Battery life: alkaline v NiMH v Li-Ion

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Top Spin, Dec 25, 2003.

  1. Top Spin

    Top Spin Guest

    I just ran a surprising test. I loaded my Olympus C-700 with three
    sets of batteries and then took a series of flash shots with the LCD
    display on. I was surprised at the results.

    This camera takes 4 standard AAs. It comes with 4 "Olympus Camedia"
    NiMH rechargeable batteries and a charger. I usually use the
    rechargeable batteries in the camera, but I keep a set of regular
    alkaline AAs in handy as backup. I thought that the NiMHs ran down
    fairly quickly and was considering using primarily alkalines until I
    ran this test.

    1. I loaded the camera with the standard alkaline AAs that I had lying
    around. They are probably a year old and have been used a few times,
    but they tested well into the "good" range on a tester.

    Battery life: about 60 shots.

    When removed from the camera, they still tested in the "good" range
    and they were able to take a few more shots when put back into the

    2. I loaded the camera with the freshly recharged NiMHs.

    Battery life: 778 shots.

    As with the alkalines, they still tested good and were good for a few
    more shots after a "rest".

    3. Figuring that the old alkalines were too old, I loaded the camera
    with some brand new alkalines (Maxell brand).

    Battery life: 329 shots.

    If this test is any indication, the Ni-MH have over twice the life
    (power) of alkalines.

    Is this about right?

    I think I'll go get another set of the Ni-MHs.
    Top Spin, Dec 25, 2003
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  2. This is normal- The power drain of a digicam is such that an
    alkaline cell will see it as a shortcircuit, and the cell will break
    down before delivering all the current inside it.

    NiMH, Li-Ion and NiCd can all deliver the higher current, and will
    thus last longer, even though they store far less energy. They will
    survive the "punishment".

    One thin to bear in mind is that NiMH loses around 2-4% of the loaded
    energy per day on the shelf, being used or not.

    NiCd has a much better shelf life, but not the 5 years of alkaline.

    Best of the rechargeables are the LiIon, but some self-discharge
    fast, other lasts for a long time.

    You can also buy expensive Lithium non-rechargeable cells, with
    a shelf life of 10+ years. They are the best alternative to
    Povl H. Pedersen, Dec 25, 2003
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  3. Top Spin

    AT Guest

    can AA nimhs be used in regular cameras like, for example, a nikon
    8008 without damaging the camera ?

    thanks for the info.
    AT, Dec 26, 2003
  4. Top Spin

    Ralph Mowery Guest

    I just ran a surprising test. I loaded my Olympus C-700 with three
    This has been done many times. The cam requires a short burst of very high
    current to take a pix. The NiMHs do this very well. For a more "normal"
    current draw such as a radio or maybe a flashlight the alkaline will last
    longer. It is similar to the way the deep cycle car size batteries work
    vers the regular car batteries. One is beter for long term use and the
    other is beter for a short burst of high current. As others have mentioned
    the alkaline will last a long time in storage where the NiMhs self discharge
    in a few weeks. Nicads also self discharge but not as bad.
    Ralph Mowery, Dec 26, 2003
  5. Top Spin

    Travis Guest

    What about the Li-Ion's?
    Travis, Dec 26, 2003
  6. Top Spin

    imbsysop Guest

    1-2%/dat may be a far more realistic figure :)
    imbsysop, Dec 26, 2003
  7. Top Spin

    stacey Guest

    Top Spin wrote:

    The problem with alkalines is the voltage drops below the value the camera
    can operate on fairly quickly. I'd bet the batteries you took out were
    still OK for a flashlight etc for quite a while and yes the Ni-MH have a
    longer "straightline" discharge rate that maintains a higher voltage as
    they discharge.
    stacey, Dec 27, 2003
  8. if it takes AA batts, then ANY AA batt wil work - Lion, NiMh or Nicd.

    the difference is the chemicals in side and the power curve of ht
    ebattery - among other detiails.

    NiCads can give off lots of energy very fast and be charged very fast
    (RC cars often use up all the juice in 4 minutes and charge in 15
    minutes..they get too hot to touch!)

    Alkalines will hold their charge a long time on a shelf 9or ina

    NiMh are currently the darllings of the rechargeable consumer battery

    With a set of 4 NiMh costing $10 or less at walmart, and $20 or less
    witha charger, why use anything else for cameras?

    (5 sets of AA nimh and 2 chargers...)
    Chris P in PA, Dec 27, 2003
  9. Top Spin

    AT Guest

    thanks !!!!

    AT, Dec 27, 2003
  10. the curve thing probably. All AA batteries are listed at 1.2volts. I
    jsut measured some fresh duracell alkalines today - 1.64 volts.
    I know that alkalines drain slowly for a long period, with a fairly
    steady volt drop. NiCd will hold a lower initial voltage but can be
    drained quicker, and when 'dead' their voltage drops very rapidly.
    have not read about Lion, other than they are very particular about
    charging and the one in my laptop is dead and expensive.

    I have used NiCd in RC uses over the years, and occassionaly
    elsewhere. I did use them in my Fuji 1400 when i first got it, but
    when i went to buy a second set i joined the Nimh bandwagon as that
    was all i could find.

    when i got my Fuji S602 from a friend, he threw in 4 more sets of AA
    and a charger. The Nimh work in my external flashes. better or not
    that other batteries i cannot know as i use what i got.

    your remote was probably considering anything below 1.3 volts as low
    or dead, and that is likley a highpoint for the nicds.

    Chris P in PA, Dec 28, 2003
  11. Top Spin

    Paul L Guest

    So you put an ammeters' leads directly across a battery? I'm glad I don't
    carry your insurance
    Paul L, Dec 30, 2003
  12. Top Spin

    SJF Guest

    That's a discharge rate of a little less than 1% per day.

    SJF, Dec 30, 2003
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