to dedicated packs)?
     
    Scott Schuckert, Aug 23, 2005
    #18
  19. Don Mudd

    ASAAR Guest

    Yes. Since the dawn of time NiMH batteries have generally
    performed well in cameras. Alkaline AA batteries on the other hand
    have provided fair to horrible performance, but that started
    changing about a year or two ago. There are now some cameras that
    perform extremely well with alkalines. The early Canon Powershot
    S-series cameras (before they switched to lithiums) used proprietary
    batteries that essentially contained 3 NiMH AAA cells. Had they
    used real AAA batteries the camera could have been made a little
    slimmer, and replacements could be had for about $5 vs. about $50
    for Canon's proprietary battery. And in the time that I've had the
    camera, NiMH AA batteries have increased in capacity from about
    1300mah to 2600 mah, whereas the capacity of Canon's proprietary
    battery has remained the same.

    Canon's charger (which is good for nothing else) was also much
    more expensive than readily available AA/AAA chargers. Third party
    versions of Canon's batteries are now available for less money, but
    they're still considerably overpriced. And eventually even these
    batteries will no longer be produced, but AA/AAA NiMH batteries will
    still be available.
     
    ASAAR, Aug 23, 2005
    #19
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