Important Things to Know About Camera Battery Life and Health

Important Things to Know About Camera Battery Life and Health

Good luck going online and getting a hard and fast number relating to the length of time a camera battery should last. Manufacturers always avoid this question, and for good reason. They will gladly list battery capacity and voltage, but they have no way of knowing how many pictures or videos you could take on a single charge. Battery life is just too variable to attempt a response with a concrete answer.

Many variables can influence your actual battery usable life:

  • Battery and camera brand
  • Camera age and features
  • Photo and video volume
  • Weather and temperature
  • Battery age and condition
  • Battery type (alkaline, NiCad, etc.)

If we were to recommend batteries for your camera, assuming they use standard form factor batteries, we would obviously recommend our own brand. We're confident that Pale Blue Earth rechargeable USB-C batteries can compete with any other brand out there. That being said, we would also recommend that you look at capacity and voltage carefully as you do your research.

Camera Features Can Drain Batteries

We tend to think of battery drain as related to actually taking photos and videos. Fair enough. Using a digital camera for its intended purpose consumes energy. But a camera's features can also drain batteries as well. Think of the LCD screen.

You need the LCD screen to frame your photos. But the brighter the display, the more energy it consumes. Try reducing its brightness to the lowest level that still allows you to see properly. The dimmer the screen, the less power it will consume.

Flashes Consume Energy, Too

Whether a camera has a built-in flash or requires an external flash unit, the fact is that flashes consume energy. Sometimes you have no other choice but to use a flash. But if you can avoid it, your camera batteries might last longer. We would recommend disabling auto flash altogether. You are better off manually turning the flash on when you need it.

There are also certain techniques photographers use to make the best use of natural light so that they don't have to use their flashes. It is not for battery saving purposes, though. Flashes often create shadows and otherwise distort pictures. So the pros try to avoid flashes whenever possible. A nice benefit is that their batteries last longer.

Manipulating Photos Eats Batteries

A typical digital camera has built-in software for manipulating photos and videos right on the device. But just because you can doesn't mean you should. Remember that the software consumes energy. Leave the manipulation for later.

You'll do much better by downloading photos and videos to your computer and manipulating them there. This goes for deleting photos as well. Though it might not seem like much, deleting photos from a memory card consumes battery power. Avoid doing it if you can. Delete unwanted images using your computer instead.

Temperature Can Make a Difference

Camera batteries, particularly rechargeable lithium-ion cells, hold up a lot better now than they did a decade ago. Cameras and batteries and battery management systems (BMS) have come a long way over the years. However, one thing that is always an issue for batteries is their thermal exposure and environment.  Ambient temperature and thermal cycling will affect battery life and health, more or less depending on the battery chemistry and other details.

The general rule is to not expose camera batteries to extreme temperatures. High heat is obviously bad for them. It can cause batteries to overheat and degrade more quickly than the otherwise would. Colder temperatures don't necessarily reduce total lifespan or the total number of charges, but they can reduce battery efficiency and lead to faster discharge. Also avoid thermal cycling and charging when the batteries are below 32 degrees F. 

Invest in quality rechargeable USB-C lithium-ion batteries and you'll have a better camera experience, save money and save waste. Pay attention to the tips you read in this post and your experience should be even better still.