Lithium Ion hold significantly more charge than NiMH?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by void, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. void

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Lithium Ion batteries DO have more ability to hold a charge, both
    comparing weight, and energy density. Also, older formulations of NIMH
    batteries have self-discharge rates that make keeping them charged to
    full capacity a matter one must think about regularly, or face dead
    batteries. I keep my camera in its 'dock', and unplug, and replug it
    every week or so to keep it charged. However, finding AA batteries I
    can use in it is much easier than finding a charged proprietary lithium
    ion battery when in a national park. Both types of batteries have their
    advantages, and disadvantages. Only YOU can determine what is best for you.
    For my camera, NIMH for the main use, and disposable lithium for backup.
    For my wife's camera, disposable lithium for main use, and AA
    alkalines for backup.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 14, 2007
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  2. void

    Bob Williams Guest

    They are Right AND Wrong
    AA is simply the SIZE of a battery. It says nothing about the capacity.
    There are several different chemistries involved in different AA size
    Carbon-Zinc batteries are the cheapest and have the lowest Mah rating.
    They probably would not even give you 30-40 shots with the A540......
    Not recommended

    Ni-Cad batteries (which hardly anyone uses anymore) are rechargable and
    MAY do a little better than the C-Z battery...... Not recommended

    Alkaline batteries have a much higher Mah rating than C-Z or Ni-Cad
    batteries. These are OK to use but don't expect more than about 30-40
    shots from a pair of Alkalines.

    Ni-MH batteries, in AA size, come in a wide range (1000-2700Mah) of
    capacities. They are rechargable, and are very popular with digicam
    users. Their discharge characteristics are well suited to digital
    cameras. One problem is thay they self-discharge slowly even when not in
    The salesmen were probably were referring to 1000 Mah batteries. A pair
    of 2700 Mah batteries should give you around 100 shots in a A540.
    But of course the higher capacity batteries are more expensive than
    their weaker siblings.

    Lithium Ion batteries are now available in AA size. They have very high
    Mah capacities,long shelf life and excellent discharge characteristics.
    But they are not rechargable and are about 4-5X as costly as Alkalines.

    Dedicated, Proprietary Li-Ion batteries are compact, have fairly high
    Mah capacities, are rechargable and have favorable self-discharge
    characteristics. But they are very expensive, perhaps 20-40X as much as

    "You pays your money and you takes your choice"
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Jan 14, 2007
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  3. void

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I don't think lithium ion batteries are available in AA size, since that
    would cause problems with their voltage being more than twice what a
    standard AA cell is. There, are, however, lithium based, disposable, AA
    batteries. I buy 12 at Sam's Club for under $20. That works out to
    about twice what I would pay for a good quality AA alkaline battery.
    For cameras, they are a much better choice, lasting 3 to 5 times as long.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 14, 2007
  4. void

    ASAAR Guest

    Slight quibble here. Battery manufacturers simply call them
    lithium batteries, *not* Lithium Ion. The latter are rechargeable
    and have very high cell voltages, in the 3v to 4v range. Lithium AA
    cells on the other hand are not rechargeable, and have voltages
    comparable to alkaline and NiMH, about 1.5 or 1.6 volts

    Also, it's a bit simplistic to say that 2,700 mAh batteries should
    give you around 100 shots in an A540. It depends on how the A540 is
    used, and according to Canon manual for the A530/A540 ( and their
    figures are fairly accurate) if 2,500 mAh batteries are used, it
    will get from 360 shots to 1,000 shots per charge. The former
    number is based on CIPA tests which simulate fairly heavy battery
    usage, with the flash used for 1/2 of the shots and the LCD display
    is turned on. If the flash isn't used, and the optical viewfinder
    is used instead of the LCD display, the A540 can get 1,000 shots per
    charge. Eneloop/Hybrid batteries would provide slightly fewer shots
    per charge and 2,700 mAh batteries slightly more. Even alkaline
    batteries are rated higher than one would expect, at about 90 shots
    per set for the more demanding CIPA test and up to 600 shots for
    outdoor usage (again, no flash and using the optical viewfinder).

