Tuesday, 7 April 2009

digital camera batterys

I just don't understand this problem:

why do camera makers not support either a standard battery (or 3) as they did when we bought disposable non-rechargable batteries off the shelf?

Is it because we're all incapable of sending a message to camera makers to not do this, or is it because we're all just so naive (when considered as a buying group)?

For example, I have a few digital cameras,
  • Nikon Coolpix 990 (AA battery's)
  • Nikon Coolpix 5000
  • Canon Powershot A520 (AA battery's)
  • Canon IXUS 70
  • Panasonic G1
and only two of them use AA batteries. When I bought the 990 in 2002 it was one of my criteria to have AA batteries, then when I got the 5000 I thought "ok, we'll see how it goes".

Well it didn't go well, I've got 3 batteries which I need to keep with me in the field for longer trips than a day outing or it goes flat unexpectedly. This has become much worse as the camera (and therefore the battery) has become older.

Point: Li-ion batteries do not age well. Let me quote from Wikipedia:

A unique drawback of the Li-ion battery is that its service life is dependent upon aging (shelf life). From time of manufacturing, regardless of whether it was charged or the number of charge/discharge cycles, the battery will decline slowly and predictably in "capacity". This means an older battery will not last as long as a new battery due solely to its age, unlike other batteries. This is due to an increase in internal resistance, which affects its ability to deliver current, thus the problem is more pronounced in high-current applications than low. This drawback is not widely published.[23]

Meanwhile the same set of 4 NiMH AA batteries which I bought for my Coolpix 950 in 1999 (its not on the list, I sold that one) are still working today and doing good service also in my Metz flash, my Canon A520 or my MP3 CD player (as the case may be). Try that with camera specific batteries.

Li-ION batteries do not like the cold. So when I go out hiking in low temperature (or go to an outdoor event in winter) the bloody things die fast.

But wait, they don't like the heat either. As reading further in the above article indicates.

what a PITA

So, why do makers continue to shaft us with one-off orphan batteries and charge ridiculous prices for them. At the moment a battery for my new Panasonic G1 is 89 Euro or over US$100.

If I had been thinking about this issue in the beginning I would have avoided buying the camera. Seriously I feel that strongly about it. For years I avoided any digital camera that didn't have AA batteries simply because the proprietary Li-ION battery's are annoying:
  • don't last as long as AA NiMH batteries
  • are often way more expensive
  • require you to have a specific charger for each camera (I now have 3, one for a Canon, another for a Nikon and one more for this Panasonic). A friend has 2 canon IXUS camera's and each has its own charger and battery.
  • do not allow you to go "whoops I forgot to charge the camera while on the way to a camping trip / wedding / party and thus you have no options for buying disposable
I'm annoyed that I have to either fork over the bucks or restrict my camera purchase.

So camera makers:

Give us better and consistent battery technology please

1 comment:

200ok said...

AA batteries was a key requirement when I bought my S5 IS. You can get those for a few bucks at any convenience store - or carry some spares. Make life much easier!