General discussion

Why AA Batteries ?

Jun 30, 2009 1:02AM PDT

I almost bought a point & shoot digital camera which uses "AA" batteries. People I know who have such cameras complain that the cameras are great but the batteries must be changed after about 300 snapshots. That is useless to me as I often shoot 1000 photos at a time. Why have the manufacturers replaced lithium ion batteries with "AA" batteries? The batteries are easy to purchase but rechargeables are much better. I notice that the deluxe models still use lithium ion batteries.

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It's personal choice.
Jun 30, 2009 1:57AM PDT

Back in the bad old days the lion, nimh batteries were not so good. Even today there are some that want AA or COMPACT FLASH or have some other requirements. In fact my first over megapixel camera barely hit 100 pictures without having to swap in the second rechargeable pack.

Today you will find new owners that didn't live during the days of film, 35mm and the transition so they'll wonder why you don't get thousands of shots per charge. That's an interesting area in itself.

Let's just say that everything has improved.

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Cost is another factor
Jun 30, 2009 9:17AM PDT

If a camera comes with a rechargeable lithium battery and charger, that adds at least $30 to your cost for the camera.

And if you want to take 1,000 photos at one outing, you best have one or more fully charged lithium batteries as backups.


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I wanted AAs for my p&s camera
Jun 30, 2009 12:57PM PDT

I have had both types of cameras: those that use special rechargeable batteries and those that use AAs. I have decided that AAs are a much better choice for several reasons:

1. The special lithium ion or other type of batteries will eventually NOT take a full charge and replacing them is costly.
2. AAs are widely available in all types, including long lasting one-use designed for cameras and rechargeable, too.
3. If you get caught at some time with low battery power, you can always pop into the nearest drugstore or convenient store and get new ones.
4. You're not stuck trying to find special batteries for your camera.

As to rechargeable batteries for powering all sorts of other equipment: I have given up on power tools and yard tools that use them. They're never fully charged when you go to use them and replacing the special batteries is expensive and that's if your brand/model is still in production. Phooey.

So I'm hoping that for small P&S cameras that they keep making them with AA format batteries as standard.

For my DSLR I'm already seeing increasingly shorter life spans on the Nikon rechargeable batteries after only a year of relatively light use. I have two that I alternatively swap between camera and charger, and I guess I'll have to buy a couple of more pretty soon to get the full charge rating as per the specs.

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Lithium-ion vs. AA Batteries
Jun 30, 2009 11:08PM PDT

I disagree about the life span of lithium-ion batteries. I have been using the same Canon Lithium-ion battery for over 2 years and for over 80,000+ shots and it still takes about 600 shots or more without needing a recharge. On the other hand, my friend has a new Nikon Coolpix which uses only "AA" batteries and he complains that after using for a while taking home videos, the batteries go dead so he must buy new batteries every few days. I'll stick with the lithium-ion. I remember the old NiCad batteries for my first camcorder. Even after taking a full-charge, they developed memory problems and they went dead after 5 minutes. Batteries have come a long way.

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AA NilMH batteries
Jul 1, 2009 4:32AM PDT

Most people will switch to NiMH AA rechargeable batteries.
They will last about as long as Lithium batteries on a charge.
NiMH will lose some charge just sitting in the camera.
It is best to charge them before going out for a day of shooting.

Then there are non-rechargeable Lithium AA batteries.
They are the longest lasting AA batteries of all.
Also, they do not discharge while sitting idle in the camera.

As regard to how long rechargeable lithium batteries last:
That depends upon the camera and camera design.
Very small cameras have very small batteries.
They will typically get less than 200 photos on a charge.
DSLR cameras come with large batteries and tend to last much longer on a charge.


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AA has it's advantages
Jul 2, 2009 10:12PM PDT

The advantage of AA batteries is that you can take lots of cheap spares with you, which you can't do with LiIon. With LiIon you need to take expensive spares or a brand-specific charger wherever you go.