    There are also the new type of NiMH batteries, exemplified by
    Sanyo's Eneloop and RayOVac's Hybrid batteries. They provide only
    about 4/5 the total capacity of the highest capacity NiMH batteries,
    but have very low self discharge rates, even better than Li-Ion

    For older cameras that have very high current requirements,
    alkalines are impractical and standard, high capacity NiMH batteries
    would be the best choice. But for most of the much more efficient
    cameras made in the last couple of years, usage dictates which
    battery type is best. For light, occasional use, alkalines can be
    the best choice, especially for outdoor shots or where the flash
    isn't often used, and can provide over 1,000 shots per set. For
    most people, though, the new Eneloop/Hybrid batteries would be the
    best choice due to their very low self discharge rate and decent

    And an informed buyer will be better able to make a wise choice.
    ASAAR, Jan 14, 2007
  5. void

    J. Clarke Guest

    Not seeing the original post, so I'll address this point here.

    The use of standard sized batteries is an article of religion with some
    people--attempting discussion of this with them is like discussing the
    merits of Mac vs PC or Linux vs Windows or gun control. Such people
    would not buy a camera that required proprietary batteries even
    if they had a hundred times the storage capacity of AAs.
    I agree with most of what you have said, but the lithium batteries that
    are available in AA size are _not_ lithium ion, they are lithium. There
    are several different lithium chemistries used in batteries--the
    non-rechargeable AAs use one which gives a cell voltage approximating
    that of a carbon-zinc battery--I don't recall the cell voltage exactly
    but it's in the 1.2-1.5 volt ballpark. Lithium ion batteries use a
    different chemistry that gives around 3 volts per cell.
    What I would like to see is a camera designed to take a lithium-ion
    battery shaped in such a manner that it can be removed and replaced with
    four AAs. That would give the best of both worlds and the only real
    obstacle to doing is is that it would potentially cut down on sales of
    proprietary batteries.
    J. Clarke, Jan 14, 2007
  6. void

    Bob Williams Guest

    I stand corrected. The Lithium based AA batteries are not Lithium Ion.
    As others have stated, they are just called Lithium batteries.
    I bought a 4-pack of AA size Energizer Photo Lithiums and was very
    impressed with their performance. They ran about $2.50 each + S&H, but
    they lasted so long under intermittent use that I completely switched
    over from Ni-MH rechargables and alkalines.

    I certainly agree that the ideal case from a consumer standpoint would
    be a Li Ion battery configured so it could be replaced by 4AAs.
    Some camera manufacturers have finally made their products compatible
    with 2 types of memory cards.....So maybe there is hope.
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Jan 14, 2007
  7. void

    ASAAR Guest

    It doesn't happen often, but every so often . . . I'm still using
    a Palm compatible PDA (HandEra) that was the exact same size and
    shape as the Palm IIIx yet has dual card slots (CF and SD) and a
    battery compartment that can use either HandEra's own proprietary
    Li-Ion battery or 4 AAA cells. I've used 4 NiMH cells for years
    with perfect results. Since for most of its life Eneloops weren't
    available, the regular NiMH batteries would occasionally go flat if
    I wasn't too careful, maybe once every year or two. Usually
    everything would be fine after replacing the batteries, but on the
    rare occasions when memory would be wiped out, the firmware's
    backup/restore routines would have all of the software and data
    files back in place from the CF card within a minute or two -
    computer not needed! I think that some of Ricoh's Caplio cameras
    also can be used with either proprietary Li-Ion or standard AA
    batteries. I might have bought one several years ago, but they
    weren't marketed to the USA.
    ASAAR, Jan 14, 2007
  8. void

