Do DSLR LCDs drain the battery fast or not?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by All Things Mopar, Oct 9, 2005.

  1. My local camera store is trying to meet my needs for a camera to
    replace my current Nikon 5700 EVF that will be much better for
    low noise as well as do a better job of consistent flash
    pictures of cars in dark museums.

    The thing I like the most about EVFs, though, is the ability to
    get an instant preview of the just-shot image to see if
    composure, exposure, and focus are OK. If not, I immediately

    I recognize that this is technically impossible by definition in
    any DSLR, so I'm trying to check on the veracity of the camera
    store manager's claim that turning on the LCD to preview every
    shot will /not/ quickly drain the battery.

    The main two cameras I'm looking at are the Nikon D70s and the
    Canon Rebel XT. I'll post more details about what I need and
    want, but for now I'm just trying to find out about battery
    drain. All I know so far is if I leave the LCD of my 5700 on, it
    eats batteries like pop corn.

    All Things Mopar, Oct 9, 2005
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  2. All Things Mopar

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Not as you describe it; you don't get "live preview" before shooting,
    but you do get the picture on the LCD after shooting (if you want).
    It won't. It's not on all the time or for very long, and there's no
    live video stream going on. With a D70, you can shoot hundreds of
    pictures all day, with LCD review on, without ever shutting the camera
    off, and still not have to worry about the battery.
    Jeremy Nixon, Oct 9, 2005
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  3. Bunk!!! Sure the LCD will drain the battery but not to the point where it's
    not useful. You can control the length of time the image stays on the LCD.
    I have both a Rebel and a 20D and I've set my LCD to leave the image on
    screen until I push the shutter button. Even at that setting I haven't run
    my battery down.
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Oct 9, 2005
  4. I think you are confused...

    The DSLRs will not allow you to preview the shot on the LCD.
    But they will allow you to see the just shot image.
    Steve Cutchen, Oct 9, 2005
  5. All Things Mopar

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    According to All Things Mopar <>:

    [ ... ]
    Well ... I have gotten about 600 shots out of a single battery
    charge on the D70 -- while using the built-in flash, and allowing the
    display to come on for the default ten (or is it fifteen) seconds. And
    -- if you start doing things like zooming into the displayed image with
    the "Qual" button, and playing with the zoom size and examining the
    histogram, it stays on longer.

    I was also showing some images to others nearby, so I was
    getting even more than the default use out of the display.

    And note that the D70s comes with a battery which will hold a
    bit more charge than the one which comes with the D70 (and I intend to
    get those when it is time to replace my current batteries.) Yes -- I
    bought a spare battery, and alternate them in the camera. And one
    weekend I did need to swap batteries. There was a wedding of a cousin
    (no, I was not the pro) and a celebration the next day, plus a lot of
    photos of the changing foliage on the way up, and of the structure of
    bridges (patterns of girders) on the way back.

    So -- I would suggest that the display is not a serious impact
    on battery life on the D70 -- and while the D70s has a somewhat larger
    display, I doubt that it draws *that* much more current.

    I have no experience with the Digital Rebel XT, so I'll let
    others speak for them.

    Good Luck,
    DoN. Nichols, Oct 9, 2005
  6. Today Jeremy Nixon spoke these views with conviction for
    everyone's edification:

    I snipped the part I already understood.

    But, what do you mean that the LCD isn't on all the time or for
    very long? Does it shut itself off, on a D70 for example, until
    the next image is taken? If yes, then my camera store manager is
    entirely correct.
    All Things Mopar, Oct 10, 2005
  7. Today Robert R Kircher, Jr. spoke these views with conviction
    for everyone's edification:
    Which part is bunk? What I said about my own camera? If I open
    the flip/rotate LCD, it stays on. The only thing that'll kill my
    battery faster is using the built-in speedlight instead of my
    Sunpak 433D external, but I expect that to happen.

    So, if I read the second part of your note, the live LCD preview
    is the equivalent to what I get in my EVF, and the time can be
    controlled. That's good news. Thanks.
    All Things Mopar, Oct 10, 2005
  8. Today Steve Cutchen spoke these views with conviction for
    everyone's edification:
    Steve, apparently I mistated my assumption. I know I cannot
    preview a shot as I can with an EVF. A DSLR is, after all, an
    SLR with sensors, which is used like my still working 1969 Nikon
    FTN to compose pictures "through the lens".

