Camera technology is one of the fastest evolving in the electronics industry, and that evolutionary growth is paralleled by advances in camera power supply as well. With this guide from Adorama jogging our nostalgic memories, it was just over 10 years ago when electronically powered cameras such as early-generation digital point-and-shoots and instant film winders used low-discharge alkaline AA batteries. Nowadays, high-tech DSLRS and CSCs with their LCD displays, complex circuitry, built-in flashguns, and digital viewfinders are so power-hungry that it takes a lot of juice to keep these high-drain beasts going and going and going.
With all the selfie-taking, vlogging, and travel photography we put our digital cameras through, we expect to replace or recharge our batteries way more often than any of our other gadgets, except our smartphones. That’s why serious photography enthusiasts always have a few backup batteries or power supplies on hand to ensure they never miss out on that perfect shot.
You’ve Got the Power
If you often find yourself with drained camera batteries and running to the nearest convenience store to grab a pack of non-rechargeables just when the sun is setting perfectly over the beach, spare yourself the trouble and get some high-quality rechargeable batteries instead.
When choosing replacement AA cells for your camera, not all of them are created equally. While you definitely won’t go wrong with buying an original manufacturerLithium-Ion (Li-ion) replacement battery pack compatible with your camera brand, it is notoriously expensive. This is why many photographers rely on cheaper, third-party alternatives.
Whether you stick with originals or save money with third-party batteries, photography pros all agree that if you do decide to go with third-party backups, be discerning about what brand you choose, and especially where you purchase them from. Also browse reviews on both the brand and seller to see whether previous customers have had any problems.
Meanwhile, check out these premium third-party brands recommended by the experts:
Third Party Li-ion Replacement Battery Pack
|Price: $4.99-$59.99 | Compatible Brands: Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, Samsung | Capacity: 600mAh to 3600mAh | Output Voltage: 2.5V to 12.6V | Watt Hours: 2.3Wh to 14.8Wh|
One of the most favored third-party brands by photographers, Watson is compatible with most cameras, has fairly good build quality, has fast charge times, and has a comparable number of shots per charge. The biggest draw of this brand, however, is cost, averaging only half that of the original. Adorama has one for $22.
Rechargable LSD NiMH AA Backup
|Price: $12.63 to $18.94 | Compatible Brands: Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, Samsung | Capacity: 2400mAh | Output Voltage: 1.5V ||
Powerex Imedion LSD (low self-discharge) batteries come-pre-charged and claims up to 1,000 recharge cycles, full-storage capacity for up to one year, and up to 1600 shots per charge.
|Price: $12.09 to $40.34 | Compatible Brands: Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, Samsung | Capacity: 2100mAh | Output Voltage: 1.2V ||
The pioneer in LSD NiMH batteries, eneloop by Sanyo has a cycle lifespan of 2,100 charges and claims to hold 70% of its capacity even after 10 years (unused). It has a low temperature rating of -4 degrees F (excellent for winter use) and is good for up to 1,500 shots on one full charge. It also has no memory effect.
Non-rechargable Lithium Backup
|Energizer Advanced and Ultimate Lithium|
|Price: $12.46 to $12.69 | Compatible Brands: Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, Samsung | Capacity: 750mAh to 1200mAh | Output Voltage: 1.5V ||
In cases where even your rechargeable backups run out (e.g., extended power blackouts) and you have no choice but to pick up emergency cells, these Lithium (not to be confused with rechargeable Lithium-ion) AA batteries are available at any retail establishment. Their only advantages over rechargables are the ability to be stored between 15 and 20 years (unused), light weight, and reliability in lower freezing temperatures than any other kind of battery (-40°F).
Other external battery sources to consider for your camera include battery grips that come with extra shutter buttons or mode dials for easier handling in portrait mode and increased maximum continuous shooting rate; and dedicated flash power packs to conserve your camera’s internal battery.