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I can buy disposable alkaline batteries (Duracell) for about $.50 each,
    or about $1 for a set of two for my wife's camera. I can buy disposable
    lithium batteries (Energizer) for about $3.30 a set of two. I get about
    100 shots (my wife likes to use the flash and LCD display) on the
    alkalines, and expect about 3 times that for the lithium batteries, but
    haven't exhausted a set yet. That would make them about the same
    cost/shot. Of course, any kind of rechargeable would make the cost/shot
    vanishingly small. Still, the convenience of batteries that don't
    require carting a charger on vacation is significant, as is the option
    to buy batteries just about anywhere one can find a store. I can't get
    excited about a $.01/shot expense.
    I am considering getting her a set of Eneloop batteries, but haven't
    gotten enough information together on them yet.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2007
  9. void

    Ron Hunter Guest

    My wife's Kodak C743 accepts a wide range of batteries, such as standard
    alkaline AA cells, NIMH AA cells, CRV3 lithium packs, Lithium disposable
    AA cells, RCRV3 rechargeable battery packs, or the new Eneloop/Hybrid
    NIMH AA cells. Since it uses two 1.5 (nominal) batteries, it should
    work with the 3 volt output of a lithium ion battery, should one be made
    that would fit the space for two AA cells. For those of us who like
    options, this is an ideal setup. I am not fond of proprietary batteries
    as there is always potential for being in the presence of great beauty
    with dead batteries.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2007
  10. void

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I believe there is a model of a GPS receiver that allows use of 3 AAA
    batteries or a lithium ion pack. Can't remember the model number, though.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2007
  11. void

    ASAAR Guest

    At those prices lithium batteries certainly are a good deal. I'm
    surprised though, that you pay so much for alkalines, unless sales
    are infrequent in your area. I rarely pay much more than $.20 each.
    On the other hand, in this area lithium AAs sell for a bit more than
    you're paying for them. I don't know what information you need
    about Eneloops (or RayOVac's Hybrids). From what I've seen they're
    indistinguishable from regular NiMH batteries other than that
    they're slightly lower capacity and have *very* low self discharge
    rates. They can also be recharged many times (500 to 1000), just
    like the regular stuff. For those that like to label or write
    useful info on their rechargeables, Eneloops are in a class of their
    own, having far more writeable "whitespace" than any other AA
    batteries I've seen. :) The Eneloops are also packaged in a
    reusable plastic battery holder. Somewhat flimsy but usable.
    ASAAR, Jan 15, 2007
  12. void

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I want some use history from actual users before I buy any. Do they
    recharge well in standard chargers? Do they last as projected, and
    retain their charge as claimed. How well do they work in hot climates?
    Cold conditions (I travel). Do they cause fires, or blow up after
    abuse? In other words, some real, live, user testing. I have found
    that no matter how many tests manufactures put a new product through
    before releasing it, when it gets in the hands of real users, they find
    things testing didn't reveal. I am a somewhat cautious buyer. Given
    that current supplies of Energizer lithium batteries are sufficient for
    the rest of this year, I am not in a time crunch to buy new batteries.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 15, 2007
  13. void

    y_p_w Guest

    Canon does have the vertical battery grip for several of its dSLRs.
    They take up to two of the 7.2V nominal Li-ion batteries, or a battery
    holder with 6 AA batteries. It's pretty clear that the camera itself
    has no problem running on NiMH batteries, but the cost of doing so is
    about $200 plus the additional weight.

    Still - they charge a lot for the grip, although I lot of people like
    the additional shutter button and find that the weight improves the
    balance of the camera, especially with a heavy lens.
    y_p_w, Jan 18, 2007
  14. void

    ray Guest

    Good explanation. Also remember that it's not really amp-hour rating
    you're look to optimize - it's watt-hour rating: i.e. for NiMH that would
    be 1.2 x mah while for li-ion it would be 3 x mah. So a rechargeable
    li-ion can have a lower mah rating and yield more watt-hours.
    ray, Jan 19, 2007
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