Still, I haven't found the perfect rechargeable AA battery, most of them give up on you after a few charge/discharge cycles. One very innovating design that I came across recently is this USBCell battery with built-in charger: Looks really interesting, however, the drawback is that their capacity is more limited due to the smaller volume. But you can charge them wherever you have an USB port.

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Sony InfoLithium
Jul 6, 2009 1:22AM PDT

I was shocked to see that the Sony Info Lithium Ion battery which was last charged in July 2008, model NP-QM71D, still almost had a full charge. It still had almost 5 hours of power remaining. This is amazing. I remember the old Ni-Cad batteries with memory. I had an RCA Hi-8 camcorder. The fully-charged batteries lasted not quite 5 minutes after use; ruining all of my taping. While you can shlep around lots of spare AA batteries and they can be purchased cheaply almost everywhere, I don't like running-out of power during a photo shoot. It is very annoying to run-out of power and having to replace. Also, you must remember which AA batteries are new and which are used-up when carrying so many batteries. You must remember to separate into 2 bags on the road. I used to have this problem when changing batteries on my portable CD player/FM radio; it was a nuisance. I would rather buy expensive Lithium-ion that can last for hours.

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This may also depends on where you go
Jul 7, 2009 8:43AM PDT

Nowadays we have the convenience to be able to recharge our electronics in most places, even the developing countries. But there are remote or rustic undeveloped places where there is simply no electricity to recharge your batteries. If you camp in the wild for days or weeks, carrying lots of AA batteries is easier and cheaper than carrying lithium batteries (or a solar recharger).
Obviously if you only go to 5 star resorts and touristic places, there is no need to worry about battery charges.

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trip to africa
Mar 12, 2010 3:52AM PST

Thanks for that..I thought I would bring my old camera just for this reason because of lack of electricity where I'm going. I really wanted to get a new, larger megapix tho; but one that uses regular aa batteries (not sure if they make a high end one like this?). I ike the idea of being able to buy or bring extras. I also have a rechargeable that goes dead at the most crucial times.

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Rechargable AA NMHI
Mar 15, 2010 2:55PM PDT

I have found with my Minolta 7HI I'm lucky to get 10 shots with new set of batteries. Even the rechargeable NMHI ones. I fact the NMHI ones last even shorter time than the non rechargeable.

The camera is a reasonably good one but hardly ever get used because of the short battery life.

I have found that batteries that come with the cameras are pretty good although they too fail after repeated charges.
I always have one or two spares charged on standby. Works out pretty costly though.

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AA rules for secondhand.
Mar 15, 2010 7:38PM PDT

Foxie wrote: "I have found with my Minolta 7HI I'm lucky to get 10 shots with new set of batteries."

That's a fairly complex 2002 vintage camera. I've used an earlier Konica point and shoot and that was also hopeless on batteries. Perhaps no coincidence brands merged before disappearing.

My last three digital cameras have offered fairly good battery life using AA NimH -- and I chose AA format cameras because I bought secondhand ($16 for a 6 megapix Olympus).

Having to replace a proprietary battery, as one surely would on a two year old camera, would at least double the cost of purchase.

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Rechargeable AA NiMH batteries.
Mar 16, 2010 1:10AM PDT

Newer cameras have better battery life than the old vintage digital cameras.

So here are a few tips to give you longer battery life between charges:

NiMH batteries will run down rather quickly if they just sit in an unused camera.
You should charge them just before you go out to take pictures.

Kodak's new "Pre-Charged" batteries are much better at holding a charge when idle.
And they have a larger capacity (2100 mAH) than the original batteries that came with that camera.

If you spend a lot of time admiring your photos in the camera, you are eating up battery life while looking at the pictures you have taken.

Also, if you connect the camera to a computer to download pictures, you are using battery life while doing that download.

Get a Compact Flash card reader for your computer.
Then you can take all the time you want while downloading/viewing the pictures on the memory card.


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Locking this thread
Mar 7, 2011 7:12AM PST

People are trying to use this thread to advertise their battery sales site.

Those posts were deleted and now this thread is locked.

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