Digital SLR: Digital camera accessories Digital camera batteries
Batteries are the most vital digital camera accessory, but are often overlooked when you buy the camera. They don't last long in digital cameras because the LCD screen and internal digital electronics are very power hungry.
Film camera batteries last for many months, whereas digital camera batteries last for maybe just a session or two of shooting before they need replacing or recharging. To find cameras with the best battery life, read our digital camera and digital SLR reviews.
Fortunately, the best digital cameras often have their own matching Lithium ion (Li-ion) rechargeable batteries, and come with a charger.
These are worth having because digital cameras use batteries so quickly, it saves money and means you can always keep the battery topped up and ready to go.
The downside is that when your battery runs out you’ll have to stop shooting to charge it, or invest in a spare battery.
Spare lithium ion batteries are available for most camera brands, though the original manufacturer’s branded batteries may prove expensive, averaging around £30. Cheaper compatible batteries can often be found for around £10.
Rechargeable AA digital camera batteries
If your digital camera doesn't come with rechargeables, it's definitely worth buying a set of rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) AA batteries. They're not too expensive at around £15 including the charger, and they'll provide hundreds of charges before they need replacing.
In the long run, it'll be far cheaper, and more environmentally friendly, than buying sets of disposables all the time. Aim for NiMH batteries with a capacity of at least 2000mAh for maximum life.
The higher the rating, the more power capacity. The maximum capacity of a rechargeable AA NiMH battery is around 2850mAh.
To maximize the overall life of rechargeables over the long term, try to let them run out of power completely after your photography session before recharging.
Many manufacturers now recommend Lithium ion (Li-ion) AA batteries which have a high power capacity. For more information on the best AA batteries, read our Best Buy batteries review.
Maximise digital camera battery life
To maximise battery life, if your digital camera has a viewfinder, shoot with the LCD screen switched off and use the viewfinder instead to compose your shot.
Also, try to avoid reviewing your photos until you've finished your day's shooting, as again that requires the LCD monitor and uses up battery power.
If you'll be shooting very intensively and it's impractical to wait to recharge your batteries, it's sometimes worth taking fully charged spare batteries with you. You can also buy digital camera battery chargers you can plug into your car's cigarette lighter for charging on the move.
Looking to buy a new digital camera? Read the Which? guide to choosing and buying a digital camera.
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