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FAQs about Camera Batteries

by Paul Sanders

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Kid taking a picture of himself with a digital camera

One camera feature that doesn't get as much attention is the camera batteries. You may just plug them into your camera and hope that they last long enough for you to get some great shots before they die. Luckily, knowing a few facts about camera batteries can help you get more shots and help the environment as well. Here are a few frequently asked questions about camera batteries to help you get more from your camera.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Which battery materials will give my device a longer life?
    Usually, you compare camera batteries using the "mAh (milliamp hours)" rating, but this won't work for comparing camera batteries made from different materials. Comparing NiCd batteries to alkaline batteries is like comparing apples to oranges. Compare cell size, battery life and mAh ratings of similar camera batteries to make an educated decision.

  2. Which have a longer battery life, rechargeable or disposable batteries?
    Rechargeable camera batteries will run 3 to 4 times as long as disposable batteries in digital cameras. NiMH and NiCd batteries work great for digital cameras because they are designed for "high-drain" power requirements. Alkaline batteries have higher mAh (milliamp hour) ratings, which is a measure of stored power, but they designed to be drained slowly. But your camera draws power more quickly, draining alkalines after 15 or 20 photos.

  3. Are "heavy-duty" batteries better than other batteries?
    Terms like "heavy-duty" and "quick-charging" can be misleading. There are no industry standards to establish the definition of these terms. Camera batteries marked as quick-charging won't necessarily charge in less than two hours. Look for camera batteries that list an actual charging time. Some camera batteries can take up to seven hours to charge.

  4. What should I do with old batteries?
    Always recycle your old batteries. The chemicals inside camera batteries, or even so-called "disposable" batteries, can contaminate soil and water, damaging the environment. There are plenty of businesses in your area that will accept old camera batteries. There's quite a market for recycling and reclaiming battery materials, so they'll be happy to take them off your hands.

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