Batteries, rechargeable, AA - which ones best for dig cameras?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by 4(T), Oct 22, 2010.

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  1. I've just been looking at the rechargeable batteries in Boots, and am now more than a bit confused.

    Previously I'd have chosen the batteries with the most grunt - 2450 MiAH - but now Duracell market "Supercharge" at 1500 MiAH, and the other makes also have apparently lower power batteries that they recommend as "best for high drain devices". Duracell even seem to have different versions of the same power rated battery under different model names...

    Is there a particular type of battery which is rated/reviewed as best for digital cameras at the moment?
  2. According to the Gadget show, the Uniross Performance 2700mAh AA rechargeable batteries are the best on the market. I think its about 9 quid for 4, but about 40 for the charger. They tested to last the longest out of all other brands, and only take about an hour to fully recharge
  3. Not that I know much about batteries and cameras, but I know a little about batteries.

    1) It's mAh or milli-amp-hour*. The battery will supply it's rated amount of milliamps for one hour, or a lower amount for a proportionately longer time. Since amps times volts is power and most rechargeables have the same output voltage, more mAh means more energy in the battery and longer running.
    2) Since I've mentioned volts, it's worth noting that standard batteries produce 1.5v and rechargables produce 1.2v. Some electronic devices get upset with this, and break. Check the manual.
    3) Most rechargables are Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) which is good. Older rechargables (IIRC, Nickel Cadmium or NiCad) had a "memory" so if you didn't completely discharge them they would eventually end up with less and less capacity with each charge. This happens with all rechargables, but incautious recharging with a NiCad would leave you with no capacity in very short order. If Lithium-ion (Li-ion) ever comes to AA batteries, they are pretty much the opposite as allowing them to discharge kills them. However, you can only get Lithium batteries in AA size**. They pack alot of power but cannot be recharged.

    *Petty, but there you go. lower case is milli, or thousandths. Upper case is Mega, or millions
    ** Apparently Li-ion tend to generate a bit too much voltage so if you had AA-size Li-ion then the opportunity to get them mixed up could do alot of damage
  4. According to the Which web site they rate the Best Buys as:-

    1. Maplin Hybrid Rechargeable 2100mAh, Score: 95%, Price: £10.99 for a pack of four.
    (The Maplin hybrid batteries aren't especially cheap, but our tests found them to be a reliable option if you're after a rechargeable battery which will retain it's power when left unused.)

    2.Boots Rechargeable 1300mAh, Score: 91%, Price: £6.49 for a pack of four.
    (If you're after an inexpensive rechargeable battery and aren't concerned by the smaller capacity, then these Boots rechargeable batteries are a good option.)

    3.Energizer rechargeable 2650mAh, Score: 91%, Price: £12.99 for a pack of four.
    (If you're looking for a high-capacity battery that will let you power your devices for longer before having to recharge, then the Energizer 2650mAh rechargeables are a good choice.)

    4.Duracell Rechargeable Supreme, 2450 mAh, Score: 89%. Price: £11.99 for a pack of four.

    I use Energizers 2450mAh and Duracell 2300mAh in my flash, flash recycles quickly right up until the battery dies, can't say I notice a great deal of difference in performance, the Energizers do keep their charge for a quite a bit a longer when left though.
  5. When the manufacturers are claiming "best for high drain devices" it's probably in comparison to Alkaline or Zinc-carbon (both non-rechargeable) batteries. Look at the graph:


    Although the Alkaline battery has a starting voltage of 1.5V, the voltage drops gradually over its life and ceases to be useful in a high-drain application while it still has quite a bit of power in it. The Nimh battery starts at a lower voltage but maintains much of that voltage until its almost depleted.

    You can see the effect for yourself if you have a 2xAA camera and a 2xAA Maglite. Put the Nimh batteries in the camera and take photos until the camera refuses. Then put them straight into the torch (without recharging). You'll get loads of photos but the torch won't light for long. Now try the same with Alkaline batteries and you'll find that the camera takes much fewer photos but the torch will stay lit for yonks. You could then put the Alkalines in a radio and power it for several days but the Nimhs probably wouldn't last long at all.

    When comparing 1500mAh Nimhs against 2700mAh Nimhs, the difference is that the higher capacity batteries will last nearly twice as long.

    Army AA batteries are crap. It's incredible that the Army hasn't seen the cost-saving potential of changing to rechargeables.
  6. As to economic sources of Nimh batteries, I go to Lidl. But I charge them with a Maplin Super Quick Charger. Cheaper chargers charge the 2 or 4 batteries until the first one is full which means that the others could be very low on charge. The SQ charger charges the batteries individually, so they all come out full. It's also quick, as the name suggests.
  7. From personal experience agree totally with the comment about cheap chargers and ending up with some partially charged batteries when charging in sets ... have just bought a new charger which individually charges up to eight batteries and each one ends up fully charged .
  8. Also means that you can charge 1 battery or 3 batteries at a time, depending on what appliance you've used them in. And it doesn't matter about mixing capacities (at least, not in the charger, it doesn't).
  9. offer excellent quality NimH rechargeables at low prices. I have been using them for years and never had any problems. Some are still going strong after 6 yeas of rechargeings. Their AAs are now up to 2900.