    What the camera store guy was telling me is that I can preview
    the /last shot/ to see if it looks OK. The only rub is that an
    LCD is too small to judge noise or focus problems.
    All Things Mopar, Oct 10, 2005
  9. Today DoN. Nichols spoke these views with conviction for
    everyone's edification:
    600?! Wow! The /best/ I can do with my 5700 is maybe 200 or a
    little more. But, if I use the built-in speedlight, the number
    drops to under 100.
    Thanks, Don. For whatever reason, my camera store manager -
    who seems to know his stuff - likes Canon better. And, no, I
    do /not/ intend to re-start the Holy Wars here!

    I would lean towards a Canon simply because of my poor
    experience with my 5700 and 500+ test-drive shots with an
    8800/SB-800 combo last April. I'm kinda soured on Nikon right
    All Things Mopar, Oct 10, 2005
  10. All Things Mopar

    Charles Guest

    I don't know about the D70 but on the 350/XT the review time is on 2
    seconds by default but you can change that to off, 4 sec., 8 sec. or
    hold. If you take another image before the review time that you set is
    up, that shuts off the review of the last image moves to the next
    Charles, Oct 10, 2005
  11. All Things Mopar

    Charles Guest

    There is no live LCD preview. On the DSLR's you are reviewing the last
    image. So the battery drains less fast than a EVF camera. The live
    preview is what you see in the optical viewfinder. That does not drain
    the battery.
    Charles, Oct 10, 2005
  12. All Things Mopar

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    Yes -- the LCD comes on after exposure, showing the picture, and stays
    on only for a few seconds, or until you half-press the shutter again.
    Also, if you're doing rapid-fire, and you don't take your finger off
    the shutter release, the LCD won't come on until you do. You can also
    shut off the automatic review entirely.
    Jeremy Nixon, Oct 10, 2005
  13. All Things Mopar

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    If you're concerned about focus you do have the option to zoom in on the
    shot to get a closer look. Noise, well, isn't worth worrying about with
    these cameras.
    Jeremy Nixon, Oct 10, 2005
  14. All Things Mopar

    Bob Guest

    You'll LOVE shooting at ISO 1000!!

    no problem...
    After you take a pic with the D70, the preview comes on for a programmed time -
    if you want - with your choice of times. You can shut it by just touching the
    shutter - I set mine for 10sec and kill it if that's too long! Times available
    are 10 and 20 sec's, or 1, 5, or 10 min's.

    You can zoom into the pic if you want and scroll around to check focus... you
    can also get a histogram and full EXIF data on screen... you can get 6 or 9
    thums as well....

    Battery's last a long long time - even shooting flash I can get over 700 shots.
    I charge the battery's every few months, whether they need it or not...

    I'm up to almost 4000 pics in 1.5 years and I love my D70! Have only charged
    the battery's about 7 times...

    Almost everything you can think of is programmable - I haven't yet tried
    everything! Another neat thing - I bought the D70 but upgraded it to D70s
    firmware on the net!
    Bob, Oct 10, 2005
  15. All Things Mopar

    RG Guest

    Non sequitur. Perhaps some time spent contemplating the subtle but
    important differences behind the concept of "preview" and "review" would
    lend some clarity to your confusion.
    RG, Oct 10, 2005
  16. All Things Mopar

    Monty Bonner Guest

    I have a D70s, purchased it two weeks ago on Wednesday, Charged up the
    battery, and since I purchased it, I have taken at least 100+ pictures, used
    the camera in conjunction with a training video which I have been watching
    for two different evenings for at least 3 hours, and then have spent several
    hours with the owners manual and played with all the menus (LCD shows those)
    and the camera on, and the battery meter has not moved from full yet.

    So it will use battery power, but the capacity of the battery is huge, so it
    should not be a problem.

    Monty Bonner, Oct 10, 2005
  17. All Things Mopar

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    I forget what he said -- and the original message has expired
    off of my current news server, so I can't tell just by backtracking in
    the thread.

    The display shuts itself off at a preset time after the last
    exposure, or as soon as the shutter release button is half-depressed in
    preparation for the next shot.

    It also comes back on as soon as you take the next photo.

    As for what that preset time is, your choices are:


    I *think* that the default is 10 seconds. I've got mine
    currently set for 20 seconds.

    There is another setting for how long the meter remains active
    after you half-press the shutter button. For that one, the settings


    I have mine currently set on 16s, FWIW.

    Obviously, if they offer a 10 minute setting, it is not much of
    a problem.

    You can always bring the image back to the screen by pressing
    the "[>]" (play) button, so I don't see the time as being a significant
    problem. For me, the 20s setting is quite satisfactory for most use,
    and quite often I prepare to shoot the next shot (thus blanking the
    screen with the half-press of the shutter button).

    DoN. Nichols, Oct 10, 2005
  18. All Things Mopar

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    Let's tweak the terminology here first:

    It is *not* a *pre*view, it is a *re*view -- seeing the photos
    which have been taken -- by default, the most recent one.

    The only kind of *pre*view which you get is the view through the
    finder, which shows you pretty accurately what you will get in terms of
    framing, and an approximation of focus which may need to be interpreted
    in light of how large you intend to print the final images.

    Yes -- the time can be controlled (I just posted in another
    branch of this thread the times offered by the D70), and you can always
    bring back the image for another pass of review by pressing the "Play"
    button "[>]".

    DoN. Nichols, Oct 10, 2005

  19. On an P&S or any camera that does LIVE preview on the LCD meaning that the
    LCD is showing what the lens/sensor is seeing live, then yes leaving the LCD
    on would cause the battery to drain faster. DSLR, however, do NOT provide
    this type of live view, they only show you the picture you just took or the
    pictures that are on you mem card. The LCD is used for review only NOT

    With that understood, the use of my LCD in review mode that stays on until I
    press the shutter button has not used up a battery any faster then when I've
    had the LCD set to auto shutoff after x seconds. Now that assumes I
    remember the hit the shutter to turn off the LCD but since I have my 20D set
    to turn itself off after 1 minute of inactivity I don't worry about it.
    Robert R Kircher, Jr., Oct 10, 2005
  20. All Things Mopar

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    O.K. First off -- you can navigate through *all* of the
    previous shots which are on the current CF card if you so desire (and
    the time-out restarts every time you make a change to what the display

    Second -- You can "zoom in" to the image on the display, to give
    a somewhat better idea of the focus. The first step is to press the
    "qual" button while an image is on the display. (Otherwise, it allows
    you to change the image size and save quality with the thumbwheels.)
    Once you have done this, you can press another button (which bears a
    marking somewhat like part of a checkerboard, and which otherwise
    selects displaying a single image, four images, or nine images at a
    time), and while it is depressed, rotate the thumbwheel to change the
    enlargement of a portion of the image on the display. While you hold it
    depressed, a smaller version of the image shows near one corner of the
    screen, with a bight outline showing the size of the crop to display,
    and the size of that crop can be adjusted by the thumbwheel. You can
    also move the crop area around on the main image with the tilting poker
    chip (which in other modes will select your image, select which mode is
    being displayed, or select which are is being used for autofocus.)

    The display modes are as follows:

    1) The image plain

    2) The histogram, to allow you to judge whether exposure tweaks
    may be needed.

    3) Highlight mode, in which "blown highlights" (areas overexposed
    so all three colors are at the maximum possible brightness) will
    blink between all white and all black, so you can judge whether
    you need to reduce the exposure a bit. If you have *any*
    significant blown highlights, this is the display mode which
    will come up by default. Otherwise, it comes up in whichever
    mode you last displayed.

    4) First set of EXIF info (overprint over image):

    White Bal:

    5) Second set of EXIF info (overprint over image):

    Mode Exp +/-:
    Focal Length:
    Flash Mode:

    There is more information in the EXIF data, but this is what the
    camera will show you directly. I use exiftool (a perl script for unix
    systems) to see more.

    The display does not have enough zoom to show you anything
    meaningful about noise. For that, you need to go to the computer and
    blow things up to where you have a 1:1 pixel ratio zoom (called a 100%
    image). If your previous camera did show you anything meaningful about
    the noise, it was too noisy to start with. I only see some noise from
    my D70 at 1600 ISO, with a lot of magnification on the computer screen.
    And it is *certainly* a lot less than grain on B&W film at an equivalent
    ISO (actually significantly better than 1200 ISO Isopan Record in
    2-1/4x1-1/8 images.) This is because grain on film can grow so a single
    grain can occupy multiple pixel areas, while the noise in a digital
    should be confined to a single pixel area.

    Stick to ISO 400 or below and I doubt that you will ever see
    noise -- unless you go for extremely long exposures (tripod, not
    hand-held). I normally keep AUTO ISO mode turned on, and let it select
    higher ISOs if necessary so I can get the shot. And you would be amazed
    at what a 50mm f1.4 lens can capture with the AUTO-ISO enabled, so it
    can use reasonable shutter speeds.

    Note that this (about the display) is all for the Nikon D70, and
    I don't know what is displayed by other cameras.

    DoN. Nichols, Oct 10, 2005
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